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  1. What it does Adds additional information to the "planet info" pane of the KSP planetarium. User can choose which parameters are displayed, via game settings. Config file allows customizing numeric formats. Works in modded solar systems. (That's why I wrote it, actually.) Localized in English and French. Download from SpaceDock License: CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Source code How to install Unzip the contents of "GameData" to your GameData folder, same as with most mods. Why would anyone want this? I've always liked the planet info display in the planetarium (in the tracking station, or in map view during flight). However, it's never felt quite right to me-- it's missing some bits of information that I find important, while "wasting" valuable screen real estate for some parameters that don't really have any practical in-game use. This mod addresses that. Here's what it does to the planet information displayed: Hides mass, area, and gravitational parameter (GM). Indicates whether the atmosphere contains oxygen. Indicates whether the rotation period is tidally locked. Indicates whether the rotation is retrograde. Shows the maximum surface elevation. Shows the orbital period. Shows the orbital semimajor axis. (off by default, can turn on via options) Shows the altitude of a synchronous orbit (or "n/a" if not possible). Shows the height of the upper atmosphere boundary. Shows the height of the high / low space boundary. Shows the number of biomes present. Shows the number of biomes that have been explored. Shows the current exploration status overall (i.e. have you achieved orbit? landed? etc.) In-game settings The default behavior is tweaked to be the way that I, personally, like it, since it's my mod. However, I realize that not everyone necessarily has the same preferences I do, so you can tweak it as you like via the game settings dialog. Default settings are shown above. Note that if you like showing the info I've removed (area, mass, gravitational parameter), you can turn them back on. Configuration file But wait, there's more! You can also customize the colors used for the text, as well as the numeric formats used for showing the information and some other behavior as well. You can do this via a configuration file, PlanetInfoPlus.cfg, which you will find in the mod's folder. Debug console From the Alt+F12 debug menu, type /pip to see a list of available console commands. Currently, the most interesting/useful one is probably /pip dump, which will cause the program to dump its planetary "max elevation" data (altitude, latitude, longitude) to a text file, named PlanetInfoPlusDump.cfg, located in the same folder as the mod. FAQ Q: Does this work on modded solar systems? What if I rescaled the solar system? A: It "just works". The mod dynamically calculates everything at runtime; nothing's hard-coded, it uses whatever you've got set up. Q: Could you add <feature>? A: Maybe! If you've got an idea, let's hear it! Please post in the thread, here. No promises, but I'll certainly read and think about it. Q: Hey! I noticed that your mod says the highest point on Kerbin is 6769 m, but I read somewhere that it's 6768 m instead! Your mod is bad and you should feel bad. A: Scanning for max elevation is imprecise, based on doing a bunch of samples of the surface. The only way to be perfectly accurate would be to take an infinite number of samples. Since my mod isn't necessarily using the exact same number or arrangement of samples as whoever wrote the other number you read, it might differ by a meter or two. Q: I'm playing a sandbox game, and I don't see the "biomes explored" field. What gives? A: The mod defines a biome as "explored" if the player has retrieved science from the surface (or flying low, if it has an atmosphere). Games where science isn't a thing (i.e. sandbox) therefore don't have this feature. Acknowledgments Thanks to @Poodmund for pointing me at a handy algorithm for finding max elevation on a planet. Thanks to @flart for bug reports and feature suggestions. Thanks to @R-T-B for feature suggestions and Kopernicus compatibility work. Thanks to @vinix and @goldenpeach for graciously supplying French localization.
