allista

[1.7] Throttle Controlled Avionics

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I want to stress this here, in TCA's thread, because most requests for this feature came from TCA users.

Not surprisingly, considering how heavily I use color-coded UI elements in TCA.

So, next time you want to change the way TCA buttons and labels look...

Just right-click on TCA's toolbar button and enjoy! :cool:

TZF2VKJ.png

 

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Posted (edited)

since i updated the mod the TCA modul it isn't available anymore to  all the command pods.

Tried also to start a new game and the TCA is also not available in the toolbar. reverted back to 3.5.4 and it was working again

Edited by GoAHead

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3 hours ago, GoAHead said:

since i updated the mod the TCA modul it isn't available anymore to  all the command pods.

Tried also to start a new game and the TCA is also not available in the toolbar. reverted back to 3.5.4 and it was working again

If you installed from CKAN, it didn't have AT Utils updated and that is your problem. I ran into the same issue.

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1 hour ago, Shalfar said:

If you installed from CKAN, it didn't have AT Utils updated and that is your problem. I ran into the same issue.

CKAN reindexes packages independently, so in the first day or two such discrepancies are, unfortunately, common.

It would be great to specify the exact versions of the dependencies, but that, if at all possible, would require updating netkan metadata with each release; which is also subject to reindexing.

It would be also great if KSP itself informed the user when some of the dlls couldn't be loaded, instead of just logging an error.

But it is how it is.

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i seem to get errors whenever a part on a vessel inflight detaches or is destroyed, and a big lag spike accompanying it, or when tweaking a parts resource storage in the editor.
i get this error in the editor:

 QCIx32.png
vWKTA5.png
addendum- on further notice, i get the second error when inflight and the first error when in editor. the TCA functionality itself seems to work fine- the engines work, and thrust limit is adjusted dynamically when TCA is enabled, but the errors in the log lead too random lag spikes regardless. any idea whats causing this? 

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12 minutes ago, 123nick said:

did you figure out what it was ? 

Well, not exactly, but I've figured out how to fix it :rolleyes:

Something brakes the election logic that decides which TCA instance is the master of its group.

Pretty hard to reproduce consistently to figure out the cause. But irrespective of it, the fix is just to check for the resulting state and repair it when it happens.

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2 minutes ago, allista said:

Well, not exactly, but I've figured out how to fix it :rolleyes:

Something brakes the election logic that decides which TCA instance is the master of its group.

Pretty hard to reproduce consistently to figure out the cause. But irrespective of it, the fix is just to check for the resulting state and repair it when it happens.

nice! will you be updating too fix this bug soon? glad too see you figured it out regardless :D

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Version 3.5.6 for Kerbal Space Program 1.7.0

Released on 2019-05-28

  • In editor TCA UI is available whenever you have a command module. No engines/rcs are required to setup TCA configuration.
  • Fixed exceptions caused by TCA grouping (thanks @123nick for reporting it)
  • Other bugfixes.

 Download 

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Working on reimplementation of the TCA UI using the "new" Unity GUI framework based on RectTransforms, which is event-based and is much faster than the legacy procedural GUILayout.

Not a UI designer myself, so I mostly make it look the same as before. But while I do it and it's easy to make some changes, I'm open to suggestions.

Here's how it looks like right now:

Ju6BRz9.png

pCJZjtI.png

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Planning on making some tutorial videos for TCA :cool:

What topics should I pick first? 

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9 minutes ago, allista said:

Planning on making some tutorial videos for TCA :cool:

What topics should I pick first? 

With very basic stuff. Thinking about beginers, I think that most of them fail to tag proprly engines in SPH/VAB. It may be already covered in older videos, but GUI have changed a lot since those are made (both, KSP and TCA), so It might be good idea to dedicate few minutes to that. What need to be set in SPH/VAB and how it works in flight.
 

What should be covered next may be how to control simple VTOL in flight, followed by more advanced staff, like fly to navigation points, land on exact geographic long/lat. point etc.
Each next advanced topic is equally important.

Does not hurt to mention, what should be put in consideration in single engine (helicopter a like VTOLs) designs and multiengine VTOL designs (area where TCA work the best). Also differences in engine throttle responses (jets vs rocket engines and between various rocket engines). Not each engine respond to throttle change in same way, jets for examle are more noticable that need some time to achieve full thrust.

Just few things that poped up on my mind.

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I'm still learning TCA, but for me the hard part is knowing how to set up the engines in the VAB/SPH, and the appropriate modules and then how to fly the vehicles once they are launched.  I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out that turning everything on is not always the correct action when trying to fly a TCA controlled aircraft.

