Wot I Think: Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program [official site] is a game about exploration, vehicular design and physics. It involves triumph and tragedy, careful meticulous planning and improvised catastrophe. We asked Brendan to suit up and go forth, in the name of science.

Above, you can see the spacecraft Blinky Somerton. A semi-automated probe with landing capabilities, Blinky can collect data about his surroundings, including atmospheric pressure, temperature and gravity, all without risking the lives of any brave astronauts. He has a special retractable comms dish that comes out of his side like a shiny bat wing for broadcasting data back to mission control and four solar panels giving him a theoretically endless supply of juicy electricity. There is just one ‘problem’ with Blinky Somerton. He is supposed to be on the moon.

Situations like Blinky’s have been happening to the players of Kerbal Space Program for a long time. A badly-timed launch and human error (whoops) means that he joins the ranks of “failed” missions that spiral off to become wonderful success stories, even if he did fall over on his back.

The sun has orbited the earth roughly four times since some version of KSP was available to budding aeronautical lunatics and the essential joy of the game hasn’t gone away. With the full release this month, it has only cemented its reputation as a God among its own tiny niche, ie. Games Wot Make You Feel Smart. Blinky is a case in point. Successfully deploying a single AI-controlled tin can to a planet 19 million km away, after a disastrous foul-up, made me feel like the King of Physics.

In its bare bones days the game’s Sandbox was the key to recreating this feeling. This mode remains an important focus, allowing you to build any type of craft from scratch, from land-based rovers for surface exploration to bombastic carriers able to lift 21 Kerbals into orbit. The Vehicle Assembly Building (a tall hangar rising out of the ground like a council housing block) has more pieces of equipment than you could ever conceivably need.

In fact, the items available, all 268 of them (I counted), and the effort required to test and learn each significant part paradoxically makes this freeform toybox the most intimidating of the three available modes (and that’s before you start adding the essential mods – but more on this later.) Sure, there are no consequences when misfiring liquid fuel engines blast your ship out of control. But there are also another 14 liquid fuel engines to inspect and test. It can all be a bit paralysing.

Career mode, polished off in time for 1.0, is a little more welcoming. As well as unlocking parts more slowly, this mode also anchors you with public perception and a limited budget, demanding you micromanage the details of your space program from day one. Kerbals have to be hired, costing money, but they also gain skills and become better at their jobs the more they fly. They also come in flavours: engineers, scientists and pilots. Scientists gain better results from any experiments you do in space, pilots keep the craft steady and engineers can fix things on the fly. I didn’t see anything malfunction during my playthrough, at least not in any way that was “fixable”, but good pilots and scientists are invaluable.

The Career mode also includes “contracts” which are basically achievements that earn you money. Things like: fly to a certain altitude or get into orbit around Kerbin (the game’s ‘earth’). Although they are a good attempt at offering the player a guiding hand at what they should be doing, they also seem to constrain you along a specific course that offers the most return for your investment, eventually pinching pennies like some grubby space Fagan. To this end you will use the Admin Building.

This is the place where you pick strategies that provide savings to your income, for example, by fitting all ships with better transponders making them easier to recover after crash-landing. Or offering an unpopular bailout if you run out of cash. And you will run out of cash because career mode can be as punishing as it is helpful. Despite easing in you into the purpose of each device, bit by bit, this mode’s focus on dosh and cutbacks mean it is also best indulged when you already know your way around and want an extra layer of self-imposed financial constraint to challenge your creative mindbits.

Science mode, on the other hand, is the Goldilocks zone of KSP. Here, admin duties and contracts are gone and, critically, money is no longer an issue. But the currency of ‘science’ remains. You can only progress by performing experiments and developing your way up the tech tree. Launch a materials bay into orbit and see what happens to the stuff inside. Bring ‘mystery goo’ to the moon and log your results.

With each successful mission, you can spider your way through the vast library of parts that makes the Sandbox so overwhelming – but at a much more manageable pace. Without contracts, you are free to decide what your next goal is. And without the stress of money, testing and re-testing new pieces of equipment in different scenarios becomes much less worrisome. If you are brand new to the game, Science mode is where you want to hang your labcoat.

Actually, if you are brand new to the game, you will not be able to hang your labcoat anywhere because your labcoat is currently on a trajectory into the sea and, oh look, the rest of your clothes are burning up on re-entry. You are dying, naked, hot and confused. Welcome to Kerbal Space Program’s learning curve! It’s not that the tutorials are not useful (they are ESSENTIAL), it is only that they often do not go into enough detail, or give you enough of an understanding of very basic things. A couple of the training missions saw me running out of fuel partway through, even though I seemed to be following the instructions down to the finest detail.

