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Nate Simpson

KSP Team
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  • About me
    Creative Director KSP 2
  • Location
    Seattle, WA
  • Interests
    Kerbal, comics, cycling, and sci-fi.

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  1. David's instinct to measure twice and cut once is one of the traits that makes him an extremely effective engineer. It was clearly honed over his years of dealing with similar challenges in KSP1. I'm always impressed by his calm and analytical approach - he never jumps to a prescription before we understand every dimension of the problem we're trying to solve. Trust me when I say that my own eagerness to solve a problem in the "obvious" way is almost always proven misplaced once we've done a deep dive on the causes of an issue. David is a treasure and we all love working with him.
  2. This is a great question. We're aware that the people who have chosen to play the game in Early Access have done so because they want to have fun (while participating in the evolution of the game). There continue to be some bugs that are active obstacles to fun - these are distinct from bugs related to polish, presentation, or ease of use. Fun-killing bugs have to go to the top of the pile. Thankfully, the process of settling on a joint rigidity solution isn't made all that much more difficult by running through the potential remedies and recognizing that one of the lower-cost choices could make the game more fun for people while the extensible, interstellar-friendly version is under construction.
  3. In case people are wondering why I listed "wobbly rockets" as our current top bug and not "orbital decay," it's because a hotfix just went out (38 minutes ago) that not only fixes the recently-detected registry bug, but also addresses the orbital decay issue. It's a huge relief, both as a developer and a player, to have this finally squared away:
  4. I have a very strong idea when the short-term fix is likely to materialize, but the complexity of this game has a way of turning "low-risk" predictions into misstatements. To my eyes, it feels very close. But there are always questions that can only be answered by testing (which for a game like this can take time). Does it work in all situations? Does it introduce new bugs? Does it break a seemingly unrelated system in a hard-to-detect way? I'm reminded of how the joint reinforcement technique we introduced for a narrow subset of parts created an initially subtle but ultimately game-breaking fuel flow bug that flew under the radar for weeks. What I can say, without fear of misrepresenting things, is that it's a priority task for our most senior developers, and it is internally our most-wanted fix right now. We released this video to underscore that it's a priority for us and that we're approaching the problem with the nuance and openness that it deserves. Our goal here, given requests we've seen here for greater transparency, was to provide more visibility into the way we navigate the sometimes complicated terrain of requirements presented by this game.
  5. I hope you enjoyed this chat! Since this conversation took place, David has been developing a tool that allows our team to compare multiple wobbly rocket remedies, including selective wobbliness for certain part categories, KSP1-style autostrut for the entire vehicle, and various flavors of packed vehicle physics. We are testing these now, with the goal of achieving a near-term improvement in vehicle rigidity while developing a more ambitious long-term fix that's performant at all scales. We'll post more information when we've arrived at a balanced solution. We know you've waited a long time for a solution to this issue, and we're excited to be closing in on a resolution.
  6. I think you may be referring to the same phenomenon listed in the original post as "SAS causes runaway pitch oscillation for aircraft in flight." SAS does not currently like to provide incremental control surface commands - it's very all or nothing right now, which leads to the up-down seesawing. It's bad enough that I don't really even attempt SAS when I'm flying aircraft these days. It's a high-priority issue for us.
