Kerbal Space Program Beta: How Is it?

Kerbal Space Program recently entered beta, marking another step towards the stars for its mixture of spaceship construction, physics simulation and space agency management. The game has advanced lightyears since its early releases, where all you got was a quick tutorial that prodded you in the right direction (up) then left you to your own devices. While sandbox mode remains available for people who just want to build rockets in a physics playground, for over a year the actual ‘game’ has been found in either career or science mode.

The latest update, ‘Beta Than Ever’, brings career mode much closer to its goal of becoming a space tycoon sim. Your base starts off as a collection of run down administrative buildings and hangars with severely limited capabilities. Rockets can only have 30 parts until you upgrade the vehicle assembly building, and have to be under a certain height and weight that goes up as you upgrade the launch pad. Even more restricting is the mission control building, only allowing you to have two active contracts at its lowest level. It’s these contracts that provide most of the structure in career mode, tasking you with objectives that normally require you to build something specialised.

I was initially impressed. In past versions, it was easy for a new player to get lost at the very start. Before you get a rough idea of a basic rocket’s capabilities, it’s hard to know how to progress. Working towards small, specific aims helps the early game, giving players something achievable to focus on: each contract rewards you with a combination of money, reputation or, most excitingly, science. Science acts as a second currency, spending it allows you to progress down a technology tree, unlocking bigger and better rockets.

After a while, however, I found most of the contracts started feeling like busywork. The two most common types of contract either ask you to explore a certain place or test a particular rocket part under certain conditions. Launching each flight with an unambitious aim gets old quickly. In fairness, some of the contracts are more complicated, like getting into orbit or much later on, rescuing stranded Kerbals. It’s a good system, but needs refinement. Those early exploration missions would be much better suited to appearing later for example, once you’ve got the tech and experience required to design space planes.

Perhaps better players than me will find designing ships for trivial tasks less time consuming, or build ships that complete several objectives at once. The low ambition of those early missions doesn’t offer a gentle introduction for new players, either – it’s an exciting end goal and something more experienced players will likely get a lot out of, but too challenging for budding new or even intermediate rocketeers. A few hours into a career I just ran out of money, effectively ending the game.

For me, science mode provides the best balance between structure and freedom. Money, reputation and contracts are all cut out, the only goal being to gather as much science as possible and progress along the tech tree. Experimentation is so much of what makes KSP fun, and it’s far easier to do that in science mode where there are no real consequences when everything inevitably explodes for no discernible reason. My best experiences with KSP have all come from working towards grand, overly ambitious projects, picking up bits of information along the way. One of my first attempts at a mun landing went awry when I accidentally over burned my engines trying to escape Kerbin’s orbit, sending my ship hurtling off course into an orbit around the Sun. I was about to load a save before I realised quite how much science I could gain from beaming back crew reports and the readings from my equipment. I told myself I’d come back for my stranded Kerbal one day, using the science he’d provided to mount a rescue mission. It was for the greater good.

At my level, the loop of completing a project to unlock more tech to complete a bigger project is satisfying enough, without having to worry about the business side of things. After unlocking a new tech level I’d sit back in my chair, literally rubbing my hands together while loading up the vehicle assembly bay to play with my new toys.

I do wish there was a way of picking and choosing some features from career mode though. In science mode, all your Kerbals start at the maximum level in one of three classes – pilot, engineer or scientist. In career mode they gain experience as they go on missions, unlocking new benefits over time. It provides monsters like me with an incentive not to throw innocent Kerbal lives away, which can only be a good thing.

The latest update also overhauled the rocket creation editor, cleaning up the interface and adding new tools that allow for a finer degree of control. Theoretically it allows for designs that weren’t possible with previous iterations, but the main improvements are about ease of life. That’s no small thing, given how much time you’ll spend in the editor. Using the new rotation system to put a part into place helped me solve a tilting issue that would have taken way more fiddling in the old version. It’s still a little confusing at times, but hey, you’re building a spaceship. It can’t all be simple.

