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KSP Weekly: The Solar Visit

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Welcome to KSP Weekly! Scheduled for liftoff tomorrow, Saturday, August 11, at 3:33 a.m. EDT, the Parker Solar Probe will make its journey all the way to the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona — closer to our Star than any spacecraft in history. And our friend DasValdez got a firsthand look at the launch site – more on that below in our new KSP Vault section of KSP Weekly!

The Parker Solar Probe will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy with a third stage added. Weighing about 635kg, the spacecraft will blast off toward the Sun with 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars.

The probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the Sun. The spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s atmosphere as close as 6.12 million kilometers to our Star surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before. (Earth’s average distance to the Sun is 149.6 million kilometers). Flying into the outermost part of the Sun’s corona, the Parker Solar Probe will employ a combination of in situ measurements to expand our knowledge of the corona, as well as the origin and evolution of the solar wind. It will also make critical contributions to our ability to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment that affect life and technology on Earth.

Parker Solar Probe will perform its scientific investigations in a hazardous region of intense heat and solar radiation. The spacecraft will fly close enough to the Sun to watch the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles. To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 11.43-cm-thick carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 1,377°C.

The primary science goals for the mission are to trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind, determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind, and explore the mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

Interestingly enough, the spacecraft also holds a microchip carrying the names of more than 1.1 million participants who signed up to have their names travel to the Sun There are a few names on that microchip that you may recognize:

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[Development news start here]

Work on Kerbal Space Program 1.5 continues. This week the team worked on making adjustments to improve the support for high-res screens like 4K. For instance, you are now able to change the UI scaling in game up to 200% (from 150%) across all the scale settings.

Additionally, we did some minor pending tasks that involve the agencies within the game. Multiple agencies lacked descriptions and mentalities, so we are including them in the 1.5 release. Some of the affected agencies were: C7 Aerospace Division, Goliath National Products, Kerbal Motion LLC, Maxo Construction Toys, and Periapsis Rocket Supplies Co. Naturally, all the corresponding localizations will be included with the release as well.

We also continue with the revamp and update to several existing parts for the 1.5 release. Besides improving the look of these parts, our intention is to standardize the game’s parts in terms of geometry, pixel density (resolution), and resource optimization. Currently the pixel density varies widely from part to part and by standardizing these assets we are not only improving the visuals but also optimizing the game’s performance. For example, this week we worked on the Probodobodyne HECS unmanned command module, which not only now looks better, but has been optimized to draw less resources from the game.

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Bug fixes have also been a part of the development agenda this week. We fixed an issue in the Making History Expansion Mission Builder canvas that was placing docked nodes at the bottom of the list rather than in their original position when using the “Undo” function. Not a serious bug, but still quite annoying. In a similar manner, we crushed a bug that prevented any changes to the music options not being applied in-game  until the player entered a facility during gameplay.

[KSP Vault]

This week we stumbled upon some very cool stuff. For starters, KSP veteran and fan-favorite, DasValdez streamed a tour at NASA’s Space Launch Complex 37, where the very same Delta IV that’s going to take the Parker Solar Probe towards its destination was getting its final touches. Watch it here!

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The Mission of the Week, The Jool Mix-Up, will put you in the shoes of Jeb, who once more has messed things up and will need to Navigate the Jool system without full control of your vessel: no keyboard aiming, no maneuver nodes, no fine-tuned thrust. Are you up to the challenge? Get it here!

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Last but not least, watch ShadowZone build the Ultimate Mun Rocket in his KSP Career Playthrough series! Click here to watch!

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Have you seen cool KSP-related content that you consider worth highlighting? Share it with us and help us give content creators more exposure. :)

Remember that you can also share and download missions on Curse, KerbalX, the KSP Forum and the KSP Steam Workshop.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to join us on our official forums, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned for more exciting and upcoming news and development updates!


Happy launchings!  


*Information Source:

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12 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

For example, this week we worked on the Probodobodyne HECS unmanned command module, which not only now looks better, but has been optimized to draw less resources from the game.

Yes.  Well...umm...hmm...

It draws less resources!  That's cool, I guess!

Edited by klgraham1013
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17 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

We worked on the Probodobodyne HECS unmanned command module, which not only now looks better

Are you sure? :huh:

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24 minutes ago, SQUAD said:

you are now able to change the UI scaling in game up to 200% (from 150%) across all the scale settings.

Thanks - playing on Retina Macs requires a good bit of squinting even at 150% (since at 150% it's basically only 75% of non-HiDPI size). Is it too late to request 300% as on option?

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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1 hour ago, SQUAD said:

are not only improving the visuals but also optimizing the game’s performance

10/10

 

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It looks at though the HECS part either lacks a Bump Map or it is very weak. This kind of skews our perception of the visual representation of this part. Could anyone from SQUAD, please, either confirm or deny whether the above screen preview showing the part has a normal map applied to the object or not?

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30 minutes ago, Poodmund said:

It looks at though the HECS part either lacks a Bump Map or it is very weak. This kind of skews our perception of the visual representation of this part. Could anyone from SQUAD, please, either confirm or deny whether the above screen preview showing the part has a normal map applied to the object or not?

NDA'd I'm sure. 

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2 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

NDA'd I'm sure. 

That quip doesn't really hold true as its a question directly pertaining to the media released to the general public in this case.

I know it was a joke, but I want to make sure people realize that it was as such.

