Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Kerbal Space Program Extension Now Available (kerbalspaceprogram.com)
125 points by granto 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 69 comments



I had heard the original team that built this game quit due to poor working conditions. Is that true? If so, who built this expansion and have the working conditions improved?


The original devs were paid next to nothing while developing KSP from their own ideas, with the efforts of a startup company. Terribly poor negotiation tactics on their part, but still quite shitty of the owners not to give them a massive bonus after the huge success of the game.

Given those ethics, I wouldn't believe a new team got better conditions without solid proof.


The whole game got bought out by 2K, so I’d believe it.


> Terribly poor negotiation tactics on their part, but still quite shitty of the owners not to give them a massive bonus after the huge success of the game.

If the game failed to gain traction would we be asking the devs to give a refund of their salaries?

> Given those ethics, I wouldn't believe a new team got better conditions without solid proof.

There’s nothing unethical with not sharing the bounties of success with those that aren’t sharing the costs of the risks.


Without knowing the details, the fact that multiple core developers quit seems to be some evidence that they were treated unethically. That's not something that happens in normal conditions.


Multiple "core" developers left Uber in waves in the past few years, I wouldn't say that means there is "some evidence" they were treated unethically.

In fact it's evidence of the exact opposite.


Timing is vital in these contexts. I've worked at a job in a team of 3 under terrible conditions (terrible from a "western" perspective of course, nobody was whipping or pointing guns at us, but you get the point). Complaining with management -the worst bunch of incompetent idiots I ever encountered in my life- was 100% ineffective so that after just a few months one of my colleagues left, then a bit later I left. The company suddenly panicked realizing how the project was likely going to tank in a spectacular way and promptly turned their tactics literally burying the only left member with money, benefits and much better working conditions so that he kept the job for years. Same company, same project, same team, but asking to 2 different people could have yielded very opposite opinions.


It's selfish on an unfathomable level. And on top of that, it is self defeating. This is a stunt that you can only pull of once. Who in their right mind would ever want to work for, or even with, such horrible people ever again? How many who would've gladly paid them, will now pirate without the slightest remorse? I'm quite sure this move did cost them a lot of money in the long run.


>Who in their right mind would ever want to work for, or even with, such horrible people ever again

See: Pretty much everything Donald Trump has ever been accused of doing as a business man before his presidential run, and the history of Microsoft.


> It's selfish on an unfathomable level. And on top of that, it is self defeating. This is a stunt that you can only pull of once.

This “stunt” (ie paying what you agreed upon) is pulled by every company that hires contractors which covers just about successful startup.

> Who in their right mind would ever want to work for, or even with, such horrible people ever again?

Perhaps it’s a mindset difference but I don’t feel entitled to other’s gains simply because they’re more successful than originally anticipated.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other reasons not to work with someone or some place. From what I’ve read the working conditions at KSP for the devs were quite bad.

> How many who would've gladly paid them, will now pirate without the slightest remorse? I'm quite sure this move did cost them a lot of money in the long run.

Software pirates, in particular pirates for games, don’t care about your supposed morals. If they’re going to pirate a game they’ll do it anyway.


The only way to get people into such "I get everything and you get nothing" arrangements is to either take advantage of an incredibly desperate situation, or through deception.


Core developers of the game were being paid about $200 a month. Does that sound ethical to you?


I don't see any ethics in the subject at all. If that's how much they were being paid then they're likely terrible negotiators but that doesn't make any part of the contract unethical.

If they were promised equity, a bonus, or some other extra compensation that was not subsequently delivered then not paying that out would be unethical. But agreeing to a lowball amount and then complaining about it being a lowball amount isn't ethics related. It's just sour grapes.

It's the same in the opposite direction. If a contractor charges a company 10x his normal rate and a company accepts those terms, there's no ethics involved either.

Nobody has a proverbial gun to their head to accept a deal either way. If they do then sure there's ethical issues but I haven't seen that in this situation. Just very poor negotiations on the part of the original dev team.


You’re assuming the owners did everything according to contract and above-board. Maybe they didn’t. Ever considered that? Even if they did, perhaps they just got lucky and were able to convince smart developers to work against their interest. Regardless, defending them does you no favors, as evidenced by the comments on here, nor was it the best long term move for them, because I won’t be buying anything pushed out by that leadership team and will encourage others to do the same. Given the comments here, I suspect others will, too.


