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[1.7.3] AD ASTRA ---v1.6 "Camp Fires" (12/14/19)


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AD   ASTRA

AjTHpNO.png

What is Ad Astra?

Ad Astra is a mod of another mod, JNSQ. In essence, it combines much of the visuals of Astronomer's Visual Pack by @themaster401 with the planets and moons of JNSQ by @Galileo and friends. But it goes much farther than that by not only integrating some of the original visions of JNSQ but by also expanding on those found in AVP. The end result is a very high fidelity visual pack....duh. 

Ok, Millennial so what do I get?

Glad you asked, figment of my imagination. The mod is available in the same base resolutions that AVP is. Those being 2k, 4k, 8k, and, for Kerbin exclusively, 43k. During installation you will be able to choose which one you prefer.

As of 1.0, all bodies in the JNSQ solar system have some kind of visuals added to them. Overtime, as I learn more about what I can do with EVE, Scatterer, and Kopernicus, these features may change, be completely redone, and/or augmented. 

I could give a feature list, but frankly, the screenshots speak for themselves:

LPwIc02.png

1hmgSHx.png

aQBYJlg.png

SS_12-09-2019_17-10-26.png

SS_12-09-2019_13-34-55.png

SS_12-09-2019_12-15-17.png

Installation/Download:

GITHUB DOWNLOAD (43k Users) | SPACEDOCK DOWNLOAD (2K/4K/8K Users)

As with virtually any mod, it is imperative that you -read- the included readme. Within you will find the installation instructions, as well as the additional download links to get your desired texture resolutions. 

 

Peformance Questions/Concerns?

On 12/7/2019 at 10:53 AM, G'th said:

Some notes and thoughts on performance

So lately I've been getting a lot of questions and general feedback in regards to the performance of the mod. So I thought I'd take some time to address these things in bulk:

On 43k Clouds: The first thing that should be made clear about the 43k clouds is that it is not a single, gigantic 43k texture (the 43k name is more just to describe what you're getting). For one, KSP wouldn't be able to load a texture that large. And for two, having it be a monolithic texture would be a waste of resources anyway given that EVE is capable of providing cubemapping, which essentially is stitching several textures together to make a larger one. So, when you download the 43k clouds, what you are getting is a 16k texture that is then surrounded by several 10k textures. Doing this allows for the same level of detail the monolithic 43k texture would have (as you don't have to cram the entire texture into a single image), but with a greatly reduced impact to RAM and even performance. 

So much so, is this impact reduced, that I'm fairly certain most are greatly overestimating the impact these clouds would have on their own systems. I have personally tested these same clouds on a GTX 780, 1060, and 1080. All of which had zero issues running the 43k clouds. Even running the clouds alone never produced any noticeable impact to performance (as most should know, KSP is bottlenecked by the CPU, and any mid-high end GPU should not have an issue with a handful of high resolution textures). Simply put, if you can run JNSQ and/or AVP already with plenty of RAM for more (I have 16gb in my system, and I can easily run this on top of JNSQ itself, alongside huge mods like BDB, Tantares, all of Nerts mods, and a whole lot more), then there is zero reason that you shouldn't be able to run the 43k clouds, and, in my opinion, zero reason for you -not- to run them.
 

On the Point of 43k Clouds: There has also been a question of why you would want 43k clouds. First answer, because they're awesome. And second, because they provide the best possible quality in low orbits. Many visual mods, in my opinion, step too far back from their visuals to judge their quality, meaning that they often base their visuals on what the planet looks like from a high orbit or just plain far away. The problem I have with that, is simply that this ends up turning the up close visuals to mush, no matter how great the visuals may be from a distance. This is simply a result of how the game and EVE itself works, and a low orbit (in JNSQ I consider low orbit over Kerbin to be 120km) is where the visuals of any mod is going to be at their worst. Thus, I design with the idea that the visuals should look best in low orbit first, and best everywhere else second. 

As my extensive screenshots have shown, a low orbit over Kerbin is a fantastic thing to look at when you use the 43k clouds. The clouds themselves are crisp and fun to look at, and the detailing provided by AVP's own detail textures only enhances the effect. Are they potentially high impact on systems? Sure why not. It is a number of still very large textures after all. But with every increase in resolution you go to from the lowly 2k option on up the 43k, you get -that- much more fidelity. And IDK about anyone else, but when I spend time on a space station, I don't want to look down at blurry mush. 