In these cases, I don’t believe the tutorials were bugged or didn’t provide enough fuel – I only wish they explained what I had done wrong, or were able to anticipate the mistakes I made and offer tips to cover the problem of fuel efficiency, for instance, or the problem of not dying. Plenty of games thrive on searching for advice from the community, and out-of-client physics lessons from Scott Manley, eminent Professor of Knowing Things, make Kerbal one of these. But there are some small details I wished the developers had jammed into the first few space hops. For example, I played for 20 hours, through crash after crash, before I discovered, from blessed Reddit, that there is a quicksave key. It is F5. I almost cried.

That is the complicated feeling that the game brings. When you get things right, you feel inspired, intelligent, creative and unstoppable. When you get things wrong, or you overlook something, you feel like a slug. There was one particular moment, after five or six failed burns on a return from the Mun, that I had to quit the game, feeling too demoralised and mentally exhausted to continue. I should stress this is not, necessarily, a flaw.

It is a tough ride and it requires patience, learning and the mental fortitude of an entire buddhist monastery to plan a mission from beginning to end and get every stage along the way perfect. Games like this are an absolute necessity – a boon to the industry. But you also need to know what you’re getting into. Each basic concept that you grasp – gravity turns, delta V, thrust-to-weight ratio – works towards an understanding that is more rewarding than any top-down management sim. Just know that this is an investment of interest. You have to be fascinated with space travel and obsessed with NASA-like engineering ideas to begin with to pull off the most impressive feats. Luckily, for dunces like me, those people are brilliant, and there are lots of them on the internet.


  1. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Spot on, especially about the Kerbals themselves (or as I call them, “mission ballast”) leavening horrific death with humour. Their space suit gloves are mittens, which even I, misanthropic fun-miser that I am, find unspeakably adorable.

  2. bonds0097 says:

    The sun has orbited the earth roughly four times

    I do believe it is the Earth that orbits the sun, not the other way around.

    • quotidian says:

      Might explain some of the author’s failed missions :)

      • colw00t says:

        He’s clearly an amateur. A seasoned Kerbal Space Program player knows that mission objectives are only defined once they have been achieved. That mun probe was never a mun probe, as you can tell from the fact that it did not, in fact, land on the Mun.

    • Brendy_C says:

      I think I *know* which way the sun goes.

    • kalirion says:

      No, no, he’s right about the Sun orbiting the earth – but it does so once a day, not once a year as the article implies…

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I’m pretty sure it’s the universe that is rotating around earth in 24 hour cycles. That’s why we haven’t heard from any intelligent life out there – they are too busy being sick from all the spinning.

      • Niente says:

        The earth orbits the sun. It takes one year to do this.

        It takes one day for the earth to make one rotation on it’s axis.

    • elasticman says:

      A stimulating exchange on the subject:

      link to harkavagrant.com

    • ShaunOfTheFuzz says:

      Taking the Earth as an inertial reference frame, the sun can absolutely be thought of as orbiting the Earth. Physics is a dick like that.

      • JimboDeany says:

        YAY! for dick physics?

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        phuzz says:

        The sun, sure, but if you want to start predicting the orbits of other planets you either have to keep adding more and more Ptolemaic epicycles, or just give in and assume a heliocentric model and marvel as all your calculations become easier.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      Two bodies orbit their common barycenter. Which in case of the Earth and the Sun is *inside* the Sun itself. So yeah, ostensibly the Earth orbits the Sun in the same way the Moon orbits the Earth.

  3. kingbiscuit says:

    Burn the heretic!

  4. jonfitt says:

    I played a lot of KSP a while back in EA. This 1.0 release might be what pulls me back in like a doomed lander towards the Mun.
    It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the game, I loved it to pieces, but I am acutely aware of the learning curve that I climbed and have since forgotten. Just getting into orbit around Kerbin is a technique I have forgotten. I remember you have to ramp up the burn to some height (I forget which), then roll to a certain angle (some number of degrees east, or is it west?), then cut the power when your trajectory forms an orbit. This MechJeb mod might be exactly what I need.

    • fahrenheit451 says:

      well you usually want to start your gravity turn east around 10,000 kilometers, and then slowly turn to 45 degrees by the time you get to 17. Stop your engines when your Apoapsis reaches around 80,000 kilometers, then insert yourself into orbit once you reach maximum altitude.

