Of Kerbals and Prokrastination

Sorry, no fiction today.

This is because of the release of KSP 1.1 preview, and consequently my spending the entire day testing out its new many-parts and many-mod 64-bit support by resurrecting working versions of my BehemothMegalodon, and Surprise Eclipse! 10m-parts-as-liquid-fuel-boosters-for-an-Orion heavy-lifters.

I’d apologize, but honestly, I regret nothing and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you otherwise.


Christmas Quiet Period & KSP-Related Thoughts

So, we have entered the unofficial Christmas Quiet Period here at the Eldraeverse, in which I am running around doing not-working things for Christmas, leading to a shortage of peaceful writing time, and in which so is everyone else, leading to a noticeable drop-off in reading, by the statistics.

So, it’s going to be a little quieter around here for the next few days, on the grounds that Isif and her candle deserve more writing time and more readers than they’re otherwise going to get, and normal service will be resumed after the CQP.

In other thoughts, today’s quasi-lunatic impulse – as discussed on Google+ here – was the notion of putting together a Kerbal Space Program mod using Kopernicus to build a nice 1/6.4x scale model of the Lumenna-Súnáris System, with its two suns and seventeen planets and assorted asteroid belts, not to mention the moons, and thus let people download one of the Orion mods and play “Spaceflight Initiative – The Game” to their heart’s content.

Then I decided that it wasn’t practical, because it seemed very hard to get to perform decently even with 1.1 and 64-bit coming, and I don’t have the artistic skill to make planet textures, and there’s the obvious problem that Eliéra technically ain’t a planet, it’s a flat – well, convex – disk-shaped BDO and how the heck do you mod that in, and all of this would eat lots of valuable writing time, and…

…so, yeah.

But, of course, not practical for me is not the same thing as not practical for anyone.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take some of my available but restricted-creativity time over this Christmas season and write up a big description of the planets and moons and so forth of the Lumenna-Súnáris System, including their orbits and masses and types and atmospheres and appearances and little bits of surface detail that are going to need to go on their textures/biome maps, and throw them out here.

This should entertain those of you reading who are serious astronomy geeks, serve as a handy reference, and also makes it available for anyone who has time and capacity and enthusiasm enough to actually build said KSP mod, or something similar, as a fan-work.

(Up for grabs is the Imperial Star of Canonical Awesomeness, which cobbled-together image you can stick on your download page, or on your refrigerator, or have tattooed somewhere embarrassing, or whatever else you feel like doing with the official recognition that the author has looked upon your works and found them good, yea, even unto canonicity.)




You Want This. You Need This.

Those of you who have bought and read a copy of The Core War and Other Stories may have noticed the reference to Kerbal Space Program in the acknowledgements…

(Those of you who haven’t – go buy a copy! Right now! Seriously – I’ll wait for you. Got it? Okay.)

…specifically “which taught me everything I know about orbital mechanics”.

Well, the beta is over and the first release version, 1.0, just shipped today. And so I’m here to suggest to you that you get a copy, too. It’s an invaluable resource for the SF writer, because it’s far easier to learn orbital mechanics from – specifically including developing an intuitive feel for them – than doing so from textbooks. And when you’re trying to do something complex enough that you need to go back to the textbooks, it makes it a lot easier to understand them. (And the fun needn’t stop there – it has a very active modding community whose add-ons let you simulate everything from life support to heat radiators, from exotic ISRU fuels to Orion drives…)

And it’s an invaluable resource for SF readers, too, at least if you like your SF relatively hard and want to have some idea how real spacecraft actually maneuver. (Fair warning: you may suffer somewhat from this if you have a problem with Science Ruining Everything, but, hey, knowledge has a price. Read better books!)

And best of all, it’s 25% off right now for launch day, so hie yourself over to the Kerbal Space Program web site and get yourself a copy. I personally guarantee that you won’t regret it.

Goin’ Up To Minmus (Filk)

(This has absolutely nothing to do with my writing, and everything to do with the fact that I play far too much Kerbal Space Program, and am ridiculously susceptible to earworms.

And maybe writing it down will at least help with the latter.)

The Minmus Colonial Anthem
(ttto: the South Park theme music)

Jebediah Kerman:

We’re going up to Minmus,
Gonna have ourselves a time.

Bill Kerman:

Kethane drilling everywhere,
Shuttlecraft from every station.

Jebediah Kerman:

Going up to Minmus,
Gonna leave my woes behind.

Bob Kerman:

Parking orbits day and night,
Asteroids without rotation.

Jebediah Kerman:

Headin’ on up to Minmus,
Gonna see if I can’t unwind.

Gene & Wernher von Kerman

[couplet in Kerbalish]

Jebediah Kerman:

So come on up to Minmus
And help us build a mine!

[rocket-thrust sound]