  7. Good afternoon, intrepid Kerbonauts! Lots of stuff to talk about today! As many of you know, a couple of new bugs were introduced with last week’s v0.1.3.0 patch. The most significant of these bugs relates to a loss of atmospheric drag (and physics in general) when capsules are decoupled. For the first time ever, we issued a hotfix to correct that issue yesterday morning. Yesterday’s v0.1.3.1 hotfix also contained a fix for a VAB bug in which fairing editor UI elements were drawing on top of one another. We discovered after yesterday’s hotfix that people were unable to launch the game outside of the Private Division launcher. This was not intentional, and has been fixed — due to a configuration error on our end, we accidentally included Steam’s built-in DRM. KSP2 is DRM-free, just like KSP1. The fixed update was pushed to Steam this morning. Sorry for the headache! We’re testing a second hotfix (timing TBD) that corrects the blurry navball issue. And because we’re sneaky little devils, we’re also doing some testing around a fix for the SOI transition trajectory bug. If these fixes prove stable and low-risk, we’ll release a second hotfix. Fingers crossed! The work that’s gone into the SOI transition issue — number 2 on our top-ten most wanted bugs list — deserves a special mention. Engineers David Tregoning, Mark Jones, and Shalma Wegsman put in colossal efforts to both track down the cause of the issue and to craft a solution. This one has been a long time coming, and it’s great to be able to knock such a big item off the list. The credit for the fast turnaround on all the latest fixes goes to a well-coordinated joint effort between engineers, production, and QA. We’re still learning as we go, but things are feeling good. Bugs: The Next Generation Based on the Bug Reports subforum, these are the community’s 10 most-upvoted bugs: Orbital Decay [25 votes] Incorrect Maneuver on Inclination Change [10 votes] Cannot Change Craft/Vessel Name in Tracking Station [9 votes] AIRBRAKES Deploying on Roll [9 votes] Camera Resets Position Map View [8 votes] Graphic Glitches on AMD [8 votes] Engine Sound Effects Not Playing [7 votes] Cannot Change Symmetry While Holding Strut [7 votes] Center of Mass/Thrust/Pressure Vectors sitting on VAB Floor [6 votes] UI Artifacting [6 votes] Note: Navball Blurry [18 votes] and SOI Trajectory Line Issues [18 votes] have been left out of the above list since we're considering them for the second hotfix. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit bugs in the subforum. Even if you don’t have a new issue to report, your upvotes help us determine the relative priority of the bugs that have already been posted. While we investigate the bugs above, two other non-feature items also feature in our top ten: Rockets are still too wobbly SAS causes runaway pitch oscillation for aircraft in flight Lots to do! Thanks again for submitting such detailed and well-documented bug reports. It’s going to be a busy month! Art Director Kristina Ness AMA Did you catch our Art Director’s AMA yesterday? She was asked lots of interesting questions, many of which ranged well beyond the domain of art. She gave fantastic and detailed answers, and if you missed the stream, it’s definitely worth watching here. With the help of streaming-wizard Dakota, she even got to show off some visuals as well! You can find a transcript of the AMA here as well. Thanks, Ness! KSP2 Steam Sale This is the second week of Private Division’s 20% off sale for KSP2, which ends on July 13th. If you’ve got any friends who you think might enjoy the last little bit of heat-free reentry during Early Access, now’s a great time to tell them about the sale! Weekly Challenge Last week’s Jool 5 challenge produced some of the coolest, most ambitious craft designs we’ve seen in KSP2. Check out this absolute unit from DarlesChickens: Or this beauty from Razorback: And here’s a unique one from Tr1gonometry: We know that in the Wobbly Rocket Era, missions of this kind can be extra challenging. Kudos to everybody who braved the bugs and slipped the surly bonds of Kerbin regardless! This week’s challenge? You’re putting on an air show! Build a maneuverable stunt plane and show off your fancy flying skills. Buzz the tower! Under the bridge! Do some barrel rolls! To get specific: Primary goal: Fly an inside loop, an Immelmann turn, and a split-s turn Secondary goal: Fly an outside loop, a barrel roll, and a hammerhead stall turn Jeb-level goal: Fly under the R&D Bridge as fast as you can Val-level goal: Fly under the parking garage bridges (from the water), under the R&D bridge, and then back through the parking bridges Tim C-level goal: Fly a loop arouund the R&D bridge so that you pass under it twice in one maneuver Don’t forget to wear your G-suit — you’re about generate some wing loads that’ll make your crew chief very grumpy! While your screenshots are always welcome, video capture will be the best way to show off your maneuvering prowess. Good luck! Summer Changes Now that summer’s here, with all its vacation-related comings and goings, I’ll be letting other parts of our team handle forum posting for a while. In the coming month, you’ll still see the following on the forums: Bug report updates More AMAs Challenges In addition, we’ll be uploading more gameplay clips to our social channels. I’ll still be lurking both here and on Discord, so you’ll see me in the comments from time to time. We’ve got a lot of good momentum coming off the last update and we’re already making great headway on the next one. I’m looking forward to sharing our progress with you soon.
  8. We believe this issue is fixed in the v0.1.3.0 release build. Please let us know if any of you are still experiencing this problem. Thanks! Edit: Sounds like maybe this was premature. Still gathering data.
  9. I am following up on this one today - my best theory is that we accidentally failed to exempt this texture from some MIP compression script. Will update when confirmed.
