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Devnote Tuesdays: The Empty Farm Edition


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Felipe (HarvesteR): The Editor Overhaul branch has mostly passed QA here, so I’m again migrating to work on the other half of the update. Back to Upgradeable Facilities here as of today.

To recap on last week, I’ve made several tweaks to improve usability on the editor gizmos. Angle-snapping is improved now: holding LeftShift (remappable) will engage extra precision, reducing the angle snap interval from the default 15° to 5°. This also works with both gizmos. The offset gizmo snaps to a 0.2 unit sized grid, or 0.1 when holding shift.

I’ve also added something that I’ve wanted to add for a while now. Things like this are why I love Unity. I have always felt that the highlighting effect we have on parts was not enough to notice them sometimes, especially when you have tiny parts hidden behind other stuff. To solve that, I added a new edge-highlighting effect. It took literally just a few minutes to set it up. The shader solution was imported from the Asset Store, but this ease of implementation was also in great part due to the very massive code overhaul the editor underwent. Adding it to the old code would have made for even uglier and buggier code. .Anyhow, this new edge-highlighting effect is now used to highlight valid root candidates when using the root tool, to highlight valid destination parts (in flight) when transferring crew members around, and also to highlight parts when you mouse over their staging icons, both in the editor and in flight. This one’s been a long time coming. I wish everything was this easy to set up.

On other news, I’ve taken some time to sit down and actually have a proper play with the new construction tools, so I’ll leave you with a few screenshots of my latest mission to Laythe: 1, 2, 3.

Alex (aLeXmOrA): Renewed the SSL Certificate for the KSP website and set the company’s email address for our newest team member: Kasper. I also helped Ted with some changes to the bugtracker configuration, so it’s easier for the QA team to follow the issues.

Mike (Mu): I’ve had my hands full with more UI additions for the XP system as well as cleaning up and clarifying how XP is allocated on the back end. Have also been assisting in implementation of the tooltips, FinePrint and the new Mk3 parts.

Marco (Samssonart): Last week was QA of the building markers, and I also moved on to another feature. I am implementing Nick, Roger and Daniel’s buildings into the game. What this means is taking the prefabs these guys did and making sure they all are destructible and upgradeable. The part where they have to be destructible is quite a lot of work, because I have to set up a collider array that closely matches the building’s shape. The easiest thing would be to use the same building’s mesh as a collider, but this is far from optimal. The collision detection using meshes is quite expensive in terms of computing and it’s proportional to the mesh’s complexity, number of vertices, triangles and all that mumbo jumbo. So, what has to be done is work with primitives, planes, cubes, spheres, capsules and cylinders as best as I can in order to get a shape that closely matches the building’s and is not as hard on the calculations. There are some cases, however, where a mesh collider cannot be avoided, especially with the wrecked models, but I’ve been trying to keep these to a bare minimum. Since Roger, Dan and Nick did the hell of a job optimizing those models a few of these won’t lay as heavy on my conscience, the heaviest of these building models have roughly 6k triangles.

I am mostly done with the colliders and all the other stuff. Just today, I started with something really fun - exploding stuff. Seriously, every single asset that can be destroyed in the Space Center has to have a unique explosion animation, so this means particle effects. This is what I will be working on for the remainder of the week most likely.

Daniel (danRosas): Got some interesting reviews on the weekend and we’re moving forward with the assets and making the proper adjustments to have them be the best way possible. Our game is that particular case where we’re moving back and forth on asset creation, implementation, etc, and we rely on our community to deliver the best result possible. Talked with Miguel and Felipe, and we’re doing some changes on the approach to the feature. Hopefully you’ll be able to see what we come up with during QA. In the meantime, this week we’ll be modeling, texturing, and moving in and out of Unity, testing out everything that’s being done.

Jim (Romfarer): It has been another week with crazy hours to get this update on track. Up until Thursday, I was working to get the new editor toolbar ready for QA. As it turned out it needed some revisions. Earlier today, I finished those revisions and i’m actually sitting here as i type this discussing it with the QA team. The most important change that came out of this process was the introduction of “simple†and “advanced†mode for the toolbar.

In simple mode you get access to the tabs you had before without subassemblies. The reasoning behind this is that simple mode is intended for new users and i consider subassemblies to be an advanced feature. Enabling advanced mode will open up a second toolbar where you have access to more ways to filter parts with multi select or not, subassemblies and custom categories.

Max (Maxmaps): .Had a veritable mountain of feedback to sort through after the building showcase. Other than that, a ton of good stuff is coming along in QA regarding editors and experience. Our version of Fine Print has been growing into a lovely thing, and Porkjet, is once agian knocking it out of the park with the new MK3 models.

