Aug 14 2014

Six Month Update

Half a year?!? Holy crap.

A couple hours early for this monthly update but tomorrow is going to be busy so might as well get this done now. My parents are selling the house we’ve lived in for the last 30 years, so I’m spending a lot of time getting ready to move to my own place while they head down south to retire. This means my lead time has dropped a tad from almost 3.5 months down to just over 3 – but I’m holding pretty steady there. It doesn’t help that as operations for the KSA grow more complex, I spend more time planning than I do playing. But the more experienced I become at planning the faster I will be able to do it, so things will balance out again eventually.

0.24.2 Upgraded

I waited until the beginning of August to upgrade straight from 0.23.5 to 0.24.2 and the process was relatively painless. I did have to go through the save file and craft files to change some part names, however. Additionally there was the problem of the game throwing masses of exceptions when I tried to select a craft in the Tracking Station and essentially locking up the game. I got that all cleared up in short order though after a bit of sleuthing to discover what mod was causing the issue. Since then I’ve been running the normal 32-bit version without any major issues. I’ve been using the 64-bit version to load up all my mods at once for building new craft, but due to that version being so buggy still (and the fact that having almost 7GB of RAM being used creates a few performance issues of its own) I don’t use it for regular gameplay.

No More Budgets (for now)

It was fun playing with money, for a time. Mission Controller Extended had things pretty well balanced to where I could apply for a custom contract and make enough money to pay off the cost of my mission and save some for spending on new parts and testing. Hell, I even had a spreadsheet going in Excel and learned a lot about the program getting it to work with equations so I could just enter in monetary values and get my total expenditures and income and such. If you’re interested, you can view it online here.

With 0.24 and the introduction of contracts and funds, things just got too complicated with part packs having to re-balance and the contracts system as a whole being largely focused towards people who don’t really have their own goals. Or, if you do have your own goals you then have to hunt around for a contract that will fulfill them, at least partly enough to get you the funds required to launch the rocket. I could have learned to create my own custom contracts, but then I would need to get an idea of how all the parts were cost-balanced so I could pay myself appropriately.

In the end, I just decided to go for the “Science Sandbox” mode – at least for now. I have my eye on funds and contracts to see if they will once again become a useful mechanic for me.

Science Intake Reduced by 75% Overall

Speaking of science, I decided that I was getting too much of it, too fast. The fact that even in 0.24 was also a heads up to me that science gains needed to be seriously nerfed. The only alternative was to go through the tech tree and increase the amount of science required for each node I hadn’t unlocked yet. I’m using the Interstellar tree and once again I was faced with balance issues, especially since the time this tree was created so many more mods have come into being that offer new ways to earn science. So to keep things simple I decided to reduce the amount of science gains globally using the Celestial Body Science Multiplier Editor mod. We’ll see if 75% is too extreme, but I doubt it considering I’ll be using Custom Biomes to reap tons of science from every body in the Kerbol system, not just Mun, Minmus and Kerbin.

Asteroid Discovery – Realistic? No. Do I Care? No.

I’ve realized that my method for having the kerbals discover new asteroids is letting them be found practically anywhere within the Kerbol system, regardless of where Kerbin happens to be at the time. This isn’t really possible since the sun would make it pretty hard to discover any orbiting opposite Kerbin, for one example. Really I should only be discovering ones in a cone extending out from Kerbin’s night side. But the game lets them pop up all over the place. Really though, I don’t really care. There’s realism and there’s gameplay and they aren’t always both the same thing. With what the game gives me to work with, my method so far is the best I can do.

That being said, who knows – I’ll have to ask the author of the Custom Asteroids mod whether it would be possible to allow untracked asteroids to only appear within a specific cone of visibility.

Still Nothing but Tweets and Images

KSA just flew an aircraft alongside a rocket launch and took aerial video footage, but I didn’t actually release any. Thankfully no one has asked for any either, so that’s good. But eventually people might start clamoring for videos of launches instead of just images. When that happens, I’ll just have to say sorry, all “footage” is for private review. I do wish I could make videos of launches and stuff, but right now it’s just too much extra work.

However, I have been spending time on craft/mission blueprints that are turning out quite spectacularly, if I do say so myself. I’m really disappointed the first one won’t see the light of day until the end of October but hopefully when it does hit it will be big – think this blueprint but in color. Seriously, they look awesome. I’ll definitely be doing one for each major mission from here-on out.

Rover Driver Pre-releases

The people on Reddit loved the concept of Rover Driver and I’ve gotten the code to the point where it’s ready for a full v1.0 release – but I’m still waiting on the next kOS update which will hopefully resolve a bug that causes the rover to fail to drive to the next waypoint – which means there’s a chance you could leave the game running and the rover won’t make it to where you would like it to be when you come back a while later.

Until then though, Rover Driver is available to try out via the dev thread and I’m still looking for any feedback.

More Editing – No Surprise There

In addition to the changes I make while re-reading through the scheduled tweets, today I actually went back and added a tweet based on a twitter follower conversation. A follower asked about Kirk’s condition (he recently had a bad ejection incident that damaged his back and broke his leg) and whether Kirk’s past injuries plus this one would compound issues. I hadn’t really considered that. So I scheduled another tweet after the one that cleared him fit for duty again, saying that doctors felt the multiple injuries were not a factor, but were watching him closely all the same.

All in all another good month. Seeeee youuuuuuu in Septemmmber…

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