akardam

[WIP] Mk1-3 Pod IVA by APL

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Well... figured I'd dive into working on my first real "mod". Introducing the (very much WIP) Mk1-3 Pod IVA by the Akardam Propulsion Laboratory.

p5aU5Q9.jpg

Direct link to Imgur album with preview images: https://imgur.com/a/URqxabI

This project started off with me goofing around with the new Mk1-3 pod introduced in 1.4.0, and admiring the internal model (very Apollo CM-esque) but thinking "surely, we can do better in the props department". Thus I began to delve into IVA development - boy did I pick a doozy as my first go-round. But, here we are. It's my first, so be gentle...

This IVA was heavily influenced by the ASET Mk1 Landercan IVA. I loved the retro looking props and their obvious basis on the Apollo and Space Shuttle era hardware, besides being a huge space nut in general (big surprise, eh?)

 

Goals:

  • Create a fully immersive and playable IVA. As much as possible, the controls should function and be discrete (limit the number of "dummy" controls), and the only time you'd have to pop out of IVA would be to map mode to plan maneuvers (I justify this by thinking that Apollo had mission control pre-compute all their maneuvers (directly or via Pre-Avisory Data) anyway), and perhaps to control some specific part of the craft that wasn't (or couldn't be) mapped to an Action Group
  • With the obvious concessions to the way KSP works, and gameplay, stick to the general layout of the real-life Apollo CM, with an emphasis on placing controls in about the area they would be (for example, power subsystems in front of the right-hand seat where the LMP would fly)
  • Control over the internal model lights present in the .mu (cabin flood and tunnel lights)
  • Individual breakers control individual things or groups of things (for example, a breaker that controls power to the DSKY, another breaker that controls the FDAIs (8-balls), etc)
  • Enhance the general ambiance by the inclusion of misc static props (manuals, storage bags, etc) without overdoing it
  • Mod support: At the moment, concentrating on anything that has plugin hooks in RPM. Focusing on Chatterer, KAC, and RealChute (because I use them all). I don't think I'll be integrating any MechJeb controls into the IVA (for lack of room, and in the spirit of the technological level of the Apollo CM), but if there's a lot of demand I may reconsider.
  • Functioning Caution/Warning system (including a lamp/test function), closely mirroring that of the real Apollo CM C/W system
  • Action Group support: The base layout is envisioned to have 10 AG buttons (with RPM AGMEMO support), but I'm also working on an optional patch to tweak the layout a bit and include some more specific controls tied to specific AGs (for example, a yellow-striped guarded switch intended to fire an AG which would separate the CM from the SM)
  • Write up and publish a user guide (so folks know what all these dang doo-dads do)

 

Progress (last updated 4/2018):

As you can see from the pictures, the layout is basically complete, barring some minor tweaks here and there. There remains a lot to do on the backend (individual breakers are proving a particular challenge). I've been learning as I go, and some of the early prop configs & tweaking is... well, it ain't pretty. I certainly want to get a lot of that cleaned up before I'll be comfortable even doing a beta release. I also need to thoroughly test this (my development copy of the game is still on 1.4.0) with the current release and mod dependencies. I also need to make sure I'm squared away on all the license stuff (and pick my own license to boot). So, a release is probably gonna take a while...

In the mean time, feedback and questions are encouraged and appreciated.

 

Releases

TBD

 

Dependencies

JSI Raster Prop Monitor

ASET Props Pack

 

Edited by akardam
Changed Imgur embed to direct link

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I think I've finally got the Caution & Warning system working the way I want it to (except for the breakers, more on that below).

Imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/PNRYkP0

The C/W "lamp test" function actually came out of my wanting an easy way to make sure the C/W panel looked OK (instead of trying to simulate all those conditions at once), but then of course it dawned on me that usually when you have a set of indicators you have some way to light them all up to make sure they're all working, and as far as I can tell the Apollo crafts had such functionality.

As seen in the album, the C/W MODE switch has three settings - AUTO, TEST and ALL MUTE. The AUTO setting (the default) will fire off the C/W indicators and the Master Alarm as necessary (if conditions warrant). The TEST mode lights everything in the C/W system up regardless of conditions (sadly there's no sound, but the 2nd tile in the album shows this in action).

