Kerbal Space Program Aims For The Stars

By Jim Rossignol on December 2nd, 2011 at 2:38 pm.

Try not to kill them too much, eh?
So I just wanted to remind everyone that this exists. I totally get that some of you guys don’t want to pretend to design rockets and then run your own private space program, and that’s fine. You keep on lining up three zombies until they disappear or whatever it is you are into. For everyone with their head in orbit there’s still Kerbal Space Program, which continues to develop apace, and remains a gem of physics-based experimentation. I’ve posted the trailer for not quite the most recent update below, but I am keenly aware that its sensible breakdown of the new features is not what is most appealing about this game, which is actually the breakdown of, well, everything else. I’ve added in a video for that, too.

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43 Comments »

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  1. talon03 says:

    That’s not quite the most recent update, it’s now on version 0.12 which has a moon (called Mun) which it is possible to land on. If you’re freakishly good at physics calculations in your head.
    You can pre-order the full version now for $7, which allows you access to all the future betas as well (which will be going closed to the public soon). Complete steal.

    • MistaJah says:

      The lazy way to do it is blast your orbit eccentric enough, so that it clips with Mun’s. If you miss it, fast forward round the planet until the moon gets in your way, which will happen at some point.

    • MisterT says:

      Getting to the moon, yeah, that’s just making an eccentric orbit and keeping on the E/W plane, but landing on the moon with something that can get back…that’s something else.

      (my dozen crashes, of varying explosions from losing an engine to losing the whole thing, can attest to that)

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      Biscuitry says:

      I’m not even entirely convinced it’s possible with the stock rocket parts. Not without some sort of strut that can take a rocket landing on it and keep the thing pointing upwards for takeoff.

      I welcome the possibility of being proved wrong.

    • madtoaster55 says:

      https://p.twimg.com/AfmoUnjCEAAXPRn.png
      How to get to the moon.
      1. Download some more parts, stock parts suck.
      2. Make a rocket that can stay fairly steady, head upwards until out of atmosphere. Use the M key to observe when you hit the apoapsis, then burn the same way Kearth is rotating.
      3. Keep an eye until your orbit crosses that of the Mun, then use time acceleration, until you get really close.
      4. Slow down so the Mun slowly pulls you towards it. This is the time to use the lander you’ve made with the extra parts. RCS thrusters are quite useful here for translation.
      5. Land, preferably in one piece.
      6. Wonder how to get back, then die of suffocation.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      Radial decouplers (possibly two or more stacked)+winglet makes a perfectly acceptable stock landing leg.

    • SteevyT says:

      It is possible to land with stock parts. Just use fins as landing legs.

  2. Premium User Badge

    mcnostril says:

    Wait.
    Did I see the video right?
    Is that Jebediah Kerman, the Jebediah Kerman, showing FEAR?

    LIES.

    • Dominic White says:

      It is possible for Jeb to show fear. You just have to make the single most terrifying engine of flight ever devised.

      On the plus side, he usually only gets to show fear for a second or two before the inevitable explosion.

    • Caleb367 says:

      WTF.
      To even conceive something so terrifying to scare Jeb, you have to be some evil outer space lovecraftian god.

    • MisterT says:

      jeb tends to freak out when something breaks off that wasn’t supposed to, I find

    • neolith says:

      Jeb is awesome. The moment he really freaks I know my rocket is doomed.

    • westyfield says:

      If I ever have children I want to name my first son Jebediah. Jeb Kerman is one stone cold motherfucker.

  3. danimalkingdom says:

    The poor little kerbal faces in the corner panicking and then the KIA text, that’s just heartbreaking. I loves me some space flyin’, or at least trying to.

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    Bluerps says:

    Ooh! I haven’t played that one in a while. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Synesthesia says:

      oooh yes, this one! Thanks for the reminder. Too many games, man. Too many.

  5. Unaco says:

    I’ll probably give this a look, once it’s finished and released.

  6. TC-27 says:

    Getting to the Mun is easy (well with certain mod parts ) its really just a case of heading in the general right direction and then killing your velocity until you get caught in its gravity well and then making further adjustments to velocity to either orbit or land.

    Actually landing can be tricky due and requires some fine tuning with your descent engine throttle.

  7. lefishy says:

    oh man I love firing those poor hapless bastards into the mun over and over. I just wish they’d get to work on the “game” part. It’s a fantastic little toy to fiddle with every now and then (obviously what she said) but there are no consequences for strapping as many engines as your computer can handle and watching it all go up in a delightful fireball.