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If we're talking the UI - does anyone actually ever use anything other than 'all unlocked modules' on a craft?  It seems to me the UI setup for selecting modules to add to a craft could just be dropped unless there's really a use for it.  (Just because a module is on a craft doesn’t mean you're going to use it, of course.)

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4 minutes ago, DStaal said:

If we're talking the UI - does anyone actually ever use anything other than 'all unlocked modules' on a craft?  It seems to me the UI setup for selecting modules to add to a craft could just be dropped unless there's really a use for it.  (Just because a module is on a craft doesn’t mean you're going to use it, of course.)

The whole framework for that was added after heated discussion here about how TCA's UI is overcrowded with functions that no one uses, because they only needed the basic engine balancing :rolleyes:

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25 minutes ago, allista said:

The whole framework for that was added after heated discussion here about how TCA's UI is overcrowded with functions that no one uses, because they only needed the basic engine balancing :rolleyes:

Fair enough.  ;)  My only real issue with your UI is the learning curve - once you know what everything means and where they are, it's fairly easy to focus on what you want.  The layout is fairly decent, if busy.  (And I can usually move things around so that I can get the parts I don't need out of the way of what I'm doing.)  It's just that there's a lot to take in, and you do need to know what everything means and where it is before it's very useful.  I'm not sure how to help that really.

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13 minutes ago, DStaal said:

Fair enough.  ;)  My only real issue with your UI is the learning curve - once you know what everything means and where they are, it's fairly easy to focus on what you want.  The layout is fairly decent, if busy.  (And I can usually move things around so that I can get the parts I don't need out of the way of what I'm doing.)  It's just that there's a lot to take in, and you do need to know what everything means and where it is before it's very useful.  I'm not sure how to help that really.

The tooltips don't help enough?

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I think I learned the system before the tooltips were added.  ;)  Just trying to remember what my initial problems were.

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43 minutes ago, DStaal said:

Fair enough.  ;)  My only real issue with your UI is the learning curve - once you know what everything means and where they are, it's fairly easy to focus on what you want.  The layout is fairly decent, if busy.  (And I can usually move things around so that I can get the parts I don't need out of the way of what I'm doing.)  It's just that there's a lot to take in, and you do need to know what everything means and where it is before it's very useful.  I'm not sure how to help that really.

That is nightmare for any developer, to create UI that is for everyone taste. If you hide everything out of user view and force some kind of default presets that were hardcoded either, directly in plugin or trough editing config files then you will end up soon with users complaining how that is impossible to fine tune some preset to their exact needs. On the other hand, if you overload UI with bunch of information at once, users are confused where to look for something that they need at given moment.

At the end, some compromise have to be made between those two extremes. In my opinion, TCA is fairly good with it. Not perfect, and not for everyone, some effort to learn at least basics of UI have to be made, but reasonable good.

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@allista - I have a few things to add.  

For me, the engine configurations have always been counterintuitive.  Generally, in aviation, "thrust" refers to forward flight, but with your mod, it actually pertains to lift.  That took me a long time to get straight.  So if I want a thrust producing engine, I actually need to set it to "manual control", and when I need lift-producing engines, I have to set them to thrust.  I've never been able to figure out maneuvering engines.  So I generally end up with powered VTOLs that have thrust engines and manual engines, or helicopters that have unbalanced thrust engines.  So this could use a pass, explaining what the different configurations do and how they affect flight, along with some example use cases, maybe.

In terms of the editor - I'm in 100% agreement about the modules option.  The #1 cause of reverting to the hangar for me is forgetting to enable modules and having a blank TCA UI staring at me.  Maybe if you enable the modules by default as they become available and leave the option to turn them off as needed?  

My other through has to do with engine balancing in the editor.  The UI for this is unclear.  I've been using TCA since before you adopted it, so I've pretty much been with you the whole time, and I only just figured this out recently, and only because I was in a "what does this button do" mood one day and started clicking on things to see what happened.  It would be nice if this information were more obvious, and didn't require you to putz around with engine configuration settings to affect it.

In terms of the flight UI, I like them.  As a pilot, I find them easy to use.  About the only thing I would change is the problem annunciator - it sometimes flips through error modes faster than I can interpret them.  Maybe a small caution/warning UI would help.  Not alarms that have to be acknowledged, but something that can show multiple problems at once - (low control authority and terrain warnings in particular).  Maybe if you could create a small, unobtrusive indicator light on the UI that shows when a low control authority condition is happening, or a terrain light, or both?  Don't know how hard that would be, just a thought.  Also, from time to time my aircraft, as I'm trying to maneuver near a ground target or manually land, will go into a panic and start a climb up to a couple of hundred meters.  It would be nice to know why.  I usually just end up turning off CPS when that happens, but it would be nice to know why the system is panicking instead of suddenly finding myself going ballistic.