Violence isn't the only way to coerce people into doing things against their interest. If there was an implication that bonuses would be available, or something to the effect, it's unethical to say, "haha, you didn't have an iron-clad contract". Using fine-print in contracts to get one over on people who aren't lawyers is pretty much the textbook definition of unethical.

The point people are trying to make is that the people who quit said they were treated unethically. By disputing that it was unethical behavior, you're calling those people liars. Being "more right leaning" doesn't make you an asshole, but calling people liars without evidence does.


> Violence isn't the only way to coerce people into doing things against their interest. If there was an implication that bonuses would be available, or something to the effect, it's unethical to say, "haha, you didn't have an iron-clad contract". Using fine-print in contracts to get one over on people who aren't lawyers is pretty much the textbook definition of unethical.

None of the comments I've replied to describe anything like that. They simply refer to the (paltry) amount. I'm not disputing there's more to the story, I was simply commenting on the bit that's actually in front of me.

> The point people are trying to make is that the people who quit said they were treated unethically. By disputing that it was unethical behavior, you're calling those people liars. Being "more right leaning" doesn't make you an asshole, but calling people liars without evidence does.

I never said they were liars. I said that the $200/month doesn't on its own make the agreement unethical.

Apparently that distinction is beyond the grasp of today's commenters.


This isn't a theoretical, "if all cows were spherical, then friction would be disregarded" sort of scenario. It's a real thing that happened for which details are available online.

If you haven't informed yourself on those details outside of this thread, then I guess to your perspective, that's on you.


Not sure why the downvotes..


Why do I get downvoted for saying I didn't understand why someone downvoted a post?

Is it the way I phrased my comment that is downvoted? Or my lack of understanding?


Because HN crowd seems to be more left-leaning


No. They just aren't assholes.


Well I see some correlation between being left-leaning and not being asshole to employees ;)


Well, my anecdata is the exact opposite. ;)


I never said that the owners aren't assholes, but still, it was the developers' free choice to sign that (asshole-ish) agreement. Being more to the right than the HN crowd doesn't mean being an asshole.


No, but throwing around political accusations as epithets in a non-political discussion might.


I'm not accusing anyone, being left leaning is nothing wrong; it's just a different viewpoint on the issue of allowing people to freely sign contracts even though it might not be a good deal. This is a political discussion, we're talking about regulating something. I replied to a comment that asked why is a seemingly OK comment being downvoted and because there are no other obvious signs, the logical conclusion is that it's because of political disagreement.


https://www.destructoid.com/former-kerbal-space-program-deve...

They won't get a dime from me ever. For anything.


For whatever it's worth, 2K did buy the thing from Squad. Too late for most of the original devs, but it might change things. On the other hand, they're keeping Squad as the developer, which doesn't feel so good...


I got it at the very start, and I'm pretty sad to hear about this.


I was just thinking of buying it, and now I have changed my mind. Back to Factorio for me!!!


I should get back to Factorio, but Cities Skylines has taken over my brain-game timeslot lately.

It's really amazing to me how fun they both are, given that they're just exercises in logistics.

Cities Skylines is about managing traffic flow, basically every other mechanic stems from that in some way or another. Not a surprise given the developers' previous games were the Cities In Motion series.

Factorio is about efficient transport of materials into machines that assemble goods, and about building up abstractions so you are constantly solving new types of problems with the resources you've automated already.

Both of them have helped me to better understand concurrency, throughput, and optimization. And playing Factorio with friends has helped me stretch my project management muscles. By halfway through the game I had to make a Trello board just to keep track of what needed to be done and where the bottlenecks were.

If you're in the mood for a thinking game I highly recommend both of them.


Based on the quality of the 1.4 release, I would say probably not. There were many glaring obvious bugs and omissions, so they must had been in a bit of a rush (i.e. badly managed) to get it out.


Been playing since first linux biulds. Love the game. Hate the developer. Too much politics. Too many mind games. Too many unaddressed bugs. Would jump at any similar game, something more based on physics, if run by anyone else.


Do you know of Orbiter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbiter_(simulator)

Orbiter vs Kerbal, etc.: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3091/1

(Via XKCD, note title text: https://xkcd.com/1244/ - nice slingshots too )


Orbiter imho is more about flying than operating a space program. Flying is nice, but I am much more a fan of coordinating a mission between multiple craft.

