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Kerbal Space Program 2 (kerbalspaceprogram.com)
661 points by xucheng on Aug 19, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 227 comments

Little context for the trailer: it seems to be a homage to this fan video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkDOOsGg-9I, which is one of the most well-known videos in the KSP community, and something people show to people to get them into playing this game. I must say the new, "official", video does capture the atmosphere very well.

If the game will look a third as well as on the trailer visualization, I'll buy it without thinking (who am I lying to, I'll buy it anyway). One thing though: I hope the modding capability and freedom won't be diminished.

If KSP is a great game by itself, mods make it a literal order of magnitude better - a huge amount of solid fan work was done to expand every imaginable aspect of KSP. And I mean it: among many things, mods give you many more realistic and unrealistic building blocks, life support management, communication networks including speed of light delay, trajectory planning, UI/UX improvements, graphics improvements, orbital assembly, working space telescopes, realistic aerodynamics model (including supersonic physics), n-body simulation and non-symmetric gravity fields,... I don't think there's another game where so much of such highly skilled effort was spent for free to make it deeper.

I really hope they won't do anything that would make this depth of modding impossible.

> ...n-body simulation and non-symmetric gravity fields...

I want to agree with everything said here, and add that the KSP mod ecosystem is no joke. The few things mentioned here barely scratch the surface.

As a point of comparison: I'm aware of and long involved with the Minecraft community, and it is huge and excellent. While the total amount of mod material is likely greater for Minecraft compared to KSP, I'm comfortable saying that the mods in KSP are deeper and wider in scope.

I never understood the Minecraft modding scene. When I was last playing heavily, Mojang was insisting that there were no mods, there was several implementations of multiplayer servers mods based on decompilation of the source, one of the major players had dropped off and gone stale, client modding was even hinkier, and version changes screwed everything up.

Did it ever get somewhat accepted officially?

What ended up working out was building modpacks rather than installing specific ones.

Makes it easier for streamers to play a modpack and people play it as well.

Someone should marry the two

Please don't, some of us have families to feed!

On a more serious note, I wonder how hard it would be to introduce even semi-realistic Newtonian physics to a voxel-based game world.

I was thinking use KSP to "drive" objects in Minecraft... not that I'd do it, but I could imagine some twisted soul. :-)

The world may be voxel-based, but objects in Minecraft still move in a Newtonish fashion.

You should have a look at StarMade: https://www.star-made.org/

Have a look at Space Engineers and possibly Empyrion.

> it seems to be a homage to this fan video:

The end of the KSP2 trailers says "Special thanks to Shaun Esau #buildflydream", which is for that video.

Yes. I wanted to drop a link to it here, because it's worth watching.

Must be quite an honor for Shaun Esau. I know I would be flattered.

I think PC's point was that it more than "seems to be" an homage.

It explicitly is an homage.

This also looks inspired by the short film Wanderers, about humanity's expansion into the solar system. https://vimeo.com/108650530

I'd say that Gary's Mod has had a similar amount of work put in to it by modders. But it was also designed specifically to be modded, the default game gets boring really quickly.

I really REALLY need kOS to have fun playing this game... Hopefully mods are not hard to port over (Or a default scripting language, I can get behind that too)

Once I got past a certain point on the learning curve in-game, KSP kind of got boring for me. Docking, landing on the Mun, building space stations, were all very very doable.

But adding kOS and trying to script my way to doing the same things is honestly the coolest thing I've ever seen in a game. It went from "fairly easy" to "excruciatingly difficult in the most fulfilling way imaginable".

11/10, will play again.

If you're the kind of person who likes kOS, you might REALLY enjoy KRPC: https://krpc.github.io/krpc/

> One thing though: I hope the modding capability and freedom won't be diminished.

There was a video posted alongside with a lot of development interviews and one of them was very specific about mentioning they were creating a platform and they wanted to expose the framework they use to the community. Hopefully not just lip service but as far as signalling goes it was important enough for them to mention.

Website mentions modding, but I wonder whether it would be limited only to the PC version. But, I'm really glad that the consoles are getting KSP2.

Thanks for the context.