    • colw00t says:

      That’s only with the old aerodynamics. Now you want to go up until you clear the pad, and ever-so-gently roll following your prograde vector as slowly as possible. Radical gravity turns (the old straight up to 10K than sharply to 45 degrees inclination) will just make your rocket flip end-for-end.

      If you have a decent amount of thrust-to-weight and do it right, by the time your prograde vector is nearly at the horizon you will be about ready to cut thrust into apoapsis anyway.

    • morse says:

      That MechJeb mod might be exactly what you need (at the very least, Kerbal Engineer Redux). HOWEVER, if returning players have already been down the mod rabbit hole and need a new slant, I strongly recommend giving a complete-ish vanilla playthrough a serious attempt. There is nothing like earnestly holding a protractor up to your monitor with one eye closed to feel like an astrophysicist.

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        phuzz says:

        The current version of MecJeb doesn’t play well with the new aerodynamics yet. Ascents are ok, but the landing system is buggered.

      • Cinek says:

        Kerbal Engineer Redux is what he needs. I highly advise against playing the game with MechJeb. It’s like a drug. Once you start – you cannot stop using it out of your own free will.

    • James says:

      Could be worse, I’ve seen someone ask ‘Are the inteplanetary missions still so long?’

      He might as well ask ‘is space still big’ to which the answer is yes. In fact it is significantly bigger.

    • Aninhumer says:

      There various techniques you can use to improve efficiency, but few are strictly necessary, you can always just throw some extra delta-v at the problem.

  5. fahrenheit451 says:

    By far my favorite thing about KSP over my 300 hours with the early access version was how i was doing all this complex and real-life-ish physics and planning but it also felt like playing pretend. In the older days (sandbox mode reigned supreme) the game had zero objectives, so you made your own. Added to this was the lack of features like reentry physics and life support, which sometimes made the game too easy. When I played KSP it was like playing with toys, but with Science. I made up my own rule sets, like how many kerbals can live in a cabin. I made my own goal, which was to colonize the mun, and I made my own back stories and characters about the randomly named Kerbals I had in orbit. The kerbals where my action figures, and one of the most realistic space simulations was my play set. I dont think any other game has even come near to capturing the feeling of unfinished sandbox kerbal space program, and maybe nothing ever will.

  6. Penguin_Factory says:


    I don’t think I’ve slapped my forehead this hard since I found out you can stack fruit in Animal Crossing. That information changed my life.

  7. James says:

    I have some things to say. *straightens tie*

    ‘for every launch that goes wrong because of a badly designed rocket, there will be also be a launch that goes wrong because of a single mistimed keystroke. If, like me, you prefer the engineering to the actual flying, the prospect of learning to precisely pilot with each tiny tap-tap-tap will be a daunting one. Likewise, the ‘manoeuvre nodes’ of the map view, which allow you to choreograph your gravitational ballet, can be a pain to create, besides being nigh impossible to fine-tune.’

    I get your point, but isn’t there the flipside to it? I mean, as a veteran KSP player I still find setting up those nodes tricky, having to fine tune the trajectory to hit Gilly from a burn in Kerbin is very satisfying when it goes well. Though there is the inevitable correction burn because even after 300 hours I still forget that my circular movement means weird maths that I don’t get that causes the burn to not quite be on target. It is still satisfying to get that fine-tune when it happens (and after a while anything less than hitting Ike becomes trivial to set up).

    I do have to take minor issue with saying that a single keystroke can mess things up. You say that as if it is the fault of the game, but honestly I (with all the politeness I can muster) think that is your fault. Even in my early days of not knowing that it is easier to get to Minmus than the Mun I kept screwing up landing burns. I still do, yesterday I lost a probe on Minmus. I could attribute that to the tapping of WSAD as I try to stop my craft drifting sideways (so that it won’t fall over and roll down a hill to its fiery death) however after a few landings there really is no excuse. I can attribute those failings to poor craft design (top heavy rovers being a great example of this) and to me not knowing the orientation of the craft. WSAD does what is always has done, but space is upside-down. That is not a fault of the game, but an addition to the learning curve that you seem yet to master.

    I aslo think you failed to pick up on two things:

    1) There is no point to rovers. At all. The contracts don’t encourage them, and so the game discourages their use. They are very fun, and for the engineers they are great wastes of time. I like to build rovers, but in my 1.0 career so far I have 3 bases, 2 rover designs, and 0 operational rovers.

