After a years wait, Squad is at last delivering on their promise of a KSP build using the Unity V engine. As part of that upgrade, Squad had to redesign their User Interface (UI) and rebuild many of the critical systems (such as the physics engine PhysX) from scratch. Thanks to all their time and hard work, the KSP 1.1 update will come with many changes for the better. Besides the introduction of the KSPedia, which is still undergoing changes (KSPedia is a built in guide to many of the different tasks you do in the game), here are the changes to KSP that I find to be the most useful (and cool 🙂 ).
1. Right Click/Part Menu Changes
As part of the upgrade to the UI, the part menu has gone through a couple of changes. First, it looks nice and more streamlined. However, something that blew my mind and made me deliriously happy was the change to how they operate and are used. Before, when you would Rt. Click a part to enter the part menu, the menu would move around relative to the rocket’s position and only be accessible while working with it. The moment you took the mouse off it and clicked somewhere else, the menu would disappear. Now, with the new changes, you can move the part menu around and pin the menu to the screen. Instead of constantly having to open part menus, you can open the ones you need, pin them to the screen and have them stay there and stay stationary until you unpin them or stage the part away.
2. UI changes in Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and Spaceplane Hangar (SPH)
Several more upgrades to the UI took place in the VAB and SPH. One such change is the addition of a scroll bar. Now, instead of going through page after page of parts of a particular type, you can now just simply scroll through all the parts of a type, cutting down on the amount of time it takes to find a part.
Another incredibly valuable tool that has been added in the 1.1 update was the addition of a search tool, so you can now search for an obscure part and find it, without scrolling up and down in every single possible section, turning what had formerly been a quest to seek the fuel tank of power into a task that takes only a second or two. These two changes to the UI in the VAB and SPH will decrease the amount of time spent finding parts, so you can spend that time working on building and/or launching a rocket instead.
3. Added Cross Section View to Rocket Viewpoints
In addition to the internal view, with the 1.1 update a new view was added: Cross Section! You can now watch whatever your kerbals do without having to stoop to their level! Watch your kerbals tremble in fear as terrible things happen to them, all from the safety of the third person view! What this view does is what it sounds like: it cuts a piece away from the side of the craft so you can watch what is happening to your kerbals while staying in third person view. (Launching things is so much cooler when you can see your kerbals laughing at their potentially impending doom! 🙂
4. Additions to opening/main screen
This particular feature is awesome for newcomers and old-timers alike. In the opening/main screen, where you see all of the buildings, they added a series of buttons on the left hand side, which, when hovered over, points to the specific building the button stands for and gives a description of what that building does. Also, if you click the button, it takes you to that specific building, allowing you to quickly and easily go to an area without having to play the annoying game: “What’s that building?!”
5. Introduction of new parts
A while back, Squad themselves made a mod called “Asteroid Day”, which added a new type of probe core, solar panel, antenna and telescope. Well, three of those parts, the probe core, the solar panel and the long range antenna, from the “Asteroid Day” mod are finally part of the stock KSP part set, adding more specialized parts for longer range missions an already impressive selection.
6. Adjustments made to wheel physics
As part of the overhaul of the physics engine, they adjusted the way wheel physics was handled. Because of those adjustments, the wheels are more lifelike and, the reason why it made it onto my list, adds the ability to drift and do a whole bunch of other cool tricks. (Imagines doing doughnuts in a rover on mars… *drools*) Be careful, however, as if you get too adventurous you can and will flip your vehicle over or break your wheels!
In short, I look forward to KSP 1.1 and the new features it will introduce. It will be a blast (in more ways than one), and should add more variety to the game. Good luck, Good day and Happy Flights to all!