Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Kerbal Space Program: Growing pains

Thanks to a bunch of fellow bloggers alerting me to this title (mainly Tipa who is usually well ahead of the curve) I have been enraptured lately with this space simulation program.

Imagine if you will taking the Sims, Sim City and Minecraft and setting it in the vein of a space program simulator the likes of which Tom Hank's From the The Earth to the Moon documented.

Now erase Electronic Arts as a publisher and make it an indie game with user community mods and set a price of 23 dollars and you can imagine you have pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.

The Kerbal Space Program, or KSP for short, can be found here:

https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/

Community mods are published here:

http://kerbalspaceport.com/

There is a large Google + Community here:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/108423331596060497489

So imagine if you will building your own rockets, spacestations, flying to distant planets, making space colonies and doing all this in a sandbox environment and thats the Kerbal Space Program. Plus the game is constantly under development so in the future missions will be added.

From the website is a synopsis:

Main Features:
  • The Vehicle Assembly Building and the Space Plane Hangar allows players to build spacecraft out of any imaginable combination of parts.
  • Fully-fledged, Physics-based Flight Simulation ensures everything will fly (and crash) as it should.
  • Take your Kerbal crew out of the ship and do Extra Vehicular Activities
  • Fly out to Moons and other Planets
  • Procedural Terrain delivers detailed terrain at a vast scale. The Kerbal Planet is 600km in radius!
  • Mod-enabled, allows players to create new content and modify the game.
  • Ship systems. Keep an eye out for engine temperatures and fuel levels, and try not to explode.
  • Build ships with multiple stages, and jettison parts away as they burn out.
  • Full control over the staging sequence allows for complex ships and advanced functionality.
Being the total space nerd that I am I decided to take my space program in steps. The first hours I spent playing were building rockets that were functional and sturdy enough to get me into orbit. Along came the Kerbal One.


That lovely beast got me to about 244,000m in orbit. As I refined Kerbal One I added thrusters to control the space capsule and launched another orbital flight. This was Kerbal Two. Kerbal Two achieved a small orbit and successfully tested the RCS thrusters for future missions.


The Kerbal Two came down over the ocean and I considered that a successful mission. I want to launch a few more rockets and test landings with multiple parachutes in my next phase. I have yet to establish a total circular orbit around the planet Kerbal (or Earth as some may know it) so that is my next goal. 



The game can be as complicated as you make and there is a demo, but like Minecraft the demo does not even touch the tip of the iceberg and is missing many features. 

For an overview of the game check out the many YouTube videos.