    2) There is no reason to expand stuff. There are contracts that tell you to build bases and space stations. But no contracts (after about 40 hours) that tell me to expand them. The closest was a one off contract telling me to dock something. That was it. You told me to put that thing on Duna KSP! Make me build it more! Don’t make the Kerbals gather dust because you don’t know what an extended mission is!

    Bah! Secondary missions, expansion missions. Reasons to have rovers, those are its flaws. Everything else – brilliant.

    • daver4470 says:

      There isn’t ZERO purpose to rovers. They are useful if you find a spot with multiple biomes within a short drive of each other, and can zip around getting soil samples for mucho sciencio. (Especially if you have one of the expanded biome mods installed.) And as Jeb always says, “Virtually zero isn’t zero!”

      • James says:

        Or I could hop, as is way more efficient keeping in mind the fuel costs launching a rover would bring. There is no task in KSP that is suited to just rovers.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          I haven’t played KSP since last summer so it’s entirely uninformed but wouldn’t rovers be of use for the new ore harvesting?

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            And of course it was mentioned in comments below already, if only I’d kept reading before typing that. >.<

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        phuzz says:

        Did you know that each building at Kerbal space centre is it’s own biome?
        So all you have to do is create a rover in the SPH and in ten minutes you can wizz round the entire center and pick up a good chunk of science.
        I’ve not found much use for them (other than fun) off Kerbin though.

      • Cinek says:

        “They are useful if you find a spot with multiple biomes within a short drive of each other” – ONLY in KSC. If you are going out anywhere else – they are complete garbage and a waste of time. You’d be 10 times better by doing hops or if you have more time and skill – building a plane.

    • darkside says:

      On the subject of rovers being useless, I’m just going to leave this here: link to forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com

      • James says:

        I maintain that KSP 1.0 makes no effort to encourage the use of rovers, as there is no reason to build modular bases. All 3 of my bases are one thing, either sent up to LKO as one thing or built in orbit then sent on their merry way because that is cost and fuel efficient. In my sandmox I have many contruction rovers. And of the 2 designs in my career mode there is one all terrain rover and then a contruction rover. I am not in any way encouraged to use either.

        I like rovers, I just wish there was anything that career mode wanted me to do with them.

        • darkside says:

          I get what you’re saying. There’s another use of rovers that you may not have considered: ore drilling / refueling. You can leave your big, heavy ore miner / converter at some sweet spot in Minmus (that are easiest to find with rovers equipped with a narrow band scanner) and use a tanker rover to move the fuel from it to a nearby landed ship (preferably with a claw).

          The way I see it, KSP career contracts have always been kind of an afterthought. A few well thought-out missions can fill the whole tech tree anyway, especially with the new science labs. Personally I play career with the Science Funding mod and don’t even bother with contracts. KSP has always been a sandbox game at heart and driving ion-powered munar buggies at low gravity are crazy fun!

          Or as Jeb would say, why should we go to Eeloo? Because it’s there.

          • Cinek says:

            Refuelling works best from lander. You don’t need to carry additional detachable mass of the rover which is a huge benefit in a scope of the mission. It always did – even before KSP got official mining and you had to install mods to get it mining was done best with landers.

    • Matt_W says:

      Might I suggest looking at some of the contract packs here:
      link to forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com

      Of course, you’re left with the question of why do contracts after you’ve progressed your Career game into Sandbox. But I find the contracts useful for providing fun objectives.

    • Cinek says:

      Oh, there’s many more things out there than just what you have mentioned. You barely scratched the surface. Let me leave this link here for some of the things that should be included in Kerbal Space Project: link to forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com

  8. neofit says:

    I tried a demo about a couple of years ago. I was horrified by the need to fly your rockets by yourself. This is a nice candidate for the stupidest game design idea of the decade. Sure, there is this MechJeb autopilot mod that I heard about since, but I wouldn’t rely on a mod to provide an essential feature that I wouldn’t be playing the game without. It can be abandoned tomorrow, a game update might break it, or the geniuses among the devs who think that someone at Cap Canaveral or Baikonour actually controls rockets with a joystick may want to ban it or something. I can wait, 72 games in the wishlist alone :).

    • soulis6 says:

      See there’s these things called games, and they’re basically never 1:1 simulations of reality in every aspect, because reality is often very boring.

    • municipalis says:

      Flying manually honestly isn’t even that bad. It can even be fun. And it’s a lot more satisfying to figure out the right change of maneuvers necessary to bring yourself into a rendezvous with something in orbit, or to perform a successful Hoffman transfer to another planet, than it is just select the target and have MechJeb do the burns for you. You actually learn what’s going on, and how your expenditure of precious delta-v is affecting your trajectory.