I think the biggest problem the game faces at the moment is how to deal with you getting stuck. I’ve had several stretches where I just haven’t been able to progress, unable to work out what’s wrong, let alone how to fix it. There are tutorials in place, but they’re by no means complete. The answer at the moment is to go outside the game, looking up information on wikis or asking friends for help. At the same time, that’s arguably part of the fun. There’s something undeniably cool about watching a 25 minute video on advanced rocket construction and applying those principles in game. Even cooler, on a totally un-kerbal related visit to the science museum in London I (accidentally) found out that it’s more efficient to avoid using second stage engines during launch, saving them for the upper atmosphere.

KSP is at its best when it makes you feel like a real life rocket scientist; the game would lose a lot if it ever felt like it was holding your hand. Nevertheless, I think it’s worth telling the player how to do some basic things that they’ll never figure out by themselves. I can’t see anyone without a physics degree working out how to get into orbit using a gravity turn, for example.

Until that happens, KSP’s excellent modding scene can help with some things. The information provided by the Engineer mod seems so useful that it should be in the default game. Encouragingly, one day it might be – the massive range of new contracts that were introduced last update were once part of the ‘Fine Print’ mod, suggesting there might be more to come.

In the devs own words, KSP is now ‘scope complete’. Rather than adding new systems, the focus has shifted to improving existing content. That makes sense – even before the beta update, there’s been no shortage of stuff to do. With some balance tweaking and more extensive tutorials, career mode should be accessible to new players. Still, Kerbal Space Program is more than ready to be played – if you don’t mind doing a bit of research.

52 Comments

  1. ikehaiku says:

    I’m still mixed about KSP.
    It’s subjective of course, but I found the science mechanism utterly pointless and…gamy? Same with the contract.
    Doesn’t prevent me from having fun in sandbox mode…
    …up until the point where the game just give up and choke. Unity engine limitation. And that will (probably) never be fixed.
    So…mixed.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Science is like xp in a roleplaying game. It’s the xp for your whole space program, essentially. It helps in the feel of progression and exploration.

      Playing without it is sort of like playing an rpg from the beginning with a maxed out character. It can still be fun (if the story/mechanics of the game appeal enough), it’s just a different kind of fun.

      I like the science system myself, but I’ve not been as keen on the new economic and reputation system. The science system is simple sure, but it’s still enough of a carrot for me to chase to be fully enjoying myself. Having to manage dollars and contracts and the like are less appealing. I like the idea an enlightened Kerbal society that provides all the funding its space program requires. We just need to figure out how things work. Thus, the need for more exploration and science.

      • Coldyham says:

        I enjoyed (at least for the 2 hours I put in), playing on science mode, mostly because with sandbox I had no Idea where to start.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      A lot of KSP just comes down to how you approach it. It takes a bit of time to learn. You’ve got to be happy to invest time into it and to experiment and fail. One of the best parts of the game is learning how to get into orbit – I don’t know why anyone would want that spoilered or hand-holded particularly. If you can just magic yourself all the best kit and put yourself in orbit and warp to other planets… there’s no gameplay in that.

      The moment when the display reads ‘orbit’ and you’ve finally achieved it is magic. It’s one of current gamings great achievements. Then you refine your method. Then you add loads of rockets and crash a lot. Repeat hundreds of times until you’re doing crazy long-term project things the likes of Scott Manley demonstrate.

      I wouldn’t even consider playing the base game without TAC Life Support and Remote Tech (once you’ve launched your first few probes) and various other quality of life improvement mods. They add the necessary challenge and gameplay elements to really stretch things out into the hundreds of hours, rather than the dozens.

  2. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    I’ve not really judged KSP as a game yet, but now it’s in beta and feature complete it’s the right time to start pointing out the uneven difficulty curve etc.
    Oh, and I do have a physics degree and my approach to a lift off is still “start off going straight up and finish going sideways and just gently tilt from one to the other”.
    For anyone who’s not tried playing it yet; this is one of those games which revolves around it’s modding community more than almost any game I’ve played. You can make the base game easier (MechJeb), or harder (Deadly Re-entry), or more interesting (Interstellar).
    For example, there’s SCANsat, which adds parts which allow you to create maps of all the various planets and moons (which also gets you science), provided you can create a probe that can get into the right orbit without forgetting things like batteries and solar power.

    • laiwm says:

      Kerbal Attachment System is a must-install for me; makes your lil astronauts have a reason for being up there besides lugging science data between modules, as you can have them attaching winches to things to construct a modular moon base, or attaching pipes to refuelable rovers.

