EDIT: This wound up being much longer than I anticipated, probably best to grab a coffee or something before you sit down to read...
Sounds like I'll generally be able to give you some good news then! (well, further down)
Hmm, I don't think I responded actually. Sorry about that! I do try to reply to as many posts as possible, but sometimes I get behind or only log in to post screenshots of new stuff.
Unfortunately, I don't maintain things like the Tweakscale or RealFuels configs - we're pretty dependent on knowledgeable users contributing stuff like that to our Github repo.
As for engines, I don't think that sort of change is possible in the current B9 Part Switch mod. They were working on an awesome update that would basically let me embed multiple parts in a single part (if that makes sense) but the guy who was contributing the code is currently AWOL so I don't know if it will ever get implemented.
I have taken to making the parts more flexible where I can. The Peacekeeper-derived parts all got white and black variants, there are switchers for things like endcap/adapter diameters on some of the new parts, stuff like that. As with everything it usually comes down to a tradeoff.
On the topic of spray-on foam insulation for the S-1C/S-II, I want to redo the Saturn parts at some point and I'll keep that in mind. I actually don't know if I'd do an all-SOFI S-1C, since it doesn't really make sense to put the foam insulation on a kerosene tank. I actually speak to E of Pi fairly often and recently that came up, he basically told me that the Multibody was orange because he didn't know as much about rockets then as he does now. Personally I think the S-IVB and S-II stages in SOFI are a lot more plausible. I don't know how likely it is to include those variants though. The RAM usage would shoot up pretty quick with texture sheets that big.
Yeah, I wish the RO people had more time to properly implement BDB into their stuff. I don't think rockets would work in a RSS system due to the kerbal-balancing, even if they were full scale instead of 62.5%. When I playtest I usually use the Stock Scale Real Solar System mod, with Sigma Dimensions + Rescale! to increase it to 2.5x the stock scale.
I love Kolyma's Shadow, though you're absolutely right - it is a very dystopian timeline. I've been trying to get a decent X-20 implemented for years, to the point I've tutored at least two different people in modelling/texturing to try and make sure it happens. Both of them ghosted before finishing. For the longest time Minerva was on the roadmap for BDB but at this point I don't see them getting made at this point. See below for a note on E-1
I like a lot of the Russian stuff but I think I have enough American stuff to do to keep me going for years at this rate.
Alright, now's where this post starts to get good. So, first, a bit of explanation: You'll note from the thread title the mod hasn't been updated since February. That's not really true, as I've been working on it fairly constantly since then. Unfortunately, I have been struggling with a lot of IRL issues the last year or so including some pretty severe depression which has definitely reduced my output. Coupled with that, my art style, while improved, is also probably a bit more time intensive than it was before. Around March 2017 I sort of re-taught myself how to model and texture and I feel the results are much better, but again it takes a bit longer to make parts sometimes. With all that said, Barbarian/LDC parts have already been made, just not released! They are 3.125m diameter in game (equivalent to about 5m IRL) because I wanted to flesh out that diameter. I made most of the parts back in March-April but I got stuck on what I wanted the first stage engine mount to look like and dropped it for other stuff.
I don't think it's going to be 'finished' in this coming update, since there are more variants for the engine mounts I'd like to make, I think there are some utility parts like fresh decouplers and stuff that need to get made that I might not have time for. Right now the first stage takes 4x and 5x engines. The 4x was based/inspired by Zenit's first stage. The big 'humps' are scaled to work with the new models I made for the LR-87. So, the LR-87/91 family is *also* getting revamped at some point, but I don't know how soon. When that happens they will be a lot more accurate (the engine models for them are *old*), more flexible / made with switching in mind from the beginning, the LR-87-LH2-Vac and LR-87-Vac (Barbarian's second stage) will have proper giant nozzle extensions, etc. The 4x mount with... well, 8 LR-87s has more thrust than an F-1!
You'll notice that the single stick LDC/Barbarian above doesn't use LR-87s... so what is it using? Well, related to your E-1 comment earlier...
That was a real pain since the best depiction I could find of an E-1 in any source material was that single, grainy, B+W photo of the thrust chamber, and a general outline of the engine's shape in an X-20 document. Like all the engines I've made in the last year, it has properly animating gimbals, the bellows on the RP-1 and LOX pipes flex, etc. In general I think I've gotten better at engines, here's the RD-180 that got made back in May or June or so...
See below for more pics of what is coming up!