That's about all the feedback I've got... hope that helps.

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1 hour ago, MaxPeck said:

@allista - I have a few things to add.  

For me, the engine configurations have always been counterintuitive.  Generally, in aviation, "thrust" refers to forward flight, but with your mod, it actually pertains to lift.  That took me a long time to get straight.  So if I want a thrust producing engine, I actually need to set it to "manual control", and when I need lift-producing engines, I have to set them to thrust.  I've never been able to figure out maneuvering engines.  So I generally end up with powered VTOLs that have thrust engines and manual engines, or helicopters that have unbalanced thrust engines.  So this could use a pass, explaining what the different configurations do and how they affect flight, along with some example use cases, maybe.

In terms of the editor - I'm in 100% agreement about the modules option.  The #1 cause of reverting to the hangar for me is forgetting to enable modules and having a blank TCA UI staring at me.  Maybe if you enable the modules by default as they become available and leave the option to turn them off as needed?  

My other through has to do with engine balancing in the editor.  The UI for this is unclear.  I've been using TCA since before you adopted it, so I've pretty much been with you the whole time, and I only just figured this out recently, and only because I was in a "what does this button do" mood one day and started clicking on things to see what happened.  It would be nice if this information were more obvious, and didn't require you to putz around with engine configuration settings to affect it.

In terms of the flight UI, I like them.  As a pilot, I find them easy to use.  About the only thing I would change is the problem annunciator - it sometimes flips through error modes faster than I can interpret them.  Maybe a small caution/warning UI would help.  Not alarms that have to be acknowledged, but something that can show multiple problems at once - (low control authority and terrain warnings in particular).  Maybe if you could create a small, unobtrusive indicator light on the UI that shows when a low control authority condition is happening, or a terrain light, or both?  Don't know how hard that would be, just a thought.  Also, from time to time my aircraft, as I'm trying to maneuver near a ground target or manually land, will go into a panic and start a climb up to a couple of hundred meters.  It would be nice to know why.  I usually just end up turning off CPS when that happens, but it would be nice to know why the system is panicking instead of suddenly finding myself going ballistic.

That's about all the feedback I've got... hope that helps.

Thanks for verbosity! I really miss comprehensive user feedback a lot.

I like the idea of dedicated status UI that can tell different things in parallel. As I mentioned earlier, I'm in the (long and painful) process of reimplementing the UI completely using uGUI. This means, among other things, more expressive power could be put into UI using icons and animation and such. So there's one thing to make differently.

I'll try to solve the "forgot that new module" problem, but the situation here is complicated by the default configs that include info about which modules are enabled. Still, I also often return to editor for that...

Balancing -- have to meditate on this. Seems to be purely UI/UX problem, and I don't have designer skills, as much as I often need them.

The CPS launching ship up? I would also like to know why it does this; but the complexity of the logic behind it (its a sort of FSM) is such that only repeated observation of the same situation with debug logging could provide something close to explanation. Usually it boils down to "I've calculated that you're gonna collide with that high wall sooner than you can climb up to pass above it, so I preemptively fired everything we have and started to brake at the same time..."  The problem there is of course the fact that you would collide at some 2-3m/s, but you won't since you're actually just wobbling about a point where you're trying to land. But a hand-crafted FSM is never a good situation classifier.

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Posted (edited)

While I'm in a talkative mood, trying to learn to use Discord for real-time mod-related discussions:

https://discord.gg/W7xMsW

(valid until Jun 13, 10am UTC)

Edited by allista

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Ive noticed that sometimes TCA just decides to not use gimbal at all, even on crafts where it is the only source of controll authority. Am I doing something dumb, or is this a bug?

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7 hours ago, toric5 said:

Ive noticed that sometimes TCA just decides to not use gimbal at all, even on crafts where it is the only source of controll authority. Am I doing something dumb, or is this a bug?

Looking at the code: there's literally only two cases when gimbal limit is manipulated at all (set to 0 in both cases):

  1. when the main throttle is 0; in which case gimballing doesn't do anything
  2. when an orbital maneuver is performed and the remaining dV is < 0.5m/s. Which is needed to perform the maneuver precisely. Indeed, this assumes that you have some control authority aside from the engines. But otherwise you wouldn't be able to perform any orbital maneuvering at all.

In all other cases gimbal limit is set to 100.

So, could you elaborate: what behavior are you seeing exactly?

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