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[WIP][1.10.1+] Helvica (v0.5)


Maple Kerman
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hywKBzR.png
 

Description

This mod adds one small gas giant, the titular planet Helvica, and its moons to the space between the orbits of Duna and Dres. While it may not be as far from Kerbin as Jool or gas giants added by other mods, Helvica does have one trick up its sleeve: It orbits in a retrograde direction. Because of this, you will have to carefully plan your trip in order to get an encounter. It has a few other features as well, including large rings, three moons, one submoon, PlanetShine and DistantObjectEnhancement support, and multiple science biomes for each body. As for compatibility with other planet packs, as long as you don't use mods that add planets between the orbits of Duna and Dres, or that entirely replace the existing stock system (Beyond Home, Galileo's Planet Pack, etc.), you should be good to go.

Note: Helvica is my first planet mod, and it is very much a work in progress. Do not expect to find zero bugs. Updates may or may not arrive periodically.

Installation Instructions

Recommended: Install using CKANCKAN will detect compatibility issues and install any missing dependencies if needed.

Manual:

1. Download and install the dependencies if you don't already have them.
2. Extract the contents of Helvica_(vX.X).zip\GameData to your KSP GameData folder.

3. Enjoy!

Download from SpaceDock
CKAN-Indexed-blue

Dependencies

Supported Mods

Q & A

Q. Is Helvica compatible with other planet mods?
A. Yes, as long as they do not replace the existing stock system, and do not add a planet between the orbits of Duna and Dres.

Q. Is Helvica compatible with Principia?
A. Helvica is not compatible with Principia.

Q. Is Helvica compatible with Rescale or Sigma Dimensions?
A. There is currently no support for Rescale or Sigma Dimensions.

Q. Where do I report bugs?
A. You can either reply to this forum post, or send me a public or private message on my forum profile. Please remember to do a proper bug report. I will try to find a fix during my free time. If the bug is caused by a separate mod with no stated compatibility, I may not be able to fix it.

Q. Why does it orbit the wrong way? How do I get to it?
A. One of Helvica's primary features is that it is in a retrograde orbit, unlike most other planets. This is intentional. You can either spend enough Δv (delta-v) to put yourself in a retrograde orbit around the Sun, or if you like taking risks, try to get an encounter with Helvica as it is coming towards Kerbin and either aerobrake or use gravity assists (very difficult). You can also use a combination of gravity assists and engine power to easily invert your orbit once you have a very high Sun apoapsis, which has the upside of requiring less delta-v, and the downside of taking many months.

Q. Can I make suggestions?
A. Of course! Feedback and suggestions are very welcome. I need all the help I can get. I might not take suggestions that ask to add X moon, although I will consider it if it is a good idea.

Helvica System

Blue = Complete
Green = Released
Red = Unreleased

Spoiler

Helvica - The primary planet of this mod. It has a thick, blue atmosphere and large rings.

  • Texture
  • Atmosphere
  • Description
  • Rings
  • Biomes
  • Experiment text

Sothys - Helvica's closest moon. It is small, tidally locked, and has no atmosphere.

  • Texture
  • Heightmap
  • Description
  • Biomes
  • Experiment text

Redulux - A large moon around the size of Eeloo that orbits far from Helvica. It has its own submoon.

  • Texture
  • Heightmap
  • Description
  • Biomes
  • Experiment text

Ruse - A small captured asteroid in an eccentric orbit around Redulux. It is very dense, and thus has high gravity for an object of its size.

  • Texture
  • Heightmap
  • Description
  • Biomes
  • Experiment text

Neus Nadavo - A habitable planet slightly smaller than Laythe that orbits closer to Helvica than Frigia and Redulux do.

  • Texture
  • Atmosphere
  • Oceans
  • Heightmap
  • Description
  • Biomes
  • Experiment text

Scatterer support is planned, but I will not focus on it for a while.

