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Mod ideas (I need IDEAS)


OrionPl
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4 hours ago, OrionPl said:

I am not a very creative person and I really want to make a mod for KSP. If you guys have any concepts plz tell me and I'm gonna probably make a mod out of it.

Hello, and welcome to the forums!  :)

KSP modding can be fun... but it does take time and patience.  There are different types of mods that require different skill sets.  It would be easier for folks to make recommendations for you if we had some idea of what you may or may not already know how to do.

  • Are you familiar with programming in general?  C# specifically?
  • Do you know how to work with modeling software, such as Blender?  Unity?
  • Are you more of a "programmer/editor" type, or more of an "artistic / visual design" type?

Just because you don't know how to do something now doesn't necessarily mean you can't mod-- but it may mean that you'll have to take time to learn new skills, depending on what it is that you want to do.  Can you give us a bit more to go by?

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3 hours ago, Snark said:

Hello, and welcome to the forums!  :)

KSP modding can be fun... but it does take time and patience.  There are different types of mods that require different skill sets.  It would be easier for folks to make recommendations for you if we had some idea of what you may or may not already know how to do.

  • Are you familiar with programming in general?  C# specifically?
  • Do you know how to work with modeling software, such as Blender?  Unity?
  • Are you more of a "programmer/editor" type, or more of an "artistic / visual design" type?

Just because you don't know how to do something now doesn't necessarily mean you can't mod-- but it may mean that you'll have to take time to learn new skills, depending on what it is that you want to do.  Can you give us a bit more to go by?

Hey, thanks for the nice welcome!

I am mostly a programmer. I know C# and Java and I used blender a lot. I also made a few simple games in Unity (and I'm currently working on one right now).

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11 hours ago, OrionPl said:

I am mostly a programmer. I know C# and Java and I used blender a lot. I also made a few simple games in Unity (and I'm currently working on one right now).

Ah, okay, nice!  You've got a skillset that opens several different options to you.

Broadly speaking, KSP mods can be sorted into two main categories:

  • Plug-ins, i.e. mods that use code to alter the behavior of the game in some way
  • Part mods, i.e. mods that add new parts to the game.

It's not a strict either-or, and there can be overlap-- for example, a mod might add a new part that does something new in the game, with new code to support it.  But it's convenient to categorize them that way because the necessary skillset to produce them is pretty distinct in the two cases.

If you want to make a plug-in, then you need to know how to code C#.  Then you need to learn how to code your way into KSP's API.  If you already have the former, the latter isn't too hard to acquire, because there are lots of examples out there, since every plug-in that's posted in the KSP forum is required to post its source code.  So that means literally every mod you see, you can find their code and look at it to see how they do things.  There's also some documentation of the KSP API out there in various places (but it's extremely spotty and far from complete).  Plus there's this forum right here, which is a convenient place to post questions if you're trying to make something happen and getting stuck-- my experience has been that folks in this sub-forum are very helpful when it comes to helping people figure out where to aim their code.

So if you go the route of writing a plug-in, and already know C#, then your learning curve will mostly be about:

  1. hunting for mods that already do something vaguely similar to what you're trying to do, then looking at their code to see how they do it;
  2. searching the (scanty, incomplete) documentation for information; and
  3. when all else fails, ask a question here.  :)

It may seem daunting at first, but it's not as bad as you might think.  Just taking my own experience as an example:  The first real mod I wrote, myself, was BetterBurnTime.  I came to it with an extensive knowledge of programming (I'm a professional software engineer, including multiple years where C# was my primary programming language), but I was a total raw ignoramus about KSP, or how to mod it, or how anything worked at all.  So I just sat down and started googling stuff and reading forum posts and looking at source code... and things clicked into place pretty soon, and within a week I'd produced and posted the first version of the mod.

So if you want to do it, and if you're determined, it's absolutely doable.

 

Part mods need a very different skill set.  They don't need any programming at all, unless you're developing new functionality for them.  (For example, if you're making a new type of rocket engine, say, then as long as it works basically like any other rocket engine in KSP but with a different set of stats, you won't need any code for it.)  To make a part, you'll model it in Blender (i.e. produce the model, and any texture files it needs); then bring that into Unity to hook various stuff up (colliders and such), then finally use the Unity PartTools to export that to a .mu file that KSP knows how to work with.  Then you'll need to write a config file to go with your part-- that's where you assign all the stats for it (mass, cost, blah blah blah)-- not programming, just straightforward text editing, and again, you can use existing parts' config as a model to work from, so producing config is the easiest part of the process.

So, basically, you could make a plug-in (which is mainly about programming) or a part mod (which is mainly about artwork: modeling and texturing), or you might combine the two if you're making some new kind of part that has some new ability not included in the stock game.

