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[1.12.x] VABReorienter v1.2: Pick a different VAB orientation (not just north)


Snark
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What it does

Lets you change the default orientation of the VAB so that your ships face east (or west) by default, rather than north.

Download from SpaceDock
License: CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source code

Includes per-game settings so that you can still pick north, if you like.

thumbnail.png

 

Why would anyone want this?

I always, always make my ships face eastward in the VAB. That's because I always launch east, and I like to do that by pitching down (using the navball for navigation).

Unfortunately, KSP has chosen to make north the default, which I hate; it means if I use the default orientation, I'd have to launch by yawing right, which to me is just unnatural and wrong. So, every single time I create a ship, I have to go and manually rotate the root part, which is a pain.

This app solves the problem by letting the user pick which orientation they like for their game.

(Thanks to @MaximumThrust for asking the question that prompted me to finally get around to making this mod!)

 

How to install

Unzip the contents of "GameData" to your GameData folder, same as with most mods.

 

How do I use it?

Just install it and it automatically sets your default orientation to "east".  No UI, no special steps required.  Ta dah!  Your ships will be built facing east, like this:

east.png

However, if you prefer something other than east, for a particular saved game, it's present in the difficulty options dialog for the game (available either in the main menu settings, or on the settings menu in-game).

settings.png

The available choices are:

  • West
  • North
  • East

...just pick whichever you like.

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53 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

Thumbs up for the configuration option. If I reorient, I usually go for a pitch-up maneuver ever since I saw the Shuttle flying "upside down" to orbit.

Uh, well, actually, in this case I guess you'd want "West" as an orientation option, wouldn't you?  Which I haven't actually provided (currently it only has "East" and "North"), since it didn't occur to me; though it would be trivially easy to add "West".  So this doesn't actually help you yet, I think.  :wink:

The main question is:  are you in the habit of playing a career (or sandbox game) where you're oriented west pretty much all the time, so it's a hassle to have to reorient the ship every time?  Or do you mostly have just one orientation (other than west) and just occasionally orient west for a shuttle flight?  If it's the former, then a "West" option would probably be useful to you.  If it's the latter, then a "West" option probably wouldn't help much, because the hassle of "go to settings, change to West, make a shuttle, go to settings, change it back" would be even worse than simply manually reorienting the ship in the VAB.

I'm happy to add a "West" option to the possible config settings if folks would find it useful-- just trying to see if there's anyone with an actual use case (e.g. someone who likes to "pitch up to go east" most of the time, so having it as a default option would be useful for them.)

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1 minute ago, Snark said:

Uh, well, actually, in this case I guess you'd want "West" as an orientation option.  Which I haven't actually provided (currently it only has "East" and "North"), since it didn't occur to me; though it would be trivially easy to add "West".  So this doesn't actually help you yet, I think.  :wink:

Yeah, I noticed that after I posted. :)

1 minute ago, Snark said:

The main question is:  are you in the habit of playing a career (or sandbox game) where you're oriented west pretty much all the time, so it's a hassle to have to reorient the ship every time?

I use the default orientation because it's the default. If I had West as an option, I might use it consistently.

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2 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

If I had West as an option, I might use it consistently.

Okay, I'll add "West" as an option Soon™.

(Oh, the temptation to add an easter egg that quietly sets the default orientation to "upside down" on April 1...)

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I would have used this earlier (I used to rotate the rocket before launch), nowadays I just build facing north and then do a roll maneuver during launch (then pitch down). I agree that yawing right does feel weird.

Edit: Not to diminsh your effort, I appreciate having the option! Thank you!

Edited by Draradech
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I know why the devs decided to orient north ... you look at the screen and it looks so "natural" if you look from south - to north, so yawing right is looking "good"... somehow.

It's like you read a text from left to right as long as you was born and raised in an english speaking or european county...

Edited by Gordon Dry
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17 minutes ago, Snark said:

Okay, I'll add "West" as an option Soon™.

(Oh, the temptation to add an easter egg that quietly sets the default orientation to "upside down" on April 1...)