On general performance: The mod is ultimately still a work in progress; as noted above I am starting the process of reworking the entire system quite literally from the ground up, and with this will come some pretty heavy optimizations in regards to volumetrics (The beginnings of which should already be present on Kerbin in 1.0) which are the only part of the mod that are particularly difficult to run well even in high end systems. 

But here's the thing, from the very beginning, this mod was never intended for people who run KSP on a toasters and potatoes. Sorry, not sorry. As such, its important to remember that just because the mod may be hard to run in places doesn't mean that it is unoptimized or what have you, and that will become more true as time goes on.

 

 

 

License:

Ad Astra is licensed by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Credits to themaster401 for the repack of the 43k Cloudset.

Edited by G'th
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3 hours ago, biohazard15 said:

Also, what's that teensy-weensy shuttle? 

That shuttle either has a secret hidden warp engine, more dV than all the boosters in KSP combined, or (most likely but I'd prefer one of the previous two) has been alt-12/hyperedit 'd into orbit of the pictured bodies around the JNSQ system! :D

Great work though @G'th!

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4 hours ago, biohazard15 said:

Looks amazing!

 

Also, what's that teensy-weensy shuttle? 

do_want.jpg

That would be the Block II Cockpit from Cormorant Aeronology. Though the wings are from B9 Procedural Wings. 

1 hour ago, Pleb said:

That shuttle either has a secret hidden warp engine, more dV than all the boosters in KSP combined, or (most likely but I'd prefer one of the previous two) has been alt-12/hyperedit 'd into orbit of the pictured bodies around the JNSQ system! :D

Great work though @G'th!

Oh frick you caught me

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I think I found a bug. After booting the game, I noticed that while the clouds were working, the scattered on several bodies looked... off? It's hard to describe how, and it was most evident for me in Laythe, which when viewed from the tracking station didn't have its atmospheric halo, and its ocean didn't look as reflective as it was supposed to be. I checked the scatterer menu to see that it was registering that Laythe did not have an ocean for me, and it was appearing to draw information from the wrong .cfg file. I checked the planetsList.cfg and the first line said: @Scatterer_planetsList:LAST[scattererJNSQ]. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be @Scatterer_planetsList:LAST[JNSQ]? I might be wrong though. Anyways, great mod!

Edited by Invaderchaos
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9 hours ago, Invaderchaos said:

I think I found a bug. After booting the game, I noticed that while the clouds were working, the scattered on several bodies looked... off? It's hard to describe how, and it was most evident for me in Laythe, which when viewed from the tracking station didn't have its atmospheric halo, and its ocean didn't look as reflective as it was supposed to be. I checked the scatterer menu to see that it was registering that Laythe did not have an ocean for me, and it was appearing to draw information from the wrong .cfg file. I checked the planetsList.cfg and the first line said: @Scatterer_planetsList:LAST[scattererJNSQ]. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be @Scatterer_planetsList:LAST[JNSQ]? I might be wrong though. Anyways, great mod!

No that is correct. But with Laythe you shouldnt be able to see the ocean anyway as its covered by fog. 

But if you have screenshots of what youre seeing i can verify one way or anotber

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Version 1.2 is released!

GITHUB DOWNLOAD (43k Users) | SPACEDOCK DOWNLOAD (2K/4K/8K Users)

What to expect:

  • Settings tweaked on 2k/4k/8k Kerbin clouds. They should look a lot better now in low orbit compared to 1.0. 43k Users do not need to update at this time if they don't wish to. 
  • 43k Settings and Textures are now included in the new Github download link, so new users who wish to try out 43k can go there directly. 

What's next?

The next phase of the mod that I am going to focus on as time goes on is some reworks of all the bodies from the perspective of ground and atmospheric activity. What does that mean? Well, in developing the mod I focused mainly on on-orbit visuals as opposed to what things look like from the surface. Some bodies, like Kerbin and Duna, already are more or less where I want them to be as I had to rebuild their scatterer settings multiple times during development, which required me to be on the ground. Essentially, each body will get the same treatment with the end goal being a very consistent visual look regardless of what kind of flight regime you happen to be in. 

 

And to make that update fun, I'll also be including some secret easter eggs on some of the planets that will naturally add to their beauty, but will also just be neat for you guys to find. 

==============================

Some notes and thoughts on performance

So lately I've been getting a lot of questions and general feedback in regards to the performance of the mod. So I thought I'd take some time to address these things in bulk:

On 43k Clouds: The first thing that should be made clear about the 43k clouds is that it is not a single, gigantic 43k texture (the 43k name is more just to describe what you're getting). For one, KSP wouldn't be able to load a texture that large. And for two, having it be a monolithic texture would be a waste of resources anyway given that EVE is capable of providing cubemapping, which essentially is stitching several textures together to make a larger one. So, when you download the 43k clouds, what you are getting is a 16k texture that is then surrounded by several 10k textures. Doing this allows for the same level of detail the monolithic 43k texture would have (as you don't have to cram the entire texture into a single image), but with a greatly reduced impact to RAM and even performance. 

So much so, is this impact reduced, that I'm fairly certain most are greatly overestimating the impact these clouds would have on their own systems. I have personally tested these same clouds on a GTX 780, 1060, and 1080. All of which had zero issues running the 43k clouds. Even running the clouds alone never produced any noticeable impact to performance (as most should know, KSP is bottlenecked by the CPU, and any mid-high end GPU should not have an issue with a handful of high resolution textures). Simply put, if you can run JNSQ and/or AVP already with plenty of RAM for more (I have 16gb in my system, and I can easily run this on top of JNSQ itself, alongside huge mods like BDB, Tantares, all of Nerts mods, and a whole lot more), then there is zero reason that you shouldn't be able to run the 43k clouds, and, in my opinion, zero reason for you -not- to run them.
 

On the Point of 43k Clouds: There has also been a question of why you would want 43k clouds. First answer, because they're awesome. And second, because they provide the best possible quality in low orbits. Many visual mods, in my opinion, step too far back from their visuals to judge their quality, meaning that they often base their visuals on what the planet looks like from a high orbit or just plain far away. The problem I have with that, is simply that this ends up turning the up close visuals to mush, no matter how great the visuals may be from a distance. This is simply a result of how the game and EVE itself works, and a low orbit (in JNSQ I consider low orbit over Kerbin to be 120km) is where the visuals of any mod is going to be at their worst. Thus, I design with the idea that the visuals should look best in low orbit first, and best everywhere else second. 

As my extensive screenshots have shown, a low orbit over Kerbin is a fantastic thing to look at when you use the 43k clouds. The clouds themselves are crisp and fun to look at, and the detailing provided by AVP's own detail textures only enhances the effect. Are they potentially high impact on systems? Sure why not. It is a number of still very large textures after all. But with every increase in resolution you go to from the lowly 2k option on up the 43k, you get -that- much more fidelity. And IDK about anyone else, but when I spend time on a space station, I don't want to look down at blurry mush. 

On general performance: The mod is ultimately still a work in progress; as noted above I am starting the process of reworking the entire system quite literally from the ground up, and with this will come some pretty heavy optimizations in regards to volumetrics (The beginnings of which should already be present on Kerbin in 1.0) which are the only part of the mod that are particularly difficult to run well even in high end systems. 

But here's the thing, from the very beginning, this mod was never intended for people who run KSP on a toasters and potatoes. Sorry, not sorry. As such, its important to remember that just because the mod may be hard to run in places doesn't mean that it is unoptimized or what have you, and that will become more true as time goes on.

 

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Hey G’th, was wondering if you planned or would be willing to do any work on GEP JNSQ? It’s be especially cool if you were able to dampen down the GEP planets to make them fit with JNSQ more. Anyways appreciate your work. Have a good one 

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2 hours ago, Big Katz said:

Hey G’th, was wondering if you planned or would be willing to do any work on GEP JNSQ? It’s be especially cool if you were able to dampen down the GEP planets to make them fit with JNSQ more. Anyways appreciate your work. Have a good one 

Nope. Bit beyond the scope of the mod and im starting to ramp up on my own planet pack so thatll be taking priority. 

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20 minutes ago, G'th said:

Nope. Bit beyond the scope of the mod and im starting to ramp up on my own planet pack so thatll be taking priority. 

Understandable. Looking forward to your planet pack. If you don’t mind me asking what is the theme of this new planet pack?

also would there be any way to use ad astra for the JNSQ system and regular eve configs for the GEP portion?

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1 hour ago, Big Katz said:

Understandable. Looking forward to your planet pack. If you don’t mind me asking what is the theme of this new planet pack?

also would there be any way to use ad astra for the JNSQ system and regular eve configs for the GEP portion?

Yep unless GEP affects the stock planets (ie. Kerbin, Eve, Duna, Jool etc) they shouldnt overlap at all. 

If GEP does affect those sorts of planets then you would need to disable those in the EVE configs, either by using "//" for each line you want to kill or by just outright deleting those portions from the config. 

