Modding Mondays: ActiveStruts

Creating struts outside the VAB? Is this magic? No, this is marce's ACTIVESTRUTS. If the old adage is about MOAR boosters and struts, consider this add-on MOAR boosters for your struts. In addition to creating struts in flight, you can use three different usage-based strut lengths, create flexible joints and even tie your Kerbals down to your craft. Not to mention that there are lots of neat config customizations than you play with, too.

Download ActiveStrutsHERE.

FanWork Fridays: A Kerbal Costume



This is Cyrax002's Halloween costume. It's currently in alpha, but will be hitting beta shortly before it's time to nab some candy. What else does he need?

Twitch Thursdays: monev44’s SSTO

Grab some Batt Man batteries and watch monev44 fly an SSTO that fits in a cargo bay!

Video Wednesdays: Backflip for Style

Strap into your Duna buggies! Knievel is back with another extreme jump that’s sure to have you doing flips for days. Thanks to Simiel Black for the video.

Beta Than Ever: The Future of KSP
Hey guys!

It’s time we talk about THE FUTURE. I don’t mean hoverboards and self-tying sneakers (2015, we’re counting on you), I mean the future of Kerbal Space Program.

The next update will mark a big milestone for us at Squad, as it is the last update focused on Career Mode. After the next release, Kerbal Space Program will reach an internal milestone we call “Scope Complete”.

Let me back up a little here and explain what Scope Complete means, it means KSP now has all the features we considered vital to be in the game that HarvesteR came up with so many years ago. It doesn’t mean the game has everything we want it to have, it means it has everything we considered necessary for it to be Kerbal Space Program. It means everything the game is supposed to have exists, even if only in a minimal form.

Scope completion means that every big system that the game needed is there, some closer to completion than others, of course, but they’re all there. So, what’s next then? This is the good news: After Scope Completion, development focus shifts towards completing those unfinished features, balancing and adding some smaller stuff. No more groundwork, no more laying down infrastructure. We’ve finished building the kitchen, it’s time for us to start cooking.

As soon as the next update is released, KSP will enter a new phase of development, which for want of a better term, we’re calling ‘Beta’. Beta development is going to be a new stage for the project, and that also means our development workflow will change, and by consequence, this will have an effect on the releases. There shouldn’t be any huge updates that we have to build for months on end and still have to release with barely more than enough content to showcase the system. 

Beta means we’ll be focusing on creating content, on using the tools we’ve built. It means a different approach to selecting which features go in, since we won’t be constrained by the development constraints of one feature requiring another. Priorities should level out, which means the things we consider important should also match what everyone considers important. Beta essentially means we’ll be working a lot more on stability, usability, performance, balance, aesthetics, all the while still throwing in little and some not-so-little things we hope you will enjoy. 

To make this clear to everyone, we’ve decided to not call the next release version 0.26, as convention would have it. Instead once the update is out, we’ll be officially in Beta, so we’re calling the next release version 0.90.0 (zero-ninety-zero).

There’s a ton of things we’re constantly discussing internally regarding what exactly we’ll add during Beta, but I figure we should at least tell you about the first two things we really want to add to the game before we can call it anything close to ready:

Overhauled Aerodynamics - The current system has been fantastic at… existing, really. It can’t be beat at ‘being a system that exists and works within KSP’, but we can do better. We’ve been a long time planning a major overhaul to make it more realistic, reliable, predictable, and hopefully a lot less arcane.

Deep Space Refueling - We’re aware there is one big end-game mechanic missing in the game: Being able to refuel a vessel once you’re out in Space. This is what we originally set out to achieve with the old Resource Mining plan and saw ourselves running into a very tedious dead-end. The Resources system was flawed because it overcomplicated accomplishing a basic need: To be able to find something out in space which can be used to fill up the tanks again. That’s the essence of it, and we don’t need 40+ single-purpose parts and 9 different resources to do it. In fact, all that complexity was going to be very effective at making sure most attempts to build a refueling outpost would fail. We are now planning a new, more elegant system, which hopefully will add a new, fun element of gameplay, as well as the massive boost to continuity this feature implies.