  3. Matt_W says:

    Try the Better Than Starting Manned mod, by Flowerchild, who also did the Better Than Wolves mod for Minecraft. BTSM isn’t yet upgrades for 0.90, but in the 0.25 version already included things like upgradable launchpads, more interesting contract goals, and a more tightly constrained tech tree. It provides a much more controlled experience. For instance, he’s got spacesuit and casule upgrades as part of his tech tree that allow first the upper atmosphere, then space, then EVAs. It eliminates a couple of the annoyances with how vanilla KSP works as well: there are no science rewards for contracts, part contracts are eliminated, and all science is either transmittable 100% in one go or must be returned to KSC. Prior to 0.90, I wouldn’t play career mode any other way. And once he’s upgrade the mod for the beta, it’ll probably continue to be the best-balanced career out there.

    • sadwatertunnell says:

      He’s also a petulant asshole, though. I haven’t played with his kerbal mods, but i tried better than wolves a while back and what i found was a couple of brilliant ideas surrounded by a sea of tedious grind and really weird design decisions that seem more motivated out of anger that he isn’t respected as the best game dev in history than supporting a coherent whole.

      His username is apt.

      • 0positivo says:

        No kidding. I still have fond memories of a “conversation” (that, incidentally, I saved because it was too ridicolous) I had with him, where me saying he was a great programmer and designer with a bit of an attitude was met with a barrage of insults after insults and ad hominem attacks

        So yea. The stuff he does is pretty great. He IS a great programmer and designer, but he has a… bit of an attitude

  4. hungrycookpot says:

    Nah, you don’t need a physics degree. That’s the great thing about KSP, it gives you a visual representation of orbital mechanics and basic physics and hides all the math under the hood.

    Youtube and Scott Manley are definitely your friends.

    • Shadow says:

      Yep, pretty much. A couple of YT videos is all you need to get started on the right foot. Honestly, the basics of rocket design, launch and orbital mechanics are simple enough they could fit in a single tutorial video.

  5. Brian says:

    This game needs random events. (Random parts failing, meteor showers, aliens, ANYTHING.

    After you’ve played for awhile (30+ hours) it eventually becomes boring as you pretty much know what to expect.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Part failures might make for excitement at higher difficulties (just look at real space missions), but even Scott Manley still gets caught out by the unexpected, so “30 hours” is just a weeeee bit conservative.

      For starters, install FAR and DRE then try to get a working, useful, spaceplane…

      • Darloth says:

        I’m still trying. Been almost a year now. I got something to space, once, but it didn’t come down in one piece…

        There are several part failure mods. I actually like Dang It!, because they almost invariably happen at the worst possible time, and having to pause/abort your almost-finished docking maneuver to patch a hole in your monoprop tanks, or having to maneuver around a locked gimbal or something… That’s fun! Also frustrating, but fun if you’re bored!

      • Cinek says:

        “For starters, install FAR and DRE then try to get a working, useful, spaceplane…” – you sound as if that would make it more difficult. But it really doesn’t. FAR makes building spaceplanes MUCH easier than it is in stock aerodynamics. Logic actually makes sense with FAR, while it doesn’t in stock. Like: not at all. You waste more time trying to avoid pitfalls of idiotic aerodynamics modelling in a stock game than actually building the spaceplane itself.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      There is a mod that adds part failures called, Dang It.

  6. SlimShanks says:

    I admit that I consider myself quite smart, and in 50 hours of KSP I have never figured out how to land on the Mun. I hear there is some sort of in game compass that helps you perform maneuvers. Am I weird for eyeballing my trajectory to the Mun? In any case, I just can’t bring myself to look at wiki’s and whatnot. I have way too much fun learning about the physics of space travel, even if it is a bit unrealistic and out of scale.
    To anyone who is wondering if they should buy it: if you have any interest in space travel, or are someone who enjoys building or learning in games, you really should pick this up. If you are looking for a game with fun mechanics and a carefully designed difficulty curve, this is not it. To play is to be confused and to slog through many ship designs. To play is to fail. A lot. It’s all about the learning and the discovery. If you don’t think the realization to launch rockets to the west will set your pants on fire, keep moving… Also avoid if you feel pity for small green people.

