We choose to go to the Mun because it is hard
April 27, 2015 10:13 AM   Subscribe

After almost 4 years of development, Kerbal Space Program hit version 1.0. Today, Kerbal Space Program reached a major milestone, declaring the release of version 1.0 and the removal of the "Early Access" label.

Kerbals originated from Felipe "HarvesteR" Falanghe's original experiments with rockets as a kid in Brazil. The idea still kicking around in his head, he pitched the idea to his employers, Mexico City-based marketing company Squad, who told him to go for it.
"Then I started having all these other ideas as I wrote the design doc," he said. "Maybe you could get something if you could land. Maybe you could get into orbit. Maybe you could build a space station. I wrote all that down in a 'Highly Wishful Set of Features – Maybe One Day' list, because of the way it got started, we didn't know how far we could go with the idea."
All of these features are now standard in the game, as well as three separate play modes and tutorial missions. The Kerbin solar system includes planets, moons, and asteroids. There are hundreds of mods for the game, it's appeared in XKCD, it has been name-dropped by Elon Musk, worked with NASA on an asteroid redirect mission, and even has an educational version. Plus, one can buy Kerbal figurines at Shapeways.

As well as exiting Early Access, KSP refines old features and integrates several new concepts. The changelog for the new version is, to quote the producer Miguel Pena, "freaking huge." At least 35 parts are new to the game in this version. Some of the new features are listed in a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything thread--as well as hints for post-release plans.

Additional features have been highlighted by Squad in short videos.
Day 7: Clamber (Kerbalnauts can climb over things, includes an in-game video of one of the first female Kerbals--Val is named after Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova)
Day 6: Fairings (new procedural fairings to enclose your ships)
Day 5: Aerodynamics (aerodynamics have been completely redone)
Day 4: Resources (refuel your vehicles with resources found in asteroids or on planets!)
Day 3: New Parts (completely new cabin interiors, airbrakes, landing gear)

Also new with 1.0, the game will now be on Gog.com and has an upcoming Gamer's Edition.

Read more about it from KSP site, the KSP Forums, view live feeds from KSP on Twitch, Steam, or the Squad Development log. There are numerous video resources for learning the game, including the highly-recommended work of Scott Manley, real-life astrophysicist, programmer, ex-DJ, and excellent teacher of the game's finer points. (Though with the new aerodynamic model, a lot of the tutorials out now will be out-of-date...)

Previously on MetaFilter:
Kerbal Space Program
NASA Redirect Mission
Scott Manley
NO MECHJEB
Historical Missions in KSP
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit (121 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
This game looks and sounds like so much fun but when I downloaded the demo I had such difficulty assembling a ship that I eventually uninstalled it and never thought about buying it again.

Stupid 1-button mouse.
posted by Hoopo at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2015


Lovely. I was just complaining at lunch about how Nethack nearly prevented me from getting my PhD. And I have KSP on my laptop, but I haven't played with it much.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I only played it for about a month and haven't played in over a year but landing safely on the Mun was probably the single most satisfying thing I've done in a videogame since getting to the fourth maze in Ms. Pac Man. Eventually I figured out how to make more accurate landings and set out to find all the artifacts.

The last time I played it I managed to get into orbit of the Mars-planet (forget the name) and then attempted to land (already accepting that it was a one-way mission) but crashed hard. I haven't played since.

It's an amazing game that doesn't even feel like a game. The only thing preventing me from trying out the 1.0 version is that I want to actually accomplish other things and see my family rather than sit at my computer all night long.
posted by bondcliff at 10:23 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe this will drive me to get a mouse and keyboard for my.desktop PC so I can use it other than via Remote Desktop from my phone or netbook. I played KSP for a couple of weeks before I moved and managed to lose half my shit. It's a fun game, but is hard. Sort of like actual space travel in that sense, I suppose.
posted by wierdo at 10:23 AM on April 27, 2015


This is one of those excellent games that is as fun to watch someone play as it is to play. It builds it's own narrative with those terrified/elated looking Kerbals going where no Kerbal (or a lot of now deceased ones) has gone before.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:30 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Heating
A new heating simulation has been implemented together with the improved aerodynamics. Now, not only temperature but also energy flux is considered when making heat calculations, meaning radiative, conductive, and convective heating and cooling are all simulated and all parts have their individual thermal properties. Parts will emit a blackbody radiation glow if they get hot enough. Although part temperatures can now be affected by such things as being exposed to sunlight and hypersonic flight heating, they can be properly occluded from these effects as well. Atmospheric temperature (and density) takes into account latitude and the position of the Sun. Celestial bodies now accurately emit thermal radiation that makes nearby craft warmer. Finally, ablative heat shields (with a finite, editor-tweakable ablation material) have been added to protect the parts behind them from reentry heating.