  2. This post is a bit hard to categorize. It’s part fan art, part suggestion, part general discussion topic, and part personal creative exercise. Mods, move this if necessary. In the Celestial Architecting video and latest atmospheric scattering show and tell, we saw a planet in development called Lapat that was apparently covered in vegetation. While the devs have been cagey about the possibility of complex life on other planets, I think this provides us with ample grounds for rampant, optimistic speculation about life on Lapat, particularly animal life. This post is my “blank check” wishlist for the kinds of things I’d like to see. In designing these alien animals, I'm trying to keep things both within the bounds of scientific plausibility and KSP's art style. With kerbals setting a precedent for the kind of life appropriate for the KSP universe, we can assume that any alien animal life will, like kerbals, be fairly simple, colorful, and funny-looking. Staying rooted in biology, the aliens also have to look like they're related to each other, but not to the kerbals. It should be possible to identify different phyla and draw speculative cladograms, but the Lapat family tree should still be kept fairly simple (like how the planetary systems are simple "toy" versions of real life). All major ecological niches should be filled, and we can expect that the Lapatians have found recognizable ways to fill them by convergent evolution, e.g. there will probably be things like "whales", "lions", "turtles", "birds", and "crabs". The animals must also be reasonable to implement into the game as animated actors with limited AI, hypothetically as DLC or something; so no intelligent aliens allowed, nothing so complex that the game becomes all about them and not the rockets. Gameplay-wise, aliens should be like mobile surface features for the player to find and catalogue. I have a loose family tree that in mind that I'm building as a draw these. I wanted most of the dominant "vertebrates" to be tripods because it's simple, funny, and creates weird design constraints. We also have to have to goofy-looking bugs and squid things of course, since you can't have an alien planet without those. I decided that all the eyes should be just like the kerbals': white spheres with black dot pupils. This is the KSP version of a camera eye, which has developed in many unrelated species on Earth by convergent evolution, and is one of the features we would expect to see in real aliens if we ever found them. So not only are the googly eyes funny, they make scientific sense in-universe if we assume the kerbal eyes are "typical". Anyway, my wild speculations follow. I will update this post as I add to the list. Life on Lapat, A Traveller's Guide: Stompachonkus seesawi Stompachonks are the dominant herbivores on Lapat. Their enormous size makes them unassailable by predators, and their long necks allow them to reach vegetation anywhere. Like all members of phylum Tripoda, they have three legs, and while they walk on all three, they can stand on their front two, which they often do when they eat low-lying plants. The rear leg acts as a counterweight to the neck, allowing them to stand in one place and hoover up grass like a bucket-wheel excavator. Chungutherium hedbutti Chungutheres travel in herds across Lapat's savannas, feeding on grasses and other ground-level plants. Their antennae are encased in large bony sheathes that they use as weapons, to contest dominance with other chungutheres and to repel attacks by large predators. Jumpalopus hippidihoppidi Jumpalopes are nimble herding herbivores. When threatened they can leap great distances and bound across Lapat's plains at high speed. They often find themselves running desperately from... Cursorus Vex C-Vex is the apex land predator on Lapat, running down and chomping its prey with its massive jaws. Unlike most other tripods, it moves entirely on its front two legs, its third leg being entirely modified as a tail counterweight to its massive head. This bipedal stance is an evolutionary holdover from its flying cousins like the Duffin, which perch on two legs when landed. Dromidudius wileium Dromidudes are small, nimble land predators. They are extremely fast and will chase down anything they think might be mocking them. Thankfully they seem uninterested in prey that's kerbal sized or larger. Smeerpium mintyleafium Smeerpies are tiny and ubiquitous herbivores. They can jump high in the air when threatened and their antennae are long and leaflike to disguise them amongst Lapat's grasses. Dromidudes interpret this form of camouflage as mockery. Duffus duffus Duffins are a plague. They are stupid and they are everywhere. Avoid flying your rockets through flocks of them. Thtorkus nosedivius Thtorks are Lapat's seabirds, patrolling the cliffs and coastlines of Lapat's oceans. They will patiently soar on thermals until they spot something in the water for them to dive upon and spear with their pointed head. Dagronium lockheedi Dagrons are large, predatory, flying tripods that mostly hunt other fliers like thtorks and duffins. They are solitary creatures that build their nests on remote mountain tops and cliff edges. Although their names sound similar, they should not be mistaken for dargons, and certainly not for dragons. Galumphagumpis swirlitops Galumphagumps are the turtle-analogs of phylum Noodleboia. They use their four proboscises as legs, stomping on and swallowing appetizing herbs as they walk. They can retract into their spiral shells when threatened. Their secondary appendages are modified as manipulators which they use to dig for food. Like all Noodlebois, they are radially symmetrical and have eyes on both sides of their bodies, providing 360 degree vision. Dippidorpus kyklopter Dippidorps are flying "insect" noodlebois that feed mostly on carrion or decaying plant matter. They're mostly harmless and mostly annoying and often preyed upon by Duffins and Dromidudes. [To Be Continued] _____ If there is ever to be alien animal life in KSP 2, I think it needs to be a balanced combination of silliness and plausibility. It needs to make you laugh first, then think "hey, that kinda makes sense". This bestiary is my humble attempt to check all those boxes and make a desperate case to the developers that they should add aliens to the game, because... I want them. Really bad.