    • Tacroy says:

      Once you’re in orbit, clicking on the blue line of your orbit will let you plan a maneuver; the green circles are speed up and slow down, the blue circles are “burn perpendicular to orbit in the horizontal plane” and the purple triangles are “burn perpendicular to orbit in the vertical plane”, or at least that’s how I think of them.

      Once you’ve set up a maneuver, there’ll be a blue maneuver target on your nav ball and an estimated delta V gauge to the right of it.

      That’s probably the “compass that helps you perform maneuvers”.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      back in the early days before all the maneuver nodes and flight control mods we used a very simple technique that still works today.

      once you’ve achieved a stable orbit (assuming you travel east from take-off) wait until the moon starts to rise on the horizon and gun it pro-grade at full speed. Switch to the map and watch your trajectory, once it intersects the moon’s orbital line cut the power. I’ll leave landing for you to figure out :-)

    • Montavious says:

      Took me quite awhile too to land on the Mun. I was the same as you, didnt watch any videos or go on the wiki. There are a lot of factors to it, but once you do it its a great feeling. Hate to say it, but 322 hours in, Ive only ever landed on the Mun and Minmus, but I still have fun playing the game. Never used any mods, not a mod guy. Vanilla is still quite fun to me. With this new update im getting back into the game, hopefully I can land on the many other planets finally.

  7. Zeno says:

    I blame Squad’s revolving door of developers. All the people with the good ideas for the future of the game left, and the core sandbox features were declared ‘finished’ with important things like life support and resource harvesting left to the modders.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      if you end up with the same result, who is to blame for anything?

    • LionsPhil says:

      “Left to the modders” has worked pretty great for KSP, though. You get a core game that’s simple enough for first-timers, and enough complexity to satisfy at least a medium bearded simulation grognard once you add mods.

      • P.Funk says:

        Except that mods will become obsolete eventually and often you see mods persist for several versions only because some people pick it up after the original maker stops working on it. There are many great mods for KSP that simply no longer work.

        The downside especially with this business model is that with such frequent updates mods need dedicated people. Many modders are anything but, not having the time.

        Things will only stabilize once KSP gets past full release and updates are hopefully less frequent, at least updates that break mods.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Most of the important mods are open source now, so it’s easy for someone else to pick up maintenance, and indeed this has happened several times already.

          Squad have also been rolling them into core where appropriate (Spaceplane Plus, Fine Print).

  8. Universal Quitter says:

    Never read comments…

    Not sure who crapped in everyone’s cereal bowl this morning, but KSP is one of the finest games I’ve ever seen, of any platform or generation.

    Seriously, it’s not like we have any other highly accessible orbital mechanics simulators, with a cute aesthetic and robust modding community.

    Ingrates.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      There is always people grinding their petty axes in every game community. People with huge chips on their shoulders, and ego’s to match.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Yes! This surprised me too. KSP is one of my favorite games of all time, up there with dark souls, with a community to match. It has everything rps, too. It’s indie, 0 drm’d, mods to throw out the window, difficulty. I love it.

    • Cinek says:

      KSP brings very mixed feelings, that’s why you have so many negative opinions. There are people like you, but at the same time for majority – KSP leaves quite sour taste.

      One one side you have amazing modders – on the other side you have Devs pushing the game to Cartoon-Network-style, moving focus away from all of the physics modeling they made and refusing even to correct basic errors such as fucked up thrust calculation.
      On one hand you got people talking about how the game doesn’t hold you by hand – on the other hand you have very vocal part of a community that’s bashing anyone who even dares to suggest that stock game should come with proper reentry heat and destruction along with life support systems.
      First you hear about a game where you can use real principles of rocket design in, and then you discover that planets are physically impossible to exist, while atmospheres remind a mix between soap, soup, and a tractor beam from Star Treck pulling you down the surface.
      First you hear about a long-lasting challenge, and then you find you that after making few succesful landings on the moons and a trip to another planet there’s pretty much nothing in this game to pose a challenge. Sure, you could spend time running around easter eggs or build totally unrealistic mega-ship made of pancake rockets (another consequence of BS aerodynamics) for a single trip around every planet in the game, but… lack of features on the planets, lack of stuff to discover, lack of storylines or for that matter: any end-game content is a huge disappointment.

