Dec 15 2014

Ten Month Update

Just getting into 0.25

… and of course 0.90 drops today. On the plus side though, this really clears up the dilemma I was afraid I would have when I used Custom Biomes for after my Duna I arrival and then had to switch over to the “official” Squad biomes. But as with 0.25, which I literally started getting into at the start of this month, it’ll be a while before 0.90 is in any shape for me to upgrade and still retain everything currently in my game in some form or another. I’ve had the same persistence file since 0.23 and I’m not gonna break the streak if I can help it.

I did a couple of things to help with my RAM usage since I would be more consistently loading up additional planet textures once I’m around Duna and Minmus, also more parts as my ship count increased despite relying as much as possible on core parts. First obvious thing was to try the -force-opengl flag, which would only crash the game before it even showed a window. A Google search however brought me to a reddit post talking about –force-opengl with and additional hyphen at the start. Sonofagun but it worked, and not only did it decrease RAM usage as advertised I was still able to use SweetFX, which seems to rely on a DX DLL. Regardless, I’m only saving this flag for emergencies.

Second thing I did was to copy my persistence file and replace every orbiting vessel with communication analogs – in other words a probe core and however many dishes/antenna the real craft sports. So basically 3-5 different parts across all vessels, removing a ton of unique and even core parts from my install. This is mainly for atmospheric aircraft missions that only need to rely on orbiting satellites for communication purposes while flying around.

I’ve also copied out all my ground debris I want to keep persistent into a separate file so they don’t even exist in my main game anymore until I want them there, and for orbital debris I did the same thing, copying them out, but so that I can still see what’s where in orbit I replaced them with flags.

Finally, the 4-0 version of Active Texture Management (Basic) accidentally included a flag that compressed everything in addition to converting to DDS and I have yet to notice a single graphical issue and saved around 400MB of RAM. So despite the release of 4-2 I’m sticking with 4-0 for now.

End result is that a normal game with only ATM in 0.25 loads around 2.8-3GB on the VRAM side of things, which leaves me roughly 1GB of overhead. Sweet. If I need more I can use the comm analogs and/or the OGL flag.

So I guess twitter KSP accounts are a thing now

Things have really taken off this past month in regards to twitter accounts broadcasting KSP activities. It all really started with @KSP_CCCP and yea I always seem to be picking on the guy for doing this but ultimately it was inevitable and someone was bound to do it so it’s not like I’m annoyed about it or anything! Anyways it quickly escalated into accounts, both new and existing, trying to carve their way into the fiction I started, and that was something I immediately saw as a problem (see the notice above this post). Although I was also rather surprised, as new accounts I expected to mostly want to do their own thing not really collaborate in any real way. Tl;dr we now have a private Google groups mailing list so anyone that wants to cooperate on storylines can do so without tripping over one another, and just for general support on doing the twitter thang.

I’m keeping a tally on existing KSP twitter accounts via this list.

On a personal note, KSP community lead KasperVld took me to new heights in follower count and tweet impressions when he mentioned me in one of the KSP dev notes. Continuous campaigning via other twitter accounts and reddit have helped accrue new followers, as well as finally starting to get some real content up on the YouTube page. Here are some updated analytics views:


As you can see it was a mere fraction of viewers that actually stuck around after the dev notes dropped, but that was to be expected and it was still the most significant follower boost ever for the account, which is now actually over 800 followers, more than the 760 my own personal 6yr-old twitter account has accrued.

Although, despite the recognition from KasperVld the official Squad twitter account seems to be largely ignoring the whole KSP twitter scene despite some attempts by me to catch their attention since that one RT they gifted me back in March (first bump on the follower graph). They seem to be mainly focused on their twitchTV streamers. *shrug* That’s where the money is I guess.