  3. Introduction The Space Shuttle was the first orbital spacecraft designed to be reused, and allowed routine access to spaceflight at a low price. Unfortunately after 2 tragic disasters and mismanagement it never seemed to be that way, and many feel it did not live up to all its original goals. Using Kerbal Space Program's Real Solar System mod and obeying the real Shuttles capabilities, I would like to showcase a different path, through an alternate history where the Space Shuttle is utilized to its true potential. Some of you who are familiar with the Shuttles history may recognize some real-world additions in this timeline, and if they have been adjusted. I hope that you enjoy this showcase and that it might entertain or educate some readers about lesser known parts of the Space Shuttles long history. Mission reports will be in Imgur albums and are dependent on my schedule but I will try to get at least two out every week Background This KSP save using Realistic Progression 1 started out in the 1950s with experimental aircraft and suborbital science rockets. The launch history has mostly followed real world history, running through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab programs. Over 150 unmanned U.S. satellite launches have been recreated, and highlights of noteworthy missions will be included in a bonus mention at the end of each Shuttle mission report. Mods The entire mod list is quite long although can be installed easily using CKAN. Below is the mods important to the Space Shuttle, with the entire list in the hidden section Shuttle Orbiter Construction Kit reDIRECT Photon Corp. And of course, Real Solar System and Realism Overhaul Credit This project of mine has been in the works for more than 4 months before posting, and everything in it would not have been possible without the work of the creators of all the mods listed above, and the entire RSS/RO/RP-1 team Special thanks to @Stonesmile for help with getting the awesome Shuttle by @benjee10 into RSS More to come
  4. Ever since I decided, early in my first career, that the best way to fulfill two survey contracts would be to drive a rover 600 km on Mun, I discovered that I like driving rovers, in an odd way. There is a sense of peace in cruising across the vast expanse towards your destination. And there is the sightseeing. And the sense of accomplishment in a work well done, when your capable rover performs well. Several of my missions then included long stretches of driving, whether from trying to reach every biome on the moons of Jool, or from looking for the green monoliths on every planet. A few months ago I was deep into my A'Tuin mission, an extended OPM grand tour. A wonderful mission, but very long and very taxing. I was four months into it, and still needing more months to complete, and I wanted a pause. So I stumbled on @Jack Joseph Kerman's excellent Tylo circumnavigation mission, and it hit all my major appeals: large, overengineered rovers, magnificent visuals, adventure. I decided to do a similar mission on my own. It's been my secondary mission for the last three months, I've been engaging it occasionally whenever I needed a rest from my main missions. As a target, I picked Slate, from the OPM package. Slate is a moon of Sarnus, the kerbalized version of Saturn, and it struck me when I visited it in my A'Tuin mission a month earlier; here was a moon with valleys, mountains, canyons, it was a super duper interesting place. And Sarnus in the sky, magnificent. It also had high gravity and very irregular topography, though. The rover I was using at the time, the Horseshoe, needed to be able to land and take off on its own; as a result, wheel power was sacrificed, and it was unable to move around much on the bumpy moon. I would have liked to spend more time on Slate, but I had to leave - and let's not forget the kerbalism-added radiation belts, and the fact that my rover had broken life support and could not stay on its own for more than ten hours. I decided, this time I'd do it justice Part 1: Rover and mission The most important part of such a mission is always to design a good rover. Technically, anything capable of moving will do. But in practice, you want something that's fun to drive. This generally means good performance and good looks. This time I didn't need a rover that could land and take off on its own power. I didn't need to make a light craft to carry around with a mothership. And I was inspired by @Jack Joseph Kerman's rover, which was anything but practical. So I wondered what would be fun to bring on a rover. And so Tamarromobile was born. Sightseeing was a major part of the mission, so I took multiple command pods with good IVA views, I wondered "which one of those should I use?", and the obvious answer was "all of them". I mounted the cupola on top of a rotating servo, to provide a mobile panoramic platform. Including an action key to rotate; there are some high towers around the world with rotating panoramic decks, I wanted to reproduce the idea. I also used 18 illuminators for night driving, and multiple lights around the rover to make it look good. The name Tamarromobile, roughly translatable as Pimpmobile, comes from the garish look of those lights. Of course, since I am set to driving this on a very difficult planet, I also needed to make it functional. And I learned that to drive on a bumpy place, you need wheel power, to propel you uphill. So I took some trusses moving away from the rover, to have a high stability, and I fit 36 wheels onto the frame - I'd have used more, but I ran out of space. The resulting rover is one of the most fun I ever made. It has exceptional stability (it can cut across steep cliffs, and the only times I did capsize it has been falling into craters), good acceleration, and it can climb reasonably steep slopes. 10 degrees are easy, it can go up 15 degrees with difficulty, for higher slopes it needs to start switchbacking. Well, when you want to carry a full observation deck and a Mk3 passenger bay for no other reason that it looks cool, of course peformance isn't going to be the same. For power, I used 16 advanced RTGs from near future electrics (equivalent to 64 stock RTGs) and 14k electrical charge capacity. As a testament to how difficult Slate can be, Tamarromobile still managed to run out of electricity during some particularly hard mountain passages. Tamarromobile has 130 parts and weights 47 tons. An Elcano challenge doesn't have any special requirements on how to get there - if I recall correctly, you can even alt-f12 your rover there, as long as you then perform the circumnavigation. But I decided to do a real mission, with a launch from Kerbin. Since that was too easy, I also decided I'd do a single launch, and I wouldn't use nuclear engines. I didn't want to create a new KSP folder to change the mods, so I resolved to leave kerbalism there; but I set 0% chance of critical malfunctions (so that nothing could broke that an engineer could not fix) and 100% shielding efficiency, so that radiations wouldn't bother me. At this point, the only concessions I had to make to the harsh mod was to add a couple tons in radiation shielding and some food containers.
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