      Yes, modders do improve the situation by a lot – but still the game leaves you with a feeling of half-assed product that’s currently limited by two things: dev team itself and the engine they chose.

      • J-Force says:

        You can build weird superships that shouldn’t work with all the mods you like. That is part of the beauty of it. I would like to point out as well that the Space Shuttle should not have really ‘worked’ (and was in fact the most expensive launch system ever created) so I love that we can do both the mundane and the downright mad and it still work (even with FAR).

        Also, to the people who say ‘once you’ve landed on the moon and the planet there isn’t anything to challenge you’ do the following:

        Land and return from Eve
        Land on Tylo
        Land and return from Tylo (Which I don’t think has EVER been done)
        Check the challenges thread on the KSP forum.

      • LionsPhil says:

        >claiming to be the majority in not liking KSP
        >Steam reviews are “Overwhelmingly positive”

        You botched you appeal to popularity there, chuck.

  9. daver4470 says:

    I think it’s important to note that KSP is a lot like Minecraft: the base game is very fun and highly playable, but the mod community is where it becomes (almost literally) whatever game you want it to be. (Contra Dwarf Fortress, where the base game is insanely complex and almost impenetrable, and the mod community is where it becomes very fun and highly playable. Well, relatively speaking…)

  10. SimApple says:

    I have a degree in physics…what’s a gravity turn? (Wikipedia to the rescue, it’s like my degree all over again) – man I need to play this game if that’s something you can do!

    • ender1200 says:

      I managed to pull an acctaul Gravity turn in the game once. It’s a rather delicate manuvere that highly depends on the way your rocket is design and I’m pretty sure that you need a mod to make aerdynamic more realistic (FAR is great for that) to pull it off.
      Usually I just use the thrust to steer the rocket in the right trejectory, something that is far easier to pull.

      • Cinek says:

        Stock KSP physics are fucked up. What most KSP players call “gravity turn” just just a turn, period. For true gravity turn you’d never use your thrust to change a direction of your spacecraft after initial pitchover – gravity would do the job. You need FAR to even begin thinking about making true gravity turns. Real size solar system is also a great help.

        • gatorspace says:

          Well, at age 55 which I am now, I grew up and remember Gemini, and CERTAINLY the Apollo program VERY well. Gravity turn? how about roll program and pitch over.
          As a commercially/instrument rated pilot who also spent 30+ years in radio and television I actually covered Discovery’s return to space following the Columbia disaster. I have been a space junkie since the Gemini program.
          I was fortunate to have commander Jim Lovell on my morning radio show when he was touring his book “LOST MOON” which was later made into the film “APOLLO 13″ as an in studio guest on my morning radio show in Huntsville, AL which is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center. Never heard of it? Just in case you have not, it’s where Werner Von Braun himself along with his team of Rocket Scientist designed the Saturn V rocket that took NASA to the Moon. As a member of the media while there I was actually allowed to fly the space shuttle sim with astronaut Tom Anderson in the right seat from launch, to Orbit, and finally re-entry and a spot on landing on the simulated Kennedy Space Center Runway. Greatest day of my life. Astronaut Anderson was handling the checklist callouts to me and guiding my around the cockpit when necessary said after rollout to a full stop quote ” Damn, nicely done, lets sign you up!” Was he being nice? Probably. but as a veteran pilot, I must say does exactly what you tell it to, including making corrections for environmental factors. I tell you this not to brag, but to hopefully offer a bit of credibility to what I am about to say.

          Kerbal Space Program is easily one of the best space sims I have ever spent any time with( Also REALLY love “LUNAR LANDER” as well. I have spent most of my 3,438 hours in KSP’s Sandbox because I like having all the parts. I have not added any mods yet, will probably wait until the game is finished before I do for the reason one commentator made about them breaking with new updates. I am playing on a MAC PRO early 2009 build, 10G of ram, 2 Quad Core Intel Xeon processors with a ATI Radeon HD 2600XT 256 MB. Yep really need to upgrade the graphics card, however thinking I’m just going to build a KICK ASS PC instead, just for Kerbal Space Program. I just can’t believe all the whining about KSP. SQUAD is an independent group who have in my humble opinion have been doing a great job on a low budget and it has just gone Beta. WTF do you expect???? I am VERY impressed with the way they handle bugs as they come up during the build which is expected, and a part of the process. To Harvester and his team, BRAVO!!!!! I LOVE this sim which my 3,400 hrs of time spent on the game should prove.. We, the early users are here to provide feedback to the DEV Team as they near 1.0. If you can’t handle the early access process, stop your whining, and go watch Sponge Bob until the sim is finished. Since Beta, my KSP sim locks up/hangs when I try to go from a landing on a moon or planet back to the KSP flight center. I have to hard boot to play again, but I know this will soon be fixed. In a nutshell, patience.

