Kerbal Space Program Blog

Sep 02

Devnote Tuesdays: The “QA Has Begun” Edition

Felipe (HarvesteR): We got a lot of stuff done this week. I’ve been jumping from task to task, so I’ll try to remember everything. The difficulty options panel is implemented, and allows you to set gameplay options both when starting a new game, and also while in game, although the in-game options panel offers less parameters (which makes sense, since options like ‘starting funds’ don’t really apply after the game is started). This also prompted a thorough overhaul of the settings panel UI, which really was in need of attention. The difficulty options panel not only exposes the already-known tweaks you can see in the Debug toolbar, it also exposes new parameters we implemented, including being able to toggle crew auto-hiring, tweaking reward and penalty multipliers, and several others which I’m forgetting right now, but were pretty cool too.

I’ve also added a few other ‘features of opportunity’ here and there. Most notably, I’ve added a second button above the altimeter, which allows you to return to the Space Center whenever you’re in a stable situation. This button sits below the ‘Recover Vessel’ button (which moved up a bit), so if you are able to recover, the altimeter will slide down further and make both buttons available. This may seem like a small thing, but it has a great impact on gameplay. It allows you to return to KSC without having to pause the game, which always annoyed me because it meant returning to KSC required breaking the game flow. Pausing is an out-of-game type action, so now returning to KSC shouldn’t detract from immersion anymore.

After all that got done, we started integrating the many features in preparation for QA testing, which is starting this week. I’ve taken the opportunity to tinker a bit with the issue tracker, which finally got a much, much needed issue voting system, so we can rate issues for their subjective importance (which is really hard to tell without something like votes), and also a full CSS overhaul, which not only makes the tracker look much sleeker, it also should greatly improve readability and being able to spot the important issues among the less important ones.

Today I’m revising the Vessel Marker system that Marco started, to work consistently with other UI systems that were implemented earlier on this update. Consistency means less code for the same purpose, and less code means less places for things to break down, which hopefully should translate to less bugs.

That’s all I got for now.

Alex (aLeXmOrA):
Last week, I set everything for the Server migration our hosting provider needed to do for all their customers. However, at the end it wasn’t necessary for our services and it wasn’t done at all, so KSP sites are running without any issues. Right now, I have to go back and continue with the changes to KSP Store site.

Marco (Samssonart): Aside from QA for the features you guys know I’m working with Porkjet to integrate Spacelane Plus into the game, getting the textures to look just right, making sure all lines up perfectly and such. He wanted to make the models prettier, but in doing so the internal model of the cockpit came out of alignment and artifacts from the external model could be seen while EVAing. I helped him align the models without needing to redo the whole thing.

Daniel (danRosas): I’m currently working on the backdrop for the Administration Building. It’s going to be something like the Astronaut Complex, a render with some 2d adjustments where you can see the scenario where the kerbals conduct their administrative stuff. Max gave me some cool references, and I’ve found some rather interesting ones too.

Jim (Romfarer): This week i made two new additions to the rich text area component we use in a lot of the GUI’s. The first one cuts off the text at a certain line number and adds a string indicating the textfield has been cut off. The second addition was a feature to have the text wrap around an image. These additions was written on top of the rich text parser Mike wrote earlier to handle text areas with multiple colors, bold and italic fonts. Simply put, this parser works like this: It reads through all the lines in the text area, splits it up into words, parses the tags and in the end puts it all together in a list of string with different fonts. And to make room for an image i just put in invisible strings of dots where the image should be.

Max (Maxmaps): Coordinating stuff with the art time and looking over things like the implementation of all the new parts we’re adding to the game. Also trying to come up with an update name for 0.25, First Contract will surely be hard to beat.

Bob (Calisker): I didn’t forget about all of the great folks who shared stories about playing KSP with their families but I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do with all of these stories. I would like to share them but how and when is always really important. We’re working hard on update 0.25, which means we’re going to be able to share more and more of it with everyone. Max is having some fun teasing stuff and I’m hopeful we can get together a few fun things as we get closer to finishing it. I had a really amazing conversation with one of our contacts at Steam, which is an amazing partner for our game and company. It’s nothing specific but it was very valuable. Also happy to report that our PAX Prime tournament was another success! The person in charge of the entire weekend of official PAX tournaments told us they filled the tournament and had to turn away players as it was so popular.

Ted (Ted): The Testing department has been busy this week! As you may have seen, we’ve begun QA and it’s been a nice big stack of content for us to sift through and test/break/provide feedback for. Thankfully it started off nice and slow at the end of last week to get us back into the motions of QA, but this week has been full speed ahead with a lot to get through. Additionally, it’s the first QA period for a couple of new QA testers, so seeing them break in the builds has been very rewarding for all involved.

Moving on, we’ve finally got most of the new Experimental Testers on the Team and they’re getting acquainted with everything involved. There’s still a fair bit to get up to scratch on for them though and as we’re not at Experimentals yet, they’ve got the chance to slowly get settled in. Additionally, there’s still a handful of Testers that have yet to join, but they should be with us by the end of the day and questioning their decision to apply by tomorrow morning!