  10. Thanks to Community Member @Kavaeric for making this banner Happy day-after-update, fellow Kerbonauts! Many of you have had a few hours to experience the v0.1.3.0 update, and hopefully you have found the gameplay experience improved! Many players are reporting significantly better framerates, but there are more than just performance gains on the menu. Among the new fixes and features we’re most excited about for this update: New parts, including three new engines, new docking ports, and the A.I.R.B.R.A.K.E. The Flight HUD UI is now rescalable via player settings Several decoupling-related flight bugs have been resolved We knocked out several of the vehicle-falls-through-terrain bugs We nailed that really annoying VAB bug that kept you from putting down procedural parts after picking them up We strengthened wing attachments with a new automatic multi-joint system We fixed the asymmetrical separation forces on radial decouplers, restoring the beauty of booster separations There are many other fixes, big and small. Take a look at our patch notes to get the full rundown. What's Next This update represents an incremental step in the ongoing Early Access process of addressing game-breaking bugs while moving toward our first Roadmap update, which will add Science collection, a new Mission system, and parts progression to the game. We still have quite a few game-breaking bugs at the moment, as well as aspects of gameplay that still need refinement (wobbly rockets, overactive control surfaces, strange SAS behavior). We will be posting our new top-ten most wanted bugs next week (three of which will be carrying over from our previous top-ten list). If you’re playing the latest update and you come across a bug that you’d like to report, please do so via the Bug Reports subforum; you can upvote existing reports, or if your issue isn't listed, you can submit a new report through the form. We will be following those threads very closely to track which issues are most important to the community as a whole.We are aware that one of the decoupling fixes in this update has introduced a new issue that breaks aerodynamic drag after a decoupling action. Thanks to early reports from the community, we have been able to reproduce the bug and are working on a fix. If the fix proves stable and low risk, we will consider releasing a hot fix in a few days. Some players have also correctly noted that the orbital decay and SOI transit trajectory bugs are still present in v0.1.3.0 - while we had high hopes for an eleventh-hour breakthrough, neither fix made it across the finish line in time. In the days after code lock, a new fix for the SOI transit issue was submitted and is being tested. Our engineers have also isolated the orbit decay issue and believe they have a good remedy on deck. With updates, there’s always the temptation to hold the build just a couple more days to sneak in additional fixes (which we actually did this week). Alas, at some point the train has to leave the station, but it’s at least comforting to know that these issues will be addressed in an upcoming update. We appreciate your patience, and we hope that the changes that did make it into this week’s update have improved the game for you. Other questions that we’ve been asked: Where’s reentry and heating? - We are working hard on both. We expect reentry VFX to arrive earlier than thermal systems and heat-related part destruction, so there may be a short phase during which reentering vehicles look like they’re being heated, but really aren’t. We don’t want to reverse any of our recent framerate gains, so we’re taking the time needed to make sure reentry is both awesome-looking and performant. To give you better visibility into the work taking place in this area, we will be posting a new dev blog about the heat system soon What’s going to be in v0.1.4.0? - As we continue to work through our critical bugs list, those that are fixed by the next update will be included. We are still targeting foundational bugs and playability issues. As we work down through the list, we’ll report on our progress. When is the Science update? - The first of the headline Roadmap updates - which will add Science, Missions, and an R+D Center, is still several months away. A lot of work is going into the "Dot Two" update — deep architecture work, bugfixing, new systems, and a lot of new content. We will continue to release incremental updates until that time, with the goal of eliminating the major game-breaking bugs prior to v0.2.0.0. We’ll provide a release date for that version as soon as we can Steam Sale With summer upon us, Private Division is holding a 20% off sale for the Steam Version of KSP2. The sale ends on July 13th. If you’ve got a friend who has an interest in participating in Early Access, now is a great time to hop on board! Upcoming AMA On Thursday, June 29 at 10am PST, our art director Kristina Ness will be fielding your questions about KSP2, and this is a rare opportunity to get detailed answers about the game’s art! You can submit questions for her via Discord, Steam, or the KSP2 forums. Weekly Challenge Last week’s "Score a Goal" Challenge was extra challenging, but those who conquered it created some very original vehicles! First, there’s this submission from Miss, which deserves special mention as it’s the only attempt that involves not only a ball, but a rocket-powered foot! Squidplaz did some reaction wheel magic to get a ball under the R+D Center bridge: User @pyasupro posted this beauty on Twitter, and made goals on both the Mun and Moho: Klapaucious made two glorious attempts, and both deserve a mention. First, the gigantic gumball ramp: Then he deactivated his targeting computer and hit the bullseye from the air: And finally, Mottl did... I don’t know what Mottl did, actually. How did this one end up going, Mottl? This week’s challenge: we’re going to Jool! Here are the deets: Primary goal: Launch a single-Kerbaled mission (only 1 spacecraft may depart Kerbin's SOI, but it can be built in Kerbin orbit) that passes through the SOI of all 5 of Jool's moons at least once before returning to Kerbin Secondary goal: Same as primary, but land a probe on each of Jool's moons (the probes don't have to return) Jeb-level goal: Same as secondary, but plant flags on Bop and Pol Val-level goal: Plant flags on all 5 moons of Jool in one mission before returning safely to Kerbin Have a great weekend, everybody!