Heh.  Should probably add 'South' as an option as well just to complete the set.  (Or have a 360-degree slider, though I'd want 'snap' points at the cardinal directions, which I haven't seen anywhere else in KSP.)

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One note, one reason the Shuttle launched oriented west* (or as NASA tends to talk about it, heads-down) is so the pilot has a view of the horizon in an abort situation.  (If they were heads-up, there would be no visual cues for attitude at all, just sky).  Come to think of it, our kerbalnauts' pods mainly have the same problem...

*

Spoiler

of course it's more complicated; the way the shuttle was stacked on the crawler in the VAB, and the orientation of the crawlerway means that the cockpit was oriented south at launch, and immediately rolled to heads-down after launch (which may have been a variety of different directions depending on the target inclination).  And there was a host of reasons to roll to heads-down: better line of sight to ground stations for the orbiter's antennas, better alignment of lift vector, thrust vector, etc.  In fact the whole system was designed around that orientation.  After SRB separation, in low dynamic pressure, the orbiter and tank would roll to heads-up for better communication with relay satellites once the ground stations were over the horizon.

 

Edited by fourfa
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Hey, side note, everyone.  Just discovered that the code currently borks the SPH, it tromps over its orientation, too.  Working on a fix now.

(In my defense, it's because of an absolutely ridiculous feature of the KSP API that is incredibly misleading.  When you set up a script to run, you specify "under what circumstances does this run", e.g. "in flight" or "in the main menu" or "in any editor" or "only in the VAB", etc.  So of course I picked "only in the VAB" because they say that.  Only just now discovered that their enum values for "EditorAny", "EditorSPH", and "EditorVAB" all use the same damn value so the mere existence of those separate enum values is a baldfaced lie.  :mad:  Anyway, figuring out a fix now, but in the meantime don't install this mod if you're planning on using the SPH before I have a fix.)

I find it amusing that nobody spotted this problem before I did.  My theory is that there are Spaceplane People and Rocket People, and they tend to stay on their respective turf.  Rocket People will take a while to notice anything wrong with the SPH (I know I sure didn't, when I released 1.0...), and Spaceplane People probably wouldn't bother with this mod in the first place.  :)

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Okay, gang, the fix is up.  I've released VABReorienter v1.1.  Changes in this version:

  • Add "west" as an orientation option.
  • Fix the SPH bug so that only the VAB is affected, as intended.

Enjoy!

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On 3/22/2018 at 8:48 PM, Snark said:

Hey, side note, everyone.  Just discovered that the code currently borks the SPH, it tromps over its orientation, too.  Working on a fix now.

(In my defense, it's because of an absolutely ridiculous feature of the KSP API that is incredibly misleading.  When you set up a script to run, you specify "under what circumstances does this run", e.g. "in flight" or "in the main menu" or "in any editor" or "only in the VAB", etc.  So of course I picked "only in the VAB" because they say that.  Only just now discovered that their enum values for "EditorAny", "EditorSPH", and "EditorVAB" all use the same damn value so the mere existence of those separate enum values is a baldfaced lie.  :mad:  Anyway, figuring out a fix now, but in the meantime don't install this mod if you're planning on using the SPH before I have a fix.)

I find it amusing that nobody spotted this problem before I did.  My theory is that there are Spaceplane People and Rocket People, and they tend to stay on their respective turf.  Rocket People will take a while to notice anything wrong with the SPH (I know I sure didn't, when I released 1.0...), and Spaceplane People probably wouldn't bother with this mod in the first place.  :)

I use both :P, and was coming here to report it, and it was already fixed :0.0:

Thanks again!

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Great mod Snark, I'll likely install it soon.  Might take awhile to get used to though.

I actually think the way the stock game has it set up makes sense... from a game point of view.  I'm assuming that the camera is positioned where it is by default for a reason.  Launch profiles are a lot easier to see from the side like that than from behind.  And since the ship is tilting to the right according to the camera, it's natural for a gamer to use a control assigned to "go right".  I mean, on side scrolling platformers, you don't push "up" on the D-pad to make your character go "forward" from their point of view.  You push "right."