On the Bug Tracker front, we’ve installed (Felipe and Alex installed, I watched) a voting plugin on Redmine to allow you all to vote up/down issues based on your personal opinion of the issue. So now the priority field can truly be how much of an effect it has on the game, while the vote field reflects on how much it affects you as a player. Additionally, Felipe touched up the theme on the Bug Tracker a fair bit, so it should be a lot cleaner and a lot easier to see which issues are what priority and what status, just from the formatting. Hopefully it’s a lot better for all of you!

Lastly, the Article I’ve been working on for a while is up and ready for everyone to read over HERE.

Anthony (Rowsdower): Our CONTEST with Coub is now underway and will last through October 2nd. Make a 10 second loop video and you could win an original drawing by danRosas that’s autographed by members of the KSP team. Oh, remember that survey I’ve been telling you about? It’s HERE. It’s all about what you’d like to see from the devnotes, as well as some additional info to be used for internal purposes. We’d appreciate you filling this out as honestly as possible.

Eduardo (Lalo):
Making some diagrams of administrative processes and their guidelines. This isn’t for the game, either. This is just some boring old business stuff.

Rogelio (Roger): I’ve been modeling and texturing more stuff. Photoshop has become my new best friend because I’ve discovered new ways to paint faster and better. Time has become golden and I’ve been trying new and more efficient production techniques for both modeling and texturing assets. Believe me guys, something as simple as keyboard shortcuts has save me a lot of time lol. I’ve also been reading about how to unleash creative techniques and it has really helped me out to bring more ideas on how to effectively use maya tools to solve modeling issues and save time so I can achieve goals quicker.

CONTEST: Kerbal Space Program and Coub invite you to make the perfect loop.

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are about to fall. The days are getting shorter. Everything is starting to loop back into the warm arms of fall. Speaking of loops, We’ve teamed with Coub to bring you a contest that will have you looping all over the galaxy.

Whether it’s the perfect orbit or the perfect crash, we want you to take up to 10 seconds of video footage and create the perfect loop with it - or a Coub, if you will. Upload it onto the site with the hashtag #KSP to be entered into a contest to win a one of a kind drawing by DanRosas, autographed by the members of the KSP team.

This contest will run from now until October 2nd. One winner will be chosen from all entries by the KSP-TV team. The winner will be announced live on the October 4th episode of Squadcast. There’s no limit to the amount of entries you can submit, but make them good and make them count.

Click HERE to upload your Coub and enter to win!

Aug 29

Max Reveals *Most* of the 0.25 Grand Plan

We’re building up some big stuff for update 0.25. Come see what Maxmaps has to say about the grand plan for the next update HERE.

KSP QA Team Submissions Are Now Closed

We’d like to thank all of you who submitted applications to join our QA team. The process has now closed and those chosen for spots on the team have been contacted. 

Many of you had great experience, so tough choices were made, but rest assured, the new faces chosen to join will help us feel less like RocketPilot573’s craft for 0.25 and beyond.

FanWork Fridays: Big Things Start Small

Kerbals have piloted some of the largest, most insane contraptions the universe has ever known, but mchayoo lays out an important reminder that even Kerbals had to begin their journey somewhere. Big things start small.

Aug 28

Twitch Thursdays: Don’t Miss Friday’s Squadcast

Good ‘ol Maxmaps has been trickling 0.25 info on Squadcast over the last few weeks. Tomorrow’s episode appears to be less a trickle and more a downpour. Expect an “info dump,” in Max’s words, tomorrow on Squadcast. If you missed last Friday’s edition, it’s right here for your viewing pleasure.

Server Migration Tonight at 8 PM CDT

As you may have seen in this week’s Devnotes, Alex mentioned that a server migration was to happen today. This is a reminder that it will begin at 8 PM CST and will affect the following services: the KSP website, the KSP wiki and the bug tracker. There may be some forum downtime, too. It’s unknown how much of an effect it will have on the forum, if any, but consider yourselves prepped just in case. Thanks.

Thanks, nli2work, for the pic of our Kerbal helpers getting ready for the migration.

Aug 27

Video Wednesdays: Kinder Playtime

Jacob and his dad have no idea how to play Kerbal Space Program, but that’s ok. People of all ages can enjoy this family friendly let’s play series and learn with the hosts. Have a look at Kinder Playtime.

Aug 26

Devnote Tuesdays: The “Progress is Progressing Progressively” Edition

Felipe (HarvesteR): Essentially completed the stuff I was working on last week, which is still not discussable I’m afraid, but now I’m moving on to the much less secretive Difficulty Options panel. This panel will be available when starting a new game (and possibly also through the in-game settings dialog), and will allow you to set up parameters which affect gameplay, like whether crews can respawn or will be perma-killed, whether reverting flight is allowed or not, and so on. Turning off all ‘allowances’ should make for a brutally hard challenge. Zero room for error when you can’t rewind time if things go wrong.

I’ve got the panel itself working, and it’s already possible to set up a few basic parameters. It also features a few presets to make setting up less finicky, and a ‘custom’ option which opens up all parameters for you to tweak. I’ve also updated the main menu code a bit to use proper Input Locks, like all other scenes do, instead of awkward, conflict-prone flags to control whether menu items are clickable or not. This won’t change much on the surface, but the code is cleaner and easier to maintain, which is always a good thing.