      The mod I honestly think is essential is Kerbal Engineer, which gives you convenient readouts of vital information in tons of different contexts. Without it, (unless you do the math yourself), it can be very difficult to figure out whether the rocket you just designed can actually make orbit, whether you’re anywhere near the right phase angle to make the Hoffman maneuver, and just how much time you have before you crash into those Munar mountains rapidly approaching from below.

      • daver4470 says:

        Walter Hohmann appreciates your love of German romantic fiction (or Offenbach’s operas), but does hope you eventually get his name right…. :)

    • Zenicetus says:

      Flying manually into your first orbit is a learning tool. If they had included something like MechJeb from the start, you’d never learn the core ideas of the simulation.

      It’s like someone’s first experience with a flight simulator. Start in a Cessna 172… here’s how you takeoff and land. Here’s a few basic flight maneuvers. Oh yeah, and there’s this thing called an autopilot on larger and faster aircraft, but learn how to fly first. I do agree that the early access versions had basically no in-game help, and you had to rely on forums and YouTube clips to learn this stuff.

      I haven’t been back to KSP since the early days, so I’m a little afraid of the catch-up time it will take now. But sometime this Summer I’ll get back into this latest version.

      • neofit says:

        How many flights did Gagarin make to “learn to fly” before they let him turn the autopilot on?

        • Flatley says:

          He was a test pilot, so several thousand flight hours.

        • Zenicetus says:

          A small (but critical) bit of manual flying was involved in the rescue of the Apollo 13 mission. It was “by the numbers” and not trial-and-error, but there was no autopilot to hold course during the burn. It was hands on stick flying for a few tense moments.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          Hundreds? And modern astronaut pilots log countless hours in simulators, practicing skills like taking manual control over functions of the spacecraft in case computer control fails. Naturally human error is taken out of the equation by automating flight controls, but real life flying is magnitudes more complicated than the flying in KSP, also they don’t have the benefit of quick-save and load at any time, and you can’t hit pause on a real life space flight.

    • Lanfranc says:

      How do you know the Kerbals don’t control their rockets with a joystick? Eh?

    • DThor says:

      I must admit, that as much as I’d like to learn to love this game, I haven’t been able to get into it since getting it on sale last year. I *should* love it, but the intimidation of the parts list and the fiddly bits of flying just felt like more trouble than it’s worth. Haven’t gotten back to it since v1, so I need to try the new modes, but anytime I feel spacey I just fire up Universe 2 and play god.

    • Cinek says:

      Noone in Cap Canaveral or Baikonour controls the spacecrafts in the way MechJeb allows you to either. You swap one deeply flawed control scheme for another deeply flawed control scheme. IMHO the default controls are my far better than toying with MechJeb. But if you want something that at least attempts goes in a realistic direction – use kOS mod – link to forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com

      • Cinek says:

        Seriously though – learn to fly yourself. It’s fun. KSP is a game about learning. If you use MechJeb you basically cut off a large part of the game.

  9. daver4470 says:

    Gawsh I lurve this game.

    A couple of points to add:

    (1) Yes there is a quicksave. However — BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE QUICKSAVE!!!!!! Specifically, be very careful when deciding to load a quicksave. KSP “saves” are actually persistent (and editable!) status files that record the composition and location of every item currently orbiting or landed anywhere in the Kerbin system. The quicksave takes a flash copy of the current persistent file and saves it. The quickload OVERWRITES the current persistent file with the LAST quicksaved persistent file.

    I actually had to go and dig my persistent file out of a network backup because I had forgotten how old the current quicksave was and lost DAYS of effort by quickloading. So be very careful!!!!

    (2) The Science mode is actually an example of Early Access gone right. Originally, what is now “Science mode” was just an interim introduction of the science resource while the rest of career mode was developed. Once the contract system was announced, users asked if the science-only format could stay in as a separate game mode. Squad said “sure!” Everyone wins.

    • Matt_W says:

      More safe just to get in the habit of using Alt-F5 to quicksave (which allows you to name them) and Alt-F9 to quickload (which allows you to select from a list.) There used to be a mod that automatically kept a number of backups in your save directory, but I’m not sure it works anymore. A new one called ,a href=”http://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/threads/105399-1-0-2-S-A-V-E-automatic-backup-system-1-0-1-672″>S.A.V.E is available:

      • daver4470 says:

        Installing S.A.V.E. was the second thing I did, after pulling my persistent file from the network backup. :)

    • Tourist says:

      Tell me about it. I was re-entering in a spaceplace, Jeb at the controls. Unfortunately I misjudged the re-entry and came down over the ocean with too little fuel to make it to land. Well, that’s ok, I can just reload and try again …. OH NO, what have I done!!!!! I WANTED TO RELOAD, NOT QUICKSAVE…. NOOOOOOOOO…. JEEEEEBBBBB!!!!!!!!