I can live with the cartoon nature, but I do not appreciate "features" as window dressing for poor coding. The way KSP handles memory (loads everything 24/7) is ridiculous and necessitates many silly compromises. And don't get me started on how they handle "heat" and aerodynamics.


I couldn't get that into Orbiter. If there was more comprehensive building it would be a bit more fun. It's closer to a flight sim than to Kerbal.

But reading that second article makes me think I'm using a drastically outdated version— and I haven't pursued the user-made add-ons. There goes some of my coming weekend... looks like I'll be giving it another shot.


I’ve spent a lot of time playing KSP. This game has an incredibly steep learning curve. The best thing they could do is build a player autopilot that lets them get to orbit with basic rocket builds. There’s a ton of hardcore players (like me) who do things like write kOS scripts to run rockets to the mun and beyond. But that kind of thing is lost on the person who first downloads this game.

If the devs are reading this, that’s the package you need: a basic autopilot for noobs.


I disagree. Half of the value of this game comes from the fact it forces you to learn a few things about real physics along the way. Beginnings ain't hard. You can easily get to orbit manually, and you can even eyeball your way to the Mün.

That said, something like the per-stage ∆v display from KER (a mod) should IMO be stock, both during construction and in-flight - without that one piece of information, any trip past Kerbin orbit gets too difficult - you either end up seriously overbuilding your vehicle, or run out of fuel in the middle of a mission.


100% of the value of the game is that it's a sandbox that lets you play with a bunch of different things - rocket design, orbital mechanics, exploring a technology tree, resource management, etc. etc.

To that end, any feature that makes it easier for different players to approach the game in their own ways will make for a game that appeals to more people. Let people who want to control the rocket manually control it manually, and let those who want to just have nice, automatic, repeatable launches use the autopilot. Let people who want to fiddle with rocket designs do that, but also hand out a bunch of prefab rocket designs for when you just want to sit down and fly a rocket. Let the same people play the game in different ways in different sessions, depending on their mood.

Just don't try to tell them that there's only one proper way to have fun, because all you'll do with that is ensure that they tend to get bored more quickly.


That's a nice idea in theory, but in practice, players will take the most efficient method of completing a task, even if that method isn't fun. If you give players autopilot, they will use it, even if they would prefer the game without it.

I'm sure I've read research on this, but I'm not sure how to dredge it up from the internet. So I apologize for the lack of citation.

Anecdotally, in the Elder Scrolls series, I vastly preferred Morrowind's lack of unlimited fast travel. But I still used fast travel liberally in future installments, in no small part because the games were designed under the assumption that fast travel would be used. The takeaway is that you can't assume that players will ignore a feature just because they don't like it.


KER gets latitude when it screws up, because it's a mod. The game itself needs to be damn-near perfect - and it can't be, because some rocket configurations are inherently impossibly to calculate total dv for (eg, a lunar-orbit rendezvous mission a la Apollo).

I totally agree about not adding the autopilot. Mechjeb exists for those people.


> some rocket configurations are inherently impossibly to calculate total dv for (eg, a lunar-orbit rendezvous mission a la Apollo).

I think this fact should be communicated clearly. After all, the game has a bunch of "sorta but not quite" indicators already - like the burn time in maneuver nodes, or the orbit display that doesn't take into account atmosphere when deorbiting/projecting deorbiting with a maneuver node, etc.


I loved this game, even wrote / helped maintain some mods, but stopped playing due to performance degradation that gets worse the longer the application runs (especially slow scene changes). In my humble opinion the best thing they could do is plug the memory leaks, refine the architecture to make it more robust and uniform, sharpen the performance and make the game I loved playable again. I'd love an extension that tracks cycles spent on a function-by-function basis and aggregates data to track down misbehaving mods.


I'm not sure how long its been since you played but the 64 bit version running on Unity 2017 is pretty good from the limited time i've spent with it.


They did claim (even) more performance improvements in the release from last week, and I'm sure there's still a lot more to tweak.


I think they don't need autopilot or something, but to have a better onboarding and tutorial, a fun tutorial that teaches players the basics of spaceflight and rocket building step by step. Narrated by Scott Manley of course. Just get a smooth tutorial into the game. Modders / the community could probably make that with the new mission editor.