KSP always looked very cool but I've heard a couple of things that threw me off:

- KSP devs are or were treated poorly by their employer (low pay, no compensation for the success of the game)

- apparently the program collected a lot of data (I can't remember what exactly) about its users and the machines it was running on, to the point where even non-privacy minded people were calling it spyware

Does anyone know anything about this? Afaik discussion about these issues just kinda stopped after a while but we never got a conclusive answer to these points.

Squad was/is a marketing company based out of Mexico. The owner of the company agreed to let his lead technical guy work on KSP as a side project as a bribe to keep him from leaving to do other things. KSP took off, and the team grew to more than five people. After the 1.0 release most (all) of the original team left, especially after they outsourced the console port to an outside team. The original KSP team are all now working on independent projects.

KSP2 is sort of a Battlefield 5 type game, where somebody still owns the IP but the original team that built the engine/brought the magic is gone. It might be good, who knows.

In my opinion I'm a little skeptical about KSP2 as the base KSP1 game was so moddable that I can't imagine what they would add to KSP 2 that isn't in the base game through mods already. But maybe it will be even better than the first.

So that means the original devs were never really compensated and if I buy a KSP game nowadays I'm not supporting them either?

Well KSP launched several successful careers and also there's the goodwill of the owner of Squad who had the foresight to invest in his employee and his employee's skillset. But yes you are correct KSP is not owned by the original creative/creator, it's owned by their employer.

>there's the goodwill of the owner of Squad who had the foresight to invest in his employee and his employee's skillset

Sure if you ignore the whole once Squad realized they had a cash cow they treated the developers like shit until they all left.

Companies investing in skill sets generally try to keep their cash cow men around.

It’s an interesting example to bring up next time one of those HN threads pop up about “Should I work on a side project while still working for my employer?”

I don't understand how the answer to that question can be anything other than "fuck yes, if you want to", though.

>I don't understand how the answer to that question can be anything other than "fuck yes, if you want to", though.

Sure, but it probably makes sense to first have a reasonable, flexible, non-draconian invention assignment agreement in place—even if you don't think the side project will be worth anything.

Ideally, but even if not, just work on it and don't release anything about it until you quit the company (preferably with a bit of a buffer for deniability sake). I wouldn't normally advocate for this behavior, but these draconian rules shouldn't be so commonplace to begin with, and also companies shouldn't be able to control what you do in your free time.

Depending on where you live it might not even be enforceable either implicitly or explicitly due to local laws if all resources are employee owned(time, equipment, etc etc).

Yup, that would be illegal in Illinois for sure

> anything other than "fuck yes, if you want to"

ownership transfer clauses. some are in the fine print, some are directly in the standard contracts i.e. Italy has these in the C.C.N.L., no way to avoid them, so you can't cash in a side project, you need first to severe your employment contract.

So what are the original devs doing now? Particularly whoever originally envisioned KSP? I can't believe you can create KSP and then not go on to work on something interesting.

most money was syphoned by management pet projects, including a recording label and a film iirc.

however I'm still pissed at how they treated modding and their community, killing a lot of promising endeavours by declaring then redundant with the project roadmap, including resources and base building and goddamn multiplayer, sapping a lot of the momentum under the modders but ultimately undelivered on their commitments. mods picked up steam after it was clear some of these things were going nowhere, but the damage at that point was done.

Absent widespread unionization in the gaming industry and standardization of royalty tables, this was never in the cards anyway.

Isn't that how most games are? I can't imagine many devs get royalties for their code.

I worked on console games for a large company and we were paid bonuses that bracketed larger depending on how well the game sold, so not exactly royalties, but close. For large companies, I think this is pretty standard. It was the same when I worked in CG films as well.

I don’t speak for “most” games though. More games are made by small teams than large ones. For indie and mobile games, the creators/devs might be only getting royalties, and no salary.

I actually think all this talk of royalties is sort of insane since for the devs there is no immediate monetary downside if a game flops.

That might be true if you’re being well paid. Game devs tend to be less well paid on average than people with equivalent skills in other tech businesses. And if you’ve been putting in unpaid overtime to finish a game, which is rampant in the industry, or if your friends in other game companies get royalties, then in both cases there actually is an immediate monetary downside to having a flop.

Anyway, “insane” is a pretty strong word considering profit sharing is super common in all kinds of industries. Some people and some companies really do try to share a little bit of the wealth and reward and retain talented employees, not all company owners are out to keep every cent for themselves.