          Thanks for reading,

          Gator

    • Frosty840 says:

      I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Scott Manley do proper gravity turns, but his game is very modded indeed (with advanced aerodynamics models and deadly re-entry physics). I have half a feeling that you can’t do a “real” gravity turn using the base game, but I might be misremembering something I’ve heard about MechJeb’s launch autopilot…

      It really is a fantastic game, though.

      • LionsPhil says:

        In stock aerodynamics I believe you’re better off climbing straight up until 10K then suddenly kinking over to a 30-degree-ish angle. I’m not sure letting gravity turn you would work well enough.

        But the principle of “go up while aerodynamic drag is the enemy, then go sideways because gravity drag is now the main enemy” is there. It’s just very quantized.

        (Yes, Scott totally did a hands-off gravity turn launch under FAR.)

  11. Rufust Firefly says:

    I’ve been playing KSP since before there was a Mun to land on, so it’s been great to watch the game expand with each release. There are certainly strong opinions on how the game should be played (and a mod community that can be a bit.. dramatic at times), whether it’s a game at all, or if it should be more of a hard-core simulation. Certainly Squad has to juggle a lot of competing bits of input.

    The mods that I enjoy the most are the small ones, like Chatterer or Aviation Lights, that add a bit to the game without changing it too much. At some point I may try Remote Tech to introduce communications networks and the like, giving a reason to build one’s own Kerbal Deep Space Network.

    Some stuff is brand-new to 0.90 and I’m sure it will change. Experience right now is a little weird, for example. Kerbals can fly a lot of missions but only gain experience if they do something new like orbit or land on a new body. I suppose the intent was to keep folks from grinding out flight after flight to make a pro pilot. The balance for building/improving facilities is fairly rudimentary. And the world is really blank except for the space center and some artifacts scattered around the globe (though there is a mod to add city lights but no cities).

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Yeah, that’s another thing, that there’s a whole category of mods that just add to the aesthetics, such as adding city lights, and clouds, and especially chatterer which just plays little snippets of radio chatter every so often, which really adds to the experience.

  12. Darloth says:

    I think the balance is pretty far off at the moment, but that’s to be expected for something just starting beta. All of the features they have are fun, you can build a vanilla space station or moon base (with some small benefits to doing so!), the contracts expand a lot once you’ve actually got to the moon (like people asking you to build a base supporting 12 kerbals there. That’s a lot of lift!… or you can be sensible and do it in four or five missions, but that’s not the kerbal way).

    I’d like more granularity in building upgrades, personally – 30 parts is a harsh limit, but then it’s upgraded to 255 parts, for a massive cost. I don’t think I’ve ever made a ship with more than 255 parts. The same with all of the others, so if they could be split into smaller, cheaper, more piecemeal upgrades I think I’d like that feature a lot more. The rest is good and steadily getting better, and the mods make it awesome.

  13. Gemberkoekje says:

    As a fan of KSP, I’m really happy reading your thoughts. Especially because I think they will be solved before the final release, because they essentially said “Ok, all the building blocks are in place now, and now we start applying spit and polish”.

    So improving the progression of the contract system, for example, is exactly that: some spit and polish the devs now have time for to properly balance.

  14. DrManhatten says:

    My advice if KSP is too difficult for you you’ll better stick with Elite Dangerous and its pitty physics.

  15. RDG says:

    Tip for people who want to level up a pilot to level 3 to enable maneuver node hold (as opposed to using Smart A.S.S.)