I have been slowly transitioning to constructing my ships for "pitch down" instead lately, so this'll be handy.  But I understand the stock setup for beginners. :wink:

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27 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

Launch profiles are a lot easier to see from the side like that than from behind.

Except that, like any sane person, I'm using the navball and not the camera view to figure out my pitch, which is all that matters.  :P

(Being facetious there.  Yes, I know there are plenty of players who, to my utter bafflement, actually prefer trying to control the rocket based on watching the camera view, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Takes all kinds, I guess.)  :wink:

27 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

And since the ship is tilting to the right according to the camera, it's natural for a gamer to use a control assigned to "go right".

My gosh, you're absolutely right!  And by the same logic, we should petition Squad to launch spaceplanes by default so that they're lying on their right side rather than right-side up, and you design your plane by sticking the wings on the top and the bottom instead of the left and the right.  After all, you're looking at them from the side and they need to "go left" in order to climb off the runway, yah? 

Would be a pretty crazy way of launching and flying planes, yes?  So why are rockets any different?  A rocket is just a plane that's faster and a lot cooler.  :P

...All of which is just my tongue-in-cheek way of saying that yes, I get that some people might like that-- I mean, I have to assume that because I've heard multiple people say that, even though it sounds utterly insane to me.  But if I ever did that, it would drive me sciuricidally insane.  It would be like flying a plane by lying on my side rather than sitting upright in the cockpit, in a world where left is up and right is down and up is right and down is left.

Anyone who likes playing that way... good for them!  They don't need this mod.  At all.  So it's all good.  :)

But that way of orienting and flying a rocket is completely, utterly hideous for me.  Call me crazy, but I like to make the rocket go up when I tell it to go the heck up, not "left".   To me, up is up and left is left.  That doesn't seem like an odd stretch.

To deliberately play so that left is up and up is right and right is down and down is left... nope.  Uh-uh.  I simply can't do it, and the fact that people who apparently must have brains wired very differently from mine find it easier to launch rockets by performing mental gymnastics to rotate everything ninety degrees sideways is not my lookout.

27 minutes ago, Geonovast said:

But I understand the stock setup for beginners.

I would contend that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with "beginners" per se.  There's nothing "beginner" about facing north, or facing east.  It's a question of how people look at things, and different people look at things in different ways.  I've been a "pitch down" guy from the instant I first met KSP, four years ago now.  On my very first rocket launch, it was so blatantly obvious to me that pitch down is the only right way to fly the rocket that I just assumed my rocket was facing east, pitched down, and then was taken aback to discover I was in a polar orbit.  "Well, that's nuts, why on earth did they make the rocket face the wrong way," was my immediate instinctive reaction.  As a raw beginner.  And that attitude hasn't changed one whit, from my very first launch as a total noob, up to today.

It's not my place to tell anyone what's the right way to play, because obviously everybody's play style is "right"-- for that person.

But it's very clear that different people have very different ways of engaging with the takeoff sequence, e.g. by camera or by navball.  And it's always bothered me that KSP completely forces every player to do it one way, which is not the way that I, personally, want to play.  For them to simply change it to point east would make me happy, but would leave a bunch of other players out in the cold, which would be bad, too.

So to my mind, the thing that's wrong here is not that "KSP faces rockets the wrong direction", but that it doesn't let the player choose. To me, clearly the right thing to do is to just add a game option so the player can pick whichever way they like.  And then everyone wins.

I've wished this for as long as I've been playing KSP.  But it hasn't happened, which is why I finally couldn't stand it any longer and wrote a mod to make the game do what I wish it did in stock anyway.  :)  (Irritation is the primary motivator of most of my mods, and this one's no exception.)

Anyway, here's hoping that this mod gets made obsolete by some future KSP update that adds such an option... I've already had three mods die this way, which makes me very happy, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!  Maybe I'll get lucky and this'll be number 4.

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I believe that is why NASA used a roll maneuver in all their launches.  Don't get me wrong, I understand why this might be useful for some people, personally I just prefer the rocket to be facing the camera on the pad.

Edited by Capt. Hunt
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