Honestly, Scott Manley's "going to orbit" and "changing orbits" videos were a huge chunk of what made the game work for me. I'd done both without guidance, but learning to do them efficiently and consistently was what opened up creative designs for me.

I'd love to see Manley's info promoted to a game component or tutorial mod - it's already a huge contribution to the game as-is.


At least having automatic staging would make beginners life easier. Crashing and burning because you didn't press he button at the right moment, is quite video-gamey.

And also the fact that stages are numbered reverse from popular usage convention, adds a bit to the confusion.

Having voiced count downs and space chatter out of the box would also have added a bit more polish.


I haven't played in a long time, but isn't MechJeb essentially this?


MechJeb is a mod. Imagine how many play it on original build, or on consoles.

The same could be said about the Kerbal Engineer, which shows useful stats (dV, altitude, periapsis, apoapsis, etc).


MechJeb could be considered cheating though; I'd make it a bit more idk, lore-friendly and only gradually add it. Those stats could definitely be added though, with stat availability based on what pod you're using. For immersion you could have a mode that hides the UI so that info is only available from inside the cockpit - although of course most rockets are remote controlled or automated nowadays.


Tried out KSP and just couldn't get into it. I may be the only one but there was absolutely way too high a curve to jump right in and have some fun. I did over half their tutorials and could not improvise at all based on what I had learned. Not much fun when I have to go watch a YouTube video to figure out my next step in career mode.


The trick when your learning is “there’s no such thing as too much overkill”, I had a blast picking it up and learning the basics while making overpowered rockets. Strait up till 60km, then throw it over to horizontal, and full power till your in orbit. Efficient, hell no. Fun, hell yes. Because with this method, I was putting crazy Mun missions into space in no time.


The career mode sucks. Feels too much like work. Use the free mode and build crazy rockets and jet planes. And have some fun. Going to other planets and orbital maneuvers are really end game stuff, which you can learn after getting tired of blowing things up.


Career mode is great after playing around in free mode for a while.

I wouldn't recommend anyone starts on career mode, it's just too hard and too constraining for someone who's just starting and doesn't understand the basics.

But when you have some experience launching silly rockets into space, it becomes a really nice challenge to try and achieve the goals from career mode without having free reign over your technology and funds.


I always tells noobs to skip career mode and do science mode. You don't have to manage money or kerbal lives, but you still get a sense of progression and value as you unlock new parts. You still have a purpose and a reason to go do things (i.e. collecting science), but it's much less complex and lets you focus on just having fun and exploring.


I think a lot of people end up sort of mislead by the different modes - in so many games, "free play" mode is for when you've exhausted the campaign, learned the mechanics, and just want to mess around with all options unlocked. For KSP, the campaign makes some effort at a tutorial via the mission sequence, but makes "learning to function" much harder than free play.

I like the science mode suggestion; gating off complex parts lowers the burden of choice, but without the financial pressure it's just "try this and learn to use it" rather than a race to unlock more powerful gear.


It only took a few videos to figure out how to do things, for me. But I sure wouldn't recommend it without those few.


Scott Manley's tutorials were absolutely invaluable in my learning with the game. However I've never before in my life played a game while having a pad next to me to make notes, haha.


Come on, you need a spreadsheet!


Even then, by the point I put a few ships in orbit by hand I downloaded a couple of the mods that help by giving TWR stats during building and automate orbit/landing so I could focus on setting up my interplanetary satellite network :)


there are many plugins that make things better i think. one that is really great is the mech jeb plugin. it can autopilot for you. i really enjoy building and the logistical aspect of the game, but not so much the piloting.


I know many people like you, but I have always preferred the piloting aspect.

Learning efficient maneuvers to transfer orbits and rendezvous was where the fun is for me. My friend would often build ships with specific delta Vs for me to pilot to a particular body.

Also landing safely before landing gear was added was a great challenge.


I like how they use the proper term expansion, instead of pretty nonsensical DLC.


mods: "extension" -> "expansion" in title


Page 4 of their comic has a pretty irritating typo. It’s “Wry” not “Rye”.


Note: not available now.

`Kerbal Space Program: Making History Expansion is still in development and will be released as a paid expansion. Pricing and availability details will be announced at a later date.`






Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: