AlphaMensae

[1.3.1/1.7.x] Modular Launch Pads v2.0.0: Beyond launch clamps: Create a whole launch facility with mix-and-match parts [30 July 2019]

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Posted (edited)

Here's the new Saturn Tower Multi Modular Section:

The Shuttle FSS tower will done like this as well.

It's now on the github...the "final" AlphaDev will be a series of small uploads :D

 

Edited by AlphaMensae

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The new Shuttle FSS tower multi section is also now on the github.

Both of the new multi-sections have names with the new "AM_MLP_" prefix, so they're good to go.

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Erm how do I add another node to the underside of the launch base ? as I have a cunning plan :ph34r:

 

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1 hour ago, Puggonaut said:

Erm how do I add another node to the underside of the launch base ? as I have a cunning plan :ph34r:

 

You can either add this directly into the .cfg file for the launch base, or make a Module Manager patch: copy this into a text editor, modify the values as necessary, and save it somewhere in GameData as a .cfg file:

@PART[SaturnMobileLauncherNew2C]
{
    
    node_stack_bottom = 0.0, -2.5, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 5

}

The first 3 values in the node def are the X, Y and Z positions; the next 3 values are the angle vectors-bottom nodes are typically -1; the last value is the node size (how big the green ball is).

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I've made a change in plans, now the part name changes will happen with the official v2.0 release. This way AlphaDev can be kept to allow for a smooth transition. The AlphaDev parts will be hidden, but still present to avoid breaking craft files.

The folder structure for the Saturn-Shuttle parts will also change, and I just saw no point in doing all of these changes for AlphaDev, so I'll just leave it as is :)

 

 

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Is there a reason that only the American Launch Stand and the Russian Launch Stand have integrated LF/OX generators, and all the other launch pads / stands do not? If not, would you consider adding this functionality to all of them? I'm currently simply integrating some large tanks and then hooking a fuel line to the pad -- this works in all cases but the Milk Stool -- but it would be even cleaner if they were just generating the LF/OX directly.

Regarding the Milk Stool, it only passes the LF/OX if I hook it up to the launch pad with another fuel line -- but since I'm putting it under an engine plate and not under an engine I have to run a fuel line from the LUT to the 1st stage tank anyway. But again, that means I have to run some external fuel lines between different sections of the LUT. Any chance of making them fuel crossfeed enabled?

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On 7/25/2019 at 12:15 PM, AlphaMensae said:

You can either add this directly into the .cfg file for the launch base, or make a Module Manager patch: copy this into a text editor, modify the values as necessary, and save it somewhere in GameData as a .cfg file:

@PART[SaturnMobileLauncherNew2C]
{
    
    node_stack_bottom = 0.0, -2.5, 0.0, 0.0, -1.0, 0.0, 5

}

The first 3 values in the node def are the X, Y and Z positions; the next 3 values are the angle vectors-bottom nodes are typically -1; the last value is the node size (how big the green ball is).

Your a Star mate , thanks for that &)

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2 hours ago, MacGyverNL said:

Is there a reason that only the American Launch Stand and the Russian Launch Stand have integrated LF/OX generators, and all the other launch pads / stands do not? If not, would you consider adding this functionality to all of them? I'm currently simply integrating some large tanks and then hooking a fuel line to the pad -- this works in all cases but the Milk Stool -- but it would be even cleaner if they were just generating the LF/OX directly.

Regarding the Milk Stool, it only passes the LF/OX if I hook it up to the launch pad with another fuel line -- but since I'm putting it under an engine plate and not under an engine I have to run a fuel line from the LUT to the 1st stage tank anyway. But again, that means I have to run some external fuel lines between different sections of the LUT. Any chance of making them fuel crossfeed enabled?

I kind of forgot myself why the American and Russian Launch Stands only had the fuel generators :D  I think it was because they were meant to be an early-career 1-part launch clamp base, and I was inspired by Galileo's Almost Free Launch Clamps to add a fuel generator.

In any case, in v2 all the launch bases, plates and stands will have fuel generators, and I will make sure crossfeed is enabled.  Also, the Russian Launch Stand is no more, it's been combined with the Soyuz Pad to create the Soyuz Launch Base.  The American Launch Stand and Saturn Launch Stand are now the Small and Large Launch Stands.

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Sorry for this somewhat long reply, it just kept growing while typing. There's two potential bugreports about halfway down.

6 minutes ago, AlphaMensae said:

In any case, in v2 all the launch bases, plates and stands will have fuel generators, and I will make sure crossfeed is enabled.

Oh I should've mentioned, I'm running the latest github zip of AlphaDev's HEAD (re-downloaded today) alongside the current CKAN 1.3 release, and my question was based on all the AlphaDev V2 material. So if those generators are already supposed to be in the V2 bases and plates, my install may be borked? Unless you meant that that's something you'll be adding still. And thanks for making them crossfeed-enabled.

One thing I wonder, since you mention the Almost Free Launch Clamps -- I take it such a generator will fill up a partly-fueled rocket to the brim? Not that I've flown with partly-fueled first stages, and second- and further stages don't really matter in this regard unless somebody is going full-realism and fueling on the pad. I'm mainly just curious about the mechanics. The advantage of my current "add a tank and fuel line" system is that it doesn't touch the fuel levels in the vehicle itself, it just draws fuel until the launchpad tank is empty while still on the pad. Not something to change the behaviour over, but maybe interesting to consider regardless: What would happen if you'd make the pads actually contain a certain tank of fuel, with crossfeed enabled, and then the vehicle draws from that tank, and the generator can fill that tank. But I guess that would still also fill up any attached vehicle if the pad tank is full, so eh. </brainfart>

 

6 minutes ago, AlphaMensae said:

Also, the Russian Launch Stand is no more, it's been combined with the Soyuz Pad to create the Soyuz Launch Base.  The American Launch Stand and Saturn Launch Stand are now the Small and Large Launch Stands.

Hmm. If I filter the assets to the AlphaDev mod, I still see "American Launch Stand" and "Saturn Launch Stand v2" -- but the "Soyuz Launch Base v2" with its LF/OX generator, indeed. So this change may also be something you're still working on but hasn't made it into the AlphaDev release branch yet?

 

Speaking of which, you may already be aware but if not, the current AlphaDev release (installed per the instructions of copying only the AlphaDev subfolder into GameData) throws the following Soyuz-related B9PartSwitch "Serious Warnings" at me during game load:

Quote

B9PartSwitch has encountered a serious warning. The game will continue to run but this should be fixed ASAP.

Initialization errors on ModuleB9PartSwitch (moduleID='textureSwitch') on part AM.MLP.SoyuzLaunchBaseGantry subtype 'Green'

  No transforms named 'SoyuzArmEndPad' found

Initialization errors on ModuleB9PartSwitch (moduleID='textureSwitch') on part AM.MLP.SoyuzLaunchBaseGantry subtype 'Gray Drab'

  No transforms named 'SoyuzArmEndPadB' found

Please see KSP's log for additional details

The log doesn't really reveal anything else, except that it also has the same warnings on "part unknownPart" while PartLoader is compiling the SoyuzLaunchBaseGantry. I could get you the full log but that involves some advanced VM-guest-to-host-file-transfer-wizardry so I'm actually hoping this is enough info.

Anyway, it scared me enough to not even try to touch the Soyuz launch items so far, so don't know what in-game issues would pop up, but I figured they're unlikely to be caused by my install and thus a bug in the current AlphaDev.

 

And finally, I've noticed that the displayed orientation of a retracted General Crew Access Arm New v2, attached to a General Crew Access Elevator New v2, when saved and then reloaded later in the VAB, gets set to extended (or, one time, halfway between extended and retracted). Both retract buttons at that point say "Extend", and if you click one of them the arm will reset to the retracted position and then go through its normal VAB extend animation. It will then function as normal for that direction -- but the other direction still says "Extend" and if you click that it looks like it extends from the other side's retracted position. After that, it functions as normal. I haven't noticed a similar issue with other swing-arms. Maybe this is an artefact caused by it being retractable in two directions?

 

Anyway, thanks for this amazing work! I've finished putting my (admittedly small) launch fleet of Katurn IB, Katurn V, and Titan II-variants on nice-looking launchpads. Not looking forward to the release day of V2, when I'll feel compelled to migrate the AlphaDev pads to actual V2 pads, but eh, that's my own fault for not waiting until you release ;)

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@MacGyverNL

First, the B9PS complaint about no transform named "SoyuzArmEndPadB" is curious, as it is in the Unitt hierarchy and the .mu file. There are two arm end pad meshes, used to switch the color of the clamp "pad" when the base's overall color is switched, and I just tested with B9PS v2.8 in KSP 1.7.2, and the end pads do change color.  So it actually is working; the new B9PS can throw these spurious warnings for issues that are actually fine.  I think it may be due to the fact that the end pad color is done by mesh switch, and they use a different texture than the other green/gray-drab parts use.

Second, all these .cfg changes will happen with the release version of v2; I'm not going to bother with updating something that very shortly will become obsolete. ;)

The General Crew Arm can be retracted either left or right, done by two separate animations rotating the same transform. Of course, each animation expects the arm to be in the same starting point it was set up for, or weird things will happen.

The fuel generators will fill to "full" from whatever level a tank was at.  It's the same ModuleGenerator the stock launch clamps and RTG use to output EC, but it can output any resource.  With the crossfeed issues, I think you may have to enable crossfeed on decouplers so fuel resources will go past them, then disable crossfeed when it comes time to launch. In any case, fuel tanks surface-attached to the launch bases will fill up any tank in the rocket, no yellow fuel lines needed. 

I'll be leaving AlphaDev up when v2 is released to ease the transition, for the parts that will change names will still be available, just hidden.

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15 hours ago, AlphaMensae said:

The General Crew Arm can be retracted either left or right, done by two separate animations rotating the same transform. Of course, each animation expects the arm to be in the same starting point it was set up for, or weird things will happen.

 

Sure -- the point was only that when loading a saved vessel in the VAB, that crew arm somehow seems to be confused about the state it's supposed to be in.

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DONE!

After more than a year of work,  with all kinds of turns and dead-ends, I've finished work on the part modeling for version 2.0. The last parts were the clamp versions of the Saturn and Shuttle launch bases, which will be the default ones in the v2 release, with the free-standing ones being moved to an "Extras" folder in the .zip.  They are on the github in the AlphaDev branch, the FINAL AlphaDev. It will not be updated any more, but the patches and craft files/subassemblies will be deleted.

They work quite well, and since I made the support leg (cylindrical like the real ones) mesh only 0.5m tall, the shuttle FSS now can sit on the ground; it took me a while to realize that the minimum height for a launch clamp is determined by the height of the mesh for the stretchy "tower" portion. They even can be rotated properly, though the legs will be on the wrong sides of the base, they won't be sticking out. :D

Now it's time to clean up the .cfgs and build the release version! 

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Oh, I found out why B9PS was showing that error about the SoyuzArmEndPad: I simply had forgotten to remove that line from the B9PS texture switch module when I copied it into the gantry's .cfg from the base's .cfg...which is the one that does have that transform. :D

The fixed .cfg will be in the v2 release.

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Getting closer!

Got all the .cfg files and folder structure set, tech tree nodes reworked and custom categories revised.

The name changing was much more extensive than expected, as just about all the dev parts have had their names changed, even many of the ones already with the "AM_MLP_" prefix. I made them follow more of a standardized format for easier MM patching.

New in v2 is Community Category Kit support, complete with a custom icon I made (very simply :D ), but there is still the custom stock category too, fully revised.

A new tech tree node was made, called Launch Stands. This has the Large Launch and all the tier 1 and 2 towers, crew elevators and other parts, and branches directly from the Start (which still has the Small Launch Stand). The Soyuz Launch Base now also branches directly from the start, with the same 5 science cost as Launch Stands . The Saturn and Shuttle base nodes still branch from General Launch Bases. I also did a better arrangement of the custom nodes for the UnKerballedStart tree.

Now just have to make some craft files and subassemblies. :) 

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Also been stomping bugs and correcting things I'd forgotten to do earlier....like changing the texture paths for the B9PS texture switchers to point to ModularLaunchPads and not AlphaDev :D   This the last time I do a separate AlphaDev thing, from now on I create a KSP dev install so I can change ModularLaunchPads without messing up the current release.

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Posted (edited)

I'm hoping to get v2.0 out tonight (my time, US CDT)!

Hit a snag last night as I found out the new Milkstool's hold-supports were broken. It was a result of a stupidly misguided action on my part some time ago when for some reason I thought Unity assets were specific to a scene, so, trying to shorten the loading time for my General Pads scene, I deleted all the Saturn and Shuttle assets. Whoops!  No, assets are a global thing :D Fortunately I did have a backup, it wasn't from just rightvbefore that misadventure, but I hadn't made any changes to the Saturn and Shuttle assets for quite a while, so copying over the backup made things right again. Well, almost...I had forgotten about the changes to milkstool since that backup, changes that resulted in broken hold-down supports.

The problem only showed up since I did a complete rewrite (export) of the parts from Unity. I also forgot what I exactly did with them, so instead of recreating the way they were , I put in adjustable hold-down supports likie those in the general bases, single ones that can be moved with a deploy limit slider, which is a whole lot easier to make. I finished that up before going to work today, and they function fine. :)

I just need to check for any other problems, and make up a craft file for the Cormorant shuttle, and possibly a few others for some smaller rockets. I already have the BDB Saturn V craft file made, and even recorded the process for the assembly guide video (to come later). Then I have to make a new OP for the thread (with lots of screenshots from members who have used the dev parts), and then it will be Spacedock time. :) 

I'll see if I can get that done tonight, otherwise it will be tomorrow night.

 

Edited by AlphaMensae

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I'm still editing the OP in small steps...will have lots of screenshots.

@Drew Kerman I added tower nodes to the small test stand, as in the vertical configuration with its tower off, it can be used as a launch stand too. :)

 

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Congratulations on the v2 release @AlphaMensae! Modular Launch Pads adds the cool factor to my game like nothing else. You've done an amazing job on version 2. 

IsCTj12h.png

 

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