===

And as for my planet pack, the theme is to essentially do a JNSQ-style (meaning built from the ground up) rendition of our real Solar System in 1/4 scale, which will then have its own "Ad Astra" style visuals baked right into the mod. 

The idea was to essentially make something for the RSS crowd as many users had requested I do my visuals up for it. But my issue was having to rely on and/or workaround others work. Something thats been a bit of a pain for Ad Astra navigating the merger between JNSQ and AVP.

So Im going to make everything myself so I can directly control every aspect of the "SOL" experience. Itll take some time yet before Ill have anything screenshot worthy (still learning to use Kopernicus) but given what I do have planned its going to be something very special. Much of whats going to be upcoming in Ad Astra (and is already there for that matter) can be considered essentially a preview for SOL.  

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2 hours ago, G'th said:

And as for my planet pack, the theme is to essentially do a JNSQ-style (meaning built from the ground up) rendition of our real Solar System in 1/4 scale, which will then have its own "Ad Astra" style visuals baked right into the mod. 

This got me really excited!! That’s exactly what I want for my ksp experience! :lol: 

Good luck & thanks a lot for all the quality stuff you make! 

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New Shots of Huygen in the upcoming update (now with fancy super sampling)

And to clarify given whats being shown, Huygen is going to be the hardest planet to play on in the mod. That being said, despite having over 12km worth of volumetrics on display, the game is amazingly playable. 

=========

VHqbO7m.jpg9miLNdw.pngD37gbaF.png

And an extra fancy GIF showing off what its like on the surface.

Edited by G'th
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Version 1.5 is now available

GITHUB DOWNLOAD (43k Users) | SPACEDOCK DOWNLOAD (2K/4K/8K Users)

 

Lots of changes in this one. As always, recommend a fresh install to insure a smooth update, particularly given how big this one is. 

Changelog:

~From the Ground Up: Adjusted nearly all bodies to be more aesthetically pleasing and consistent on the ground and in flight on up to orbit. Should prove to be much more tighter than it was originally. 

~Kerbin Atmospheric Changes: Made pretty. Very pretty. 

~Lindor and Huygen Overhauls: The orange and blue marbles got pretty substantial updates. You'll find that Huygen now has volumetrics extending the entire length of its cloud layer (over 12km high!). And on Lindor you'll find a much more lively, much more realistic Not-Neptune/Saturn waiting for you, with a redo on the ring textures and a large darkspot that will appear and reappear at will. Watch out for the lightning!

~Laythe Overhaul: Texture was slightly modified, and the entire moon was adjusted to be a bit less...weird. It now has a subtle blue-green twinge to it and it is a bit more obvious whats going on with the moon. 

~And more I probably just don't remember at this point. All the dusty moons had their volumetrics updated to be a bit more realistic and playable. Only a few select moons now have dust visible from orbit due to what they are. 

Known Issues:

~Lindor and Kerbin look weird in map view. I have zero clue why they aren't consistent between map/tracking center views and flight views. But they look as intended in-flight so thats what counts for now. 

~Nara and its moons are relatively untouched at this time. There's still specific things I want to do with these bodies at some point so until I'm ready to tackle that they'll be in limbo. 

 

Whats Next?

16k Texture cancelled. I cant get it to work anyway and ultimately Im anticipating issues with it. So were stuck with crappy somehow pixelated 8k Kerbin. Sorry guys :(

Edited by G'th
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2 hours ago, zakkpaz said:

so i love this mod but the city lights seem to disappear at a surprisingly low altitude, around 200km.

 

is there any way i can change that?

Yeah thats something that happens. You can attempt to change the scaling in the EVE gui (alt-0 then go to citylights) but i was unable to find a setting that worked right. 

 

At some point its going to get another look at like everything else. 

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12 hours ago, Chronin said:

Look very good! However, I am having an issue with Hyugen, namely that the dust clouds seem to be about 5-10km too high up. 

Here's an image of what I'm talking about. The surface works normally, but the clouds are shifted up, and don't appear on the surface. 

Interesting. Seems like something got crossed. 

Im gonna have a look at it today. 

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15 hours ago, G'th said:

Interesting. Seems like something got crossed. 

Im gonna have a look at it today. 

I tried reinstalling the mod and restarted my PC, and one of the two seems to have fixed it, but I can't really say which one. Haven't found any successful way to re-create the bug, so I can't help you too much there sadly. 

All of the visuals do look incredible however, so I want to give you a quick thanks for this!

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