peteletroll

When and why did you start WRITING mods for KSP?

Recommended Posts

When I saw the topic "When and why did you start modding KSP?" I thought it was about writing mods, not using them.

So, let's make the same question to modders! When, why and how did you start writing code or making new parts for KSP?

I'll start.

I bought KSP in early 2014. I had a NetBook at the time. It got so hot while playing I was a little worried. I looked around and found a few mods that could put a hard limit on FPS, but I didn't like them for some reason. I read the code, and found that limiting FPS was pretty easy. So I installed MonoDevelop (Debian Linux user here) and made my first working mod in an exhilarating short time. It was called FPSTool. It doesn't work anymore, because of GUI API changes.

Many, many months later, I was watching a GameplayReviewUK Pure Stock Replicas video on YouTube. Can't remember if it was a Lunokhod or Chang'e replica, but the lander had a rover on top and a movable ramp with stock hinges to roll the rover to the surface. It dawned on me that a simple rotating joint would have made the whole thing much easier to build. And the same rotating joint could be used for a lot of cool stuff. I was aware of Infernal Robotics, but I like to play with stock parts, and IR seemed a little too much for me.

So, I asked: 

... and no one answered.

Then I remembered I already wrote a mod. So, why not to try again? I started writing DockRotate.

It's a fun trip. Lots of things were learned, mostly by trying and Debug.Log-ing. The moment you see your first right-click menu entry working, or your first action group, or your quaternion algebra coming together... priceless!

So, what's YOUR story?

 

Edited by peteletroll
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mk1 Prototype Cockpit

My first "mod." They took my favorite command pod out of the game, so I went back into my old install folder and grabbed the file, threw it into the newer versions part folder and went on my merry way.

Later, I saw others complaining about the removal so I packaged it up a little neater, smoothed over some minor issues, tweaked the stats so it wasn't a carbon copy of it's newer replacement, moved it up the tech tree and re-branded it as a prototype, and released it as a mod.

Even later on, I begin to feel like it was looking pretty outdated compared to the the other command pods and decided to update it, the first "real modding work" I actually had to do with it lol. (I got a lot of help from the community as well!)

I honestly never thought it would get any notice, and really only did it for my own use; which I think is how most modders get started. It's got about 4.4k downloads so far, so not bad?

Temporary Mk1-3 IVA Fix

Then I made a small IVA fix to the newer Mk1-3 after it was updated and they forget to include the IVA. Using what I had learned while working on the Mk1 I swapped in the old Mk1-3 interior until it was fixed proper, which didn't take long at all, yet the mod managed to get just over a thousand downloads in that time. Time well spent I think!

Wetter Wings

My most popular mod, was the one that actually took the least amount of work lol. A pretty bog standard module manager patch that was inspired partly by my desire for fuel in wings as an aviation enthusiast in real life, but more so because I wanted to learn more about using module manager. It has about 6k downloads now, which absolutely shocks me to be honest lol.

 

So all told..like 11k downloads? I realize that's small peanuts compared to the bigger modders, but as someone who only very lightly dabbled in modding prior, is prolly the worlds worst "coder" (glorified copy-paster really), and only created the mods for himself in the first place; I would have been pretty pleased if they only got 11 downloads lol. I am very proud of how they have been received so far and am happy I could give at least a small something back to such a great community of gamers! (Links are in my signature if anyone was interested.)

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first change to somebody else's mod was a small patch for chatterer, to play a sound file when a vessel first launches. Because obviously. I don't think it was ever merged.