Here is also a (not so) small FAQ with some answers we imagine you’ll probably be wanting to ask about:

Q: You’re not pulling the plug on KSP, are you?
A: Of course not! We still have a long way to go. We just want to let everyone know we’re going to reach a new stage of development soon.

Q: I won’t consider KSP complete until Feature X is implemented!
A: That’s not a question. However, if you asked everyone which features they would like to see in KSP, you’d get different answers from just about everybody. We all have our wishlist of ideas and features we’d like to see, us devs included. The fact is, we must be very level-headed here with what we want to do, and what we can in fact achieve in the time we have. That’s not to say of course, we aren’t planning to tackle the biggests requests from our community. Just remember that all features are judged in a big-picture perspective, and how it affects the game experience for everyone, and sometimes even what would seem like fun ideas are going to fall outside the scope of the game, or just be plain too much to take on. Time and Manpower is our main limiting resource now, and that must be spent wisely, pursuing the goals that will add the most enjoyment for everyone.

Q: What about the features you “promised” on the Wiki’s Planned Feature List?
A: That list is maintained by the community, and doesn’t imply any promise on our part. In fact, the best thing to do about that list is disregard it. We did implement a significant portion of it, in any case, but let me go ahead and quote the very first lines on that page: 

This list is not an official road-map for KSP. It is maintained by the community, and has no direct relation to what may or may not be included in the final product. 

Q: Can you give us an official list of planned features for 1.0 then?
A: Not without a time machine. Seriously though, any lists we publish can only result in leaving people disappointed. The problem here is that no amount of disclaimers and notices will keep everyone from taking every feature on a list as a commitment from us. We don’t want to commit to anything we’re not sure about ourselves, so if we do have to leave something out, we should be only ones to be disappointed. It’s not great, we know, but it’s for the best.

Q: Are you going to make KSP more realistic?
A: That depends. Does that added realism make KSP more fun? The key point to keep in mind here is that KSP is a game first, a simulator second. We want to add realism in places where we feel those additions will make the game more enjoyable, but we aren’t just going to add realism features just for the sake of being realistic. 

Q: How long until 1.0 now, then?
A: That’s a very good question, but I’m afraid it’s kind of the same as asking ‘when is the next release coming?’. We can’t give you a release date, because chances are high we’ll end up changing it afterwards. Knowing in advance will only lead to disappointment. 

Q: And after 1.0 comes out, is that the end?
A: Nope. There’s still going to be a lot to be done even after that, but when we hit 1.0, KSP will be coming out of Early Access. Our main focus during the Beta phase will be to improve the overall playing experience of the game as much as possible. Once we’re outside the Early Access umbrella, KSP will have to stand on its own as-is, and not rely on upcoming features and perceived potential affecting players’ opinions. That’s not to say we rely on that now (or have ever), but that’s an unavoidable side-effect of being in Early Access. People will fill in the gaps with imagined features, and no real addition can hope to live up to everyone’s hopes and expectations. We can only try our best to have a solid game when release time comes.

Q: What’s coming after 1.0 then?
A: Now we’re getting way ahead of ourselves. Let’s wind this back to the near future.

Q: What about Multiplayer?
A: Multiplayer is something we’ve been working on for quite a while, but it still has a long way to go before it’s ready. MP is planned for after 1.0. So that’s still coming, but let’s take this one step at a time.

Q: Does the term Beta really apply here?
A: Not in the strictest sense, but then again, there isn’t a term that would better describe what we are planning. Beta is the period in software development when all planned capabilities are implemented, and dev focus is centered on polish and bugfixing. Yes, we do that already in experimentals, but we’re going to be doing it in a wider scope during Beta phase. For an update’s QA and Experimental periods, testing is focused mostly on the new features being added. Beta means taking a step back, and seeing all areas of the game under equal focus for testing and improvement. We know there are several bugs we haven’t fixed yet. This is the time to make those fixes and assure the game is working as well as possible. The term Beta is definitely fitting here.

