Long-term Laythe Mission - Part 8

TL;DR version: Something different. Update woes. Tsumani 0.20 hits.

I suppose it's foolish to try to do a long term project in an Alpha game that could change file formats radically at the drop of a hat, but such is life. When KSP updated to version 0.20, I continued to use version 0.19 because I needed certain mods, such as the Kerbal Alarm Clock mod for keeping track of all the ships I have coming and going between Kerbin and Laythe. And it never hurts to wait a bit so some initial bugs can get squashed. So I didn't try to update until after version 0.20.2 came out and some of my needed mods had been updated. I read that the file formats were supposed to be "backward compatible" so I had hope for a good result.

So I naively copied over my persistance file and fired up the new version... and a huge number of my spacecraft vanished in puffs of smoke. Ah. Let's check the KSP forums... Ah. It seems that when the parts from a mod are not available, the ships just get removed. Ah. And it seems that Squad changed the folder structure for where parts go, so I didn't even have the ones I installed if they were in the wrong place. Ah. And some of the older parts could work, but you have to edit the their part.cfg files and insert "Part {" at the beginning and "}" at the end. OK... I can handle this.

So after multiple attempts, I got most of my ships to survive loading. Huzzah! The ISA Mapsat mod wasn't available, so a couple mapping satellites vanished, but I can live without those. The Damned Robotics door hinges haven't been updated, so a few Folding Fido rovers vanished from the Mün, Minmus, and Laythe...and the one on Laythe was the only one that concerned me...so I built a hingeless version of the rover and snuck it onto Laythe with persistence file editing...hopefully the boys won't notice the difference, since they have a newer rover to use, anyway.

But my big problem was the Dishy JEB 9000 units that I have been sticking on ships that I've spread all over the Kerbol system. These are nice little parts that my friend George first told me about for adding MechJeb to your ship without having to attach a honking big ugly part. And they look like a HAL 9000 interface...so cool. And if I want to post a craft file, I don't have to worry about it having a non-standard capsule part to mess other people up...I just pull off the JEB 9000 part. Dishy released a Bill 9000 part that interfaces to MechJeb 2.0, but that didn't help me having all those JEB 9000 units everywhere. I found that I could install BOTH MechJeb 1.9.8 and MechJeb 2.0.8 (in different places) and Bill 9000s and JEB 9000s would both work...but I was leary of having both versions of MechJeb installed because I thought they might argue. In the end, I took the cfg file from the Bill 9000 folder, placed it in the JEB 9000 folder, and then edited all the "Bill" references inside it to "Jeb" or "JEB" references (careful to capitalize properly in all places as needed)......and the JEB 9000 units now seem to link to MechJeb 2 just fine. I think...since I haven't tested it much yet.

The last problem was that changes in the terrain on Laythe resulted in one of the rovers (with Kurt and Nelemy inside) appearing UNDERGROUND...and exploding when I tried to do anything about it. To fix this, I just moved the rover to a safe location in version 0.19 before updating to 0.20. Now I probably have lots of my old landers and landing site marker probes on various planets that will show up underground and explode...I haven't checked them all yet. But the Laythe Mission hardware is up and running!

So let's join the crew on Laythe as see how the update went for them. It's after lunchtime at Laythe Base and Kurt is in the bottom Laboratory level analyzing some soils samples, Thompbles and Aldner are in the middle control cabin level checking on the satellite data readouts, and Nelemy is up in the top sleeping quarters level reading a magazine. Then the Base begins to shake rhythmically.

Aldner: "Hey, Nelelmy! Knock it off!
Nelemy: "Dude...It's not me...I'm not doing anything!"

The Base begins to shake violently.

Thompbles: "Quake! Hold on!" (He and Aldner grab loose equipment to restrain it)
Kurt: (from the hatch below) "Hells! Hells blazes!"

After several minutes, the shaking subsides.

Thompbles: "Is everybody OK?"
Kurt: "Yes!"
Nelemy: "Yo!"
Aldner: (nods)
Thompbles: "Looks like we actually get to try Kurt's emergency plan. Everybody head for the SSTO!"

The boys pile out of the Base and run for the rovers as dust settles. Thompbles and Aldner use the old Folding Fido (which they don't notice appears to have had all its hinges damaged in the quake, so they no longer function. But no loss).

They climb aboard the SSTO and Kurt starts flipping switches as Aldner reads off the emergency launch checklist to him. Thompbles calls up the data links to the Ocean Probes and starts analyzing wave height data. Nelemy stays in the open hatch and scans the waters of Fido Bay for any activity. An alarm blares.