Changelog

Spoiler
  • v0.5 (May 31st, 2021)
    • Greatly improved Neus Nadavo's appearance
    • Greatly improved Neus Nadavo's surface terrain textures
    • Updated Neus Nadavo's biomes
    • Changed all map textures for Neus Nadavo to .png format for the time being
    • Revamped Helvica's textures
    • Updated Helvica's biomes
    • Improved Helvica's rings
    • Adjusted orbital distances
    • Rebalanced masses, densities, and surface gravities
    • Rebalanced science gains
    • Added proper atmospheric rims to Helvica and Neus Nadavo
    • Updated PlanetShine and DistantObjectEnhancement configs
    • Tweaked the descriptions for each body
    • Other minor tweaks
       
  • v0.4.2 (December 29th, 2020)
    • Overhauled Neus Nadavo's surface
    • Updated Neus Nadavo's biomes
    • Improved Sothys' mesh
    • Improved Redulux's mesh
    • Updated PlanetShine and DistantObjectEnhancement configs
    • Other minor tweaks
       
  • v0.4.1 (December 26th, 2020)
    • Overhauled Sothys' surface
    • Overhauled Redulux's surface
    • Improved the descriptions for each body
    • Simplified the folder structure
    • Other minor tweaks
       
  • v0.4 (December 20th, 2020)
    • Added Ruse
    • Fixed an issue with Sothys' sphere of influence
    • Tweaked Sothys' orbit
    • Tweaked Redulux's surface
    • Tweaked Helvica's normalmap
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo and Helvica's atmosphere rims
    • Tweaked contract weighting for all bodies
       
  • v0.3.2 (November 29th, 2020)
    • Added PlanetShine support
    • Added DistantObjectEnhancement support
    • Improved Neus Nadavo's surface material
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo's atmosphere when inside of it
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo's normalmap
    • Rebalanced science gains from experiments
    • Fixed a minor issue with science experiments taken around Helvica
       
  • v0.3.1 (November 23rd, 2020)
    • Changed all textures to DDS format
    • Enabled OnDemand loading for all textures
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo's surface texture
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo's rotation
    • Tweaked Neus Nadavo's biome map
    • Tweaked Sothys' surface texture
    • Tweaked Sothys' rotation
    • Reduced download size and memory usage
       
  • v0.3 (November 21st, 2020)
    • Added Neus Nadavo
    • Tweaked Sothys' rotation
    • Tweaked Helvica's ring texture
       
  • v0.2 (November 13th, 2020)
    • Added Redulux
    • Added biomes to Sothys
    • Tweaked Sothys' normalmap
       
  • v0.1.1 (November 6th, 2020)
    • Tweaked Helvica's ring texture
    • Tweaked Sothys' surface texture
    • Fixed a minor issue with Helvica's biomes
    • Reduced download size and memory usage
       
  • v0.1 (November 5th, 2020)
    • Initial release
    • Added Helvica
    • Added Sothys

Known Issues

  • Ruse may have strange terrain, particularly around its poles.
  • Borders between biomes may not be well-defined on certain moons.
  • Large file size due to the use of .png textures for Neus Nadavo.

Licensing

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Edited by Maple Kerman
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Sorry for the slight delay, but I've been quite busy, and have had several issues during moon development.
However, I've finally completed everything I wanted to accomplish this week.

Introducing Version 0.2, the first "major" update.
This update adds Redulux, Helvica's farthest and most science-rich moon (for now), and gives Sothys a few biomes! (Redulux also has its own biomes.)

The update is available for download on SpaceDock.

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Hello again!
After a week of slow development, I have managed to prepare the next update for Helvica, Version 0.3.
This update adds Neus Nadavo, a Kerbin-like world found just beyond Helvica's rings. Complete with biomes and terrain variation.

The update is available for download on SpaceDock.

Note: Neus Nadavo is in a very early state. In particular, its atmosphere as seen from the Map view (ScaledSpace; i.e., Tracking Station, etc.) currently has faulty atmosphere rims. It will most likely change over the course of future updates. If there is any feedback you would like to give me, I would be happy to listen.

Edited by Maple Kerman
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Greetings.
Version 0.3.1 is now live! This is a small patch that tweaks some of the textures and surfaces of existing moons, as well as their rotation.
All textures have now been successfully converted to DDS format, which allows for OnDemand loading. This helps reduce memory usage.
Enjoy!

As usual, the update is available on SpaceDock.

Note: Helvica and Neus Nadavo's atmospheric rims may still be broken in the Map view. This is a persistent issue that I haven't been able to fix yet. Hopefully, it won't spoil your experience.