Q: Does that mean we’re going to have access to Experimental releases?
A: No. We’re still going to go through the same branch-testing->QA->Experimentals system as we have always done. I’m just saying we’re going to work on the game under a wider perspective, more focused on the overall experience than on any single feature. This could translate to more ‘diversified’ changelogs on each release.

Q: Are ‘Beta’ updates going to be released quicker?
A: We hope so, but we can’t make any promises. We have tried shortening updates once before, and became aware of how the QA and experimental phases don’t really scale in proportion to the shorter update, so the result was that we spent more time testing, and less time developing, which needless to say, wasn’t very efficient. We’ll have to find our stride again for Beta, just as we did during Alpha.

Q: Are updates going to be released in a regular interval?
A: Most likely not. Imposing such a strict process on us would either cause features to be rushed to make a release, or some releases having very few features on them. Probably both. The plan is to play it by ear, and do a release when we feel we have something worth releasing.

Q: I’m still concerned this means you’re going to abandon KSP.
A: We know, and this is why we’re doing this announcement now. We want to give everyone as much early notice as possible about what’s coming up, so nobody runs into any surprises. We’re not even in Beta yet actually. There’s still the next update to go, and after that, a period of Beta updates until 1.0, and even after that, we still have more stuff planned. So worry not, we’re going to be at it for quite a while. 

Q: Are you going to add more whatever-it-is-you-want-added? 
A: We want to add as much content as we can during Beta, but time is the main limiting factor, and development manpower is finite. We’ll have to make choices through the Beta period about what we want to add, against how much time and effort that will take, compared to adding something else instead in the same span of time. As always, we’ll be weighing the gains of adding some piece of content versus another, and choosing the ones we feel will have the best effect in improving the game overall. 

Of course, some areas are obviously short on content at the moment (Contracts and Biomes come to mind). Those are going to be highest on our lists as they’re the least developed sets of content at the moment. The logic behind reaching for Feature-Completion and 1.0 is very similar to the logic we used to reach for Scope Completion. We focus on the area of least development. The good news now is that the area of least development is always going to be something we already have in the game, and the lack of content there is likely noticed by everyone already.

Q: Are you going to integrate “Mod X” into the game? (a.k.a. Q:How can I get my mod integrated into stock?)
A: This depends on several factors. First of all, we have to ask ourselves: Is this mod doing something we wanted to do ourselves already? Some mods, awesome though they are, aren’t part of what we have planned for KSP, and that’s fine. That’s why we support modding in the first place, but it also means a mod isn’t going to be auto-added just because it’s cool. 
Second of all, if we do find a mod that does exactly what we wanted to do ourselves, and it’s done well, follows the style of the game, all that stuff, then we get in touch with the author, and we get the conversation rolling from there. There isn’t a system for adding a mod into the game. That said, we very well might find mods that do stuff we wanted to do, and we wouldn’t want to reinvent the wheel if we can avoid it.

A: Being in version 0.25 now, don’t you have 75 updates left to do before 1.0?
Q: Eek, no! Thankfully, version numbers don’t work that way. The minor version (as the ‘n’ in v0.n.0 is called), isn’t a decimal fraction of the major version. There isn’t a pre-established convention in the software industry on how to increment version numbers, so each studio tends to do it in their own way. We’ve been relatively consistent with our versioning scheme, adding 1 to the minor version on each new update, and a 1 to the revision number when we release hotfixes and small patches. So the answer here is, there won’t be 75 updates between 0.25 and 1.0 in the same way we don’t have to release 10 revisions to go from 0.24.0 to 0.25.0.