The risk of being laid off seems like an immediate monetary downside to me.

No, that's simply being laid off. You still got paid while developing the game that made no money.

Being paid a wage and also expecting royalties is wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Generally when an artist (or creator of any sort) is paid royalties, it's in lieu of wages, so you're also shouldering risk if the project fails.

Losing a job unexpectedly isn’t a downside?

> Being paid a wage and also expecting royalties is wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

Expecting royalties or bonuses is generally a bad idea in the “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” sort of way. I saw people spend money they didn’t have, and then get smaller bonuses than they counted on. Oops.

Being offered a bonus by your employer after six months of 80 hours/week crunch because the game sold well is not the same thing as either expecting royalties, nor having+eating cake.

> Generally when an artist (or creator of any sort) is paid royalties, it’s in lieu of wages, so you’re also shouldering risk if the project fails.

Why do you think this? Lots of people are paid both wages and royalties and/or bonuses. I have no idea how often it’s royalties-only, I’m curious why you claim it’s “generally”. I have only seen the mix kind in my experience, never royalties-only payment in lieu of wages. FWIW, my experience includes six different companies and maybe roughly about a thousand people being paid sales based bonuses on top of wages.

No, that's unfortunate but it is what is.

Downside would be the devs OWING money back to the company.

I’m not sure I understand. Being laid off is absolutely a downside to flopping, and “unfortunate” is, in my mind, fairly synonymous with “downside”, I’m not understanding your objection.

Nor do I understand how owing money back to an employer is a realistic scenario. I’ve never heard of that happening. Maybe it happens in weird indie or friend group startups for various reasons. Are you suggesting this happens with any real frequency to employees at established companies?

No but that’s the difference between being an employee and being an entrepreneur.

I’m totally getting the feeling you have an interesting story to share, perhaps about a startup exploding in the bad way? I’ll stick around if so! I’ve had one myself that was a roller coaster, but at least didn’t end with people owing personal money.

Yes but it's apparently exceptionally bad with Squad/KSP.

Aside from that I also think that this isn't good. Everyone involved should be compensated for the success of the product they created.

Thats not how salaries work. You dont get paid in proportion of the sales of your company.

if you want a share of the success, then you should also share the failure. Would devs agree to a salary clawback or loss of an equity buy-in?

What was the loss for the company if KSP failed? They were sponsoring the cost of KSP dev time to keep their lead developer not to actually create KSP. Under your mercenary evaluation of this the company didn't actually have any chance of failure as the dev stays, so by your reasoning the company shouldn't get any of the profits.

I don’t know how you get from what I said, to what you said. The dev was paid for the dev time, which was advantageous to him, so he took it instead of leaving. He has no risk, therefore does participate in the upside beyond his salary. The company paid for the upside.

If someone employs me to innovate for them I expect them to protect me from the consequences of failure (as long as I don't constantly produce failure) while still appreciating my results.

I mean steering the company to invest in projects that are more likely to succeed, that's just the job of upper management IMO.

They protect you from the consequences of failure and appreciate your results by giving you stable salary.

I realize this is an unpopular opinion but I really think it's management's job to buffer our failures (or even better, avoid them upfront by making me work on things that likely succeed) and share the fruits of our success with me. And in that way, a stable salary isn't fair.

Of course it doesn't work like that, unfortunately.

Your expectations should be reflected in your employment contract. Outside of that, you are just wishing.

Equity is sharing in both. If it fails, your equity is worth less.

Right, and if you want equity then you need to come onboard for equity.

These devs did not.

You cannot take a salary and no equity and then complain when the business does well and you don't get a share in the profits.

There was a post about it; the lead dev was paid a thousand dollars a month or so during development, his regular salary, but no other compensation.

He made an absolute shit deal, the kind that should probably be illegal or at the very least strongly discouraged through proper education. His employer’s actions were unethical.

> KSP2 is sort of a Battlefield 5 type game, where somebody still owns the IP but the original team that built the engine/brought the magic is gone.

What do you mean by this? AFAIK, Dice is still making Battlefield.

Maybe he meant that original Dice developers who made the game had left.

I mean... I should hope so.

The original Battlefield came out in 2002.

