Lord Aurelius

Deformable Terrain

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Not sure if this will ever make it into KSP2 or what the limitations of the Unity engine will be, but I might as well mention it now for the best chance of the devs being able to at least lay the foundation for making it possible later.

Given the multitude of ways we already have in KSP to deliver large amounts of energy into a celestial body via large rockets and redirected asteroids (which will be even further expanded in KSP2 with extremely high output nuclear engines), it seems fitting that we should be able to leave permanent scars in the terrain around the solar system.

I would like to see this as a core feature given how deeply integrated it would be to the game engine, but I also recognize it would be a fairly low priority over other essential features. So maybe not a launch feature, but something that could be introduced in a future update, with the ground work being laid before launch and the rest of the feature being fleshed out afterwards.

What do you guys think? Would you like to see deformable terrain? If so, would you like to see this as a core feature, DLC, or a mod?

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I think the Devs already said no to terraforming, so this would probably be out of the question.

But it would be nice

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26 minutes ago, OutOfAblator said:

I think the Devs already said no to terraforming, so this would probably be out of the question.

But it would be nice

I would like to see the context of that comment, as terraforming is often used to mean changing a planet's climate to make it more habitable (i.e. super advanced colonization) as opposed to literally reshaping the terrain.

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I would like this feature, but it seems unlikely to be in the game

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I'm pretty sure I read in the forums somewhere that the terrain would not be deformable, but I looked for it and could not find anything to that effect. I may have just misread something. 

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Someone made an experimental mod that did this a while ago, the big issue they ran into was with oceans "filling in" the holes. It worked fine on bodies like Duna though. I'm sure with enough dedication someone could make a reliable deformable terrain mod for KSP1, if not KSP2.

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2 hours ago, coyotesfrontier said:

Someone made an experimental mod that did this a while ago, the big issue they ran into was with oceans "filling in" the holes. 

That applies to many other games with any sort of liquid as a part of the map. The ocean just fills the whole world, and land is just above it. As long as the player is not allowed to go underground, or anywhere below sea level, it works.

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I’ll admit I'd be more interested in smaller-scale deformation.  In the introduction video, we see the landing gear deform the surface - I'd like to see that in the game, and footprints, and rover tracks.  I'd be nice if they're persistent, but I'd settle for just lasting until the next scene load.  I'd be a minor thing, but it would make a major difference in feeling like you're actually interacting with the world.

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Yeah this is one of those things that would be cool in principle. I don't think it would be terribly difficult to do if it was cosmetic only. AFAIK the planetary surface is just a depth map + texture map with an underlying planet-filling ocean (if applicable). There's nothing fundamentally hard about modifying that depth map + texture map.  

So for meteorite-like strikes, you can compute the kinetic energy of an impactor and define that if Ek > X it applies a deformation to the terrain mesh that scales with Ek. Then add a texture to the deformation and if you're so inclined add cosmetics like ejecta, even modifying the spread depending on impact angle. Modelling the explosion's effect on nearby structures should be straightforward enough too. Of course this would mean that dropping a meteorite on KSC might result in a Game Over condition.

Footprints, tyre marks and similar would also probably be not too difficult, you'd need to make surface interactions modify a bump map and then make map persist.

However if you wanted it to have meaningful gameplay value things would get more complicated fast. You'd need stuff like excavators, which would mean not just new parts but defining how objects interact with terrain when not going at meteorite speeds.

But as you said, the devs certainly have other things on their plate. However, because there's nothing fundamentally hard about this I don't see why they couldn't provide this in an update later, if they thought it was cool enough to do.

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The problem in KSP at least is the grid size of the height map, its fairly large, and lowering the intensity of 1 pixel on a height map causes a pyramidal shaped depression. IIRC, the terrain can have much more detail than what is specified by a heightmap, but this is from procedural noise. If KSP2 is improving the fine scale detail... then maybe it could work?

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7 hours ago, DStaal said:

I’ll admit I'd be more interested in smaller-scale deformation.  In the introduction video, we see the landing gear deform the surface - I'd like to see that in the game, and footprints, and rover tracks.  I'd be nice if they're persistent, but I'd settle for just lasting until the next scene load.  I'd be a minor thing, but it would make a major difference in feeling like you're actually interacting with the world.

It should be doable, but I doubt if the devs will do so.

They explicitly said no terraforming, but can thry add a shade/collider/scatter to surface of Moons and planets so it looks somewhat realistic? I think so.

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2 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

The problem in KSP at least is the grid size of the height map, its fairly large, and lowering the intensity of 1 pixel on a height map causes a pyramidal shaped depression. IIRC, the terrain can have much more detail than what is specified by a heightmap, but this is from procedural noise. If KSP2 is improving the fine scale detail... then maybe it could work?

Couldn't you have the deformation add the procedural noise at the same time?

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Additionally to "Plant a flagstick", they should add menu items "Plant a footprint" and "Build a sand castle".

I.e. in fact replace "Plant a flagstick" with "Leave a trace" and a window with a list of visible traces to leave.
Including, at least, sand copies of rocket parts.

Edited by kerbiloid

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I think the devs said "No negative space" when refering to the possibility of caves on ksp2. So, i think it can be applied to deformable terrain.

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It would be nice but not achieveable with KSP and likely not with KSP 2, either. KerikBalm explained why.

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I think the only way it would be doable would be by 'building up' on top of the existing terrain, in the same way that the runways etc are created now.

So in order to 'flatten' an area you would need to effectively place models of raised flat ground on top of the terrain.  I don't see this as being overly difficult, in theory at least, but I am not a programmer so....

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