Setting up.

This post is a place holder for setting up a Java development environment. It is intended for my son, but if useful to others then great. I will also be providing some basic information for Java as well. Note that many tutorials are geared to getting people using basic tools (notepad and command line) this will be using an IDE and hopefully more fun!

Before we start we need to set up a couple of things :

The last two of these are not entirely necessary but are a good practice and allow you to avoid mistakes, backtrack, backup and share your code if you want to.

Not much explanation at the moment, but a solid starting point. I’ll explain a couple of features in future posts but experimentation is the key to learning – try things and see what happens.


Modding again.

I dabbled a little in modding minecraft before, and now after some time I am getting into the whole thing again. Much has changed since 1.6/1.7 and I have had to relearn quite a few things that I thought I understood, but that’s the initial challenge.

I have a github repository now and unlike before I am going to use gradle properly for the setup and download of dependencies. I am also now using the jetbrains idea IDE which I have to say is much easier than eclipse to understand, although because of gradle, switching from one to the other is a simple operation.

In addition, I have looked into Kerbal modding and this is based on the Unity engine at its heart. Consequently this requires me to learn C# to write any mods. It’s not too far from Java and I am using Microsoft Tools at work but I have more ideas on what to do in Minecraft than Kerbal which is a whole different mindset. A Magic mod wouldn’t be too useful in kerbal 😀 although I did have one possible mod in mind. We’ll see…


The Trouble with Tourists

Dliny and Carte, socialites of the Kerbal aristocracy and looking for new thrills came to Kasa and asked us whether they could fly in one of our craft. They both wanted to be the first to take a selfie with the planet and then post it to MyKerbBook. We said no of course and they offered money and we decided to think again.

The big problem was that neither of them could fly and we needed them to survive to get paid. Werner suggested we get a good lawyer and just fire them into orbit, but or bad lawyer said that would cost more than getting them back and we had to think again.

Eventually the guy changing the light bulbs in the command centre realised that the remote controlled lighting and air-conditioning in the office could be modified to control a rocket! He was hired and started the electronics department. He added a nice range of lights to the mix too :)



The configuration that worked in the end was one in which two command modules were placed one on top of the other. The control system sat on-top of these so that the heat of re-entry wouldn’t fry it.


Dliny and Carte were ecstatic on their return, luckily they thought that the near disaster that happened after final separation was simply us keeping them closer together during their experience *phew*


They were down and we were back in the black. After waving them goodbye we found that there was a flood of requests to travel! Having a spare rocket we decided to do one more trip and Magda and Franbella were the 3rd and 4th tourists.


This time the final separation went much smoother and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as we cashed their cheque. All this media coverage had led to wannabe kerbinauts attempting to get into space by themselves. The problem is that none of them seemed to think about getting back – we were called on to so a rescue. Our tracking team plotted an orbit and we ran simulations.


We could get close, but our knowledge was lacking, the inclination and alignment was ok, but we never came close enough to transfer Debilian from his scrap ship to the Mun-Bus ™  (our tourist ship). We always seemed to run out of fuel before being able to correct the orbit.The planners needed to pull an all nighter to see how this could be done…





Fly me to the mun…

Ice cool Glendine Kerbal has moved from being the new girl in the space  centre to being the hero of Kerbin. Our first moon pass has been achieved without a hitch. Including and EVA during the pass by.


After a smooth transition to a low Kerbin Orbit, the tracking station plotted the course for the Mun.




Glendine executed the course to perfection and said good by to Kerbin for the long trip. She decided at that point to do the Kerbin Times crossword to kill a few minutes and sat back for the ride.



After drifting in the emptiness for what seemed like only a moment the Mun was near.



Glendine prepared the final approach, she poised her finders above the controls ready to correct any mistakes in the course, her fear visible as the pass was made. But it was perfect! Glendine saluted as she flew over the  peak on the mun where Valentine was likely to have died. It has been named Mt. Smear in her honour. Quickly she did the science experiments, and prepared for an EVA, this was the icing on the cake. 2015-05-15_00012

There was the chance to take measurements for some private companies, but there wasn’t enough fuel to enter a mun orbit. That would have to wait. Tracking contacted Glendine and relayed the course correction required to get back home.



This was going to be tricky, the only way back was straight down. She was about to fall from the Mun to kerbin. The tricky bit was stopping at the other end. She said her farewells to Mun vowing to return. and began her decent..


Glendine was hitting 2800m/s as she hit the atmosphere, although that quickly slowed, she just hoped enough to depoly the parachute!


Tracking lost contact for a moment at this point but our hero glendine survived. The chute did its job and she splashed down in the Kerbal Sea where her ship was recoved successfully a few hours later.


Planes before Manley…


The Kerbal engineers got to work and created a plane, they took their inspiration from a paper dart they created the week before. Amazingly the plane flew.





We had a contract to test the Weasley engine at certain height and speed. We reached 10k fairly easily but the speed was simply unobtainable even when diving straight down. We tried a few variants of this model in an effort to get the speed:



try4 try3

But it didn’t matter what we tried it just didn’t work. Then Werner had a brainwave. The contract didn’t say it had to be tested on a plane. We could test the engine on a rocket!

tester1 tester2

Job done! we got the cash and Werner realised that the windgs we made for the plane could be modified on a rocket allowing us to use the more powerful (and lighter) reliant engine and still steer. A stroke of genius…



Heavier Payloads…

After the day of mourning for Jeb and Val we thought the most fitting tribute woul dbe to achieve the goal of getting to the Mun. Clearly we needed a ship that can carry more and give us a level of flexibility.