Alex (aLeXmOrA): The changes to the KSP Store website are now done, but not live yet. I did some last tests and I’m waiting for authorization to release them. Also, I’m setting everything for a server migration that is scheduled for this Thursday at 8:00 pm CST because our hosting service provider has to move all their clients to a new Data Center. This will cause a website outage (KSP Site and Wiki will be affected, maybe KSP Forums too) for at least 10 hours, maybe more.

Mike (Mu): I’ve been implementing the new logging system, FlightLog, for vessels and kerbals. The latter having both a career log and a current flight log. FlightLog paves the way for future improvements to kerbal career prospects, advancement, and gives us better reporting on where things have been and what they’ve been up to. Of course the whole system is moddable, allowing custom events and entries, so mod-makers can use and abuse it as they see fit.

Marco (Samssonart): The core of the crew transfer feature is implemented, so I’m fixing a few bugs that surfaced quickly. There was this really cool one that allowed you to duplicate Kerbals. Basically, when you transferred a Kerbal, put it out on EVA, then got it back on the ship, it was duped. It was a fun little bug, it was still a bug and need to be squashed, sorry. Other than that I’m improving mouse hit detection for this feature.

Daniel (danRosas): Moving on in the assets modeling list. Right now, we’re in about 10% of the 64 assets on the list. We also planned the full schedule, and it’s extremely tight, but not impossible. It’s been interesting to merge the style and aesthetics of the three artists, in order to give the most inside the Universe of the game.

Jim (Romfarer): This week i’ve been applying some polish to the Administration facility GUI. Mostly small re-designs to make it adhere to the backend Mike is setting up for it. But since more details will be revealed on Max’s Kerbalcast interview, i thought i’d share an update to the mun mission i posted last time. HERE is the link to that mission btw.

It was bugging me that i wasn’t able to return the plane to Kerbin after the mun-landing and the mission wasn’t single staged to begin with. So i re-designed the plane, made it into a single staged version and threw away a bunch of fuel tanks. This plane has two important features: 1. A lot of air intakes so you can almost get to orbit using a single turbojet engine. 2. The jet engine is put on top of an atomic rocket motor. This is mostly for mass reasons but it also makes it easier to pass the burnout threshold. Using two jet engines while passing that threshold usually means the plane will start spinning because the engines doesn’t burn out at the same time. HERE are some screenshots from the mission. And now it is bugging me slightly that i had 75 oxidizer units left, scrapping that off would likely mean an even lighter plane. Help me answer this question please: What is the least amount of liquid fuel you need to bring a kerbal to the mun and back?

Jesus (Chuchito): Hello everyone, I know it is just has been a while since my last update. These days I have been installing the network backbone at the office, punching down some UTP wires and the like, planning the reallocation of the ONTs to another place inside the office, also I have been working in some changes to the KSPM server requested by Felipe.

Max (Maxmaps): Had a pretty fun interview with the guys over at KERBALCAST, who everyone should listen to regardless of any Squad presence because they’re hilarious and quite entertaining. You really, really should listen to this week’s episode though. I explained a bit on what the admin building is for. Other than that, I’ve been lending a hand with direction regarding the huge art project Roy and Dan are neck deep into and seeing it progress nicely. With the help of HarvesteR, I also wrote an article you guys will get to read later in the week regarding everything that’s coming in 0.25. The push for getting this baby into QA is real.

Ted (Ted): Over the past week I’ve been continuing on with the KSP Tester applications with the end in sight. I’ve now narrowed it down to a selection, half of which I’ve already sent e-mails out to. Still to do is narrow down the final ~20 for the team and then we’re done!

Moving on, I’ve been following along with what the team has been developing and ensuring that we’re all up-to-speed on the features and when they’ll be needing testing. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to it after this paperwork!

Anthony (Rowsdower): So that survey I talked about last week is still being refined. Sorry for the delay on that. In other news, I’m crossing T’s and dotting I’s with our newest KSP-TV team member. I’m going to announce who it is when we’ve got times confirmed, but if you’ve been watching what the channel’s been hosting as of late, you might know who it is ;) Finally, I’ve got some contests in the works, the first of which will be announced at the beginning of September.

Rogelio (Roger):
Still Modeling new assets and experimenting with textures trying to get to a better result for the art style planned between Nick, Dan and me. It’s been hard to unify it because each one of us has a defined art style but we’re getting there and each day is easier to get to the same point. I’m really exploring new techniques of digital painting and getting good results. Also I’ve doing a lot of research on video game warehouse design, lighting styles and even old in-game space center fixtures to inspire myself and do better work for you guys.

Aug 25

Modding Mondays: Contracts Window+

DMagic1 upped the contract window game with CONTRACTS WINDOW+. Have a hankering for ALL the information or just some? You can truly have it your way in this add-on with several expandable windows that will give you almost any shred of info you could hope to know about a contract. You’ll even get a special one for the VAB/SPH!

Contract Window+ requires TOOLBAR, another fine add-on.

Click HERE for more info on Contracts Window+.