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Slight error in notation of numbers


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Hi everyone,

I have become a big fan of Kerbal Space Program -- that is for sure.  I have already noted in another forum how KSP's being thoroughly metric has tremendously impressed me.

I am going to note, however, that for the most part KSP does not correctly use labels.  Namely, a space must always be inserted between the number and the unit abbreviation.  Thus, for example, one needs to write 123 m, and not 123m.  That is the case with any unit.  So, 1.5 atm is correct, but 1.25atm is not correct.  Another example would be 3.5 hPa (correct), and not 3.5hPa.

I will point out that this rule pertains even to the foot-pound system.  You should write 25 lb, not 25lb.  Thank goodness, however, KSP does not touch the foot-pound system with a three-metre pole.

Stanley

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You can actually correct this by creating a new dictionary.cfg file for your game's language setting.

Let's look at one of those entries you speak of:

		#autoLOC_205093 = Optimum Temp: <<1>>K\n
		#autoLOC_205094 = Shutdown Temp: <<1>>K\n
		#autoLOC_205095 = Insulation: <<1>>%\n
		#autoLOC_205100 = Req'd cooling: <<1>>kW\n
		#autoLOC_205103 = Max Cooling: <<1>>kW
		#autoLOC_207654 = Pressure: <<1>> kPa
		#autoLOC_7001410 = \u0020kPa

Just doing a quick search for 'kpa' I found all but one entry had a space before the unit name, and the one entry was a Unicode (or UTF-8)  encoded space character. Not all unit indicators have the leading space though.

If you wanted, you could search for all of the units used and make sure there was a leading space after each unit label.

I've done some changes myself with Kanadian Dictionary:

		#autoLOC_237120 = <<1>> m/s²
		#autoLOC_357379 = Density: <<1>> kg/m³

I replaced the ^2 and ^3 with superscript versions in these cases. There are plenty of other corrections you could try, as long as the resulting .cfg file is saved as UTF-8 and not plain ANSI.

And now I think I need to go through Kanadian Dictionary and start adding spaces to all of the units.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Gordon,

Thank you for your response.

I didn't want to start a big thing, because I really am such a big fan of Kerbal Space Program.

But OK.   First, I wouldn't want to begin tweaking a configuration file in the program -- and doing so might be beyond my skill set in any event.  I am simply putting forward a friendly suggestion to the developers for the next version of this wonderful program.

Second, I am seeing non-spaces between numbers and units all over the place.  Right now, I am looking at the training module "Getting to Orbit."  Right on the opening screen where there is the map ball -- is this the correct term? -- the rocket is sitting on the surface, and it reads 0.0m/s.  That is, no space between the number and the unit.

Stanley

Edited by MetricKerbalist
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On 6/1/2021 at 4:29 PM, MetricKerbalist said:

Namely, a space must always be inserted between the number and the unit abbreviation. 

According to who?  I’m not disagreeing with you, but the rules for written formal papers may not always apply to graphical displays.

I grew up learning that a period, or other punctuation at the end of a sentence, is always followed by two spaces.  Nobody does that anymore, perhaps because it was a silly rule that most people did not agree with.  

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On 6/1/2021 at 9:30 PM, MetricKerbalist said:

I am seeing non-spaces between numbers and units all over the place.

Again, I am not necessarily disagreeing with you.  I would point out that the game is 10 years old now, and it is likely that the display is very much intentional.  To me, having empty space between a number and it’s label is not necessary, and would make the displays bigger than they need to be.  For me it would not increase the readability of the display at all.

I do understand the answer ‘...because that’s the way we’ve always done it...’  is not a good answer.  If it bothers you enough, I think making modifications to the cfg files, or using (or making) a Mod, is the way to go.

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1 hour ago, 18Watt said:

According to who?  I’m not disagreeing with you, but the rules for written formal papers may not always apply to graphical displays.

Hi 18Watt,

Thank you for your excellent question.  And here is the answer.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, following the French-language acronym for Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) writes this in its publication entitled The International System of Units (SI) 8th edition (2006) on page 133:

"The numerical value always precedes the unit, and a space is always used to separate the unit from the number."  The BIPM gives the example of m = 12.3 g.  Thus, m = 12.3g is incorrect.

