Kerbal Space Program

Zloth

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I'm surprised we don't have a topic here about the Kerbal Space Program! I've only just barely started playing. I haven't even gotten into orbit yet except in the tutorial.

It's certainly a different way to play a game than I've ever done. In career mode you start with a bit of money, 4 astronauts, basic rocket parts, and a few easy mission goals. Doing missions gives you money, fame, and maybe a little science. Doing various other things like gathering crew reports and EVA (even on Kerbal itself) gets more science. The more science you get, the higher you can get up the tech tree. Going up the tech tree gives you access to new parts so you can build better rockets and airplanes.

Kerbals can gain xp, too, but they have to do new things. Doing nothing but launching over and over will give you exactly 1 xp and never another.

When I first looked at the mission list I thought the game might be forcing me to lose some. You can only have 2 missions at a time and four of them needed to be accepted inside of 5 hours! As it turns out, though, Kerbals are quite amazing when it comes to building rockets. They can snap one together in about 10 minutes and pop you out onto the launch pad!

The game does feel rather indie. Graphics aren't terribly impressive and, while the music is OK, you can hear exactly when the loop jumps back to the start.

It's definitely fun, though! There's a lot of trial and error involved and the errors can be quite… illuminating. For instance, I had a mission to fly over a spot at least 18km up. I also had a new rocket engine to try out so I stuck a capsule on the top, stuck some fins on the bottom, and aimed for the location as best I could expecting to go maybe 30km above it. Well, the booster was a BIG one! The whole ship was a mass of flame at 20km when the fins broke off. I hit the button to eject the capsule off the rocket but the rocket was still thrusting hard so it exploded pretty close to the capsule. The capsule was a streak of orange, flying almost straight up at 1700m/s that that point and nearly melted but it slowed down some plus I got up so high that there wasn't much air friction. And then there wasn't any air friction. I ended up taking my readings at 130km instead of just 30km with pretty space music playing! Gravity brought the capsule back down eventually (almost melting it again) but the mission was a success!
 

Ripper

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I'm a bit puzzled by the game. Initially I thought it was a serious space mission sim, but then I saw it was populated by Minions!

Is it very casual, or is it actually quite deep under the silliness?
 

wiretripped

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From what I read about it in the past I gathered it actually has a solid science base under the goofiness, so I think it is more sim-like than it is arcade-y.

Anyway, this is sitting in my backlog, but very high on my to-play list.

How's the learning curve, Zloth?
 

Ripper

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I suppose the little cartoons might make sense. If the point of the game is to learn how to run successful space missions by trial and error, it might get quite depressing to have simulated human tragedies every ten minutes!
 

Zloth

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The game has very generous re-loads so actual tragedies are fairly rare. Well… unless you want to see them. ;)

I'm sure the game's physics aren't exactly right but they are certainly good enough to make it feel real. The game in career mode eases you in and has some nice tutorials so you start off with what amounts to manned missiles with parachutes. Then go into having multiple stages. Then start trying for orbit and so on. The tutorials try to be a bit more funny than they are but they're easy to follow.

Space is a different place, of course. You don't commonly run into apoapsis and periapsis driving to work and the game can't very well mark a point as "furthest point from the center of the thing you're orbiting" so you'll need to learn some terminology. It's no harder than learning an RPG's lore, though.

Quick video of my flight described above. I used Shadowplay's dump-the-last-5-minutes feature so it starts a little late and ends abruptly. If the colors look odd, tell YouTube to display it as 2D.
 

wiretripped

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So, I saw some vids where your Kerbals land on the moon, but do you know whether there are there other celestial bodies to explore? Other planets in the Kerbal Solar System? Can you establish "bases" even (probably not, but would be cool)? How far does the game allow you to "explore" space itself, basically, or is the game just centered around getting off the planet?

Quick video of my flight described above. I used Shadowplay's dump-the-last-5-minutes feature so it starts a little late and ends abruptly. If the colors look odd, tell YouTube to display it as 2D.

Nice. :) Was there a little fellow in there?
 

azarhal

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So, I saw some vids where your Kerbals land on the moon, but do you know whether there are there other celestial bodies to explore? Other planets in the Kerbal Solar System? Can you establish "bases" even (probably not, but would be cool)? How far does the game allow you to "explore" space itself, basically, or is the game just centered around getting off the planet?

It's pretty much the solar system and a bunch of planet also have moons you can land on. There are also "random" asteroid too. You can also make bases, eventually.

Although, if you are more into explore planets than "try to get a something to land on X", you might prefer Astroneer.
 

Zloth

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Nice. :) Was there a little fellow in there?
Heck yeah - I don't have the tech for a Stay Putnick robo-pilot yet. ;)

BTW, the Kerbals do get XP. There are missions to do that give rewards. XP and quests? Kerbal Space Program is a Role Playing Game!! Well... you could make a case for it. Well... you would lose but they wouldn't laugh you out of court. Well... not when you could hear them laughing...
 

fadedc

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Yeah I played this game for awhile and I really liked it, although I stopped playing before I made it to the moon, let alone anywhere further out. Despite the silly green aliens, it really does have some hard core science behind it, and I learned quite a bit playing it. I remember my first time trying to build a simple jet plane, my first 20+ attempts ended with horrible disasters and a reload. I ended up having to really read up on aerodynamics in the online manuals and how planes actually fly.

I do wish some of the systems were a bit more intuitive though. So many times I spent forever trying to figure out how to do something, figuring I just needed to get the right tech or rocket build, when it turned out there was just something I needed to turn on in the UI.
 

Zloth

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I just got a plane flying myself. No idea why there's no tutorial on that - it really needs one. I had to hit YouTube to figure out how to put a jet engine together. Still, once I had the basic idea it was fun. Standard KSP fix-your-screw-ups-until-it-works gameplay!
 

Zloth

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Kerbal Space Program 2 is on the way, though it's a different group making it.

The teaser trailer is, IMHO, a really good one!
 

Ripper

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Looks fantastic! A bit nervous to hear it's different devs, though. I hope they don't dilute it for wider appeal.
 

Redglyph

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They're aiming at early 2023.



I did try the first game not long ago, but the tutorial missions were broken and there were other bugs. Apparently all of them had been reported multiple times for several years, so I got a refund and decided to wait and see if the 2nd game would be more seriously cared for.
 

Zloth

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Qayto

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Huh, I don't remember any tutorial bugs off hand.

P.S. Jeb is on the Space Station!

Mr Qayto plays very few games but he gets very absorbed in Kerbal Space Program. He doesn't recall any tutorial bugs either but just found the tutorials poor. He watched a lot of youtube Scott Manley and learnt to play that way.

Wonder where I can buy a cuddly Jeb from, for his Xmas present.
 

Ripper

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Redglyph

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All right. Just off the top of my head, the tutorial problems I saw: the first mission with re-entry and a parachute just doesn't work, you have to shake the capsule like crazy for the parachute to deploy (and no, it's not a problem of users not staging it properly). I lost a lot of time trying to understand why, and there was nothing to understand, it's just a bug. In a following mission it's impossible to get the engine due to scripting errors.

There are bugs in the controls too, some keys to pan the camera are hard-coded, so once again if you don't use an US keyboard you have to make knots in your fingers to use it.

There were other quirks as well. Nothing game-breaking, but reported so many times and ignored by the support that I preferred to opt out. I don't doubt they were initially working, but there it felt like the game hadn't aged well (or broke quite soon, actually).
 
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