A Few Ideas Around Modular Ships And Docking
These are just some thoughts that have occurred to me while playing SE docking ships and so on. Not in any sort of order:
- Undocking from a rotating mother vessel imparts no angular momentum to the undocking ship.
I know this might be something that has to wait until there is a proper physics engine in SE, but it would be nice to get flung off the docking port of a spinning mothership. I like spinning ships for centrifugal "gravity" - this would be a neat illustration of the effect.
- Is it possible to pre-define docked ships to be loaded along with the mothership in the ship file?
If so, what's the syntax? If not, that would be a nice feature.
- Probably a more long term development: different types of docking/berthing/separation ports.
Standard ports, large ship only ports, small ship only ports, Cargo/people/fuel transfer capability (much later, I know).
I think the kind of think I'm most excited about are separation ports, or something like the "separatrons" in Kerbal Space Program. On the code side, it's just a handful of variables added to the existing docking port definition - bool single_use, float separation_force and vector separation_direction, and, ideally, some way to trigger groups - stages
- of separation events together.
Basically, I just want to stage realistic rocket launches and planetary missions like in Orbiter or something. I've already privately assembled space shuttle stacks, but if I could have the stack shed the boosters and external tank - that would be so cool. I'd hopefully put together models for Soyuz and Falcon 9/Heavy.
- A "Berthing" system where the module you dock to the mothership becomes part of the mothership
I'd like to build up space stations ISS style by flying up individual modules and bolting them together into a persistent space station. I suspect the engine's memory manager would be much happier if the modules were all under that ship's module list rather than spawning as separate ships. This would certainly satisfy players who like a little Minecraftian (or dare-I-say-it Space Engineers-esque?) self-expression in their undirected cosmic wandering. It would be an in-game spaceship builder complete with the test-of-skill of berthing the modules correctly and efficiently.
Judging by the popularity of KSP Let's Play videos recreating the construction of Mir or the ISS, a lot of people would appreciate that ability.
...Those are just some ideas that occurred, as I say. Thought I'd post them here. I like the idea of people building modular creations on the fly in Space Engine, saving them and sharing the SSS files - just as they already do with spaceships made in the editor. I also like the idea of being able to ship cargo and resources around a system by physically grabbing a crate of whatever and flying it to Mars for delivery or whatever.
I've asked this before but didn't get a response. Is it possible to have that band of equatorial clouds on procedural planets?
That might be achievable by modifying the cloud shaders. You can look into the code yourself inside the pak files. Look for cloud mods on the forum to find out how. If you come up with something good, it might get integrated into the official release. Lots of people do cloud mods, so maybe try bringing it up in those threads. People like Rodrigo have gotten stuff more or less assimilated into the official releases in the past.