The largest difference looks like the graphics, and there are already graphics mod for that. I really don't see how they could add to the game from a back-end perspective. The trailer is pretty awesome though

The graphics are kind of irrelevant because it's not a gameplay rendering you're seeing. They've listed multiplayer and interstellar travel as notable new features. Looks like colonization will be a big part of it.

The spyware was called red shell, it would apparently track your web browsing to figure out how marketing campaigns were paying off.


Is there a way to mod that out of the game?

Everything I read about Squad makes me really not want to support anything they do, but KSP is one of the coolest games in recent history. It's a real shame the original devs didn't stay in control.

If you follow the link in GP, you'll find a reddit post explaining it was removed in an update.

Aside from those controversies, does anyone else find it kinda weird that KSP is not FOSS? I mean, I don't wanna sound like the guy that points an index finger at devs making proprietary software but I would've guessed they have the right kind of audience for that. (In the sense that their audience would still pay for the program and they might actually benefit from open sourcing it.)

Weird, yes, in a way. KSP always looked and felt very OSS to me. But in hindsight it seems very hard to argue with the route they chose, given the immense, improbable success they had.

Not so weird when you consider that there are very few open source games with open source assets.

An open source engine, similar to OpenTTD, OpenRCT2, OpenMW, etc sure would be nice though.

Yeah (unfortunately) but there are lots of open source space simulation programs: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20518109

Godot? Seems to be popular and some pretty decent games have been made with it.

I wonder how difficult it would be to build a FOSS clone of the base game of KSP, that's ABI-compatible with all the mods.

The game targets Mono and written in C# so reverse engineering it should be simpler than a game compiled into a native binary.

I've never thought about this before, but now that you asked...

We should totally create a FOSS KSP, say Kernux:KSP == Linux:Unix

As for the spyware accusation... from what I read, Take Two slapped their usual privacy policy on the game after they bought it. The community didn't take that nicely.

I don't remember ever seeing any evidence for spying beyond policy discussion and would be surprised if there is anything beyond common telemetry.

This is incidentally a very warm experience for me - I remember launching KSP some time after 2018-05-25 and being greeted with a request for consent for tracking. And the ability to say "no".

So it has neither been proven nor disproven that the game has privacy-invading telemetry but TT could add it in any day? Add to that that Steam forces you to update games if you wanna play them and that this probably affects all TT-owned games now.

Isn't that true of the vast majority of software these days (e.g., the vast majority of Steam games)?

(I mean, yes, that's of course bad, but it seems like a relevant distinction whether it's uniquely bad or just a non-noteworthy participant in a bad ecosystem.)

Agreed. That's why I barely play games anymore these days and instead spend my free time switching to free software where I can. ^^

You should be fine with copying the ksp directory out of steams reach and run it from there, since the game doesn't appear to use Steam as copy protection. It certainly didn't when I was into modding years ago (still have quite a few older versions with different mods laying around) and even an up to date install still seems to start fine after exiting steam / doesn't contain any dlls looking like steamworks.

Just checked, the game runs fine without Steam. You can even launch KSP_x64.exe to skip the launcher, if you want.

The most interesting part of the log:

    [ERR 10:20:15.181] [SteamManager]: SteamAPI_Init() failed. Refer to Valve's documentation or the comment above this line for more information.

    [EXC 10:20:15.185] InvalidOperationException: Steamworks is not initialized.
        Steamworks.InteropHelp.TestIfAvailableClient ()
        Steamworks.SteamApps.GetAppInstallDir (AppId_t appID, System.String& pchFolder, UInt32 cchFolderBufferSize)
        SteamManager.Awake ()
    [LOG 10:20:15.218] Loading data opt-out preferences from PlayerPrefs
    [LOG 10:20:15.244] Requesting data opt-out preferences from https://data-optout-service.uca.cloud.unity3d.com/[stack of unique parameters]

I always used to launch KSP via CKAN [0] so removing the ability to launch independently of Steam would have killed a lot of utility for me. (CKAN is/was the best mod manager for KSP, handling dependency resolution, config options, multiple mod profiles, compatibility checks, and even mod discovery)

0: https://github.com/KSP-CKAN/CKAN

I used mac version and just starting the KSP from terminal is no problem at all.

It is available on GOG with downloadable installer and that version works fine on an offline Windows 10 system. I think I've heard that the Linux support is fairly good too but I haven't used it personally.