  11. Great comment. This is my favorite kind of feedback, thorough and well-argued.
  12. It is entirely opt-in. You can just go and explore at your own discretion if you like, and you'll collect Science the same way that you did in KSP 1. The mission system just adds interesting additional goals for those who want them.
  13. Credit to Kavaeric for this week’s update graphic remix Good afternoon, fellow Kerbonauts. The release date for the v0.1.3.0 update has been revised to June 22 (a two-day delay, from next Tuesday to next Thursday). We have a couple of critical bugs that we think will significantly affect the quality of the update, so we’re giving our team a couple of extra days to knock them out and test the changes. As always, we will post detailed patch notes when the update goes live. The list of fixed items is significant for this one, but major bugs still remain (to give just one example, we still have not completed our fix for the orbital decay issue, which is number one on our priority list). Once the update is live, we will reset the the Bug Reports subforum for new report submissions and re-assess our internal priority list based on both community feedback and our own internal testing. On the following dev update, I’ll post our new top-ten most wanted list based on that information. In the interest of avoiding repetition, I will not re-post the current top-ten list here, as all relevant fixes will officially continue to be in QA review until the update goes live. A Word About Wobbly Rockets Our team shares the community view that overly-wobbly rockets are a major issue in KSP2 (it is number 10 on our top-ten issues list). We have introduced a number of mitigations to address aspects of that issue (altering inertia tensor values to decrease joint issues that emerge when high-mass and low-mass parts are connected, introducing various bespoke multi-joint augmentations to areas of known over-flexibility), but we still see this as an area where major improvement is needed. For the record, this is our official view on what a successful implementation would look like, and against which we continue to measure the effectiveness of ongoing mitigation work: For inline parts that are connected serially, in most applications there should be little to no flexing. This is especially true when neighboring inline parts are the same core size For radially-attached boosters or cantilevered subassemblies with single-point radial connections, some flexibility is expected. There are some applications for which manually-applied struts should be required Wings should not require struts to stay rigid Docking two vessels in orbit should result in a strong, non-wobbly connection that doesn’t fold on itself as soon as the player tries to move the resulting vehicle Wobbly rockets are sometimes fun and funny. A big part of what originally got many of us hooked on the original KSP was the silliness and emergent problem solving that came from playing World of Goo with rocket parts. Broadly, we see this as part of the Kerbal DNA, and want to preserve it in some form. Whether that means limiting wobbliness to certain types or sizes of parts, or relegating certain behaviors to player settings, is the subject of ongoing internal discussion. We of course are following community conversations with keen interest, and this is an area where Early Access participants can have a significant impact on the 1.0 version of KSP2 Joint physics impact CPU performance, and as we progress through the Colony and Interstellar roadmap milestones the part counts will increase dramatically. Any solutions we arrive at for the above requirements must accommodate this reality We would like to move away from autostrut, or any other band-aid solution that involves hidden settings that automatically apply additional joints to make a vehicle more rigid. Whatever solution we arrive at, we’d like it to be predictable and transparent to all users. If over the course of Early Access we find that some form of autostrut is still necessary to allow the creation of ambitious vehicles, we’ll revisit this requirement As a person who has dive-bombed more than one physics meeting with an exasperated "can’t we just make the joints stiffer" comment, let me assure you that in true KSP fashion, this is not a problem with a simple remedy. We’ve got very capable people on the case, and we will arrive at a good solution. Ongoing Work for the Science Roadmap Update As our architecture-facing teams chase down critical bugs, the content-focused feature teams have continued to work on features for the Science update, which will introduce the first major suite of new features to KSP2 since the beginning of Early Access. While we don’t have anything to share yet on timing, the following areas have seen significant progress: An all-new Science collection and transmission system, along with the assignment of Science biomes to all Kerbolar celestial bodies A new Mission system that provides compelling player goals and tracks flight events to determine the achievement of those goals, along with the activation of the Mission Control building to access those functions New Science parts that are distinctive enough from one another that they provide interesting vehicle design choices to the player An all-new tech tree that provides an interesting part progression that will later