That is the international source giving the rules for writing values in the International System of Units.  Next for the United States, which follows the same rules, I cite the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  In its publication Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) 2008 edition, written by Ambler Thompson and Barry N. Taylor, the NIST states the following on page vi:

"Values of quantities are expressed in acceptable units using Arabic numerals and symbols for the units.... There is a space between the numerical value and unit symbol...."  The NIST gives the example of m = 5 kg.  Thus, m = 5kg is incorrect.

To summarize, therefore, I stated that a space must always be inserted between the number and the unit abbreviation.  You asked, according to whom?  And I reply, according to the BIPM and the NIST.

Stanley

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2 hours ago, 18Watt said:

According to who?

Once, I tried saying "according to ISO 31-0" when someone insisted on converting all my thin-spaces to full spaces. (The wikipedia summary doesn't specify, but I'm pretty sure the standard itself said thin-space rather than interword space. ) My arguments were not successful.

I dislike the full space, so always try to find a way to use a non-breaking 1/6-em space in formal writing, 6 372 km with thin-spaces rather than 6 372 km with regular spaces.

When I don't have a way to make a thin space I often close up the space, but feel guilty about it.

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Just now, OHara said:

Once, I tried saying "according to ISO 31-0" when someone insisted on converting all my thin-spaces to full spaces. (The wikipedia summary doesn't specify, but I'm pretty sure the standard itself said thin-space rather than interword space. ) My arguments were not successful.

I dislike the full space, so always try to find a way to use a non-breaking 1/6-em space in formal writing, 6 372 km with thin-spaces rather than 6 372 km with regular spaces.

When I don't have a way to make a thin space I often close up the space, but feel guilty about it.

Hi OHara,

The thin space to which you are referring is something else.  That refers to the issue of thousands separators.  For example, instead of writing 123,456,789 kg, the ISO document to which you refer says use a thin space instead of commas.  (I am somewhat simplifying the issue here.)

But the correct use of SI is to use a space between the number -- however it is written -- and the unit abbreviation for kilograms.

Stanley

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5 minutes ago, Jack Wolfe said:

How delightfully, irrelevantly pedantic. If a display is unreadable, I will be the first to complain. I've seen no evidence of such to date.

Agreed, if he wants it that bad it's a single edit away (which has no risk of blowing up your game especially if you make a copy of the file lmfao)

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17 hours ago, Jack Wolfe said:

How delightfully, irrelevantly pedantic. If a display is unreadable, I will be the first to complain. I've seen no evidence of such to date.

 

17 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

Agreed, if he wants it that bad it's a single edit away (which has no risk of blowing up your game especially if you make a copy of the file lmfao)

Hi Jack Wolfe and Incarnation of Chaos,

Of course, reasonable people can disagree.  I believe that having the number and the unit symbol separated by a space does improve readability.  Moreover, the BIPM and the NIST agree.

I also believe that uniform standards should be followed.  Having the separation is the standard set for SI.  I respectfully request that Kerbal Space Program follow that standard.  However, the most important thing is to use SI consistently and exclusively, which KSP does.  For that, I wholeheartedly applaud KSP.

Stanley

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22 hours ago, MetricKerbalist said:

And here is the answer.

Thank you for that!

I’ve been thinking about this, and realized there are different situations in the game in which deviation from a standard format may be excuse able or even preferred, or perhaps not.

  • I assumed (incorrectly) you were referring only to the flight display, such as the NavBall or other information which would normally be continuously displayed during flight.  In those cases the size and resolution of my screen makes it useful to pack things together.  I don’t need the space between values and their unit, I need that information to be present, but out of the way.
  • Part Action Windows are a different case.  I sometimes need to fly with one or more PAW open on screen.  In those cases, it is again helpful to minimize the size of the PAW, omitting spaces might aid PAW size.  But probably not much.  If you rarely need the PAWs open during flight, having the spaces doesn’t hurt anything, and may make the text more readable.
  • Part descriptions (in the VAB or SPH), or other times you see text while not in flight are a case where the space between values and their units would be appropriate.  The extra area used is not important, and in that context it likely would make the test more readable.  If not, at least it’s more ‘standard’.