Holy crap, that's the better part of my Masters degree right there.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:31 AM on April 27, 2015 [38 favorites]


Is this the part where I go YAY?

Yes it is.

YAY!
posted by eriko at 10:34 AM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, the KSP forums are pretty much melted down right now because of people trying to go YAY.
posted by eriko at 10:35 AM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, I guess this means it's time to get Jebadiah off the Mun.
posted by ckape at 10:37 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favorite exchange on r/KerbalSpaceProgram went something like:

- Help! I've stranded three Kerbals on Laythe and I can't get them back.
- Sounds like time for a rescue mission!
- I've already tried two rescue missions. That's why there are three stranded there.
posted by yeti at 10:37 AM on April 27, 2015 [66 favorites]


That'll teach me to post early! Here's the 1.0 launch trailer
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:39 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


- Up to 10 joysticks with 20 axes each now supported.

Huh. Time to grab a big USB hub, a projector, and nine friends. Who wants to be Mission Specialist?
posted by backseatpilot at 10:40 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: It's an amazing game that doesn't even feel like a game.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:41 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, I guess this means it's time to get Jebadiah off the Mun.
He will be fine there until after November, 2016.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:42 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Holy crap, that's the better part of my Masters degree right there.
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Huh. Time to grab a big USB hub, a projector, and nine friends. Who wants to be Mission Specialist?
Can I pretend to be in the mission control center? I'll bring my own CAPCOM sign.
posted by pibeandres at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is one of those excellent games that is as fun to watch someone play as it is to play.

I'm suddenly envisioning a KSP/EVE Online crossover.
posted by The Bellman at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2015


Now, just two more weeks until all my favorite mods are updated and I can actually play it!
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2015


That trailer is the saddest thing I've ever seen. I was always heartbroken every time I killed a Kerbal. I think right now if I fired the game up there'd be at least five on the Mun and a few more stranded in Munar or Kerbal orbit.

Nice touch with the vest on the flight director, though.
posted by bondcliff at 10:46 AM on April 27, 2015


Can I pretend to be in the mission control center? I'll bring my own CAPCOM sign.

And I have a vest, a white shirt, and a thin black tie! Short hair, too! So DIBS on being Ed Harris Gene Kranz!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:46 AM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: nearly prevented me from getting my PhD
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:46 AM on April 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


anotherpanacea, too real.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:47 AM on April 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm sure I've posted this before, but the unofficial Kerbal: Build Fly Dream video from two years ago always inspires me.
posted by yeti at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, I think that joystick update is a bigger deal than I thought originally - someone with a little electrical know-how could mock up a wholly functional spacecraft cockpit with buttons, for like, everything. Now I want a big red button with a flip-up shield for the abort sequence.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


wenestvedt: "And I have a vest, a white shirt, and a thin black tie! Short hair, too! So DIBS on being Ed Harris Gene Kranz!"

Garmor tamare debo Crisis Vess mala be.
posted by boo_radley at 10:54 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't really get caught up in this, but I'm still grateful to it for introducing the term "lithobraking" into common parlance. (At least, it's common among the people with whom I hang out.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:00 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


it has been name-dropped by Elon Musk
From the change log:
- ‘Elon Kerman’ added to name pool.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]



- Crew name generator can now output 10,000+ female names
- Valentina Kerman added to Main Menu’s Space scene.

posted by b1tr0t at 11:04 AM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Huh. Time to grab a big USB hub, a projector, and nine friends. Who wants to be Mission Specialist?
Can I pretend to be in the mission control center? I'll bring my own CAPCOM sign.


Dude, I'll get the mohawk.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:09 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kerbal Space Program website is in maintenance mode while we are performing a Server Migration.

Blergh.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2015


Oh, sweet, they finally put heating in. Righteous. That was always my biggest complaint (yes, I knew about the Deadly Reentry mod; NOT GOOD ENOUGH). Did they, perhaps, add life support? Those two things were always my biggest wish for harder/more realistic spaceflight (yes, I know about the TAC Life Support mod; NOT GOOD ENOUGH).
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:17 AM on April 27, 2015


Scott Manley's 1.0 preview video is fun as always.
posted by Skorgu at 11:18 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Born too late to explore the moon.
Born too early to explore Mars.

Born just in time to play dank space exploration simulators.
posted by GuyZero at 11:24 AM on April 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Another 40 minutes before Steam updates.