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hey, really like this mod - just sent my first probe to helvica! it's a nice challenge with the ridiculous dV requirements.

minor bug i noticed: some science experiments (gravity, BDB's geiger counter) read "just above Gas Clouds of a Helvica" when you run them for some reason - going to test this on the other moons later. [edit: neus nadavo doesn't have this issue]

also, can you post the orbital and physical characteristics of helvica? helps with planning missions - after a bit of messing around i've determined it's best to leave while kerbin is at 10 o'clock relative to helvica, with the ejection angle at about 135 degrees to kerbin's prograde, but it'll be helpful to have the actual data. thanks!

Spoiler

probe!

WIxx8rB.png

 

Edited by mosscritic
updating with info
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7 hours ago, mosscritic said:

minor bug i noticed: some science experiments (gravity, BDB's geiger counter) read "just above Gas Clouds of a Helvica" when you run them for some reason

Thank you for trying it out! I'm glad you're enjoying the mod.
That experiment bug is a minor issue I can change in the config. I'll have it working for the update.

7 hours ago, mosscritic said:

can you post the orbital and physical characteristics of helvica? helps with planning missions

Sure.
It's got a semi-major axis of 26,700,000,000 metres (Kerbin's is 13,599,840,256), and an inclination of 179.9 (basically completely retrograde), as well as almost no eccentricity.
I'm not too sure about the orbital period or speed, as that's calculated in-game.
Its rotation period is 28,800 seconds (8 hours), and its atmosphere goes up to 325,000 metres.
It's 2120 kilometres in radius, about one third the size of Jool, although it has a surface gravity of nearly 0.7g (making it much denser than Jool).
It has four biomes; of those four, the poles give you the most science.

I hope that answers some of your questions.
By the way, how are the returns on science like? Do you think that it gives you too little science for the amount of delta-v required to get there? Or too much?
I'm willing to make changes in order to improve the experience.
I hope you'll keep enjoying the mod!

Edited by Maple Kerman
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13 hours ago, Maple Kerman said:

By the way, how are the returns on science like? Do you think that it gives you too little science for the amount of delta-v required to get there? Or too much?

the science is a bit much, i think - you can save more than 9km/s of Δv by aerobraking, though it's quite risky since you're entering at over 10km/s. so the actual Δv requirement to get from LKO to helvica orbit is probably closer to around 1.4km/s, which is pretty reasonable - in between duna and dres. it is still harder since you need to bring multiple heatshields to survive the aerobrake manoeuvre, but it's not that bad either.

i haven't found any other issues, besides neus nadavo's sky being weirdly bright, but that's about it. there isn't anything that's seriously a problem.

anyway, it's a neat planet, and the other 2 moons sound like they'll be cool too, so i'm excited to see them!

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9 hours ago, mosscritic said:

the science is a bit much, i think

I see. I'll tone it down a bit for the next update. I just went with a large amount because I was trying to offset the difficulty.

9 hours ago, mosscritic said:

i haven't found any other issues, besides neus nadavo's sky being weirdly bright

Yeah, that's a small AtmosphereFromGround thing. I'll make sure to have that fixed soon.

I'm really glad you're enjoying the mod. :)

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9 hours ago, Kjonde564 said:

Just curious is Parallax support possible? I am not very experienced in KSP modding so I'm not sure if it is.

Parallax is a custom terrain shader that is quite hard to implement. While it is possible, I don't have any intention of ever adding Parallax support, as this mod is not big enough and I am not experienced enough to warrant developing Parallax terrain for this.

You can still use this pack alongside the stock configs for Parallax, of course, but the terrain will be noticeably different.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Version 0.4 is now available for download!
This update adds ruse, Redulux's asteroid moon, makes adjustments to some of the existing bodies, and greatly reduces the download size.

The update is available over on SpaceDock.

I would also like to thank everybody for 1,000 downloads!
There is still much more to come.

Jeb feeling ecstatic after planting a flag on Ruse:

tsWk5up.png

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Version 0.4.1 is now available! This update completely overhauls both Sothys' and Redulux's surfaces, greatly improving their appearance. Some other minor improvements have been made, such as better descriptions and a more simple folder structure.

In addition, the mod now supports KSP 1.11.0, while dropping support for 1.10.0 (use 1.10.1 instead).

The update can be downloaded on SpaceDock, as per usual.

Happy holidays! :)

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