      I was going to lose my hotshot pilot to an fiery, but still incredibly wet, grave, with no takebacksies. Thankfully, by careful flaring, and use of RCS as reverse thurster, Jeb survived. Spaceplane, less so.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      You are basically describing how a Save (or Quicksave) function works. Of course the intention of loading a savegame is to completely go back to a previous point…?

      • Universal Quitter says:

        Most games that have a Quicksave keep it completely divorced from the main autosave. This one will immediately save over it when you load. I won’t say it always will, but it often does, which is often enough.

        Unless you’ve manually saved the game recently which KSP doesn’t really encourage you to do with it’s glorious “revert flight” and “quicksave” features, it can erase indescribable amounts of time and effort.

        Save Early, Save Often, obviously, but the struggle is also very real and a little different from, say, Fallout 3.

  10. Tourist says:

    Tell me about it. I was re-entering in a spaceplace, Jeb at the controls. Unfortunately I misjudged the re-entry and came down over the ocean with too little fuel to make it to land. Well, that’s ok, I can just reload and try again …. OH NO, what have I done!!!!! I WANTED TO RELOAD, NOT QUICKSAVE…. NOOOOOOOOO…. JEEEEEBBBBB!!!!!!!!

    I was going to lose my hotshot pilot to an fiery, but still incredibly wet, grave, with no takebacksies. Thankfully, by careful flaring, and use of RCS as reverse thurster, Jeb survived. Spaceplane, less so.

  11. sandineyes says:

    For me, the part where KSP really hooked me was when I sent a probe to the Mun. Watching Kerbin getting smaller in the distance, and the Mun getting frighteningly large ahead of me (particularly so just before I crashed into it), it really makes you think about the vastness of space.

  12. Rufust Firefly says:

    I really love Kerbal Space Program, and it was an article on RPS many moons ago that first introduced me to the game.

    How far we’ve come from a simple “how high can we go” game to actual orbits, a fully-fledged solar system, burning to take advantage of the Oberth effect, a host of mods, and getting name-dropped by Elon Musk. Well-done to Squad!

  13. Hypocee says:

    You know what, launches and MCCs were never manual true enough, but it took a lot of Moore’s Law to robotise planetary landing and even the much simpler case of docking.

    • Hypocee says:

      Oh, and before this sinks forever, I’d been away from the KSP world long enough that I forgot about the whining about manual flying. There is more reason for it than the simple fact that flying is fun, inspiring and funny. In the game design manual flying also circumvents the need for a complex and intimidating 3D spline editing interface along the lines of 3D Studio or Blender, and some kind of preview or replay or both to see how the stack responds physically to different inputs in different flight regimes. There’s no better way for a player to enter a nuanced flight plan than to do it, and no better way to communicate precisely when, how and why a given configuration fails than to have the player trying to stabilise it as it happens.

  14. SlimShanks says:

    Game is great, space is great, life is great. Quit spacing out and maneuver yourself to burn some cash on this game.
    I don’t want to suggest that there are right and wrong ways to play games, but please do not use MechJeb. You are basically just cutting out half of the game for yourself. Learning to perform maneuvers is important, and fun. In fact, I would highly recommend that newcomers stick to vanilla, play career mode and just save scum a lot. Best way to learn. Aside from working far a space agency…

  15. Wisq says:

    Sadly, I’ve become addicted to too many mods and can no longer fit into the 4GB limit. So, until they get with the current century and port to Unity 5 so they can release a 64-bit Windows version, I’ll have to pass. :(

    I should probably revisit the Linux 64-bit version, but last I checked, there was horrible lag on mouse drag (which I do a lot to change views) and I was lacking the tools I use to record (ShadowPlay) and stream (OBS) it. There’s an OBS for Linux now and I suppose I could use it to record, too, but I’m really hoping they just finally get out of the 32-bit gutter entirely.

    • Wisq says:

      (Clarification: by “get with the current century” I mean 64-bit, not Unity 5, obviously. The fact that Unity still targeted 32-bit and had shaky 64-bit support is Unity’s fault, not Squad’s.)