Felipe (HarvesteR): Last week was the first week of QA. A number of features have already been integrated into the main development branch and tested. I’ve also taken some time to upgrade and overhaul our issue tracker, to add an issue voting system and a complete revision of the styling rules to make the more important issues more visible at a glance. This has already proven worthwhile as several issues we would have probably dismissed as being of lesser importance have surfaced with high vote counts, which indicates that even though a bug/feature request/feedback item may be technically of low severity, subjectively, it’s seen as very relevant.
This week, we are setting up the Administration Facility systems to be QA tested, and I’m having a go here at a little app to help maintain the issue tracker in a serviceable state. The number of old builds has been piling up, and we need something to help us manage them.
Alex (aLeXmOrA): Last week I had intended to continue with the changes to the KSP Store website. However, since an office remodeling is going on here at Squad HQ, the main routers that provide the office with internet needed to be moved from where they were and that left us without internet access for a day. I helped Jesus change cables and connect the network devices to restore the signal and make sure everyone at the office can access the web. Now, with everything working as it should, I can go on with the website tweaks.
Mike (Mu): I’ve spent some time implementing the new parts from PorkJet and some upgrades for our old parts from Hugo. To get the new cargo bays to work properly I’ve slightly reworked the ModuleAnimateGeneric to enable it to toggle whilst animating and also to enable access from EVA. Apart from all that i’ve been assisting the team in implementing and testing the 0.25 features and also tinkering with some interesting new developments for 0.26. Stay tuned.
Marco (Samssonart): Basically wrapping up my share of QA and on standby for Experimentals. The most puzzling bug that happened during QA was a Unity bug that’s also present in 0.24 - the crew hatch menu doesn’t work on mac.
After some tinkering I figured out it’s a bug that got fixed with Unity 4.5.3. We’re still waiting for confirmation on that one, but all points to it being fixed, which is good news all around for mac users. Turns out it wasn’t. Back to the drawing board!
While that happens I updated the info of the orbiting tutorials to include the newly implemented navball vectors and I’m going through some old an undocumented code to find out how to implement said vectors for the IVA navball as well, fun times.
Daniel (danRosas): Finished the Administration Building backdrop, to have it more than ready for the upcoming release. According to the position of the building in the Space Center, you should be able to see the VAB and the Astronaut Complex. Since I like going more into the properties of a telephoto lens, the objects in the image may appear closer than they are in real life. Since it’s still a WIP feature, this could change in the close future. You can have a look of it HERE.
On other matters, we’re moving ahead on the assets we’re getting ready. The communication channel goes from us artists (Roy, Nick and I) to Miguel, Felipe, and so forth. In order to have a clear scope of what’s intended. Next week I want to start doing tests in Unity, in order to have a closer approach of how those assets are going to look like inside the game.
Jim (Romfarer): It’s time to do some maintenance on GUI atlases and prefabs. In case you didn’t know: an atlas is a texture with many smaller textures baked into it. The main benefit of doing this is to reduce the amount of memory used by the GUI. A prefab is basically a gameobject template used to instantiate multiple gameobjects which share the same behavior. We use those for all EzGUI’s in the game because it’s easier to manage scenes and atlas updates.
Over time, many of the GUI prefabs have received small updates and as a result the amount of atlases used in many of them have grown. So what I’m doing this week is re-building the atlases in order to reduce the amount of atlases in use per prefab in an effort to have as few atlases as possible in use at any point.
Max (Maxmaps): I’ve been working closely with the art team to get the giant 0.26 project done in time. Which has proven to have a bit of an extra challenge to it due to the fact that we need the art team for a couple more things in 0.25, related to the admin building and what have you.
We’ve pulled it off however, and hope you will have your fingers on this update sooner than you’d expect.
Bob (Calisker): I worked with a newspaper reporter who was interested in Kerbal Space Program as a game to include in a feature about what games kids will be playing after Minecraft. Hopefully, KSP makes the list! We also had an interesting discussion with Charlie Hall from Polygon, who caught glimpse of Scott Manley’s challenge to players to get into orbit and back to Kerbin in under 3 minutes. Charlie posted this STORY, which included some talk about planned changes to our atmosphere. It was a tricky question because it’s something still being discussed but we don’t have a concrete answer at this time. It’s one of the toughest parts about being a communications person for a game in Early Access. Sometimes it feels weird to say, “we don’t know,” even when it’s the most honest answer.
One more thing, I have a question for everybody! Did you download and play our demo before buying the game? Please answer HERE.
Ted (Ted): My week has been filled with mostly miscellaneous QA management tasks; keeping documentation on our features current, looking for ways to improve our bug tracking system and implementing them (though Felipe implements the ‘meatier’ ones), the list goes on. One of the many tasks has been assisting the QA Testers with the testing on the ‘secret feature’ and the features Marco had been working on (Navball improvement, crew transfer and vessel markers in the KSC). Our Linux QA Tester sal_vager goes into detail on how that went for him this week:
sal_vager [Linux QA Team]: I collaborated with the other QA members to confirm issues that had been found, as well as finding a few myself, the most notable being a regression issue with the recovery of Kerbals that was speedily fixed by the devs.
Also, I worked with TriggerAu (Windows QA Team) specifically on issue 2946 (title would give away the secret feature), it was a deep issue with many aspects that needed to be checked, between us we were able to test all the conditions set out by Felipe.
So far the Linux version hasn’t thrown up any platform specific bugs yet thankfully, even in the 64bit version.
Moving on, while we haven’t been actively testing new content in Experimentals, that hasn’t stopped the Experimental Testers from keeping busy. One of the new Experimental Testers for Windows sums up what they’ve been up to below:
Steve (Squelch) [Windows Experimental Team]: As one of the new Experimental Testers, this past week has been my first full week on the team! What has that involved? Well, for a start it involved mixing with some really interesting and intelligent people all with a common goal - making KSP better! After a wonderfully warm welcome, it was time to get down to our duties as Experimental Testers. I quickly got to grips with the KSP Bug Tracker, which uses Redmine a project management web app I’ve had experience with before.
Myself and a couple of the other testers took it upon ourselves to review the outstanding tickets, as it’s a relatively quiet period apparently - 0.24.2 is out in the wild. This involves interpreting what the reporter is trying to tell us. This is a mixed bag that can vary from reports from experienced software engineers, to novice “I want to report a bug” type affairs. All of them are important and all of them need attention.
We discuss what the causes in these reports might be, what the workarounds are, and what impact they might have on the playability of the game, as well as the system as a whole. Once we have confirmed the report as valid - and that takes much deliberation in some cases - we copy the report to the internal tracker for Developer attention. In essence, testers act as triage, to use a medical term, where we direct attention of the Developers and Quality Assurance (QA) team to particular problems the players of KSP are having.
Thankfully, it is all done with excellent humour, and draws upon a diverse skill-set with the testers. What better benefits could one wish for? Insight and laughs have made for a great week.
Anthony (Rowsdower): I’ve been busy doing the usual amount of monitoring around the community. I recently dumped a big manifesto on the KSP-TV crew for where I’d like to take the channel. All good things with time, of course. Where would you like to see it go? What things would you like to see on there? Other than some really obvious choices, of course :) I’m also coming up with ideas for a contest next month. The prizes are all set, but I’m still filling in the blanks on the action part of it haha. It’s Halloween time. Perhaps that can be of use. Any suggestions? max also let me have a look at SOME PIC before. It looked rad…oh wait. Crap, I wasn’t supposed to show that, was I? Oh well. 50 lashes to the community manager.
Rogelio (Roger): I’ve been fixing some of the models I’ve been doing during these past weeks. I’m trying to reduce the polycount without losing quality so the textures need to be fixed as well. I like how stuff is getting done. Dan, Max and I have been working together to finish on time without quitting sleep hours. Believe me we’re doing some cool stuff.