On the feedback though, there is more to be said. We had communications issues regarding the state of the models that we showed you and ended up picking work that wasn’t really ready to showcase. We have been working hard at Squad to up the graphical standard the KSP community deserves and displaying roughly the earliest 20% of the work that so far had been done as the culmination of it was not the right way to go about it. It actually ended up being a great thing, though, as after several meetings and long talks, all your feedback lead to the reevaluation of a lot of the work currently being done.

All those buildings are now going through a thorough revision and the ones showcased in all likelihood will therefore not be ready for 0.90. Fear not, as we have a whole second tier of visual buildings (think industrial park turned space center) that need only minor adjustments and will be there to showcase the upgradable buildings as a feature.

So once more, thank you for your feedback, enthusiasm and support. Where other communities would have turned downright toxic you (mostly!) just showered us in constructive criticism and we can never be thankful enough for that.

Ted (Ted): Another busy week over here in QA HQ! There’s not too many specifics to talk about, but I’ll try make this an engrossing read nevertheless.

So as I mentioned last week, this week we’ve had the Editor Overhaul branch in testing with the QA Team and that was incredibly productive in all manners. There was a lot of usability feedback about the UI/UX and how the part filtering and categorization was displayed to the player. Romfarer/Jim then worked tirelessly with the ever-outstanding QA Team to narrow down the feedback to an ideal user experience that could be implemented via a series of minor changes, resulting in a revision that would be both more intuitive to old players and less overwhelming to a new player. *hands mic to Jim to talk about those changes*.

The gizmos part of the Editor Overhaul went through QA pretty easily, with only a handful of revisions and bugfixes being required - which were raced through by HarvesteR.

Additionally, we’ve been planning out the finer points of this week’s QA to ensure that we get the most out of it and each feature both enters and exits QA seamlessly; ready for integration and - eventually - Experimental testing.

Today we’ve been testing out Arsonide’s implementation of Fine Print into stock KSP and I must say that it’s looking to be a very, very welcome addition to KSP’s contract system.

Anthony (Rowsdower): It’s funny how things can change from day to day. Not so long ago, I’d said on Reddit that the barn was staying and that modeling and textures would be looked into. Today, as you read, it turns out that it’ll be looked into so much that the whole tier one system won’t be ready for 0.90, after all. These are the types of changes that can happen - and happen fast - when detailed community feedback and continual internal monologues occur on a constant basis. Just another day in the life…

Speaking of changes, my duties have shifted a bit around here. I’ve been put in charge some things that Max and Calisker used to focus on, but for obvious reasons, they either have different priorities going or they’re simply not around to do them anymore. Things like encouraging gamers from channels outside the community to join us here have been entrusted to me. Now what does this mean for you? Not too much, really. I’m still the CM and I’m still good for spreading goodwill and crummy jokes throughout the community, however, my focus is now much broader. For instance, you’re going to notice a little less of me around the forum, particularly in a capacity of moderation. Thankfully, our newly minted Lead Moderator, KasperVld will be around more than ever to run it. Seriously, the man’s an animal. Three cheers for him. Right now, though, I’m just getting used to this shift and have already hit the ground running with some ideas to develop.

While I’m at it, make sure you enter the “Holiday Takeoff†sweepstakes that we and Shapeways are running for the next two Fridays on TWITTER. They’re also running their own WISHLIST contest you may want to check out, too.

Rogelio (Roger): Last week I finished the renders for some of the UIs of the feature. Basically, it was all about lighting and asset arrangement tests to better suit the visible space. This week, along with the art team, Felipe and Miguel, we’ll be doing some fixing on the models to get better results, as we realized we weren’t as happy as we wanted with all the assets.

Kasper (KasperVld): Hi, I’m new! Well not really but this is my first week working at Squad and thus, my first week writing a little something for you guys here. So far, I’ve been getting acquainted with the KSP team and the Steam community. I’ve been wrestling with setting up new email accounts, been pulled into meetings and I’m working on a blog post about constructive criticism which should be completed very soon. Unfortunately, there’s not much to show just yet, but did you see Anthony’s new CONTEST? I can definitely recommend giving it a go: those 3D figurines are amazing showpieces.

I’d also like to plug Bob Fitch’s YOUTUBE channel in this space, as well. His channel shows some of the best story-driven KSP gameplay videos out there. He also recently started a series in which he talks about his experience modding KSP and he’s planning on launching a third series in which he will show us the history of human spaceflight using a version of KSP modded to reflect real life rocketry even better. Interesting stuff!

Edited by Vanamonde
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YAY, more long devnotes! (Need to read them all!)

EDIT:

Ooh, shiny part highlighting! That's long overdue, indeed!