Unfortunately, it seems like essentially all games these days have at least basic phone home telemetry, even the DRM free stuff that still works if it can't connect. The only way to avoid is to block the game from accessing the network one way or anther. That being said, not everything has RedShell level stuff, although a bunch of games did and possibly others are using similar stuff that hasn't been identified. Take Two, like most companies caught with RedShell, solemnly promised to wait a while before reintroducing something like that and to do it less obviously next time.

IMO, it is best to assume that games are hostile from a security perspective. On Linux, at the very least run them under a different user without access to any important data. For Windows I'm not sure that will help much due to the permissions they require but I don't know Windows very well.

>Add to that that Steam forces you to update games if you wanna play them

Not true. KSP has previous versions you can pin to in Steam and play just fine.

If you don't want to buy products made by employees treated badly don't buy games. Unless they are the few, cool, indie ones like Papers Please and so on.

Employee treatment is a wide spread problem in the games industry. No unionization, and the pool of hires is continuously refreshed by new young naive people who've "always dreamt of working in games".

I'm not saying that this is not an issue, but it's kind of obvious that this is a shit market for employees.

I wonder what the modding support is going to actually be like.

I'm the one of the two original coauthors of the Kopernicus mod (although I handed off development of it to Dorian years ago when I got my first job after graduation because I was having trouble finding time while settling into working life). Writing that mod was already difficult as hell, because while the game supported mods, there was no SDK or any supporting documentation. There was essentially a gentleman's agreement between the KSP modding scene and the developers that ripping apart the game assemblies for the purposes of making mods wasn't didn't violate the terms of service, even though it explicitly forbid such activities.

Building Kopernicus by spending days in the Mono .NET Assembly Decompiler figuring out how to override pieces of the game to make the custom solar systems was pretty darn fun though. I can't tell you how much time I spent trying to figure out how to programmatically make something that PSystem.systemPrefab would accept as a Unity Prefab object. Or the fun of learning about attributes in .NET to build a reflection based configuration system that would actually process KSP's configuration file format into said systemPrefab object.

One of the things that the modding community felt at the time was that as Take-Two starting getting more aggressive about hiding the way the internals of the game worked (it's very murky if said gentleman's agreement is still in place), and in it's place producing some documentation, that the way forward may be just making an open source KSP-style game with original content and a completely different engine as to avoid any legal problems (we'd all seen how the internals of KSP worked, so we needed to make sure to do ours entirely differently). But no one (including myself) really ever found the time to work on it or made a serious effort to do so...

If they solved the performance issues with large ships, and have somewhat more realistic physics (e.g. Lagrange points/Parking orbits are impossible in KSP), that may just be cause to drop the idea completely. I've mainly found my time spent exploring the depths of orbital integrators, Eric Bruneton's atmosphere paper, and Vulkan.

Last time I read about KSP (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16581913), there was lots of criticism about the developers, or their working conditions. It sounded so bad that this was one of the reasons for me to not buy it. Has this improved?

It was purchased by Take-Two so the developers are probably only treated as badly as normal game devs now.


Squad is not developing this game.

I was a huge fan of KSP, bought into it back in like ~.8/.9 days before there was anything to actually do, and I loved it. Talked tons of people into playing it and I got a lot of joy out of it. I didn't like the way Squad did things, and the bigger they got the worse things seemed to get, but they still ended up producing a solid, relatively stable game, which made space "fun" in a way not many games could.

Squad threw away the majority of the good will they originally generated (mostly by treating their community, and especially their modders, like crap) but the core concept of KSP is solid enough that even with their questionable behavior it still managed to thrive. I wont be backing this early on, but perhaps when it gets closer to release it'll be easier to judge what kind of product they're going to end up with.

It looks like Squad threw away more than just good will, because they're not developing this. Some studio named Star Theory Games is listed as the developer for this on Steam. Does anyone have any more color on them?

Good point. I found this - https://www.pcgamer.com/the-future-of-kerbal-space-program-u... which provided a little more context, but I'm at work and can't really dig into the background or current state of Squad.

My hope is that whatever team builds KSP2 does it with some level passion and care, like the first few years of KSP1 had, and perhaps without repeating the same mistakes KSP1 suffered from.