After that came a handful of changes to KSPSerialIO, adding functionality for things I wanted to be able to do. And, eventually, I started writing my own serial mod, based on alternative ideas for a lighter weight serial protocol, and because I got tired of maintaining a fork of the code for Linux.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Somewhere between late 2016 (the year that I got KSP) and February 2017 I started writing mods. My first few steps in as a modder were around custom resources and life support. I love the idea of mining and using things other than Ore to make fuel (and using fuel/engines other than LFO) and other needed things that go into tanks; I loved USI Life Support and Karbonite; and I love spaceplanes. The first mods I ended up writing for were Galileo's Planet Pack (a team effort including myself) and Airline Kuisine, a mod all my own. I created Airline Kuisine because life support mods intrigued me, USI was my choice of life support at the time, and there was no mod that provided Mk2 and Mk3 parts for (any) life support.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first mod I did any work on was "Clouds and City Lights" which is now called Environmental Visual Enhancements. All I did was the city map of Kerbin and I did it specifically because I really wanted the mod to be made and so wanted to help.

The first mod I wrote myself was All Y'All and I wrote it because I was unhappy with both stock and modded options for action groups. Stock was too strict, requiring you to do it in the VAB or not at all, while mods generally assumed you needed 15 to 100 times more action groups than stock and came complete with a GUI to manage them. All I really wanted however was a way to open all my solar panels at once without reverting the flight.

So, like many modders, I started modding because there were mods I wanted that didn't exist.

Edited by 5thHorseman
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometime in early-to-mid 2017, I was suddenly struck by the idea, "Hey, regular people make mods, maybe I should too!" I Googled it and found some awesome tutorials by @The White Guardian, and I was off! I started making planet packs, and then jumped into plugin modding in late 2017. My first plugin was a rather sloppy mess, but it sort of worked, which gave me incredible satisfaction. I've now been doing it for a while, and still mod planets, although C# code is my main specialty.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

but as someone who only very lightly dabbled in modding prior, is prolly the worlds worst "coder" (glorified copy-paster really), and only created the mods for himself in the first place;

Someone I know who makes a relatively popular mod once said something along the lines of the following:

"If you arent doing it for yourself, who are you even doing it for?"

If you want to go big, you took the right first steps.

 

Oh and I started modding because I made bad flags and then someone who made much better flags came up to be and said "we can combine forces to make a flag pack!", and so we did. It kind of spiralled out of control from there.

Edited by DeltaDizzy
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started... last night, actually.  There's something that's bugged me about the stock game for some time, and I finally decided to fix it with a small handful of MM patches.

I got most of it done yesterday, should be releasing it tonight.

I'm not new to the concept of modding, or coding, so writing a few cfg files isn't a huge endeavour.  C# hurts my brain and I've yet to find a complete, current tutorial on modeling for KSP, so it'll be awhile before I get there (Which is frustrating since I have all the ideas).

7 hours ago, DeltaDizzy said:

"If you arent doing it for yourself, who are you even doing it for?"

Pretty much this.  I've never seen anyone say anything that would indicate they wanted what I was going for, but I'll share it anyway.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well i wouldn't consider myself a mod writer because most of the mods i write are jokes with me and a group of friends.
I'm far from amature, I dont know that much about it but i can do the most basic of modding to be able to add a planet into the game.
It was a planet with Peter Griffins face on it, I do want to get into more serious modding than just jokes.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, DeltaDizzy said:

Someone I know who makes a relatively popular mod once said something along the lines of the following:

"If you arent doing it for yourself, who are you even doing it for?"

^ This, this, a thousand times this.

I mod for me.  My primary motivator is personal irritation.  I play KSP a lot, and if there's some little aspect of it that bothers me... well, even a very minorly irritating thing can loom large when it just keeps going and going, like a dripping faucet.  So I write mods to make the game do what I, personally, wish it did by default.  It's for my own gameplay; that's the only thing that motivates me, I'm hardly an altruist.

And I think that's a good thing.  I can't imagine modding without that being the primary motivator.

If I mod for me... then I have incentive to keep modding.  If I didn't get personal benefits for my own mods and tried to satisfy Anonymous Internet People, pretty sure I'd get bored and stop very soon.