    I want to budget things! And care when one of my crewmen dies.

  8. Seth says:

    I really want everyone to be able to enjoy this fantastic game. It’s an incredible amount of fun and will only get better.

    Please do the following for maximum enjoyment:

    1) Install the game, do the tutorials, play around with the stock parts until you get a rocket that can achieve orbit.

    2) Google and install the Sunday Punch Parts Package. This will give you larger rockets, with the kind of punch you need to go farther, without actually supplying anything overpowered.

    3) Begin a Mun program! Learn about prograde and retrograde burns, trans-lunar injection, Hohmann transfers, and how surprisingly easy it all is. The terms sound intimidating, but it comes down to a few basic maneuvers you can learn in no time.

    I’ve now made several intact Mun landings, and last night, I actually returned my first Mun spacecraft to Kerbal, made re-entry, and got as far as popping parachutes. Unfortunately the command module inexplicably exploded on impact!

    I repeat: this game is colossal fun. Please play it.

    • zontax says:

      Glorious.

    • meeper says:

      It took me a while, but I can now reliably return my 3 green guys from the mun using only stock parts. It seemed like the mun was made of pure explodium for the first few tries.

  9. baladec says:

    Obligatory Kerbal Space Program video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJM-j8PLW-c

  10. simonh says:

    Yaay, I successfully crashed into the moon! :D

  11. tungstenHead says:

    Clearly the Kerbal’s scientific strength is their cloning program.

  12. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    As they probably didn’t say in Soviet Russia, if they crash into the moon, they crash into the moon.

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    Hypocee says:

    KSP has taken virtually all my gaming time since RPS mentioned it back in July. It’s already a marvelous toy, and its potential when it turns to a BARIS/tycoon/construction/action hybrid is blinding. The lead designer/programmer also has a concrete reason for every decision he makes.

    A major factor that makes it special is the perfect balance of slapstick black humour and genuine respect for aspiration. I just recently found KSP forumite Newman’s summary: slightly paraphrased, ‘It’s Monty Python meets The Muppet Show in an astrodynamics classroom’. I consider Dippeggs’ completely unofficial/copyridden fan trailer required viewing too.

    I hope you’ll take the time to give this a (Mün)shot, folks; it’s a good, good, good’un.

    • westyfield says:

      That… is awesome. Puts me in mind of the Fallout 3 trailers, which is a good thing.

  14. TheGameSquid says:

    I have somehow not heard of this before, but I do think I approve!

  15. buzzmong says:

    Aye, KSP is a good thing. Probably will pre-order it soon, once I have some dosh.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    I have been playing this quite a bit in the last few days. I successfully made it to the mun in a single orbit (which I was quite proud of), and then smashed into it at over 700 m/s as I didn’t have enough fuel to decelerate. I can’t even contemplate how it’s possible to construct a vehicle capable of getting back as well…

  17. Davie says:

    Oh, this is good. I started playing it a few months ago out of a strange nostalgia for a fiendishly difficult educational lunar lander game I played as a first grader, and found this to be completely awesome. The trick is several dozen solid fuel thrusters, activated a stage at a time and decoupled as soon as they start to overheat. I have yet to find me another formula that gets the little green bastards off planet quicker.

  18. MadMatty says:

    Awesome-sauce. This is PC gaming.

  19. youthful cynic says:

    The thing that I love about this game is the loading screen artwork. Cracks me up every time

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      It’s perfect, isn’t it? Especially after you’ve flown with Jeb a few times. Credit where due, that’s not from Squad; it’s a used-with-permission piece of fanart by KSP fan Riess, who makes a webcomic called Our Intrepid Crew.

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    shoptroll says:

    This looks like something Maxis would’ve built in their heyday. I’ll have to give this a look at some point.

  21. Unaco says:

    Ok… So my resolve crumbled. Decided to pick this up ($7 is nothing really, and it’s going closed soon, so figured I’d jump in while I can). Went to the site, made an account, got myself all excited. Put the thing into the cart and went to Checkout… and there is only PayPal for payment options? What?!

    Disappointing, and a lost sale I’m afraid.

    • roy7 says:

      Do they not realize PayPal will eventually lock their account and withhold all of their proceeds?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      They’re working on it – it’s actually pulled the lead programmer mostly off working on the game for the past week. It’s harder to set up decent payment options when you’re based in Mexico. Their preorder/donation system only recently came back up after months of downtime because they seized it back from the supposed professional store developers they’d paid to do it.