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Kerbin Mini Shuttle

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This thread is now closed, as we cannot track two threads at once. Please continue the discussion at: http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/68429-Kerbin-Shuttle-Orbiter-System

Thank you everyone for the tremendous enthusiasm and support!

Edited by helldiver
Modified OP to reflect status of ZRM and working on shuttle.
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If you can already model and texture, you won't have any trouble getting them in game. All you need to do is split up the model into the parts you want, bring them into Unity (free) and set up the proper game objects in the unity editor. Beyond that it's just tweaking the cfg file. There's a lot of documentation on these steps in the addon dev forum and the model/texture forum. If you have specific questions or need help after you check the stickies send me a pm.

Edited by Nazari1382
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Just a quick update. I haven't done the smoothing groups or optimized yet (I normally do that just before cloning the objects for my hiress models). Still have the RCS nozzles, the landing gear, the interior, and the docking kit.

Some questions:

-Do you guys know if Unity/KSP takes in Smoothing groups? Would help me save on the polygon count as well as help the normal map not end up with geometric anomalies.

-Like the B9 pieces, I want the RCS to be molded into the fuselage, cockpit, etc. I was thinking of the Landing Gear also being molded right into the wings. I think one of the space shuttle packs did something like that. Is that ok, or does the gear have to be a separate component?

-What's the typical polygon count budget?

The pads in the cargo bay will make it easier for you to mount couplers/decouplers while in the VAB. I will include a docking kit with the shuttle so you can attach it into either of the cargo bay pads. This will allow you to dock the Kerbin shuttle similarly to the way the real shuttle docks with stuff. I really wanted an arm as well to help you grab stuff or send stuff out. Main reason being that the robotic arms I see available might not fight inside the Kerbin shuttle alongside your payload.


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For the edges, you can select your model in the asset window in Unity, and in the inspector on the right side, change normals to calculate. Then you can change the angle and apply it there. I'm not sure about groups because I use Blender. You can add RCS to a part like the nose cone just by setting up the right gameobjects. For wings + landing gear, I don't know if that would be a good idea especially when it comes to being compatible with mods like Ferram Aerospace Research. Plus if you make cool gear people will want it without the wing.

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Model mastered. Got, optimization, sub-D for the normal, and texturing. Was seeing B9's pieces and seems he added a lot of detail particularly in the interior of the cargo bays. Going to do something similar since it wouldn't take too long.

Here you see the different pieces.



The wings and vertical stab will have the control surfaces on them. They won't be separate pieces.

-Should the main wings have flaperons as well? Or should I leave them as elevons? Wish Kerbal had an FCS so stuff like flaperons, elevons worked without having to put canards on. This should work as it is, I've seen the soviet pack klipper work and I believe it only had elevons. (Flaperons are a combination, flap+aileron, Elevons are a combination elevator+aileron).

-Should it have a SAS, ASAS, Avionics? I was thinking a combination of SAS + Avionics in the SAS segment.

-Should the rear end be the fuel and monopropellant container, or should I put the fuel in the wings? This is mainly do to Center of Mass concerns.

-The landing gear are a series of boxes you place. If you use them on a different model they'll stick out not very well, as you can see in the picture and video I linked.

The landing gear have specific animations do to the pieces it uses. Is this possible in the game? Or is it limited to a single 90 degree rotation or something else? See the video as reference.

Can I use the skin modifier for landing gear, or do they have to be individually animated pieces?

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Why would you use a V-Tail when you already have elevon?

In the VAB you can place the rudder however you wish. I placed them in a v-tail configuration mimicking the mini-shuttle from my first post ;)

Are we going to be able to launch it as the X-37b?

Well my intent was to be able to launch it the traditional NASA, Buran style, way. My experiments using B9's pieces and the Procedural Fairings mod resulted in nearly the same effect as launching it the space shuttle method (orbiter piggy back instead of inside a container). Even placing the orbiter (using B9 Mk2 pieces) centerline resulted in mass problems and I ended up using vectored engines to more or less keep it straight. However once in space it was impossible to prevent it from spinning.

Either way, you can launch it however you want, or which ever way you find successful.

I'm debating on whether I should include Vectored engines in the kit to help out. There's a really nice vectored engine mod on the space port which I'm using (http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/pitch-vector-engine/). I really wish the MechJeb guys would incorporate vectored engines into the MechJeb "pseudo" FCS.

Again, I really don't know how it will handle both in ascent and gliding down. Reason why I really would like to team up with a pro who has a lot of experience adding/modding the game.

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Did a quick detail pass before moving on to sub-division for normal creation and texturing.

-Came out to 6600 Polygons for everything, is that good, bad, too high? good enough?

-Should the nose cone be a separate piece as the avionics? Or is it ok to integrate Avionics into the Cockpit/Command Pod portion?

-The orange segment you see there is the rear portion where you mount the engines. I put enough vertices so you can have a single centerline, dual, and triple engine configuration. Do I need to put more or is that enough?


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FAR has configurable control surfaces - something stock needs ( well, stock needs a real aero model as well ). You might want to break the control surfaces off the wings/tail if they're not already.

I think these days you worry less about polycount than number of textures ( or more pertinently draw calls - whether unity worries about texture or material count I don't know ) - the last game engine I worked in was a bit of both but that had it's roots many years ago.

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Ok, I added another segment off the nose.

-Nose Cone Segment will contain Batteries. The Command Pod/Cockpit segment will have power, but after viewing the changes coming in .21 I decided I should plan ahead and put together a segment containing batteries. There should also be enough vertices in the cargo hold if you need more power. I don't know what the power "part" will look like. I'm sure they'll be small enough where I don't have to make one. Either way, the nose cone should have plenty of power for regular missions. I guess I can release other versions with more power later on.

-The Avionics Component goes just inside the Command Pod right in the front. There's enough space in there in case you wish to use someone else's avionics (such as the ones included in the B9 packs).

-The elevons are part of the wing, they aren't a separate "control surface". Although I can make them a separate piece completely if you guys recommend for technical reasons. Otherwise I was going to declare that part a control surface of the wing, kind of the way some of the wings in the game do now (where they include the control surface right on the wing).

-I'm going to use a single 2048x2048 Sheet for Diffuse, Normal, Specular, and Emissive. The Docking adapter module will use a single 512x512 for Diff, Norm, Spec, and Emissive.

(Aviation green denotes areas I've already UV Mapped and relaxed)


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I'm really looking forward to this mod. I personally love the design of small shuttles and the Klipper, but don't use them because they don't fit the style of KSP. I really hope that when you do the texturing, you keep to a simple palette. Thanks for your hard work and fantastic job creating a compact design.

Warm Regards,


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Here's an update:

Already started texturing. The UVW Unwrap alone took two days, mostly do to all the parts and putting everything in a single sheet. Normal map sub-d took another 2 to 3 days and got started texturing today after several AO bakes and Normal map rebakes. Obviously the textures aren't finished and will probably take me a few more days.

-Because the parts are segmented (and have their own tangents), the normal map pushes the glaring difference between the meshes. I think this should be gone once the ship is in Unity or in game... I think. You'll notice the seam-lines near the SAS portion and in front of the cargo bay. Again, I'm assuming those will be gone in Unity or once it is in game since those engines use a different lighting solution than the vertex based lighting I use in my viewport D3D shader.

Otherwise if those show up in game, I may have to make the fuselage one solid model with the wings and other components being separate pieces. This process wouldn't take very long, but that would mean that the SAS, Cockpit, and Rear End would be one solid piece. If anyone (like B9, or anyone with experience with Unity/KSP) can clear that up for me, I'd really appreciate it. Does it have anything to do with a Light map?

Note the seam lines between the Cockpit, SAS, and Cargo Bay segments. Although these pieces are separate, I'm hoping that seam won't be visible in-game. If someone with knowledge specific to that can clear that up for me I'd really appreciate it.






Single 2048x2048 texture (Diffuse, Normal, Specular).


Edited by helldiver
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Thanks a lot for the encouragement!

I'm marathoning this thing so I want it in game as much as all you guys. Spent most of yesterday getting the whole Max 8 --> Max 9 --> Service Packs --> FBX ---> FBX Converter to 2013 ---> To Unity stuff squared away... I can import to Unity perfectly so far and smoothing groups are maintained (hence the Max 9, FBX conversion to 2013 step).

Just for scale, what could you fit in it's cargo bay?

I'm shooting for about 12 ft, roughly 3.5 meters wide in the cargo bay, give or take 10-20cm and about 22-25ft (8-9 meters long). The model is currently "underscaled" for AO purposes (so that when I cast I get larger AO shadows). Once I get it all textured I'll scale it up appropriately. You will not be able to fit the 3.5m parts in the cargo bay without it clipping the walls; this is a Kerbal shuttle, not the real NASA or Buran space shuttle :D

I don't think you'll be able to ferry the big Rockomax tanks. Mostly satellites, mini-orbiters, probes, space station components, etc, kind of like the real shuttles. The cockpit will hold 4 Kerbals, the optional docking module allows an additional 2 Kerbals. The docking module will cut your space in the cargo hold by about 10ft (3m).

I opened up Unity and I have no clue what I'm doing. I was able to assign textures and look at the components, but aside from that, I've no clue what to do. Also it seems I can no longer find the Max script that lets me read the position of a Vertex so I can jot them down for attachment node purposes in the .cfg file. I think I might go as far as the FBX portion, and then turning it in to someone in the modding community with lots of experience getting models like this into KSP. I was thinking B9 or the Firespitter mod guys, if they are willing and have the time.

That'd help me a lot since it would free me up to work on the cockpit interior and any other component needed.

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