-Copied old saves to separate folder
-Copied old mods to separate folder

My body is ready.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2015


The crew in the trailer could still survive. For example, if they eject at the right time they could bounce off the ground with their helmets, I've seen it happen before. (The Squad trailers do tend to have a high body count, I suspect if it's from the original origins of Kerbals as very... replaceable parts.)

There isn't life support stock ... yet. RoverDude (a very prolific and excellent modder hired by Squad to help build the resource parts) has an upcoming life support mod that I think is the ideal balance between TLS and Snacks. Since many mods get integrated into the game (Arsonide's contracts, to name one example), I still think it's on the table at some point. 1.0 isn't the end, for sure.

Finally, I really really really want to know what the merch contracts they've been hinting at are. I have a few Shapeways figs and they're marvelous, but I really want a "Minmus Mint Chip" and "Mystery Goo" t-shirts or the like.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:34 AM on April 27, 2015


Those two things were always my biggest wish for harder/more realistic spaceflight (yes, I know about the TAC Life Support mod; NOT GOOD ENOUGH).

Roverdude life support is already released. Its not "core" game (yet?)...but Squad did tap him to build the stock resource system, so, close enough?
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2015


I think I've got a gift copy on Steam somewhere. First person to ask can have it!
posted by nathan_teske at 11:42 AM on April 27, 2015


*sigh*

Jeb's still up on the mun... I doubt I'll ever get around to organizing that rescue mission for him.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:47 AM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anyone set this up with the steel battalion controller?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:02 PM on April 27, 2015


I think I've got a gift copy on Steam somewhere. First person to ask can have it!
Me?
posted by pibeandres at 12:03 PM on April 27, 2015


Ah, I asked through MeMail. It's okay though, not like I don't have enough other things on Steam.
posted by JHarris at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2015


(Really, dragoon very kindly gave me a Steam copy of Dark Souls over a year ago and I haven't even touched it yet. Sorry dragoon, please forgive me!)
posted by JHarris at 12:06 PM on April 27, 2015


Alright JiBB gets my extra copy. Anyone who's on the fence should just go buy it already!
posted by nathan_teske at 12:06 PM on April 27, 2015


I started it up. Holy shit, it starts way faster! Then, uh, I noticed a whole lot of parts and flags missing. Verified the game cache, and now it's downloading more stuff.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


KPS is the only game ever made me just stand up and go outside for some perspective.
I am probably pretty bad at it, but, it took me forever to land something on the mun. After my first successful mun landing and subsequent take off, I managed to get everyone back to home orbit. During reentry the I deployed the parachute too soon after releasing the heat shield. the heat shield just scythed through the chute (well striking the top of the capsule and disabling the parachute part) leaving my successful munlanders to simply fall to their deaths, so close to home.
I'll never forget.
I failed them.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


I tried it a year ago, failed miserably to get anything off the ground. It's been lurking in the back of my mind ever since. Then my friend's 7-year-old was over at the house and we were talking about Minecraft and he was like

WAIT

HAVE YOU PLAYED KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM YET OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGGGG *kidsplode*

So, yeah, I'm gonna have to fire it up again. I think my own spacehip-obsessed kids would also enjoy it a lot.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:18 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you like career mode, but dislike contracts, I recommend this mod:
ScieneFunding-Let's you play career while ignoring contracts.

I dunno if it'll be update for 1.0, but have fingers crossed.

During reentry the I deployed the parachute too soon after releasing the heat shield. the heat shield just scythed through the chute (well striking the top of the capsule and disabling the parachute part) leaving my successful munlanders to simply fall to their deaths, so close to home.
I'll never forget.
I failed them.


Beats the hell out my first Laythe landing, where I forgot to add a ladder. Which I realized only after sending someone out on EVA.

Never has success been so frustrating.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:20 PM on April 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Been keeping an eye on this one, looks sick to death. At my current rate of Steam backlog clearance, I should have time to try Kerbal somewhere in late 2018.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, the Taurus Command Pod is sweet way of launching 7 kerbals at once. Toss in the Cargo bay, and you train 15 Kerbals (or more) at once!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:45 PM on April 27, 2015


This whole realistic heating thing probably does not bode well for my kerbonauts.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 12:47 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now I want a big red button with a flip-up shield for the abort sequence.

Toggle switch covers are remarkably easy to find.
posted by plinth at 12:52 PM on April 27, 2015


you train strand 15 Kerbals (or more) at once!

