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Tutorial:Creating your first module

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So you've got your IDE all set up. Now what?

The next step involves coding your first PartModule class. Quit shaking, it's actually very simple to add things to KSP, and won't take you very long to complete.

This tutorial assumes you're using Visual Studio 2010, but any IDE will do; Adapt accordingly!

Contents

First Things First

You've managed to slog through Setting up Visual Studio (for Windows) or Setting up MonoDevelop (for Linux/Mac), and you've got an empty class open in front of you with a pretty uncreative name.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
 
namespace MyKSPProject
{
    public class Class1
    {
    }
}

We're going to rename the class to something nice and creative, like HelloKerbinMod. As a matter of good practices, remember to rename the file the class is in! (In VS2010, right-click the file and choose Rename.)

After compulsively re-indenting (VS2010: CTRL+E, D) it looks like this:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
 
public class HelloKerbinMod
{
}

Awesome, now we can move on to the good stuff.

The Good Stuff

Extending PartModule

Part Modules all have one thing in common: They extend the PartModule class. The PartModule class defines a bunch of easy to use and intuitive methods and properties which you must override to do things with your module.

So, let's go ahead and extend PartModule. You don't need to add any using statements; It's in the global namespace as long as you have your KSP DLLs referenced correctly. However, you will need to add a using statement for the namespace UnityEngine in order to access debug functionality. Note that, again, compulsive cleanup was done.

DO NOT ADD A CONSTRUCTOR, KSP (and, by extension, Unity itself) DOESN'T LIKE CONSTRUCTORS!

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using UnityEngine;
 
public class HelloKerbinMod : PartModule
{
}

Showing Up to Class

When a part module is first loaded, PartModule.OnStart(StartState state) is called. Here, we can set up low-level things like icons.

So, let's go ahead and override OnStart. You don't need the base.OnStart() stuff, so let's toss that and add some documentation like good programmers do. The override prefix isn't necessary, but it's good practice and will throw compile errors in case HarvesteR moves things around.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using UnityEngine;
 
/// <summary>
/// My first part!
/// </summary>
public class HelloKerbinMod : PartModule
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Called when the part is started by Unity.
    /// </summary>
    public override void OnStart(StartState state)
    {
    }
}

So we've got a method now, but it doesn't really do anything. So, let's just print something silly to the log.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
 
using UnityEngine;
 
 
/// <summary>
/// My first part!
/// </summary>
public class HelloKerbinMod : PartModule
{
    /// <summary>
    /// Called when the part is started by Unity.
    /// </summary>
    public override void OnStart(StartState state)
    {
        // Add stuff to the log
        print("Hello, Kerbin!");
    }
}

Cool! Now when we compile the DLL (which you can find in Visual Studio 2010/YourSolution/YourProject/bin/Debug) and toss it into Plugins/

Adding to a Part

  • Because we're just making a simple test part, make a copy of the "RCS block" directory and edit part.cfg. (As of 0.20, located in GameData\Squad\Parts\Utility)
  • Now, change part.cfg so that MODULE { name = ModuleRCS becomes MODULE { name = HelloKerbinMod.
  • Our part needs a name. Change the name = at the top of the file from RCSBlock to something like MyUselessPart.

Save the .cfg file. When you load the game, you'll discover that the RCS block is indeed there. And it doesn't do anything.

Build and Test

Load the game, we can see something silly in our KSP_Data/output_log.txt!

Alternatively, press ALT+F2 to bring up the ingame debug console.

Common Problems

Verify your project targets .NET 3.5 - many newer compilers and IDEs target 4.0.


Continuing the Legacy

Now it's your turn. Try overriding various methods in PartUpdate, like onUpdate. Over the coming weeks, more information can be found at Plugins.