Agreed, I keep saying that BDB has enough LVs and doesn't have enough interesting payloads to launch with them. Unfortunately I'm somewhat trapped in an LV revamp cycle at the moment...
As for what's next, perhaps best to start with a (non-exhaustive!!) list of what is due to be pushed out in the upcoming release:
Atlas V refresh, with all the variants (ie 4xx and 5xx versions are possible, the AJ-60 boosters are included, etc)
The RD-180 has mesh switching between a bare variant, Atlas V variant, and Atlas III variant - the last two with and without the external pipe.
Delta II refresh, including the upper stage and all the GEMs including a couple new ones. I quite like the detail on the first stage engine.
No Delta III upper stage, but there is a 1.5m > 2.5m adapter tank to replace the upper half of the first stage. I can't find a pic of it in isolation but here's a user's build using old Delta II parts, it's the white adapter.
Centaur V, to go with the Atlas V. There is also a slightly shorter one for Atlas II/III, and both can switch between white and orange foam.
RL10-A4 (short extending nozzle) and RL10-B2 (long extending nozzle like on Delta IV)
LDC Titan / Titan Barbarian parts - two first stage tanks, a second stage tank, interstage, second stage engine mount, first stage engine mount (in 4x and 5x mounting flavors) - I don't feel done with this rocket yet so there might be more parts!
Scout rocket revamp, with some new variants like a short vacuum optimized Algol to replace the Castor second stage and stuff like that.
Revamp of the upper stage solids, including the Star-37 and Star-48. There's also a Star-37B which is the cutest thing IMO.
The Atlas rocket got a slight refresh, basically some added white paint to more closely match the LV variants.
Revamp of the Peacekeeper-derived parts (see above), which previously only really included the Castor-120 and Castor-30. Now it includes everything to build a Minotaur III/IV/V, pretty much any Athena variant, and the Peacekeeper itself, and a Castor-30XL.
The Atlas II roll control module (seen mounted on the interstage here)
A new variant of the LR-101 vernier that points straight down
A part similar to the stock BZ-52 Radial Attachment Point, which is intended to convert a Skylab MDA from 4 nodes to 6, or really anything.
A new docking spotlight for the Apollo - the one on the little arm is actually the EVA spotlight as it turns out. Second pic just cus
Burner 2 upper stage kit - basically gives full attitude control and velocity trimming to a Star-37B or Star-37FM upper stage.
A probe core that's meant to represent the OGO series of scientific satellites - I also made solar panels and some of the instruments but I think I'm going to hold off on releasing them for a couple reasons.
Again, that is non-exhaustive but I think I got pretty much all of it. That's in addition to a ton of tweaks and bug fixes mostly pushed through by my co-author, who you can thank for the overall good balance of the mod (except for tech tree placement, which we both keep forgetting...). Unfortunately I doubt as many bugs got squished as got added, but neither of us have a lot of time for playtesting so we rely on users reporting issues on the thread or Github. It's a pretty big update though like I said I feel like I could have gotten a lot more done in the time that has passed since the last one. I struggle a lot with ADHD and artist's block, so finishing things can be difficult. There was/is a ton of stuff that was half done and uploaded to Github earlier this year that I'm scrambling to get finished and polished so I can make a release.
Now, for what's next... so, so much! Probably the biggest issue I have with the mod is that there's so much I want to do and only so much time I can put into it! It's actually a pretty big source of stress for me, moreso now that I've been graduated and employed full time in the animation field for the last year. Not only does that take a lot of my energy, but it can be hard to boot up modelling software after you've been looking at it all day. So, I'm pretty consistently frustrated with the pace of progress on the mod, because believe me there's a lot I want to do.
I think the first priority for me once this update is pushed out, is fixing the Titan solids - and by fixing, I mean redoing. I actually managed to make the textures significantly worse during this development cycle (I'm probably going to strip them and revert them to the previous release for now) and I want to redo them. Prior to... well, about this last year, not only was my art a lot more primitive, I also didn't do nearly as much research on what I did so the parts are a bit thrown together. I had touched up those parts last year so the textures aren't awful (those are the ones in your D-2 screenshot) but I'm really at the limit of what can be done with those old models/UV maps.