Trying out career mode for the first time in 1.0. Can't get anywhere close to orbit, though I've made some nice suborbital trajectories. Previously I've always relied on MASSIVE OVERKILL, but in career mode you can't build heavy ships to start.

Haven't exploded any ships yet, though a few came perilously close from overheating.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:01 PM on April 27, 2015


Still waiting for the fireworks modules.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2015


Thanks nathan_teske!
posted by JiBB at 1:12 PM on April 27, 2015


but landing safely on the Mun was probably the single most satisfying thing I've done in a videogame

Hell, I was ecstatic when I finally got my rocket off the ground and INTO ORBIT.

Trying to get my little dopey guys to successfully land on the Mun is gonna take me a while (I know there are tutorials, but I like trying to figure it out on my own...no matter how many times I fail).

RIP my future brave Kerbal astronauts. I'm sorry.
posted by littlesq at 1:13 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit : RoverDude (a very prolific and excellent modder hired by Squad to help build the resource parts) has an upcoming life support mod that I think is the ideal balance between TLS and Snacks.

Hah! FInally a game with even more opaque jargon than Eve Online! (I am sorely tempted to dig into Kerbal, but I am afraid to put my career/family/wrists at risk from something that looks so good.)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:20 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


The failures in the 1.0 trailer are quite entertaining. Hmm...

*clickety-click* Yay, there are YouTube videos of "fail montages"!!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:30 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


RIP my future brave Kerbal astronauts. I'm sorry.

They're doing what they love, so I'm sure they wouldn't have it any other way.

Bought this game a while back, but haven't installed it yet. Now seems like a great time to start playing!
posted by Kevin Street at 1:37 PM on April 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


littlesq: "RIP my future brave Kerbal astronauts. I'm sorry."

Jebediah Kerman scorns your sad little lamentations. For there! Ah, there! is a Kerman who has seen beyond the short horizons that you and I conceive of slipping our shabby Kerbin bonds to perhaps fly some little way and dreams instead: "what of Dres?" There, my friends stands proud a Kermanwho sees in Jool's vibrant glinting surface not the terror of the terrible space kraken, but of achievement and victory! There stands a Kerman going to the unknown with his eyes peeled wide open and rushing towards glory!

Your pity diminishes his spirit and to deny him his magnificent honor belittles the soul of every Kerman who has, even but for one brief second cast his skyward to wonder, "what if?". Jebediah Kerman goes forward -- no, not to die, consumed in fire and terror and the shrieking apocalypse of metal kicked to the Kerb by gross miscalculation, not to die in the vacuum of spes with his last words evaporating into the cold nothingness that gross miscalcuation placed his gallant rocket into; a terrible trajectory terminating only in oblivion.

No, my friends, Jebediah goes into that vehicle -- here! today! -- to live! Save your guilt and your penitence for those who ask for them!
posted by boo_radley at 2:09 PM on April 27, 2015 [18 favorites]




I'm embarrassed to open my save because there is basically an orbital haze of stranded kerbals around my planet, including my first ever successful intercept (the rescuing kerbal is now stranded on the outside of the single kerbal pod containing the rescuee).

Maybe I'll update and start with a fresh save.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:41 PM on April 27, 2015


So I've come back to confirm that the new, more realistic heating effects were not kind to Jebediah. You really have to make sure your heat shield is pointed in your direction of travel.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


They don't really die in training, right?
posted by Kevin Street at 4:08 PM on April 27, 2015


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit very, very, very kindly gave me a copy of Kerbal Space Program. Lemme know if there's something I can do for you in exchange fsiml!

But I was so worried about the fates of Bob, Bill and Jebidiah in the flight tutorial that rather than send them to orbit, after going far into space (about 200km?) I managed to turn the capsule around and got them safely splashed down in the ocean. I was surprised I managed to do it actually. I don't think there was any reward for it though. The kerbals are so adorable I have difficulty risking their lives. Maybe I'm not cut out for this.
posted by JHarris at 4:46 PM on April 27, 2015


As a KSP veteran, there is no shame in reverting.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:07 PM on April 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm hoping that Training is just a flight simulator. They're not really dead. I'm not a mass murderer already. They'll all show up in line at the cafeteria tomorrow and kid me about that terrible reentry. Absolutely.

Yes.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:08 PM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just took it for a spin and they weren't kidding when they said old timers might have to relearn how to fly. Kerbin's atmosphere feels so slippery.
posted by bonje at 6:08 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, it loads wicked fast.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 PM on April 27, 2015


- Help! I've stranded three Kerbals on Laythe and I can't get them back.
- Sounds like time for a rescue mission!
- I've already tried two rescue missions. That's why there are three stranded there.