A: How is ‘release 26’ going to be identified as Beta then?
Q: We’re going to call our first Beta version KSP v0.90.0 (zero-ninety-zero, or oh-ninety-oh if you live across the pond), to make it clear to everyone that KSP is nearing a state of completion. Of course, that doesn’t mean we plan to do exactly 10 Beta patches to reach 1.0. It could be more, it could be less, we can’t tell. If we run past 0.99. the next version could be 0.100.0, or we could change the system a bit, and increment the revision numbers instead, depending on how much we feel a release has added. In a way, Beta updates really are more like revision patches actually. We’ll keep announcing new releases as we have always done in any case, so just hang around the community and you’ll never miss a release.

We want to thank you from the bottom of our heart for supporting our crazy project all the way from the earliest alphas builds up to Scope Completion, and we hope you’ll stick with us from here through Beta and up to the long-awaited 1.0

Many Cheers,

The KSP Development Team, and everyone at Squad.
Devnote Tuesdays: The “Onward to 0.26” Edition


Felipe (HarvesteR): I’m working on something this week that is being an almost cathartic experience. I think you’ll agree when I tell you what it is… Which is now: Editor Gizmos!

Tired of trying to guess which key from WSADQE you should press to rotate some way or another? So are we. The gizmos are but one part of a massive Editor overhaul we are working on for 0.26, and they should make life a LOT easier. Really, there aren’t many ways to overstate just how much of an improvement this should be. I think trying to guess part rotations during construction is the most frustrating part of the game at the moment, so finally being able to work on this… Well it feels good! I’m adding both a rotation and a translation gizmo here. Translating parts is going to be something of a new feature actually… More on that later, but construction is going to feel like a whole new game if things go as planned here.

Another big thing I was able to do here, which isn’t very visible but should make life much easier going forward, I’ve merged both the VAB and SPH into one single scene. How? Well, apart from scenery, craft orientation, designated launch site and camera behavior, there isn’t anything else the SPH and VAB scenes have different from each other. In fact, about 90% of the scene logic is an exact copy on both of them, so instead of having two scenes with a lot of repeated components, there is now a single Editor scene, and the game moves into it by calling a method where you specify which Facility you want to head into. The options there being SPH or VAB, of course. The implications of such a feature are very far-reaching, but at the moment all we want from it is the added simplicity of working with a single Editor scene (the scenery is loaded on top from separate scenes). Also, this should make it very simple to add a switch to the editor UI to let you simply flick between Mirror (SPH-style) or Radial (VAB-style) symmetry modes. On the same build, on the same vessel.

To cut it short, all I can say is, I’m very happy with the stuff I’m working on. Hopefully they will make everyone happy as well. :)

Alex (aLeXmOrA): Last week was release week, so I had to set everything ready (servers and website). As you may have noticed, the changes I was doing to the KSP Store website included “Zone Pricing”, different prices and currency according to the user geographical zone. The main goal of this was to keep our KSP Store prices equal to Steam ones. Also, now you can buy Steam keys directly from our website and use them to activate the game in your Steam account. You should be aware that Steam keys purchased from the KSP Store are not refundable because once you get them, there’s no way for us to prove that the key has not been redeemed and is still valid for another user. Right now and for the last week, I’ve been checking that this system is working as it should and that everyone is getting what they purchased.

Mike (Mu): I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the new Kerbal career logging system and building the new experience system. Kerbals will each be assigned an experience trait when they’re generated and, as they gain experience levels, their trait will boost a vessel’s performance in a variety of areas.

Marco (Samssonart): The best part of the week was spent containing the vast wave of  customers who weren’t familiar with the workings of the KSP Store and updating and such. Even quite a few really lost ones who don’t know the workings of Steam either. Apparently our customer service knows a great deal about Steam :)

Back to the game stuff:  I got the KerbalEdu builds ready so Edu users can update to 0.25, I do believe they are ready to download now.