    Edit the relevant savegame located at \Kerbal Space Program\saves\default (where default is the name of your game). Edit the latest .sfs file using notepad. Locate “ROSTER” and you will see your astronauts. We will use Jebediah in this example in a brand new savegame (persistent.sfs):

    ROSTER
    {
    KERBAL
    {
    name = Jebediah Kerman
    type = Crew
    brave = 0.5
    dumb = 0.5
    badS = True
    state = Available
    ToD = 0
    idx = -1
    CAREER_LOG
    {
    flight = 1
    0 = Land,Moho
    0 = Recover
    }
    FLIGHT_LOG
    {
    flight = 1
    }

    Change the flight = 0 to flight = 1, and add the 0 = Land,Moho and 0 = Recover lines. This will give him 16xp, which is enough to boost him from level 0 to level 3 to enable maneuver hold. If you are editing an existing savegame, simply look at the number behind flight = X, add one to that number and add the X = Land,Moho and X = Recover under the other entries in his log using the number that was originally behind the Flight = .

  16. Rindan says:

    I have dumped 200 hours into Kerbal. I am going to say that I got my monies worth.

    That said, the career mode is… uneven. The tech tree continues to be ass backwards. It is crazy that you get rockets before jets. A lot of the missions for money are, well, shit. They are getting better, but all of the parts testing missions are essentially just pure grind. I personally would prefer to see fewer grind missions and more grand and interesting missions with large payoffs. Something along the lines of “Put 5 Kerbals on the moon, have one of them drive a mile in a vehicle, and return them all” would be the kind of challenge I am pumped for. The upgrade system is also a bit constrained. I don’t mind the concept, but some of the jumps are huge. I wish it was a little granular so I don’t ram my fast full stop into development walls that I need to grind my way out of.

    I have no real complaints though. While I am pretty ‘meh’ on the career mode thus far (thought it is certainly getting better), the core game is fantastic. With its epic mod support it means that even if they were to release the game tomorrow with a less than awesome career mode, I would have no complaints. Kerbal is wonderful by itself, but toss in the mods and it sends you to Nirvana. Whatever the base game fails to provide, there is a mod out there that will provide it for you.

    I am really excited to see what they add next and how they refine what they have, but to be honest, I am even more excited for the release. I don’t care much about the official release other than that I assume updates will slow down, making mod support easier.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      I have a large list of games I haven’t actually played, because I always end up playing Kerbal Space Program.

      • J-Force says:

        I know, I was torn between playing Elite and KSP yesterday… I chose Elite, 30 minutes later I lost 30k to a badly timed docking manoeuvre, I went to KSP. 30 minutes later I lost 30k and a kerbal to a badly timed docking manoeuvre, back to Elite.

        I have no free time now.

    • DrManhatten says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Career mode became a lot better since they basically integrated fine print in 0.9. All the parts testing missions are basically not worth doing unless they suborbital or orbital ones all the other ones don’t bother unless you were thinking about putting that part onto your rocket anyway or it doesn’t add much weight. The building upgrading system is very unbalanced and three stages as they are now doesn’t make much sense either I am surprised by that as when you read the dev-logs on the forum it seems to have taken them a lot of time and the results you see in the actual game doesn’t feel that great. In principle a nice idea but execution seems to be lagging right now. I rather would like them to get the 64bit version sorted so you can add more of these fantastic mods without crashing the game because you’re running out of memory and adding more content instead of adding more game dynamics. Although the experience system looks like an interesting concept only the engineer without KAS mod looks feel a bit useless or so far I didn’t find much use for him.

    • airmikee says:

      “The tech tree continues to be ass backwards. It is crazy that you get rockets before jets.”

      Kinda like life? China was using rockets 800 years ago. Lagari Hasan Çelebi made the first manned rocket flight in 1633. During the Anglo-Mysore Wars the Mysorean and British forces exchanged rocket fire, with the British reporting their foes were able to launch rockets 2km. The Star Spangled Banner’s “rockets red glare” were from real rockets being fired during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.

      The first patent for a jet engine wasn’t filed until 1930, and the first test flight wasn’t until 1941.

      That crazy bass-ackwards technology, huh?

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        They weren’t putting manned rockets into space in 1941.

      • DrManhatten says:

        Besides game wise it makes total sense especially from a beginners point of view as planes are far more complex to build than rockets which are relatively easy in comparison
        .