Ok sure, the rescue effort isn't going so great. But the colonisation program is doing really well!
posted by um at 6:35 PM on April 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


I've got 150 hours in KSP on Steam (though that count seems rather low), and the release of 1.0 is exciting exciting news! Although it looks like, per the forums, there may be some problems with the re-entry heating for a lot of people, I was still able to get Val into orbit and bring her back safely. She and Jeb make one helluva team.
posted by barnacles at 8:51 PM on April 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've found that re-entry heating gets to be a little easier to handle once your pilots can hold retrograde. But I still don't see how close my stuff is getting to overheating and exploding until it suddenly disappears in a puff of carbonized atoms. Excepting stuff in the staging diagram, anyway.

And yeah, I'm back up and running with MechJeb, Kerbal Joint Reinforcement and Kerbal Engineer because by gum, I can't do it seat of the pants. I mean, I can briefly, and it's fun, but it aggravates the carpal tunnel somethin' fierce to do all the maneuver node fiddling like that.

...is there a way to right click on the trackpad in OSX without two finger click and dragging? ctrl-click doesn't seem to work in KSP.
posted by Kyol at 9:43 PM on April 27, 2015


He says, before doing a Dunar return with "ASAP" on the maneuver node, so I hit the Kerbin atmosphere at 6km/s and discovered how much of my staging would spontaneously blow up until I managed to jettison everything below the heat shield. Burned through more than half of my 2m heat shield, at that. Thankfully I had the foresight to put those new radial-mount drogue chutes on, so I stood a fighting chance...

Yeah, it's a whole new game. I'm not 100% sure I like the new atmosphere, but I suspect I'll figure it out eventually.
posted by Kyol at 10:07 PM on April 27, 2015


What do you mean unrecoverable orbit. I intentionally stationed all those brave Kerbals around the sun to surround it in case it tried any funny business!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:23 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been doing the basic spaceflight tutorial a few times, I've managed to get to the point where it tells me to throttle off, then go to map mode, click the AP mark, select Warp To Here, then point towards the green mark and turn throttle on maximum. But it doesn't seem to get me in orbit, it just gets me back to Kerbin faster, putting me into a power dive into the atmosphere where I have to eject the remaining engine parts before the heat makes the fuel explode, then deploy the chute to get the intrepid Kerbonauts to the ground safely.

Still though. How am I supposed to establish a stable orbit?
posted by JHarris at 12:53 AM on April 28, 2015


How to Get into Orbit.
posted by Pendragon at 2:46 AM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street: I'm hoping that Training is just a flight simulator. They're not really dead. I'm not a mass murderer already. They'll all show up in line at the cafeteria tomorrow and kid me about that terrible reentry. Absolutely.

Um...Kevin? Did you ever read "Ender's Game"? You might need to sit down so we can talk. (Can somebody get him a glass of water, or maybe something stronger?)
posted by wenestvedt at 5:46 AM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


How to Get into Orbit.

Those first two steps are no longer relevant (at least with larger rockets, you run the risk of ripping the rocket apart if you suddenly change angle at 10km). With the new aero model you want to gradually tip your rocket east (to the right if you don't change the camera angle) starting at around 1,000 m such that you end up at 45 degrees by around 10,000 or 15,000 m. Once you're at 45 degrees, switch to map view, hover over the apoapsis, and wait until it reads above 70km. Then cut the engines, swivel to horizontal, and wait until you're about 20 seconds or so before the apoapsis. Then hit the z key and watch as the circle gets bigger. Once you're periapsis is above 70km, kill the engine. You're in orbit! I don't bother with maneuver nodes to get into orbit. It takes too long to make them.

As for re-entry, I assume it's similar to the old FAR + Deadly Re-entry model: keep your periapsis above 35km for low-Kerbin orbit and 45 or 50km for interplanetary speeds, and you probably won't even need a heat shield.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:27 AM on April 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


Things probably would have been easier for the old US space program if they hadn't given a fuck where on Earth the capsule came down.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:29 AM on April 28, 2015




Scott Manley's quick guide to orbit, 1.0 edition.

After a few false starts, I've noticed that I don't seem to need as much delta-v to hit orbit, although that might just be because the earlier and slower gravity turn you need to make is more efficient.
posted by figurant at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Jinx, coke, etc.
posted by figurant at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


wierdo: Maybe this will drive me to get a mouse and keyboard for my.desktop PC...

Steam's In Home Streaming works great for this.

Brandon Blatcher: If you like career mode, but dislike contracts...

