Feb 16 2015

One Year Update

Good lord it’s been a year. A lot has happened, but I’m still enjoying this adventure I’ve set my kerbals on, so at least there is that.

Slowly drowning

I’ve done a poor job with pacing lately, taken on too much in the game to manage within the span of a single real world day. For this reason, it’s been a month since my last update yet the game has only progressed half a month. I have to fly a lot of things in real time (EVAs and atmospheric flights, mainly) and even if I don’t, after doing the flying and operations I need to write things up for twitter, upload images, edit images, create images (blueprints), then compile mission reports, update craft databases, update roster databases, make quick videos, write some kOS code, write some ASP/HTML code…. oh and then of course remember to eat, sleep and go do the work that actually makes me money 😛

Mainly it’s this upcoming Mun III mission that’s been the killer. On the plus-side, the reason it’s become so involved is hopefully going to really pull in people over this next month. But still, it’s been a lot of work and afterwards I need to launch the second Minmus comsat as well as get Eeloo I on its way, hopefully. Bottom line is that the current KSA date is the start of March 6th and that real world date is fast approaching. I really hope I don’t need to do this, but I do have various plots I can fall back on if I need to cease active operations and build myself back up some more lead time. And by “cease active operations” I mean the account will still tweet daily, days will still pass, it’s just the Agency won’t be doing a whole lot of stuff on a day-to-day basis due to one of several things I could choose to make happen.

Another major problem is that the game breaks. A lot. It’s just a fact of life given that it’s not a feature-complete product and with all the mods I use there are bound to be conflicts. Too, the mods themselves are developed as hobby projects and thus are generally released in a buggy state. Again, this is expected and I’m not complaining, but a lot of my time over the past month has been sucked into figuring out why things aren’t working. So far I’m proud to say that, since 0.23, nothing has come up I haven’t been able to fix or work around to maintain the continuity of both my story and save file. Regardless, it remains that part of the reason my lead time has been cut down so much is due to the inherent buginess of the game.

4-digits on the follower count!

So the end of January rolled around and my follower count was waffling around 985 – I could see it going up and down by a few almost daily. It was really getting annoying to be that close to 1,000 and not be able to push through. So I finally got the idea to reach out to the New Horizons twitter account with my Eeloo mission as a comparison for dwarf planet exploration. It worked. I shot past 1,000 in no time. Some more ESA recognition and Squad also help boost me up safely into the 1k zone. This is a milestone I did not seriously expect to reach in just a year’s time. This community is pretty awesome, and I continue to be amazed at the willingness of the real-world agencies and scientists to play along.

Craft/Roster Database Improvements

I spent some time re-working some things about the crew and craft databases this past month. The most noticeable change is to the Flight Tracker – this link points to Duna I’s information but now you can hop to any active vessel via a side menu. Originally it listed every body, but I realized I couldn’t show how many vessels were in orbit around that body and it was annoying to open them all to see if anything was there. The trickiest part was to create a tree structure in a non-relational database but I got it designed well enough to allow me to easily add new moons and planets to the list. I can also tell it when to show what craft in what SOI, which means I can “set it and forget it” ahead of time and it will sort things appropriately without me having to go back and edit it. The improvements to the crew roster are less visible – the most notable is that now ribbons can supersede each other. So when an astronaut arrives within the SOI of a planet the SOI ribbon will show up in his roster, but if he actually enters orbit that ribbon will not be displayed and instead the orbit ribbon will show up. Again, all this is set ahead of time and happens automatically.

The biggest change, however, was the addition of Ascent Data to the craft window. Coupled with the page’s ability to auto-refresh, I can have it do so at intervals like 15s and display new craft data during ascent. If you happen to be looking at the page at the same time as the launch itself, you will see it auto-update with new data in “real time”. If you come to the Flight Tracker after the craft has made orbit, you can always manually page back through the launch ascent. Honestly, I’m a bit underwhelmed at the feature now that I’ve seen it in action. It would be way cooler to actually see the numbers changing every second, but I’m interested to see what other people think.

A quick look at some image editing

I use SweetFX to darken and saturate the game for better visuals, but it does have the effect of making things a little too dark during night time. So lately I’ve been pausing the game and taking two screenshots, one with SweetFX on and another with it toggled off. Then I bring them into Paint.NET and composite them. Generally this brings out the night sky a lot better, but I also use it to lighten up the ground too on some occasions. Here are a few examples:

I try not to edit images as rule mainly because it takes time, but then again sometimes it’s worth it.

I’m wasting time

I think there was more I wanted to talk about but honestly I don’t really have the time to do it. It’s the KSA’s (operational) birthday today and there’s a lot of stuff I want to get done…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>