The MASTER ALARM MUTE pushbutton is actually where the Master Alarm audible alarm comes from. It lights up under the same circumstances as the big "MASTER ALARM" tablo indicators, but if pushed while lit it will silence the audible component of the Master Alarm (at least until another one comes in). If the C/W MODE switch is in the ALL MUTE position, this button's operation is inhibited (it will neither light, nor make noise). This button functions using the RPM "alarmSound" and "alarmShutdownButton" and is bound by the limitations of those facilities.

The next hurdle is the breakers. I learned a lot about RPM custom variables in my work on the C/W system, and I think I know how I want to incorporate the breakers - the main challenge as I see it is to do this in a way that won't break any of the "stock" ASET props and/or other IVAs. It'll take some work (which for me is limited to some nights and some weekends), so everyone's patience is appreciated.

As always, suggestions and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.

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Hey, please do add mechjeb, otherwise first person launches with very close-cut amounts of fuel etc will be very annoying. (And I say that using the dropdown menu is cheating, cuz muh immersion!)

But yeah most of apollo's mission was automated.

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20 hours ago, OversizedIsBestSize said:

Hey, please do add mechjeb, otherwise first person launches with very close-cut amounts of fuel etc will be very annoying.

The solution to that problem... moar fuels! :)

Let me think about it. As I said, this was heavily inspired by ASET's Mk1 Landercan IVA, which also doesn't feature any MechJeb controls. Including the ASET CRT for target selection was a concession for playability. I'll have to see if using just MechJebRPM button methods, if anything really constructive can be done. The only other alternative I can see at the moment would be to code up a custom CRT that offers more MFD-type control over MechJeb.

In the mean time, circuit breaker work continues...

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A CRT wouldn't really match the Apollo-esqe style of the rest of the panel, although I'm not sure how else you could incorporate mechjeb, it's a little too complex for a DSKY interface.  Sorry, @OversizedIsBestSize, I don't see how that is gonna fit in with this cockpit.

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23 hours ago, akardam said:

Let me think about it. As I said, this was heavily inspired by ASET's Mk1 Landercan IVA, which also doesn't feature any MechJeb controls. Including the ASET CRT for target selection was a concession for playability. I'll have to see if using just MechJebRPM button methods, if anything really constructive can be done. The only other alternative I can see at the moment would be to code up a custom CRT that offers more MFD-type control over MechJeb.

What I did in my (very outdated and no longer usable) FASA Gemini IVA was to include switches to engage the MechJeb autopilot, but no controls to configure the launch.  The reasoning was that the flight profile was determined prior to launch, and it was programmed into the launch vessel's flight computer.  So, you could conceivably have buttons / switches to engage the autopilot, or whatever, but not need an MFD to configure MechJeb.

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All y'all are evil... now you have me thinking about what it would take to re-skin/re-program the DSKY prop to make a more-or-less functional AGC DSKY using RPM... :)

@Capt. Hunt, I have actually included an ASET CRT on the far left of the cockpit, but it just performs its "stock" ASET function of target selection, and in keeping with the spirit of the IVA, I don't think I'm keen to start modifying it just quite yet...

@MOARdV, I was definitely thinking along those lines. Will have to see what looks workable.

In the mean time, making decent progress on the breakers. But, speaking of the DSKY, from looking at all the code I think that will probably be the toughest to get a breaker to control... hence I'm saving it for last.

Keep the feedback comin', it's all good...

 

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4 hours ago, akardam said:

now you have me thinking about what it would take to re-skin/re-program the DSKY prop to make a more-or-less functional AGC DSKY using RPM

If you are seriously going to try to reskin the DSKY prop and make it functional, you'd be better off moving to MAS - MAS supports scripting, so you can program the DSKY to your heart's content.  Alexustas spent a tremendous amount of time getting the DSKY working as an information display (as I'm sure you've seen if you've tried tracing all of the variables involved in that prop).  I am still amazed that he got that DSKY working at all within the confines of RPM.

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Well if you take a look at the old MK1-2 pod iva replacement it used Mechjeb switches, so I dont imagine it would be that difficult to add compared to some of the other things...

Also, I know that if it has no mechjeb support I, and others I have spoken to, will not use it..