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45 minutes ago, Poodmund said:

It looks at though the HECS part either lacks a Bump Map or it is very weak. This kind of skews our perception of the visual representation of this part. Could anyone from SQUAD, please, either confirm or deny whether the above screen preview showing the part has a normal map applied to the object or not?

Given that we can see the effects of the old hecs's specular/normal map but no such effect coming from the new hecs model all in the same frame I think it's safe to say that the new parts don't have specular/normal maps until it's been confirmed and proven otherwise

Optimization is nice but it shouldn't come at the expense of standards, and you can very much meet standards while still being optimal. a specular map costs next to nothing and it's just plain lazy not to include one (looking at you stock service bays) 

@Darth Badie can you ask one of the artists for a water marked copy of the new hecs texture sheet to share with the community so we can see just how optimal it's uv layout and file size is? Oh and the normal map too just so we know it exists that would also be very appreciated :)

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For improving 4K support, would it be possible to have UI scaling effect the VAB/SPH sidebar part/icons etc (or have a dedicated VAB/SPH scaling control) as these can become very small at high resolutions

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3 hours ago, SQUAD said:

Currently the pixel density varies widely from part to part and by standardizing these assets we are not only improving the visuals but also optimizing the game’s performance

I didn't have time to say this before but credit given where credit is due thank you for acknowledging this problem.

Now all we need to due is get you to adopt pork-a-like elements (cause if you are gonna go through the effort to condense the layers of ksp's art style geology to two layers why not go for one layer?)

Edited by passinglurker

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4 hours ago, SQUAD said:

Besides improving the look of these parts, our intention is to standardize the game’s parts in terms of geometry, pixel density (resolution), and resource optimization.

 

I can get with that, for sure.  :prograde:

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1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

If you are gonna go through the effort to condense the layers of ksp's art style geology to two layers why not go for one layer?

Whoa there.  Let's not get crazy now!  Next, you'll be asking for consistent part costs...or...standardized part naming conventions.

Edited by klgraham1013
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2 hours ago, passinglurker said:

Given that we can see the effects of the old hecs's specular/normal map but no such effect coming from the new hecs model all in the same frame I think it's safe to say that the new parts don't have specular/normal maps until it's been confirmed and proven otherwise

Hey, normal maps use both memory and shader instructions. I think removing them should really draw less resources from the game.

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5 hours ago, SQUAD said:

The Mission of the Week, The Jool Mix-Up, will put you in the shoes of Jeb, who once more has messed things up and will need to Navigate the Jool system without full control of your vessel: no keyboard aiming, no maneuver nodes, no fine-tuned thrust. Are you up to the challenge? Get it here!

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Hey I recognize that! :)

I appreciate the work done to standardize and optimize the textures. I suspect if they used to look like the new ones and you were going to change them to the old ones, you'd get just as many complaints.

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18 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

I suspect if they used to look like the new ones and you were going to change them to the old ones, you'd get just as many complaints.

Eh, maybe for these.  Try saying that for the oil drums.

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1 hour ago, Nertea said:

Hey, normal maps use both memory and shader instructions. I think removing them should really draw less resources from the game.

There's some parts that would greatly benefit from the effect though especially engine and command parts that people pay more attention too.

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1 hour ago, klgraham1013 said:

Eh, maybe for these.  Try saying that for the oil drums.

Actually I recall people complaining that all the tanks looked the same and were boring now.

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28 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

Actually I recall people complaining that all the tanks looked the same and were boring now.

They weren't wrong.  There's a difference between that critique and thinking the oil drums were better.  I think having multiple skins really helps with the same-ness problem.  Squad did good with that design decision.

Edited by klgraham1013
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7 hours ago, klgraham1013 said:

Yes.  Well...umm...hmm...

It draws less resources!  That's cool, I guess!

Come on @klgraham1013. How about a "Thank you Squad for listening to your fans!". I promise it won't hurt.

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16 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

They weren't wrong.  There's a difference between that critique and thinking the oil drums were better.  I think having multiple skins really helps with the same-ness problem.  Squad did good with that design decision.

In any case that's the opposite. What I'm saying is that people in this case would complain both ways. If they took the current tanks and swapped back in the old textures they'd get more complaints. So in neither case were they wrong to use the new textures. And in fact I tend to feel that way about pretty much every visual change they've made. In fact I can't think of a change that I'd consider bad enough to admonish them on the forum for.

So I figured that - considering every piece they put up gets an endless stream of negative responses - that they might appreciate hearing that not everybody hates the results of their efforts.

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Standardizing and optimizing parts can only be a good thing, but it would be nice if at least some of them could use those sweet'n'shiny PBR shaders...

 

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29 minutes ago, KraterKreator said:

Come on @klgraham1013. How about a "Thank you Squad for listening to your fans!". I promise it won't hurt.

They were given thier due credit I promise it won't hurt if you settled for that.

16 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

In any case that's the opposite. What I'm saying is that people in this case would complain both ways. If they took the current tanks and swapped back in the old textures they'd get more complaints. So in neither case were they wrong to use the new textures. And in fact I tend to feel that way about pretty much every visual change they've made. In fact I can't think of a change that I'd consider bad enough to admonish them on the forum for.

So I figured that - considering every piece they put up gets an endless stream of negative responses - that they might appreciate hearing that not everybody hates the results of their efforts.

People complain both ways because neither way is a style that fits with porkjet's work. Its almost as if people want a unified aesthetic instead of two piles consisting of "porkjets space plane parts" and "everyone who wanted to be a household name like porkjet".

Edited by passinglurker
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