Many different designs were tried, and many failed.

attempt1 attempt2 attempt3

Glendine (our new recruit) bravely tested each in turn without complaint. We feel she is definitely the right kerbal for the job. Our efforts to get the science payload into orbit failed again and again however and a re think was required.

Along came our next contract which was a simple (now) orbit of Kerbin while gathering some research for reaction systems inc. The pay was handsome and we might be able to gain some insight into how we could lift these payloads easier…

We got the orbiter plans out of the store and added a few items to make the science easier. A communications unit so we could get the data back for our clients. Glendine was glad of a routine mission after so many close calls.


straight up to about 80km and then when we reached the apoapsis a quick burn to make the orbit more circular and stable.



After the science was done it was time to return to Kerbin. A short retrograde burn would allow Glendine to return, followed by the separation of the fuel tanks and engines.




The capsule and science Jr protected by a heat shield would now start to descend. Kerbal across kerbin would have a light show to remember this night.


Everything went well, the mission was a complete success. Glendine had stuck a toy kite to the outside of the capsule for good luck and had noticed that it had allowed the ship to ascend easier. Werner von Kerbal slapped his forehead and made a few sketches. Kerbals needed to fly to the Mun!






Mun or bust (Almost 3 days since our last accident)

With getting into orbit now a routine procedure, and getting back a cinch with a parachute, it is time to plan a Mun Fly-by. Our resident artist was employed to write up a spreadsheet with the numbers for just how much DeltaV we need to get where but his imagination got away from him and he gave us this:


Kerbal Cheatsheet – Great site

It turned out to be quite useful and allows us to plan the craft we build. We have achieved and Jeb currently lives in low Kerbin Orbit (4550m/s). to go from there to the mun will require a further 860m/s + 310m/s, plus some for the return depending on the route we take and allowing for mistakes.

Valentina stepped up to the plate and after our designers had finished we had a rocket that would take us to orbit and beyond. Science would be limited on this first trip, but hopefully we could learn enough to get Jeb Home. We reached Orbit and began to plan our way to the moon.


Now it was down to Valentina to execute the plan.

ExecutetheplanThere was fuel to spare and she was on her way, there needed to be a course correction but she would make that after some well needed rest. The mood was tense and she had played her part perfectly.


After the correction was executed, the trajectory looked like this


It looked like the plan was going to be perfect, a near Mun pass and then return to Kerbin. The return was going to be hairy but the trip would be worth it, Valentina had nerves of steel.

Kerbal Tracking sent her the plan a and she did the manouevers making course corrections and matching the trajectory required. It was a 4 day trip over all, due to waiting for orbits to be in the correct place. and then the moment arrived.


This was the glorious sight of Kerbin in the distance as we were about to make a pass by the moon. Valentina started to do the required science as she got even closer to the Mun, this was transmitted back to us and all was well. She even went EVA to do some unscheduled experiments, and then… Disaster!

Kerbal tracker Edmundo noticed that Jebs ship had moved dangerously low and was about to re-enter kerbins atmosphere. What had happened here? All attention moved to Jeb, he told Edmundo that he had executed the burn as instructed! He had recieved the plan at the same time as Valentina and this meant his stable orbit decayed. Edmundo wished him well in the afterlife and switched the channel back to Valentina…


Nothing but static….. Bad to Worse… Valentina and Jeb were gone. There would be an enquiry and it would blame pilot error…


Perfecting Orbits (2 days since our last accident)

With our new research and cash we decided to get ourselves up into orbit and see what we can learn there. The old tracking station needed a lick of paint and so we spent some of our hard earned cash there, the Inuit builders said they could do a “two-for” and so we got a new mission control as well. Hopefully we will get more civilian contracts now they don’t have to wait in a hut.

Jerimiah as always is our “go-to” pilot for these exploratory missions, he knows where the joystick is in the capsule and he’s not afraid to use it. We needed a ship that could carry more up to orbit and so we carefully crafted the “Karibou Orbiter” craft.


All went well, our science payloads were strapped to the top and launch went without a hitch. Unfortunately things went slightly wrong after that and Jerimiah had a close escape.

NoReallyUpThe problem was that the science equipment was arranged by our resident artist who decided to make the equipment into an abstract installation called “Life out of Balance”.

FinallyThe third attempt led us to our first science mission into space, Jerimiah was ecstatic and began his science work on board. This was to be his first space walk and so he prepared himself for history after noting how “round” kerbin is.  Unfortunately images of Jerimiah flaoting into space and returning to the ship have not been recorded as the lens cap was left on the outside camera used for that. Science done, he returned to the ship and transmitted everything to ground control. Jerimiah did his final checks. Fuel was Ok, Science was safely transferred, he was ready.


It was at this point Jerimiah realised there was no parachute installed in the craft. After a long debate it was decided that rescue was the only option, we couldn’t let our boy down…