(Also, no Tier 1 space center for .90... does that mean no upgradeable buildings? :huh:)

^I hope not.

Edited by Starwhip
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Interesting, so the Tier 1 KSC is being delayed? Well at least we know it's for a good cause.:D Though, I'm wondering, how much more advanced is the Tier 2 KSC? I don't believe we've been told yet how many tiers there are, but from the fact that Tier 2 is not being delayed I assume it must have actual buildings and/or completely different models.:P

Also congrats Kasper!

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<p><img src="https://31.media.tumblr.com/0ff9377afa68dc3ad3fe6844aaf1bd38/tumblr_inline_newgmkVhgw1rr2wit.jpg"/></p>

<p><strong>Felipe (HarvesteR)On other news, I’ve taken some time to sit down and actually have a proper play with the new construction tools, so I’ll leave you with a few screenshots of my latest mission to Laythe: <a href="http://i.imgur.com/cdNkfMZ.png"><strong>1</strong></a>, <a href="http://i.imgur.com/oJEGroR.png"><strong>2</strong></a>, <a href="http://i.imgur.com/MUgYECc.png"><strong>3</strong></a>.<br/></span></p>

<p><strong>

Number 3 screenshot :

ssme.jpg

I think Felipe is holding out on us. I want to play this game too.

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Wow, I am immensely impressed with the amount of detail contained in the dev notes these past couple of months. I know the community was giving you devs a bit of flak for lack of detail in the past, but I want to say thank you for all of the effort you have been putting into them lately. On a related note, I think it's great that you respond so quickly to community feedback (i.e. the first impressions of the barn and tier 1 space center). I do think it's kind of sad that you have to now hold back showing early models of game concepts, because of the way the community responded. I think if you make it clear that some models are preview only and do not represent the final appearance when they are released, the fans might be more understanding.

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Once again, great devnotes! I'm happy to hear the tier 1 space center is being revised, even though it won't make it into 0.90. Editor gizmos, Kerbal XP, new Mk.3 parts, and the other upgradable facilities are plenty of features for a single update!

Edited by Rthsom
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Looking good, or rather, sounding good. :wink: Glad the tier 1 is getting a make over, and look forward to the other tiers, (tier 3 will be the current KSC?) With all of this talk about making it easier for new users, are you planning on some sort of marketing campaign to try and bring new users in? Has there ever been a marketing campaign for KSP?

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Why not delay 0.9 until the Tier 1 is ready?

I wouldn't mind to wait a little big longer to have the full set of tiers in one update

I guess I wouldn't mind it too much.

...

Wait, what?

little big

What does that even MEAN?!? :confused:

:P

EDIT:

Oh, shoot, Vanamonde, don't slay me! :(

END EDIT

It really depends. If it's another week, meh, I'll be fine.

A month?

0-0

That's kinda pushing it.

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New part highlighting looks fantastic and much clearer, and the higher precision in the VAB gizmos sounds great. Look at the nose gear in HarvesteR's first screenshot, looks like it's been recessed into the cockpit using the offset gizmo. Same with the central RCS tanks.

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The new part highlighting looks FANTASTIC! Much clearer and jumps out much more than the previous shader

Glad to see you are taking the comments about the barnyard KSC in account.

Also looking forward to PorkJet's work on the Mk3 spaceplane parts. Judging from his past work it looks like he'll do great things with it.

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Very impressive set of notes. Love the highlight mode. Three cheers for embracing the criticism and suggestions of everybody; I do think (hope) we may be embarking on a virtuous circle of the criticism getting more constructive in step with Squad's engagement with it. :)

I'm tickled pink that a Realism Overhaul-using video series just got plugged on the dev notes. :D

One concern: I have grown incredibly accustomed to the rotational flexibility that Editor Extensions (90 degree snaps!) and Part Angle Display (0.1 degree rotation!) have offered. I really, really hope (and really, really beg) that the new system will allow for such moddability.

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Why not delay 0.9 until the Tier 1 is ready?

I wouldn't mind to wait a little bit longer to have the full set of tiers in one update

This would delay the feedback of the players on everything else.

I could live with implementing the Tier 1 as it is and upgrade the models with a .9.5 patch.

And I really hope that Tier 1 is not changed into a low level yet already sophisticated stage of the buildings from Tier 3!

I like the "make do with what is there" approach for the start of the KSC.

I'm tickled pink that a Realism Overhaul-using video series just got plugged on the dev notes. :D

Still waiting for different tech trees selections for the stock game here. ^^

One concern: I have grown incredibly accustomed to the rotational flexibility that Editor Extensions (90 degree snaps!) and Part Angle Display (0.1 degree rotation!) have offered. I really, really hope (and really, really beg) that the new system will allow for such moddability.

I will second this.

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