expand to accommodate the arrival of future interstellar-grade and colony parts And of course, there are some new Kerbal animations for sample collection: eva_science_sample_ground_01.mp4 New Dev Blog Yesterday, we posted a new dev blog entry from Senior Designer Chris Adderley that goes into some detail on the aero occlusion bug that we fixed this month. It’s a nice example of how certain bugs can not only be tricky to detect (it was in fact a community member who first identified the problem), but how bugs within interdependent systems can compound on one another in ways that make tracking them down especially complicated. It’s a cool detective story, and now that we’re through it, I’m glad that Chris has broken it all down for the rest of us. Weekly Challenges Last week’s Build a Base challenge generated some amazing results. Kerman_von_Braun’s achievement appears to have involved the use of a time machine, as it was submitted to YouTube a week before the challenge was announced! But it’s so great, I have to give it a shout-out anyway: And then there’s Banana Base, by Suppise (some kind of signal noise appears to be corrupting some of these images - we’ll ask somebody to look into it): We also really liked this Duna tower and rover by Hammo1603: There’s also a recent trend of players recreating the Challenge banner art drawn by Matthew Poppe. For the record, I think Matt has really been enjoying this. Look at this one from Jaypeg: Congratulations to all the other people who conquered this one! We can only post a few here, but we enjoyed all of the creations posted to the Build a Base thread. This week’s challenge: Score a Goal! That’s right, those big spherical hydrogen tanks are about to be kicked, dunked, and spiked across the Kerbolar system! There will be extra (imaginary) points for style: Primary gooooooooooal: Use a crewed vehicle to roll an uncontrolled spherical hydrogen tank under the KSC bridge Secondary goooooooooooooooal: Deliver a spherical hydrogen tank to the surface of the Mun and knock it through a Mun arch Jeb-level goooooooooooooooooooooal: Roll a spherical hydrogen tank into the Mohole on Moho Val-level goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal: After scoring the goal on Moho, dunk a second hydrogen tank from the same vehicle into the center of the KSC communications dish We are counting on you to perform some ludicrous displays. We don’t want to see anybody walk it in. Cheers!
  14. It is my job, both within the team and outwardly to the public, to create and communicate goals. Another one of my jobs is to look at the current state of the game and talk about where we stand with respect to those goals. Those goals have not changed. We have shown footage and screenshots of as-yet unfinished features for years. That is a part of the goal setting and communication process. Have I sometimes thought we were closer to the finish line than we really were? That's a matter of public record. Given that I'm both a fan of KSP and an enthusiastic person, I often can't wait to share a cool thing I've experienced with other fans. Is that marketing? If "marketing" means "misrepresenting for profit," I don't think it is. Is it unwise to show off something before it has reached a shippable level of polish? Sometimes it might be, but when I think back to how much I enjoyed hearing about upcoming features back in the HarvesteR days, it's hard not to err on the side of oversharing. It is very nice to be the bearer of good news. As I've mentioned here before, the parts and environment art teams are always ahead of the other teams, just by virtue of how the pipeline works. That means that some updates will include new parts. This is not meant to obscure any uncomfortable realities. Those who have the expertise to fix trajectory or decoupling bugs are fully devoted to fixing them. Those who have the ability to design and implement parts are putting their hearts and souls into that work. One thing I do not have direct control over is velocity. Our team has learned quite a lot over the years, and I think both our production processes and our ability to communicate with one another have improved tremendously. But it is a learning process, as you've seen from the evolution of these forum posts. I understand that the community would like all of these planned features to arrive as soon as possible. Everyone on this team is doing everything they can to improve efficiency so that we're able to take the most direct path to those big roadmap goals. But we also are learning to measure twice and cut once, to reduce tech debt, to improve our testing protocols, and to improve communication between feature teams - all with the goal of making sure that when those roadmap features go live, that they are stable and performant. The goals remain the same, and the thing that keeps me going is the thought of one day driving a resource collection rover out of a colony VAB on an extrakerbolar planet. On the day I finally do this, I'll probably sublimate into a gas, my work on this planet finally having been completed.
  15. This is by design: we are not trying to create a system in which wings never fail. We just don't want them to fall off inexplicably. Please take the new system for a spin and let us know if you think it's still producing frustrating results!
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