For those less mod-inclined, Science mode takes out contracts (but also removes money).

BungaDunga: Can't get anywhere close to orbit, though I've made some nice suborbital trajectories...

Have you gone into the R&D building and researched new parts?

JHarris: But it doesn't seem to get me in orbit, it just gets me back to Kerbin faster...

Are you burning in the direction your are already going (prograde), or are you flipping around and burning while facing "backwards" (retrograde)? Also, see the Scott Manley video above, he's the best. :)

Orbit is simply falling to the ground and missing, so when in doubt, go faster. :)
posted by hankscorpio83 at 12:33 PM on April 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you're having orbit problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 boosters all in stage one.
posted by borkencode at 12:52 PM on April 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


Kyol: Control + Click
posted by nathan_teske at 12:55 PM on April 28, 2015


Jeb's still up on the mun... I doubt I'll ever get around to organizing that rescue mission for him.

Not to worry, RolandOfEld. If I know ol' Jeb, he's got a wide grin on his green face.

He certainly did when I stranded him, sans spacecraft, in Kerbolar orbit for 3 long game-years.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:10 PM on April 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


nathan_teske: Annoyingly, that doesn't work in KSP. (Or, IIRC, Diablo 3 or WoW but it's been a while since I tried those.)

Although ctrl-click is something that is broadly supported by OSX, Unity's input engine just looks at me like I clicked on the object while holding control down.
posted by Kyol at 8:14 PM on April 28, 2015


On sale now for $30 usd (25% off) at gog.com for the next few days.
posted by pjmoy at 12:27 AM on April 29, 2015


I started a new career game last night and spent a couple hours with it. I'm failing a lot more than I did before the updated the physics, but I think that's a good thing.

Coming back down from orbit is a lot harder now - a capsule and science module coming down together really don't want to be pointed blunt end first. So, I developed a new landing "strategy", where I come in like normal and let the heat shield take as much of the deceleration as it can, and then when I screw up an instability causes the whole craft to flip over pointy-side forward I pop the chute to flip back around again. It usually stays in one piece.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:33 AM on April 29, 2015


Yeah, I have yet to figure out the thermal and speed tolerances of the new chutes, but I am enjoying having drogue chutes for bringing me out of supersonic re-entries when I'm still doing nearly 1km/sec only 5km ASL. The atmosphere is _slippery_ now - you used to be able to basically know that you'd end up doing maybe 100m/s as a terminal velocity before you'd smack into the ground, but not you can _really_ plow 'em in.
posted by Kyol at 9:35 AM on April 29, 2015


I love parachutes. I always trigger them within a few thousand meters of the ground, and they've never failed me. I don't know if there's any consequences to triggering them early. What are the limitations on 'chutes? Besides reverse thrust, what are the alternatives if you want to get Kerbonauts home alive?
posted by JHarris at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2015


'Chuts and thrust, that's the only way to bring'em home alive.

In 1.0, the 'chutes could possibly burn up if released too early, but I don't know for sure.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if there's any consequences to triggering them early.

I haven't played 1.0 yet, but in the old days, if you were going too fast when you popped chutes, they might tear right off. Oops.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2015


See, I never had that happen in old versions, which was _good_ when I screwed up my staging and accidentally deployed them in orbit and came screaming through reentry with chutes flapping in the breeze behind me.

Apparently there's a goof in how the heat shield adjusts your center of mass, making it unstable. Yay! And the LV-N is a guaranteed way to blow up your ships now, it just thermally runs away until everything blows up due to overheating. The LB-909 is almost comparable for thrust-to-weight-to-ISP now...
posted by Kyol at 12:10 PM on April 29, 2015


See, I never had that happen in old versions, which was _good_ when I screwed up my staging and accidentally deployed them in orbit and came screaming through reentry with chutes flapping in the breeze behind me.

You know, thinking a bit more, what I believe I was remembering is them expanding at too high a speed. Specifically the nosecone chute (which I used a lot). I'm not sure how I managed it (maybe a high-mass return stage?), but I believe what would happen is the chute flapped fine in its non-expanded state, then I hit 500m or whatever it was and the thing popped to full, and if I was going too fast when that happened, it would break after popping. Something like that. It's been a while since I played...
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:41 PM on April 29, 2015


Apparently the new chutes are made of some kind of mithril-adamantium alloy. I accidentally staged my chute in space. It partially opened while the craft still had red flames around it, and the chute, and craft, were unscathed. I much prefer the more fragile Deadly Re-entry style chutes, though I do like the new animations.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:54 PM on April 29, 2015


Abyssal Lurker is better at this game than I will ever be, and that's OK. Here's the video he made in honor of 1.0.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:58 PM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow, so the new atmosphere model kind of makes re-entry terrifying.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:43 PM on April 29, 2015


So due to a staging fault I had a fully fueled transfer stage in orbit that was still controllable through mechjeb. I decided to do a power dive into the atmosphere, so I stopped dead in space (as it were) and thrusted straight down.