Tricky Ubox videos not so tricky

I need a better way to control visualization of orbits in Ubox as seen by viewers of a video, and thankfully it took me literally all of 3 minutes to figure out how to composite separate videos of orbital visualizations together in Sony Vegas (set track as composite child with Screen mode). This will allow me to do something like animate the orbits of all the planets with their trails showing, and then in a separate video show a bunch of asteroids moving without trails (for performance and visual clutter reasons). I can’t run both at the same time in Universe Sandbox because you can’t selectively enable trails, but I can composite the two videos together to achieve the same effect. More cool stuff is possible too, but I will let that be seen at the end of February 2015.

Crew rosters DB’fied

While awaiting the first launch of the Orion capsule, there wasn’t much for me to do as I didn’t want to have to split my focus between the game and the launch commentary, but coding is something I can do better with a little distraction so I took the time to set up a generic ASP page for reading databases containing astronaut information such as ribbons, mission time, rank, past missions, etc – everything already displayed in their static roster windows on the KSA homepage. Not only do I no longer have to worry about manually updating them now at certain times (except to add mission reports I’ve compiled, but that’s not time-dependent) but I can also inter-link them between Flight Tracker windows, as exemplified in the Mun I tracker (click the crew icons).

The next big thing for the Flight Tracker is using the auto-update refresh functionality to “live stream” a launch by having new ascent data every 15-seconds. Everything to do this is mostly in place (KSP maps integration is on the list to help with this as well), it just takes more time to input all the data. And that’s not something I have a lot of right now.

Intro/outro YouTube segments

You can set a short intro video to play before all your YouTube videos, but you can’t do the same for an outro. Which is annoying because 1) I didn’t think to bother with an outro until recently so a bunch of videos don’t have one and it’s too time consuming to re-make them with one and 2) I have to re-annotate each video’s outro scene. But yea whatever whine, whine, whine…

Mission Patches?

Again. Time. Don’t have it. They’re really cool and all that but ultimately not having them won’t be any huge loss. I’m too artistically challenged overall to bother spending the time designing them. I will keep dropping hints on twitter though for anyone interested in doing some, not expecting a regular person to do all but fans here and there might submit something. I was very pleased by this gilded logo rendition one fan did.

Asteroid save game split

More save game editing was done with my asteroids save, which is separate from my main save to… save my framerate. I won’t say how many I’m tracking right now but I decided 500 was enough per save and I currently now have two. Logistically, once the initial tedious manual split was taken care of, not much extra in the way of upkeep and it does keep the framerate sane. I actually had more than 600 in the single save with no issues as long as the asteroid orbits themselves were not all rendered together on the screen, but with 0.25 something else was causing issues so that even with the asteroids all hidden by right-clicking another element icon like Ships, frames were still stuttering a lot. Anyways moving forwards once I hit 500 asteroids in save 2 it’ll be easy to just copy over a blank slate to start save 3, all the heavy lifting is done.

Time…. it ain’t on my side

So the current operation date of the KSA is 2/9/15 and it’s been stuck there for the past two days as I work through a Minmus mission. Although I got some real cool booster cam footage edited up into a nice video and have exposed some more Mission Architect uses and spent a lot of time planning with MA… it’s taken me almost 3 days to complete one in-game day. This is not good. To fight against this I’ve already begun working to put in lots more time between missions, giving me in-game days with lighter activity so I can breeze through 2-3 in one real world day.

Still, even doing that takes a lot of time – to the point that it’s like a part time job. That isn’t making me any money. I’ve even only put 23 hours into Dragon Age 3 since the game came out last month, and that’s a game I’ve been looking forward to playing a long time.

But I’m still having a lot of fun. Planning things and executing them is a big, big win in my mental playbook and KSP is right up that alley, especially with tools like Mission Architect. Okay this doesn’t give away much so here:


This took me two days, although a lot of it was just getting the hang of MA again and learning some new things, like dealing with life support resource usage affecting craft weight and little stuff like that.

Point is I put a lot of effort into things and that ultimately means keeping up my lead time can be really hard sometimes.

Also I still wanna find time to do the Java orbital tracker. SO MUCH TO DO SO LITTLE TIME!

Speaking of time I’ve spent too much of it here already. See you next month, and until then on twitter.

Edit: holy moley forget next month, see you next year

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