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[WIP] [1.12.x] Cochrane - Another Star Trek-style warp drive mod for KSP (October 2022)


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Posted (edited)

UPDATE (2022-10-21): I just have managed to get a decently working implementation but artwork is still lacking. See my latest post, there's a GitHub available.

This has been on my backburner for a little while mostly b/c of the awkwardness of blender, but that changed when I took recently to really trying to finish it.

The idea for this mod was born after I saw another here called "TrekDrive" that introduced the concept of bringing a Star Trek-style warp drive to Kerbal Space Program, and I tried it but found it sadly to be in a rather incomplete and buggy state (although I note recently that the author thereof has posted about it and suggests they will be revisiting the mod in the future). Nonetheless, I couldn't help but think this was a really cool idea, and wanted to have a complete and working one. Moreover, I noted the author of that mod was trying to bring a set of complete Star Trek ships into the game and while I'm not at all saying that's not a good idea, I was hoping for something a bit more bare-bones and that would integrate more nicely and directly with the Kerbal vessels and parts I was used to playing with. And given I'd already been dabbling in other directions with KSP modding, I thought I'd try and roll another.

Hence, I present: "Cochrane".

In this take, the Star Trek-style nacelles-and-core design is employed, but it's been shrunk and modified to fit more nicely and integratedly onto a Kerbal rocket stack, as shown in this picture - note that I do not yet have texturing done on the parts shown here (you can only see the nacelles - though the default colors I find work nice enough for such a preview screenie at least, and likely suggest that the final texture will aim to produce similar colors but with proper shading and also suitably glowy bits), it's just a rough illustration so far (hence WIP). The warp core in this one accepts a 1.25m connection to the rest of the stack, and in the testing rig pictured here is sandwiched between Nertea's damn fine parts, with a LqdDeuterium tank below and Antimatter containment above. The nacelles are surface-mount so you can place them wherever you please, and are made to project a little so there's some clearance to fit a bit of a wider stack between them than just the one to which they are attached.

TO5xuky.png

But what I really wanted to do here was get a consistent and methodically created mechanics, both in making it polished as well as more "realistic" for suitably accommodating values of that term.

In particular, just like ST and TrekDrive it uses Warp Plasma as the energy conducting medium, but it does so with more refined calculations: namely, we take that each U of WarpPlasma stands for a certain amount of actual energy in joules (here I use 1 U = 1 GJ), and we provide proper and full integration with the Community Resource Pack by using the actual density values prescribed for the LqdDeuterium and Antimatter resources to calculate how annihilation aimed at a "sensible" amount of power generation (okay: 1.21 GW :) to break through Warp 1) will proceed in terms of consumption and generate the right amount of WarpPlasma accordingly. There will also be thermal effects: in particular a modest amount (relative to power consumed, given that we presume the phenomenal temperature of the plasma tap of an antimatter generator should make for theoretically ultra high efficiency) of waste heat to be dumped by radiators, though in the above screenshot and as of now that mechanic is not yet implemented - the radiators you see are for the bootstrapping reactor only. I plan to use Nertea's SystemHeat for the heat management because I find it much better than the stock CoreHeat system, in particular am a big fan of the "heat loop" mechanic which makes you think about the plumbing in your vessel a bit more.

Also, this mod is not meant to be stand-alone: it is only meant to provide the coils (nacelles) and warpcores - there are no antimatter or deuterium tanks or heat management facilities provided because those things are already well-provided for with other mods, I think.

Finally one more screenshot from testing, showing the craft above after having flown at warp 1 for some time, at first having aimed toward the Galaxies Unbound star Surr 128, now flipped around and going back to Kerbin (That's still Kerbol there, by the way, in the distance - it would have taken much longer to reach the destination and right now the timewarp is not working when warp flight is in progress):

CWCGXf7.png

Edited by shimmy00
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Update: Have gotten some edges filed in the code, and you can select your warp speed now.

For your viewing pleasure, 3195 "G" from Kerbol, after certifying the drive to reach warp 1.5:

ha2tokn.png

 

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Posted (edited)

Update (2022-05-11)

IT GLOWS! Thumb up if you think this looks cool

V5erAuh.png

And I've also managed to get some ability for traveling at warp speed in time warp too. It is not yet proof good though because only goes up to 10x timewarp before it glitches and the ship blows away -- but still, that was useful enough to make a test trip to a GU star in about a couple hours of real time.

Edited by shimmy00
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

ADD: Wanted to say that not only is this not dead, I'm going to have a first test release soon!

It took much longer than I anticipated because I got very sidetracked into developing an outgrowth of this mod that basically resulted from being fed up with KSP's stock glitchy resource management system, in particular that it behaves badly at timewarp - and as a result I ended up spinning off a second, System Heat-like mod project (it's part of this warp drive mod now but the aim is to make it fully separate) to revamp and replace the stock resource handling system (in particular, this new resource system does not suffer from the infamous "time warp and have the batteries run dry" problem, and also tries to provide a decent interface for background processing, all in one). More on this if you want.

Edited by shimmy00
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  • 4 months later...

ADD 2:

Despite my post I made in another area about how that I was going to be leaving this forum ... well, things didn't actually quite end up working out that way and I was actually still able to do some work on these mods. If you want to try it out, you can get a GitHub of it here:

https://github.com/shimmyshai00/Cochrane

but as I said the artwork is still very crude and one part (the warp field generator) has no texture at all, so I'm not going to call this a "release", just something to test with. If anyone wants to contribute improved artwork, they are free to do so.

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