I hit the ground at 2km/s. *cackle*
posted by Kyol at 11:44 AM on April 30, 2015


Wow ! That video from Abyssal Lurker is crazy !!
posted by Pendragon at 12:00 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


What rockets are he using? He seems to be using solid fuel, but he keeps unexpectedly having more burn than we see in the staging area, new boosters showing up there on demand?
posted by JHarris at 1:17 PM on April 30, 2015


Sepratrons, I expect. They're expanding from [Engine]x8 to eight distinct engines.
posted by Kyol at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2015


Sigh...

I thought that parachutes were a bit too easy to use. Apparently the developers agreed, because whereas a couple of days ago I could make it to the ground every time, now I can't seem to get anywhere close without parachutes burning up. Was there an update in the past couple of days or something? I hate it when the laws of physics change under my feet dammit.
posted by JHarris at 6:14 PM on May 1, 2015


They just updated to version 1.0.2, which made parachutes slightly less indestructible. Also fixed the problem with heat shields being massless and therefore making capsules prone to enter parachute-first. (Plus a whole bunch of other stuff, like a fix for the slight problem that if one visited the flagpole at the space center, the game thought you'd visited the Joolian moon Pol and would give you contracts for it. Even if you hadn't hit orbit yet!)

Holy cats! Look at that review at PC Gamer! 96/100!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:29 PM on May 1, 2015


Yeah, but I only ever managed to make it through re-entry before, apparently, through that indestructibility. Now I'm having to figure out how to get close enough to deploy before they burn up. The wiki says they'll semi-deploy at 23km, but they don't appear to be, and burn up soon after.
posted by JHarris at 6:36 PM on May 1, 2015


(From low-Kerbin orbit) set your re-entry periapsis to around 35km. This puts you at a shallow enough angle that you burn off your speed horizontally before you drop too low. DO NOT deploy parachutes until you've slowed enough that those cool turbulence animations die away. Ideally, don't deploy until your speed is below about 300m/s. You should still be several thousand meters above the surface by then.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:25 PM on May 1, 2015


I eventually managed to start making it in using a heat shield and pointing that side down. I'll keep that technique in mind too.

One thing about the game is how each tier of accomplishment requires learning so much beyond the previous one. I've managed to make it into orbit a few times now and am looking for the next thing to try, since a Mun shot seems too hard right now.
posted by JHarris at 4:15 AM on May 2, 2015


Try just orbiting Mun? Learn how to dock? Build a space station. With refueling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:18 AM on May 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, exploring Kerbin is a great idea, collecting sweet science while perfecting skills.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:35 PM on May 2, 2015


I know I know, at this point I'd rather like to build a terrestrial vehicle. I've Googled "kerbal space program hovercraft" more than once, but what I've seen appear to be expert-level builds with parts I don't have yet.
posted by JHarris at 3:00 AM on May 3, 2015


I found this, a guide to learning how to build planes in KSP.
posted by JHarris at 3:54 AM on May 3, 2015


I MAED A AIRPLAIN it is awesome, landing is an issue though, but is nothing a decoupler, a couple of parachutes, and a wanton disregard for taxpayer kerbucks can't solve.
posted by JHarris at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2015 [5 favorites]


This Scott Manley video shows how to build a simple plane, including the trick that I've been using to land with the plane intact. Just put parachutes over the center of mass. When you want to land, fly low, cut the engine, and open the parachutes. A pilot will be able to hold the plane level while it settles gently to the ground. You can only do it once, since a pilot can't repack the 'chutes, but at least you can recover the plane. (Kind of a moot point, since my Kerbals haven't worked out the scientific principle behind ladders yet, so I have no way to get them in and out once they land.)
posted by eruonna at 10:09 AM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can anyone confirm that the docking tutorial is hard as shit for being a nominally introductory tutorial? The way it's designed, you inevitably end up approaching the intersection point in a pretty eccentric orbit, and then by the time you've performed a burn to match inclinations, intersect, and then roughly match speeds with the target, you've used basically all your fuel, and if you take the instructions literally with their generous tolerances (<5.0km for the suggested projected intersection range, 60km for the distance at which you should start burning retrograde relative to the target) you'll quite easily end up in a position where it's not really possible to close the remaining distance, not to mention the fact that the dialog cards sometimes miss their cues to advance and even though you've covered the steps in exacting detail the little flight control guy is still talking to you about matching inclination angles by dragging the normal vector...