 

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23 hours ago, MetricKerbalist said:

Hi 18Watt,

Thank you for your excellent question.  And here is the answer.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, following the French-language acronym for Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) writes this in its publication entitled The International System of Units (SI) 8th edition (2006) on page 133:

"The numerical value always precedes the unit, and a space is always used to separate the unit from the number."  The BIPM gives the example of m = 12.3 g.  Thus, m = 12.3g is incorrect.

That is the international source giving the rules for writing values in the International System of Units.  Next for the United States, which follows the same rules, I cite the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  In its publication Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) 2008 edition, written by Ambler Thompson and Barry N. Taylor, the NIST states the following on page vi:

"Values of quantities are expressed in acceptable units using Arabic numerals and symbols for the units.... There is a space between the numerical value and unit symbol...."  The NIST gives the example of m = 5 kg.  Thus, m = 5kg is incorrect.

To summarize, therefore, I stated that a space must always be inserted between the number and the unit abbreviation.  You asked, according to whom?  And I reply, according to the BIPM and the NIST.

Stanley

Yeah ok whatever, doesn't make the display any more readable.

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1 hour ago, Bej Kerman said:

...doesn't make the display any more readable.

That is the case for me as well.  However, for other players, it may increase the readability, possibly greatly.

Thanks to @Gordon Fecyk for the suggestion for making changes to how information is presented.  I suspect the stock game will not address the issue anytime soon, so it’s nice to see it is possible to change this yourself, or by using a mod.

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3 hours ago, 18Watt said:

Thanks to @Gordon Fecyk for the suggestion for making changes to how information is presented.  I suspect the stock game will not address the issue anytime soon, so it’s nice to see it is possible to change this yourself, or by using a mod.

You can edit dictionary.cfg with Windows Notepad, provided it's the current edition of Windows 10 that supports UTF-8 natively. This is essentially how I did Kanadian Dictionary, but I also used a plugin that changed the locale value. You don't need to do this just to edit the stock dictionary your game came with. You can also use any text editor that natively supports UTF-8.

I think I'll try following BIPM in the next Kanadian Dictionary release and see how it looks. If it looks terrible I can undo it.

As for the double space vs thin space vs normal space, the double space after a period / full stop was something from the monospace typing days, where every character had the exact same width. It isn't used anymore in the age of on-the-fly typesetting. News print used a single space after a period prior to that, and it appears to be the modern convention.

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/5/2021 at 2:43 PM, MetricKerbalist said:

Hi 18Watt,

Thank you for your excellent question.  And here is the answer.

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM, following the French-language acronym for Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) writes this in its publication entitled The International System of Units (SI) 8th edition (2006) on page 133:

"The numerical value always precedes the unit, and a space is always used to separate the unit from the number."  The BIPM gives the example of m = 12.3 g.  Thus, m = 12.3g is incorrect.

That is the international source giving the rules for writing values in the International System of Units.  Next for the United States, which follows the same rules, I cite the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  In its publication Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) 2008 edition, written by Ambler Thompson and Barry N. Taylor, the NIST states the following on page vi:

"Values of quantities are expressed in acceptable units using Arabic numerals and symbols for the units.... There is a space between the numerical value and unit symbol...."  The NIST gives the example of m = 5 kg.  Thus, m = 5kg is incorrect.

To summarize, therefore, I stated that a space must always be inserted between the number and the unit abbreviation.  You asked, according to whom?  And I reply, according to the BIPM and the NIST.

Stanley

I don't think any Kerbal has read either of those publications. The Kerbin Bureau of Weights and Measures publication may have different standards, but I'm not sure where to find that.

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On 7/24/2021 at 8:19 PM, porter17 said:

I don't think any Kerbal has read either of those publications. The Kerbin Bureau of Weights and Measures publication may have different standards, but I'm not sure where to find that.

And don't even get me started on all the OSHA violations I see kerbals committing on a daily basis!

On 6/6/2021 at 11:08 AM, MetricKerbalist said:

Moreover, the BIPM and the NIST agree.

I've never seen any comment from either bureau on the matter of KSP's flagrant misuse of spaces, official or otherwise. I bet that while they may agree with you in principle, they have expressed no opinion on the matter.

I'm afraid you're on your own here.

Best,

-Slashy

Edited by GoSlash27
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