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On 5/15/2018 at 11:09 AM, MOARdV said:

If you are seriously going to try to reskin the DSKY prop and make it functional, you'd be better off moving to MAS - MAS supports scripting, so you can program the DSKY to your heart's content.  Alexustas spent a tremendous amount of time getting the DSKY working as an information display (as I'm sure you've seen if you've tried tracing all of the variables involved in that prop).  I am still amazed that he got that DSKY working at all within the confines of RPM.

Fair point and good idea. I'll start looking into MAS. On the flip side, I suspect more people will be using RPM than MAS for some time and I'm not sure I want to make MAS a requirement just quite yet, and the curiosity-killed-the-cat part of me wonders exactly what it would take to do it in RPM, and I suspect I'll have to satisfy that particular cat at some point...

In the mean time, I'll balance my curiosity with the actual work of getting everything else in the IVA to play nice, whilst taking a little break every once in a while to, y'know, actually play KSP.

Most of the "simple" breakers are working (and I have the internal lighting controls working too... w00t). Next up is to tackle the C/W interplay of breaker, lamp test, and MA silence button. I figure that'll make a good prelude to doing the FDAI and DSKY.

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1 hour ago, akardam said:

On the flip side, I suspect more people will be using RPM than MAS for some time and I'm not sure I want to make MAS a requirement just quite yet, and the curiosity-killed-the-cat part of me wonders exactly what it would take to do it in RPM, and I suspect I'll have to satisfy that particular cat at some point...

At least its not a hard choice between one or the other: RPM and MAS can be installed and used together.

You can require both, and still have a working release of your IVA, while you slowly replace RPM elements with those in MAS, and phase out RPM...
This is likely the best scenario for people converting existing IVAs.... Rather than doing a seperate, slow, development build of a full replacement MAS IVA all at once.

And the only reason anybody still uses RPM, is because not all of the good current RPM IVAs have been converted.
The more peeps that can get started on MAS, and helping MOARdV get all the MAS stuff configged up, the sooner IVA creators can get IVAs done fully using MAS, and RPM can get left in the dust and given a proper burial. :P
 

Edited by Stone Blue

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OK, OK... I surrender! I'll seriously consider MAS :)

In the mean time... I have a breaker-controlled FDAI and associated controls! w00t. Now to bang my head on the DSKY a bit (whoops, Program Alarm!)

In the mean time,  with the news of Al Bean's passing, and it having been Memorial Day weekend and all, I decided to combine some IVA testing with a trip up to Skylab, in tribute.

o0GcA90.jpg

Original-res image: https://i.imgur.com/JcBEn1h.jpg

Al Bean was one of my favorite astronauts, and was the commander of the second manned Skylab mission (confusingly sometimes referred to as Skylab 3).

For those that are curious, my Skylab (and Apollo craft) use parts mainly from Ven's Stock Revamp,  and R&S Capsuledyne (aka Taurus HCV - I find the 3.75m science lab and crew can make a great Skylab body), with a little AIES and BDB thrown in for good measure... and a heckuva lot of custom configs and part welding.

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Release this mod, and I will remake all their crafts with this pod and that amazing IVA! :cool:

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Brief update: For the moment I've set aside the idea of re-skinning the DSKY, as the existing texture use does not lend itself to what I want to do - I'd have to redo the model as well, and perhaps recreate/expand the keypad texture (and my Blender-fu could be described as sub-amateur at best).

So, for the moment, my goal is for the initial release to utilize RPM, and look at starting to partially/fully convert it to MAS sometime down the road.

This summer is turning out to be quite busy with work and travel, so please bear with me. I'll work on getting an initial release ASAP.

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On 7/19/2018 at 5:29 PM, PyjackMeat said:

We hope to see an WIP release soon.

1000% agree. Even if it is not yet finished.

JEB WANTS BUTTONS TO SMASH ON.

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As a fellow IVA maker, I really hope you haven't given up on this! I haven't been able to touch my mod for a few months because of RL getting very busy, so I understand how things can get in the way of KSP. But I'm starting to finally have some time to try again, and I hope this fantastic work also shall not go quietly into the good night, as it were.

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I would love to see this mod published. Please, I beg you!

Edited by sumghai
Removed silly formatting and oversized text

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