I'm very happy to announce that the Asteroid Redirect Mission
patch for KSP is now officially released!
This is a very special update in many ways, not least of course is that it was made in collaboration with NASA, to make sure our Kerbal version of the Mission was not only true to its real-life counterpart, but that it was also fun, educational, and in keeping with KSP's style, free to be performed in any way you can think of. Want to re-enact the exact mission profile NASA is planning? Go for it. Want to send up enough rocket fuel to lift an office building and slam on the retrograde brakes? That's also an option. Want to not do any of those things and just use the Advanced Grabbing Unit to choose which Kerbals go and which stay? Erm... sure.
This has been, without question, the largest update we've ever done, not just in terms of development time, but most importantly in terms of the scope of the changes made. No other update has had so many different areas improved on at the same time. We usually focus on a single area to work on, but this time, we really felt the need to make a noticeable improvement in the overall playing experience, especially around flight planning and advanced deep-space missions.
So, Here are the highlights for this update:
Kerbin is no longer alone in its orbit. Nearby are countless objects that buzz in and out of its sphere of influence, some flying by harmlessly, others on impact trajectories. Ranging in size from just a few meters through 5 size classes up to gigantic objects weighing thousands of tons, these new objects should provide a new challenge for both new and veteran players. Each asteroid is procedurally generated, so no two are the same. Also, asteroids can have samples taken from them by EVAs, providing a constant source of valuable science data, right on the edge of Kerbin's SOI.
* Object Discovery and Tracking:
Before you set out after an asteroid, you first need to identify and track them using the Tracking and Discovery features on the Tracking Station Facility. Select one of the unknown objects spotted near Kerbin, and start tracking it actively to reveal more information about it. Also mind that untracked objects can be lost if they're left unobserved for too long.
* The Advanced Grabbing Unit (aka "The Claw")
As the name probably implies, this new part is the means by which asteroids can be captured to be redirected. Just arm the device, approach the target carefully, and the claw will do the rest. It's like a docking node, but without the need for a mate node on the other side. Better still, the AGU can be used to grab on to much more than just asteroids. In fact, it can pick up just about anything, even Kerbals.
* New SLS-inspired Size 3 parts:
We've added a host of new parts, featuring the largest engines and fuel tanks ever seen in KSP. These new parts were designed based on NASA's upcoming Space Launch System, and they pack a huge amount of rocket power.
* Completely Overhauled Part Joints:
We have completely re-done the way parts attach to one another, to allow for much greater flexibility and control over each joint. Joints are also more accurate and stable, as both jointed sides are now anchored at the attachment node (this wasn't possible before the Unity 4.3 update).
There's more. This update also features a host of small, and some not-so-small tweaks and improvements to usability, giving many features added a good while ago a much needed refurbishing, and adding a lot of the little things we never got a chance to add when we first implemented them.
Check this post for the complete changelog
* The ARM Patch (0.23.5) should not break backward-compatibility with previous saves. That said, however, do mind that we cannot account for mods, so don't expect them all to work perfectly. If you experience any problems, make sure you try a clean install of the game without any mods, and a new clean save as well.
* The ARM Patch is available just as any other update. You should be auto-updated next time you run the game. Just make sure you haven't disabled Steam's auto-update system for KSP.
Happy Launchings, and have fun!!