After that, I think my next priority might be the engines - like I said I already have a new model for the LR-87 made up. I still need to do the LR-91, and then all the variants (single-mount, vacuum optimized, etc) and sort of make sure they're flexible and can easily be made switchable like the current parts kind-of-are. Then they'd all have to be UV unwrapped and textured... I also really want to redo the Saturn engines (F-1, J-2, H-1) and their variants because they haven't aged well (the biggest improvement in quality over the last year or two is definitely how I make engines) and I know I can do them much more justice. The Titan tanks and all the remaining parts (Transtage, for instance) aren't quite as bad following the texture touchups they got last summer, but the proportions are all wrong (poor research on my part) and there are some more bits I'd like to add like a flared fairing base for Titan III/IV similar to the one I made recently for Atlas V, so it feels somewhat justified. I also want to redo the Thor, Redstone, Vanguard, Juno, Able, and Ablestar stuff even though they also got texture touchups last year, since again they were poorly researched, not very accurate, and I know I can do a lot better. I hate the thought of there being old/subpar stuff in the mod. Last year I wasted a lot of time trying to just fix up the textures on all these old parts (basically, everything that got made in 2015/2016) and I really should have just modeled them from scratch. Similarly, the MOL parts need to be redone and fixed up still - I started to touch up their textures earlier this year but part of me thinks a lot of them need to have newer models. I like a lot of the stylistic decisions I made but I also want parts more accurate to the real thing, so I might add new stuff (like a proper KH-10 inline lab instead of the weird flared one) as well as remaking the old parts (since I really like the overall design of the current lab, for example). Then there's the aforementioned Saturn revamp, a lot of the probe parts like the experiments haven't aged well, it goes on and on...
And that's just the stuff I want to revamp! For new stuff... well, I think we're probably good on LVs for a while. One exception is I know that the Saturn parts aren't as flexible and there are a lot of things people want like S-1D (stage-and-a-half Saturn first stage) but I don't want to put work into new parts if they're supposed to work with existing stuff that I want to redo, so I'm hesitant to add more parts - for instance we want to make Saturn's first two stages a more accurate 6.25m instead of whatever weird size they are now, so I don't want to model anything now that would need to be redone at a different diameter. Similarly, I want to make LEM variants like a hab, lab, etc but part of my wants to redo the LEM first because it has a lot of model, UV, and texture issues - especially because those issues would make it harder to create those variants and have them work! It's really frustrating...
I suppose with all that said, what is on the table for new stuff? Well there's enough half-finished stuff to last me a while. Things like the Big G service modules (only the conical one is shown, there is a cylindrical one I also want to do), finally finishing the Gemini Lander (whose updated cockpit I've been sitting on for YEARS now because I keep running into issues every time I try to make the rest of it...), more Skylab-station type parts like the EOSS design which makes use of the S-II interstage volume, some special kinds of docking ports for making interplanetary departure stuff from Saturn stages like in Ares (as well as some special... idk, radiators or something to keep the fuel from boiling), the LEM variants I mentioned, I'd love to make an Olympus type station that launches folded into an S-II diameter though I don't know how to do it, what with needing the parts to animate and stuff, maybe some parts based on the early LEM designs, maybe something like a Direct Ascent Apollo part set... Really just AAP and Apollo what-ifs.
That's mostly big manned stuff, but the majority of the mod is smaller LVs! Myself and my co-author were talking recently about needing a lot more probe/satellite parts. Some stuff on the table is Voyager '67/'73 (Saturn-class Mars probe with a lander!), parts based on Nimbus/Landsat, shoot there's just so many probes and satellites with cool designs that most people have never even heard of! I am trying to avoid overlap with Akron's Coatl Aerospace Probes+, so no Mariner 4, Viking, Surveyor, Cassini, Voyager, Pioneer 10, etc. I had written a bunch of stuff down on a notepad that I can't seem to find...
Perhaps a better way to put it would be to clarify what I'm NOT interested in doing. Despite including Delta II and Atlas V, I'm really not interested in anything modern, or really post-Apollo for that matter: So no SpaceX, Delta IV, Shuttle, etc. I'm also not really interested (nor do I have time) in creating non-American stuff (my work on Commonwealth Rockets aside, but that's on hiatus and I have no idea what the future of that mod is). I don't have a big interest in making something like Saturn C-8 or X-20 either, even though they're somewhat often requested. So, that kind of nicely constrains us to basically 60s and early 70s era NASA stuff, specifically Apollo follow-on stuff, and believe me I'm nowhere close to running out of things to do. The killer is really just that getting to that point somewhat requires all those revamps which could easily take another year or more.
Anyways... Wow! What a long post! Sorry for the wall of text, but I actually had a lot of thoughts bouncing around (and it's a slow day at the office) and this helped me get them all down - sorry for the ramble! I'll have to repost some of this on my thread.