Daniel (danRosas): So, we’re working on Upgradeable Buildings. We’ve been on that for more than 2 months, give or take. It’s been a very interesting experience, since I’m supervising the asset creation and had to establish a pipeline to work with the assets that Nick, Roger and myself are doing. I had to dig back into Unity, the different texture maps, and all that technical stuff needed to create environmental models for KSP. You can rest assured that the buildings are in good hands, and that it will meet your expectations. I could write pages and pages here with the details, technicalities, images, concept designs… But I think it’s better to present all that info in a more interesting way, like a dev blog post or the sort, with everything that concerns those different buildings.  

Jim (Romfarer): I’m working on a new system to organize parts in the VAB/SPH part lists. Basically we are planning on introducing a bunch of new categories and subcategories for parts. Think of a category as the whole ordering system we have atm. and subcategories as the tabs currently in use: pods, propulsion, structural etc. This ordering will remain as it’s own category in the new system, but we are also adding more ways to order the parts.

Max (Maxmaps): READ THIS

Bob (Calisker): We’ve been working on our communications plan for 0.26 and making sure we give ourselves enough time for each step of the process. We were stoked to have Nassault deliver a trailer at launch for KSP: Economic Boom, but we didn’t factor enough time into it and were forced to finish quite a few things last minute. One of the biggest factors was waiting so long before we worked with the community on naming the update. We’ll likely be naming 0.26 as well so expect to see some question about that sooner than later. I am also trying to prepare the team for a visit from a reporter to Mexico City later this week. The team doesn’t have a ton of visitors so it should be exciting for everyone. We’re also really excited about Alex’s news about selling Steam keys on our website. We’ve been testing an affiliate program the past few months and this should be a big help for our partners who are sending potential new KSP players our way.

Ted (Ted): It’s been a week since 0.25’s release and in that week I’ve been following the issues you guys are posting in the bug tracker, evaluating how the testing process for 0.25 went and setting up a web server here to run a test instance of Redmine (our bug tracking software) in a bid to become more familiar with it throughout.

Anthony (Rowsdower): I’m working on a contest with Shapeways that will be announced soon. Just getting the final details in order. Anyone like discounts? Not the main prize, obviously :P

Rogelio (Roger): I feel like it’s been a lot since last dev notes, but I’m happy to tell you we’ve been modeling a lot of new buildings for the game. We’ve been working hard last two months to get to very nice results as a team (Dan, Nick and myself). We’ve finally got to a very unique art style. Even though I like to animate Kerbals and doing environments for the release videos, getting into the game models production has been a lot of fun. I’m sure you’re gonna be amazed about how the buildings will upgrade.

Modding Mondays: Custom Asteroids

Starstrider42's CUSTOM ASTEROIDS reworks the ARM asteroid system in such a way that it provides more variation and greater customization in where and how you encounter asteroids throughout the game. Asteroid belts, gradually-spawned asteroids and cometary orbits are all well featured in this add-on. Best part of all is if you have a preference towards, well, anything, you can change many details within Custom Asteroids to suit your needs.

Find out more about Custom Asteroids HERE.

FanWork Fridays: Jeb+Fire+Metal


According to TOPbl4, Jeb loves fire. Jeb apparently loves metal, too, as seen in this neat speed drawing that’s straight out of an 80’s action movie.

Share Your 3D KSP Content on Sketchfab

Sketchfab, the leading platform to publish, share and embed interactive 3D content, has announced support for Kerbal Space Program models. If you make parts or any other 3D creation, you can now upload your *MU files onto Sketchfab to share with friends and even fellow community members on the KSP Forum.

Thanks to the help of Taniwha’s *MU Importer for Blender, everyone can now enjoy your creations in an interactive, 3D way that brings things to life out-of-game in a way they’ve never been before

Click HERE for more info.

Twitch Thursdays: Rough Tylo Landing

It was just another normal landing on Tylo until the last few seconds. FleetAdmiralJ made sure to highlight a rough landing made sweet by the outcome.