Thompbles: "What's up?"
Kurt: "Autopilot system is giving me a 1202 alarm. It may have been damaged in the quake."
Aldner: "Try SCE to Aux."
Kurt: (flips switches) "No joy. 1202."
Thompbles: "I thought you didn't use the autopilot for ascent on this ship."
Kurt: "I don't...but if we need to target a return trajectory later, it would be handy. But the other systems check green. We can launch on your mark."
Thompbles: "Roger. Just hold. Nelemy, anything?"
Nelemy: "Dude...not a thing. No tidal waves. If anything, the water level is going down."
Aldner: "Crap." (Moves to hatch alongside Nelemy with binoculars) "Hmmm. I think he's right...but it a very small decline. Anything from the probes?"
Thompbles: "There's possibly a very long wavelength signal, but it's not large. Centimeters, maybe. It's down in the noise. But it's showing up in the data from both Ocean Probe 1 and DogFish, heading this way."
Nelemy: "Dudes! Wave coming!"
Aldner: "Hmm. Not too big...maybe one or two meters. What's the elevation here?"
Kurt: "We are at 18 meters elevation, a little over half a kilometer from the shore."
Thompbles: "Kurt, spool up the jet engines. Minimum power."
Kurt: "Roger. Spooling up jets. LV-T45 ignition circuits are hot." (the roar of the wave is joined by the rising whine of the jet engines)
Aldner: "The wave has reached shore...coming in."
Nelemy: "Dude, the old Fido Pup probe just got swamped!"
Thompbles: "Aldner? How does it look?"
Aldner: "Hold. Hold. The wave is slowing... It's not even going to make it halfway here. Retreating now, Skipper."
Thompbles: "OK. Kurt, cut the jets. But stay ready."
Nelemy: "The wave has washed away that narrow peninsula at the mouth of the inlet. It's completely gone! Whoa."

Thompbles made the crew wait in the SSTO for the rest of the day as he monitored wave data from the Ocean Probes. But nothing else came. Below we see the Fido Pup rover probe, which had been sitting happily along the shore of Fido Bay for 15 years, floating in the inlet after Tsunami 0.20 passed.

The next day the crew checks over all the equipment at Laythe Base. The first thing Aldner did was check out the BirdDog, and then he tried docking it to each of the two GasStations to see if he could get good dockings after they had shifted position during the quake.

Aldner: "Yo, Commandant Thombles, sir! Good news."
Thompbles: "What is it Aldner? BirdDog and GasStations check out fine?"
Aldner: "Indeed they do, Oh Prophetic One. One of the docking booms that I was able to use on GasStation 2 no longer fits, but the other two now work."
Thompbles: "Sounds good, Aldner."
Aldner: "I also checked the cargo container on GasStation 2. The remaining cargo in there all shifted in the quake. It's a bit of a mess, but I don't see anything damaged. And I found the flag that was buried in back."
Thompbles: "That is good news. At least after all this mess we can finally have our flag planting ceremony."
Aldner: "Aye, aye, Cap'n. I'll bring it back with me after I do the reconnaissance flight."

The land around the Laythe Base area had shifted somewhat, but the stretch of land to the west that Aldner used as his landing strip still looked moderately flat, with perhaps a few new ridges. Takeoff was no problem.

Aldner: "Laythe Base? You Copy?"
Thompbles: "Yes, Aldner. Anything to report?"
Aldner: "I'm over the mouth of Fido Bay. The tsunami sure did a number on the coastline here. That peninsula that Kurt named Macydean Point is completely gone. And there are now two small offshore islands instead of one...and a tiny island between them. Good thing Kurt and Nelemy weren't still sitting there in their rover...the land elevations appear to have changed quite a bit."

Below, Alnder flies over the inlet by Laythe Base that was reshaped by the tsunami. In the meantime, Nelemy has used the remote control systems to coax the Fido Pup probe out of the water, using most of its remaining RCS fuel.

Aldner lands the BirdDog, gasses it up at GasStation 2, grabs the flag, and heads over to the Base.

Our intrepid heroes gather outside the Base module for a solemn ceremony.

Aldner: "Here's the flag, Captain!"
Thompbles: "Thanks, Aldner. I want to say that I'm very honored to be here working with you gentlemen. I'm proud of how well you all handled the potential crisis today. I plant this flag to commemorate our first outpost in the Jool system. We came in peace for all kerbalkind."
Kurt: "Hear, hear!""
Thompbles: (plants the flag pole...flips the catch to release the flag.)
Nelemy: "Whoa! Dude!"
Thompbles: ...
Kurt: "Very nice. That's our flag, is it?"
Thompbles: "What...the...hell? Is this some kind of joke, Aldner?"
Aldner: "Not by me. Nice flag. Good speech. Very moving."
Nelemy: "Hey, look! There's a postcard attached. (snags it) 'Dear Aldner. Here's some special flags to mark the best spots on Laythe. Be sure to give the regular ones to Thompbles. Love, The KSC Gang.'"
Aldner: "Ah! Then there must be other flags in the cargo container. No problem. You want we should take this one down?"
Thompbles: (ponders the flag) "...Mmmmm...No. I think we'll keep this one up for a while."

And so ends another adventure on Laythe, and a successful transition to a new version. (And a tip of the hat to Chobit389 and Trekkette for their fine "Postcards from Laythe" site.)