 

It's also possible to make a very lightweight "mod" that has no modeling or code at all in it, and simply tinkers with config.  There's a handy mod called ModuleManager (used by many, many other mods) that's basically a utility for live-patching config at run time.  You could write a "config-only" mod that's basically just a set of ModuleManager .cfg files, which alters and/or clones the property of other parts in the game.  This is probably the simplest and easiest type of mod to produce, because it doesn't require any programming or artistic skills-- the only tool you need is a text editor like Notepad, and the only knowledge you need is how to use ModuleManager (which is documented pretty well).  It's more limited than the other two mod types, though, since there's only just so much you can do if you're not touching anything but config.  But there's a fair amount of interesting stuff that you can do, if you're resourceful about it.

 

So anyway... that's kind of an overview of the lay of the land.  If your problem is "I have the skills but I don't know what to mod"... well, that's something that nobody can really help you with directly, it's all up to you.  :wink:

However, I can tell you what has worked for me:  I just mod to address my own needs, and then share it afterwards.  I never sit down and say to myself "hey, I want to make a mod, what'll it be?"  Instead, I just sit down to play KSP.  And as I play KSP, sooner or later something will bug me-- some way the game acts that I don't like, or something I wish the game would do that it doesn't.  And as soon as I find myself thinking with some irritation "gosh, I wish the game would do this"... that's when I realize, hey, I could make it do that, and then here comes my next mod.

I've found that this can be a very effective fount of new mods.  Take the first plug-in I wrote, for example:  BetterBurnTime.  I thought I was just making a simple little thing to address one little problem that happened to bug me, personally... but it turned out that people really liked it, and it took off like a... um... well, I'm sure there's a metaphor for it, but anyway it took off like something that takes off really fast.  :wink: And now it's been downloaded over 200,000 times, and is the #20 most popular mod on SpaceDock.  All because it turned out that the "simple little thing" that bugged me happens to bug other folks, too.

Anyway, FWIW, that's my advice:  just think about your own KSP play, and think what you wish it could do or what it had... and then make that.

(Also, if you're looking for a source of ideas... perhaps spend some time trawling through the Suggestions forum.  That's where other people are posting what they would like to see, which means it can be a fertile source of mod ideas.  Maybe you'll read someone's request, and it'll ring a bell and you'll think, gosh, yeah, I want that too!)

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On 4/5/2018 at 10:12 PM, OrionPl said:

I am not a very creative person and I really want to make a mod for KSP. If you guys have any concepts plz tell me and I'm gonna probably make a mod out of it.

Hi, not trying to rain on your parade, but why do you want to make a mod?  Most if not all the mod makers i talk to,  started making mods because they wanted something in their game they couldn't get anywhere, and were then willing to put in the not inconsiderable time and effort to make it happen, and if you see it on the forums more untold hours in wording threads ,responding to questions fixing bugs, supporting the mod through KSP updates etc etc .  Not one of them do it for, fame ,. fortune,  money, rep or glory, as there's not really much of that to be had. 

SO you really have to want something bad in order to see it through to the bitter end, and then keep at it when KSP changes wreak havoc, over and over and over again.  I can't see how if you have no motivation to make things for yourself , how you can motivate yourself to create and support things  purely for others entertainment. 

I've helped a good few new mod makers with their first steps, as a lot of us old guys do, and it's always the same story, "I've made this thing, and it doesn't work like i thought, please help"  It's never "hey mister i have no clue but wanna make a mod help me ". I'll always help the former, and never the latter, for the simple reason that the former is motivated and the latter is a dreamer.

Good luck all the same, because you'll need it :)

 

Edited by SpannerMonkey(smce)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 21/04/2018 at 2:36 PM, micr0wave said:

A mod that shuts down the engines on touchdown would be cool.

This is totally doable and should be fairly easy and painless to put together ... at least for stock parts and mod parts that use the stock moduleengines and moduleenginefx

@OrionPl - this mod idea is a perfect place for you to start .... I estimate less than 20 lines of code to accomplish turning off engines when a vessel lands

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Artificial gravity plates like in Star Trek or Star Wars would be awesome. Just a 3x3m surface attachable square that generates gravity. Maybe a slider for the gravity. I'm aware that Gravity Room was created, but the download is gone and the mod has gone defunct AND it was the wrong form factor. We need something to put in our cargo bays and on landing pads!

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On 4/7/2018 at 10:50 PM, 0something0 said:

Kerbal Engineers already does that...

@HebaruSan's suggestion is not a KER redux, but an incorporation of the rocket equation into the game.  It forces you to do the math still, but gives you the tools in the VAB to do so. 

 

@OrionPl, or anybody else wanting to take the reigns on this:

I surf the web and do other things while playing KSP.  I use MJ to automate a lot of the drudgery of playing, in particular docking.  I would like an Audio cue that the ship has completed the Docking procedure.  Or even when the magnets get enabled immediately before docking, something easy to get a trigger from the API's.  Something in the "chatterer' vein if possible;  Some garbled Kerbal speak.  The music usually doesn't change when docking is complete, so I forget to tab back sometimes. 

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