Besides... design is important.  If there's going to be a mod, let it be a mod that totally nails the design for whatever it needs to do.  And it's impossible to "nail the design" unless you completely understand the motivation of the user.  Which is practically impossible if the "user" is a crowd of anonymous internet people I don't know.  The only person whose motivations I completely understand... is me.  So, if I design for me and ignore all other considerations, then I can "totally nail" the design, and create something that delights me.

And if it delights me, then it will also delight anyone else who happens to like the same things that I do.  There might be a lot of such people, or very few, but that's not my concern.

I figure... it's better to delight a tiny number of people than to get a whole crowd to go "meh" and turn elsewhere.  :)

 

Anyway, my own history at modding.  I'm actually a crackerjack coder and designer (I've been doing this for a living for over a quarter-century, and I'm good at it), but I was remarkably hesitant about modding KSP, at first-- I was playing KSP for a couple of years before I ventured into modding.  There were two main reasons for my hesitancy.  The first was that I just assumed that it would be a huge, intricate, technically difficult thing to do-- i.e. that there would be a massive learning curve to work through before I could do anything-- so that was a disincentive to get started, I didn't think I had that kind of time.  The second reason was that I'm actually a rather self-effacing person, and was intimidated at the prospect of "publishing" something so publicly.  "Well, there are so many amazing mods out there, why would anyone want to see something from lil' ol' me, I'd just be annoying people by cluttering the Add-on Releases forum with my thread."

But eventually something bugged me enough that I got "over the hump" about publishing shyness... and then the real door opener was when I discovered how incredibly, spectacularly wrong I was about the difficulty of modding KSP.  It's not difficult at all, if you already know how to program C# (which I did).  In fact, it turned out to be breathtakingly simple and flexible-- once I actually tried it, I was amazed at just how easy it was to mod.  And so the floodgates were opened and I started modding all over the  place.

I believe the first "mod" I published was almost not worth the title of "mod" at all-- it was just a ModuleManager patch that rebalances the Vector engine, because that engine irritated the hell out of me when it was first released; the balance just seemed incredibly weird and wrong to me, and made it so I had no use for the part.  So I released Vector Repurposed.

Then a version of KSP came out with the static (non-deployable) radiators in it... and they were "always on" with no way to turn them off, which bugged me, and after doing a bit of research I found that "hey, I could actually fix this with a pretty darn simple mod" (that's when I learned how easy modding is).  So I released RadiatorToggle as my first (very simple) code-bearing mod.  (Happily, it became obsolete one or two KSP versions later, when they added the behavior to stock.  Yay!)

That was the icebreaker for me, so my next mod after that was a more ambitious one that actually had significant code and design in it:  BetterBurnTime, which (to my intense astonishment) turned out to be a runaway hit and to this day continues to be by far my most popular mod; it's been downloaded more than a third of a million times, is the 18th most-popular mod on SpaceDock, and is still downloaded 100-200 times a day a few years later (even though KSP 1.5 made moot the original feature it launched with).

So that opened the floodgates and since then I've never looked back.  I create mods (sometimes big, usually very small and focused) that address aspects of the game that bother me.  And then I share them in case other people may be bothered by those same things, too.  :)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started modding withing weeks of starting KSP in mid 2017 but I never released anything. Like Snark, my primary motivation was to fix issues for myself but also to make the game easier for myself (I kind if suck at it) by changing parts specs and creating new parts. For instance I embedded things like tanks, batteries, MechJeb modules, small nuke reactors or Hydrogen cells, etc into landers to lower the parts count and make them more interesting, I made engines more powerful and more efficient or created new engines. Or, to avoid constant mining and ore hauling, I created a Space Dust resource which can be collected in-flight and I created parts to collect it and process into Hydrogen. Another reason I never released anything is that I reused parts from other mods since I don't know how to model in 3D.  I moded games before for the same reasons. If I like a game and it's easily moddable like KSP or Skyrim, I would probably mod it. The only thing I ever released was a map pack for Planetary Annihilation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now