Anyway, the point is that with some extracurricular help I successfully docked ships without the tutorial's help and without understanding at all how the docking view works and with the camera in free mode because even though chase was recommended I couldn't figure out how to make it actually align with my ship's heading like the tutorials say it should and I feel unreasonably proud of this accomplishment.
posted by invitapriore at 2:31 PM on May 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Good job, invitapriore! Myself, I just completed my first Mun encounter-and-return, not a landing or orbit yet (let's keep our brave Kerbonauts safe and take small steps), and from all the experiments, crew reports and EVA reports got nearly 300 Science out of it! Looking at the tech tree, wondering what I should get next, hmm....
posted by JHarris at 11:33 PM on May 6, 2015


I am a wildly conservative game player (someone was talking in the Silent Hill thread about being the sort of person who takes great pains in survival horror games to always have a ridiculous surplus in their inventory and I felt a kindred spirit) so I've been a little scared that Career mode would just lead to me indulging those instincts rather than having fun. Do you recommend it over just hanging out in sandbox mode?
posted by invitapriore at 11:10 AM on May 7, 2015


I picked an Easy Career game at first just to get a look at the mode, but I like how you work up from simple missions to more complex ones, instead of trying to send things to Jool right off the bad, failing, then giving up. And that there's a wide variety of auto-generated missions that encourage you to try out a lot of things the game supports, like rescuing generated astronauts from orbit or surveying landmarks on Kerbin. And also how gives you an incentive to work at accomplishing those missions at some pace, but also that the pace isn't too demanding. And it also makes you take a look at a lot of different kinds of parts and not just biggest/best. Which turns out to be good, because it seems (to me) that Squad has put effort in making sure parts don't go "obsolete," that everything has some mission niche it potentially fits into.

Note that, if you're playing Easy Career, then it could be easier than Science mode theoretically, because you get a pile of money, can easily get a lot more by doing the early contracts, and can exchange some of that money for science through a strategy in Mission Control.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 AM on May 7, 2015


And the missions in Easy Career are really casual, they refresh at a rate where you get options to accept new ones every few days, but once one is accepted you seem to get game years to accomplish them before they expire. I haven't even passed a month of game time yet.
posted by JHarris at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2015


I recommend career over sandbox mode because the restrictions on both parts and buildings teach better habits on rocket design, as well as reducing option paralysis early on. Plus it's fun to see how few parts you can use to get to Minmus or the Mun. (Fun for me, anyway.) I also love the new tourist contracts, they're wish-fulfillment for me in a way.

As for the docking tutorial, I've not played it myself but I've heard a variety of complaints about it, partially that the design of the craft needs work--it has unbalanced RCS thrusters and so the thing's a pig to move around.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I've figured out why I enjoy Kerbal Space Program so much.

It's not because it's unforgiving. It's not the countless things that explode on the launchpad, or the command capsules that smash into bits on the ground or roast in the atmosphere. It's not all the times I've had to cut missions short because I ran out of fuel, or the time I had to revert because I ran out of electric power and thus couldn't point the rocket so I could thrust in a useful direction. It's not accidentally setting a course that sent me out of Kerbin's orbit, indeed out of the plane of the system, into a grand but lonely vertical arc around Kerbol.

It's because when you're flinging a microscopic speck off of a slightly bigger speck, through millions of kilometers of space on a trajectory to another speck through nothing more than the application of classical physics, the fact that you are able to do it all is incredibly empowering. It puts the tools, the route planning lines, the gravitational effects, all the needed information at your fingertips, and if you can use it, it's like you can literally do this impossible thing. And once you know you can do it, you see how mankind has done it, and could still do it.

Kerbal Space Program isn't fun because it's hard, but because relative to what you do in it, it's surprisingly easy.
posted by JHarris at 3:11 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


There was a rad review of the game by Michael Thomsen in the Washington Post last week, which captures some of the appeal: "Kerbal Space Program review: A playful masterpiece of space exploration".
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:14 PM on May 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Landed on Minmus and made it back! Used the 1K+ Science to buy myself some wheels. Gonna be rovin' in style on the Munar surface, beeyotches.

(I've never attempted the term beeyotches before. Is this proper usage?)
posted by JHarris at 4:37 AM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older You Have to See It to Beelieve It   |   fly that tune rag Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments