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[1.4.x / 1.3.x / 1.2.x] Hawkspeed Airstairs [ v0.8.1 @ 2017-06-05 ]


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Hawkspeed Airstairs

 

v0_5headliner.png
* Shown together with Firespitter and Kerbal Aircraft Expansion parts

 

Intricately animated airstairs, crafted with care and pride

Any old ladder or ramp will get you on board, but why settle for that? Hawkspeed airstairs are:

  • Beautifully textured and animated: perfect for screenshots and videos!
  • Physically plausible, mechanically sound design: based on real world examples whenever possible.
  • Great RP value: treat your passengers and crew well!

 


 

Action Shots

No pics, no clicks, etc.

 

animated.png

 


 

Parts List

Note: back in development after a long hiatus.
Due to changes in stock landing gear and suspension since Airstairs v. 0.7 (KSP 0.25), all part models require substantial rework.
New stair height -> model changes -> retexturing -> lots of work. Please be patient!

2.5m aircraft fuselage

  • Matches LY-10 Small Landing Gear height; LY-35 Medium Landing Gear will also work if carefully placed.
  • Pick from different textures in the editor (SPH or VAB) to match the style of other parts used in your craft:
    • Stock-alike Aircraft
    • KAX <- WIP
    • Firespitter Bomber
    • Stock-alike Capsule used to be available, but is currently pending rework.
    • All normal maps are unavailable pending rework.

Mk2 spaceplane fuselage

  • Work in progress.

Mk3 spaceplane fuselage

  • Planned future development.

 

Usage Notes

  • You can simply walk or run up the stairs in most situations, there is usually no need to use the "[F]: Climb" command.
    • If the bottom of the stair is slightly higher than ground level, you can use "Climb" to get onto the bottom step.
    • Tapping "Climb" helps in low gravity situations (e.g. Minmus) where kerbals behave a bit "floaty" and lack traction on the stairs.
  • Safety first!
    • There's a good chance of your kerbal falling over when running down the stairs. Walk, don't run!
    • Keep clear of moving parts, kerbals may be crushed to death, I kid you not!
  • Airstair parts have crew capacity for one (1) kerbal; however, these parts are not generally intended for use as a crew compartment.
    • For now, you will need to transfer crew between the airstair part and other parts of your craft, using stock KSP crew transfer functionality, or one of the available crew transfer mods.
    • I am working on a better solution that will eliminate this mindless chore. Testers wanted, please visit that thread!

 

FAQ

Spoiler

Q: I get a "Hatch obstructed" message when I try to enter or exit the craft using the hatch!
A: Make sure the airstairs are fully deployed and that there are no other objects obstructing the doorway.

Q: The texture does not change when I press the buttons to switch texture.
A: Make sure you unpack the mod exactly as-is into the GameData folder. Do not move or rename to a different location; this will break things because the mod relies on the textures to be in a specific location.

Q: I can't surface mount other parts to the door or the stairs!
A: This is intentional. Surfaced mounted parts are mounted to a static location and will not animate together with the moving parts. As such, surface mounting has been disabled on the moving parts.

 

Q: The stair height doesn't match the suspension height of my craft.
A: If the bottom of the stair is slightly higher than ground level, you can the "[F]: Climb" command to get onto the bottom step.
A: You can also look into adjust the positioning of your landing gear using the "move" tool. Hold shift down while moving/rotating parts for finer control.

Q: Can the stair height be adjustable?
A: No. Scaling the stairs up/down while keeping the fuselage body the same size entails a cascade of changes to the model and texture maps and cannot be trivially implemented as a tweakable.

Q: Can the stair angle be adjustable?
A: No, because the steps wouldn't be horizontal any more.


 

Download

DOWNLOAD v. 0.8.1

Version: 0.8.1 released 2017-06-05
KSP compatibility: 1.3.x / 1.4.x

Packaged with Firespitter.dll (Firespitter v.7.6.0) for animation and texture swapping.

There is a patch here if you use KSP 1.4+ and want to get rid of the Firespitter.dll dependency.

DOWNLOAD v. 0.8.0

Version: 0.8.0 released 2017-05-11
KSP compatibility: 1.2.x

Packaged with Firespitter.dll (Firespitter v.7.5.1) for animation and texture swapping.

 

License

You may make and distribute screenshots and gameplay videos showing this mod's parts and functionality.
You may monetize gameplay videos in which you utilize this mod.

You may modify configuration files for private use.
You may NOT modify or redistribute models and textures without express permission.

All other rights reserved.

 

Please refer here for Firespitter license.

 

Installing

Delete existing installation if you have an older version.
Extract included folders into your Gamedata folder.

CKAN is not supported.

 

Acknowledgements

Big thanks go out to:

  • Snjo for the Firespitter mod & plugin, and also for permission to reuse the Firespitter bomber fuselage textures.
  • keptin for the Kerbal Aircraft Expansion mod which inspired the creation of the first airstair part, and permission to reuse KAX fuselage textures.

 

Changelog

v 0.8.1 released 2017-06-05
Update for KSP 1.3
Update bundled Firespitter to 7.6.0
Replaced flag with agency config
Added localization support


v 0.8.0 released 2017-05-11
2.5m Airstair model reworked
- New stock-alike aircraft texture
- KAX texture reworked (WIP)
- Firespitter Bomber texture reworked
- Stock-alike capsule texture removed, pending rework
- normal maps removed, pending rework
- IVA Overlay mask added to placeholder IVA
- part cfg updates for new KSP features


v 0.7 released 2014-11-01
Reduced 2.5m Airstair mass.
Added stock-alike texture; this is now the default.
Reduced texture filesizes slightly (removed alpha channel).
Added placeholder empty IVA to avoid bugs related to IVA-less parts.
Added Hawkspeed Sonora flag.


V 0.6.5 released 2014-09-15
Added normal maps to textures.

V 0.6 released 2014-09-04
Minor model and texture tweaks.
Added the ability to switch between multiple textures.
Added alternate texture for use with Firespitter bomber cockpit and fuselages.
Upgraded Firespitter.dll to 6.3.5.


V 0.5 released 2014-08-31
Initial public testing release.

~ ~ ~

Original Post

Spoiler

Recently installed the excellent Kerbal Aircraft Expansion mod and was inspired by the Orion *ahem* Horizon cockpit to build a fairly ambitious part that would go well with it -- airstairs!

img1.png

The most crucial modelling and animation are already done; here it is mid-animation:

img2.png

Texture and additional tweaks and polish pending.

I originally feared that I would be reduced to eyeballing old, low-res video footage to try and figure out how the railings collapse (photos generally show only the fully-deployed position, and the joint locations are not obvious!)

But thank goodness for Google patent search -- found this great source diagram from the original Lockheed patent, which went a long way in helping preserve my sanity. (Even so, it is not perfectly to scale...)

img3.png

For reference, here is the real thing in action:

Thoughts/comments?

 

 

Edited by cakepie
v0.8.1 for KSP 1.3.x / 1.4.x | NoFirespitter patch
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For me if they could move slightly into the opening it would be better, and I'd go for the option of gaps between each step, and also put a bit of invisible ladder at the bottom of the steps so that you can get onto the steps with a height difference if you need to. Nice part, I like it :)

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v0.6 is now released!

V 0.6 released 2014-09-04
Minor model and texture tweaks.
Added the ability to switch between multiple textures.
Added alternate texture for use with Firespitter bomber cockpit and fuselages.
Upgraded Firespitter.dll to 6.3.5.

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The stairs deploy fine, but the current texture in the SPH says nothing, and the switch texture buttons don't work.

Did you unpack it exactly as-is into the GameData folder? You should have <ksp_root>/GameData/CakePie/HawkspeedAirstairs/Parts/2mAirstair/

Do not move or rename to a different location; this will break things because the mod relies on the textures to be in a specific location.

Edited by cake>pie
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Did you unpack it exactly as-is into the GameData folder? You should have <ksp_root>/GameData/CakePie/HawkspeedAirstairs/Parts/2mAirstair/

Do not move or rename to a different location; this will break things because the mod relies on the textures to be in a specific location.

That ficed it. I had taken it out of CakePie, as I had trouble finding it and though it didn't appear at all.

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Very nice. One thing - it could stand to lose a bit of weight, as it is mostly cosmetic. If I put the KAS cockpit on it and the FS bomber wings, I either have to put them too far back (door in front of the wing), so CoM is too far in front of CoL, or too high (door under the wing), meaning the CoT is above the CoM. Either way, same result, SSTO (where O = Ocean).

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Very nice. One thing - it could stand to lose a bit of weight, as it is mostly cosmetic. If I put the KAS cockpit on it and the FS bomber wings, I either have to put them too far back (door in front of the wing), so CoM is too far in front of CoL, or too high (door under the wing), meaning the CoT is above the CoM. Either way, same result, SSTO (where O = Ocean).

Are you calling it fat? :D

More seriously, though, thanks for trying it out and giving feedback.

What would you suggest is more reasonable? For comparison, consider these similarly sized stock parts:

  • an empty Rockomax X200-16 weighs in at 1 (kerbo)ton
    • presumably, flavour text for this would be the outer shell, pressure vessels for LF and Ox, and some plumbing

    [*]the PPD-10 Hitchhiker weighs 2.5 tons

    • flavour-wise, outer shell, pressurized cabin, life support and other equipment, supplies, crew.

I pegged the airstairs at 1.5 since it should comprise the outer shell, pressurized cabin, stair and associated machinery, plus whatever else (in the real thing, I believe it's generally some baggage compartments and a couple WCs, and I think some A/C equipment in the hold area, IIRC)

I guess I could reasonably take it down to 1.25, but I don't think it should be as low as an empty X200-16 tank.

Can you please do me a favour, edit your part.cfg with a reduced mass of 1.25, give that a shot, and tell me what you think.

Additionally I think it should be noted that the Firespitter bomber parts and the KAX medium cockpit & fuselage parts are not really balanced the same so there's definitely part compatibility issues arising from that

Firespitter

  • Bomber Cockpit: 1.2t
  • Bomber Fuselage: 1.2t dry, 500 LF capacity
  • Bomb Bay: 1.2t // because structural fuselage was deprecated in the most recent release

KAX

  • Horizon Cockpit: 2.75t
  • Heavy Jet Fuel: 0.35t dry, 1200 LF capacity
  • Heavy Structural Fuselage: 0.5t

Stock

  • Mk3 Cockpit: 3.5t (excluding monoprop)
  • Rockomax X200-32: 2t dry, 1440 LF + 1760 Ox capacity

There's some mismatch going on there, definitely -- KAX numbers are closer to stock, while FS is a bit on the light side. So mixing these parts will lead to more challenging aircraft balancing. One does not simply replace FS K-17 bomber cockpit with KAX cockpit and still fly! I've encountered similar difficulties as you've described (i.e. front-heavy) while building craft with a mix of FS and KAX even without the airstairs.

In view of that, the other thing you could try is to counter-balance with a bit more weight to aft -- for an example of a reasonably-proportioned aircraft using KAX+airstairs, you can take a look at my video in this other thread -- there's a bit more footage of that including take off and in flight but I haven't got around to finishing editing it yet, though.

Edited by cake>pie
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You were right, you do have to make the plane longer to balance it - I suppose anything smaller isn't likely to warrant it's own airstair anyway. Putting the airstair towards the rear would also fix it.

This bird flew and landed fine: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=311698296

Edit: Currently trying to work out why Crew Transfer didn't work between airstair and passenger fuselage, even though I've edited the relevant CLS configs.

Edited by colmo
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Very nice!

I have regular crew transfer working with Crew Transfer mod' date=' so you've probably not set up your connected living spaces configs correctly.[/quote']

I've asked the CLS author about it.

Check out TouhouTorpedo's new Modular Multiwheel release - adjustable ride height on gear means getting your stairs just the right height will be trivial.

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v0.6.5 has been released!

This is an aesthetics update; it adds normal maps for the two existing textures (KAX- and Firespitter-like) so that parts of the texture appear raised (e.g. bolts and rivets) or recessed (grooves and holes).

Feedback about how it compares to the previous look will be much appreciated. (New users: you can download v. 0.6 here to compare the two.)

Changelog


V 0.6.5 released 2014-09-15
Added normal maps to textures.

Edited by cake>pie
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Instead of cutting weight, how about more functions? A bit of battery, monoprop, fuel, and/or maybe even a generator? Essentially, a service module with stairs. Could be switchable using Firespitter.

I'm not super keen about adding fuel, because:

- additional game balance issues to consider

- additional craft balance issues -- LF and OX are 5 kilos a pop, monoprop is 4 kilos -- so it'll entail adding nontrivial amount of mass; weren't you having already trouble with front-heavy craft a little while back?

- personally from a flavour standpoint I'd prefer not to place fuel in a part of the passenger compartment.

Battery makes more sense; but the stair itself doesn't consume any electric charge when operating, so this would primarily be for the rest of the craft. I'm not sure how much utility this has in vanilla KSP -- in my own vanilla play I've hardly ever faced a struggle to ensure sufficient electric charge on a manned aircraft or spacecraft. Space station or satellite, yes, but stairs inapplicable in those cases. There are some use case for bases and landers, I think, if you're doing a bunch of science transmissions or have a science lab attached. Rovers, yes, power for the wheels -- but that'd be a pretty big rover! If you are playing with other mods, though, the extra battery capacity could be quite handy, e.g. life support mods that require electric charge, or lots of KAS winching.

The generator idea is pretty neat from a flavour POV, it'd basically be like an aircraft APU for when engines are not running. Utility might be a bit lower than battery, though -- for spacecraft I think most people would rather use RTGs or solar panels than cart around a load of fuel to burn for electricity -- the dV hit isn't worth it. So mainly Kerbin-bound aircraft, unless you're rolling with a mod that does resource mining and in-situ conversion into fuel.

To be clear, I'm not out to shoot down your ideas, just want to discuss some pros and cons and see if it makes sense. I do really like your train of thought about adding more functionality, because the airstairs are primarily a cosmetic alternative to ladders -- which, remember, are massless in stock -- so once you take that out of the equation, you're basically left with a dumb piece of structural fuselage, i.e. dead weight. Making the part more useful = good. I am definitely going to give some thought on battery and APU.

Plus, I've got a potentially good one: how about a module manager config to add KAS support, making a cargo/baggage compartment using KASModuleContainer? Pretty good fit, I think. I might even toss in replacement textures that add a cargo door at the bottom of the fuselage (although functionally KAS containers don't have a "door" per se). The one huge downside here is the dependency on another mod -- this feature would be pointless for people who don't use KAS.

Ooh, nifty. An SP+ version of this would rock. At the moment, my pseudo-Concorde passengers are having to climb ladders onto the wings then scramble to the top of the fuselage from there.

That is a real shabby way to treat paying passengers. :sticktongue: The last time I saw passengers on the wing of an airplane, well, you know...

A spaceplane version is part of the plan for the future, though I think I will wait for 0.25 and then design to work with the new spaceplane parts (which are, of course, based on SP+). For now the priority is to get the first version polished up and rolled out. There's also a bit of plugin work I'd like to do here, though I'm not ready to discuss that at the moment.

Also, I expect it will take a bit more work to design for the different form factor. With this round fuselage version, it's basically working with the proportions right out of the Lockheed patent, and the stair height fortuitously lines up nicely for stock gears. With SP+ style fuselage the stair will likely need to fold up and stow away very differently than it does in this version -- that's going to take some figuring out. Sure it would be easy by either telescoping the stairs or magically scaling them, but I refuse to cop out like that -- I want the stair to fold, and I want its physical dimensions to remain fixed.

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"Plus, I've got a potentially good one: how about a module manager config to add KAS support, making a cargo/baggage compartment using KASModuleContainer?"

Bingo. This isn't unusual either - SXT and KSOS feature KAS storage container parts, or storage built right into vehicles (the fire engine has it).

As for how much space, you're talking about the below-floor level of the part, minus a bit for hydraulics.

As for fuel - well, that's optional thanks to tweakables, and I did find myself putting it behind passenger compartments so the weight was more rearward.

Being able to choose between, say, fuel, APU and KAS storage is a nice option to give the player. I have noticed issues with CLS when parts also contain fuel though, so might be problematic.

Shifting CoM as fuel drains is a perennial KSP plane builder problem. I think the trick it to ensure it represents a low mass fraction of the dry mass. On a 1.5 tonne part, with 5kg per unit, 10% would be only 30 units, which does seem pointless. Better to have it in the wings or fuselage where wings attach, such as Coffee Industries 2.5m parts has. I've argued myself around to your PoV...

Have you though about a few more civil aviation style parts, as Coffee and KAX are both stalled? You could do an extended version of this which incorporates the passenger cabin (stairs on one end) - this means not having to transfer each and every one of 17 or so Kerbals before they exit the plane. Designed carefully, you could use two, one flipped around, to make a full-on passenger aircraft with forward and aft stairs. This version would be a better candidate for fuel capacity.

Now, why anyone would want 30+ Kerbals in the same vessel...that's not your problem, is it? :-)

Edited by colmo
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I think some kind of option between empty / batt / APU / KAS (if installed) would work, but that ought to be VAB/SPH toggled rather than having 3 or 4 separate parts that are otherwise identical. Some kind of cross between FSFuelSwitch and some kind of on-the-fly version of ModuleManager (for :NEEDS[KAS] style dependency checks) is needed here, but I'm not sure the technology is there yet.

Edit: (mostly as a note to self) it occurs to me that even with APU there could be air-breathing and closed-cycle alternatives...

You could do an extended version of this which incorporates the passenger cabin (stairs on one end) - this means not having to transfer each and every one of 17 or so Kerbals before they exit the plane.

I am aware of the chore of mass transferring large numbers of pax to/from airstair and other part, but I don't think making a pax cabin+stair part is the "correct" way to solve this problem from a modular design standpoint. The beauty of KSP is you should be able to mix and match with other parts. I'm already looking at other potential solutions for this issue, we'll see if it pans out.

The more I mod, the more things need to be modded! (And airstairs isn't even my biggest project, I have others in the pipeline.)

Now, why anyone would want 30+ Kerbals in the same vessel...

Actually, the correct Kerbal response is "why not?"

Edited by cake>pie
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