The only concrete thing I could find on their website claims they were a big part of "Monday Night Combat", though the wikipedia for that credits it to Uber Entertainment. Their facebook is equally empty, with the only non-KSP post being that of a mildly nervous chihuahua. It seems they are a spinoff of Uber Entertainment best as I can tell.

As for the quality of Uber Entertainment, their later works tended to be unsuccessful, though they seemed to have some luck with VR.

For what it's worth Monday Night Combat was an excellent game

Per the official press release, Star Theory was formerly known as Uber Entertainment.

If there's something I'll get behind more than a KSP 2.0, it would be a community driven open sourced KSP.

I can even withstand more bug than 0.13 and learn C# just to create mod.

I've sunk a ton of hours in the original Kerbal Space Program, its pre-launch state is one of my favourite games ever.

The only thing there that excites me here is interstellar travel. I'm worried about this being a soul-less cashing in, with a "less, but pretty" situation - much like every versions of the Sims.

I just hope it's actually a new game, and not further layers of goop on the janky Unity core.

I think we'd all miss watching our monoliths swaying under the acceleration like explosive orange palm trees.

Same here. My hope is that they don't try to add to much to KSP1, and just focus on fixing the obvious issues. Most of those problems were due to the engine anyway so perhaps this will work out.

I've found that coming back to KSP now is overwhelming - there's already so much I have a hard time finding the right tools for the job. Kind of miss when there was a smaller pile of tools to choose from. The rocket engine sizes are absolutely ridiculous now.

Ever since they introduced Career and Science modes, I've been using them as a guide to ease out the otherwise overwhelming choice of engines and fuel tanks. Having to unlock the tech tree not only makes the vanilla game somewhat more pleasant (and suitable for roleplay) - my now unburdened psyche can suddenly deal with tons of more parts coming from mods.

Totally agree with career mode being a great guide to the tech tree, but it also stopped me from doing grand tours and the like. Just never got that far and tended to start fresh after putting the game down for a while. Self-imposed challenges like no save scumming also didn't help, though.

Pretty, in this kind of game, goes quite far. You could fix some of the issues with modding in KSP, but only to an extent, and you were sacrificing stability to do so, plus it wasn't an out-of-the-box experience (i.e. must players didn't have it).

Ah, what a coincidence I just bought KSP about a month ago. Very good game but lacks a lot of automation. kOS and MechJeb solves some of these issues, but if you want to play "non-cheaty" it's still a very manual game; there is no way to make use of computers whereas in real space programs everything is computed and organized so precisely.

I always thought MechJeb and such should have already been part of the base game. Learning how to do manoeuvers manually is an important and rewarding part of the game. But after flying your 1000th craft into orbit, I just want to automate and manually fly the stuff I haven't tried yet.

I think in career mode automation should be something you unlock. Not sure why it doesn't exist. Seems like a natural thing to be in the tech tree. Even as varying levels.

Modding community thinks so too. Like with many other mods, MechJeb can be restricted to operate only when appropriate parts are included on your vessel, and those parts are unlockable in the tech tree.

There's a mod called Community Tech Tree, which exists solely as a way to incorporate other mods into a somewhat coherent, extended tech tree.

You unlock kOS with the tech tree. And you need to write the code yourself/ or copy from github. So I think that's reasonable.

IMO kOS is worth 75% of the game itself, by which I mean the game has 25%.

That's how it should work, I also know a mod that provides python binding, but I still preferred kOS as it sorta became its own ecosystem. And it almost perfectly replicates the automation that are there in 1970s.

> I also know a mod that provides python binding

I think that would be kRPC [1]?

I recently hooked it up with Rust via krpc-mars [2]. It’s a lot of fun.

There’s support for many other languages, e.g. Java, C#, C++.

1. https://krpc.github.io/krpc/

2. https://github.com/Cahu/krpc-mars

RemoteTech gets you there. It adds a flight computer that can be set to execute maneuver nodes for you - which is crucial for remote operations e.g. when you have to execute a burn at a point where the planet of interest is between your probe and your comm network (before they added comm networks to stock, RemoteTech was what you used to introduce comm range, relays and speed of light delay).

What I liked about the current KSP is that everything is real. NASA actually sent a satellite to all of our Soler system's planets. They actually developed a rover that can drive on the moon, and they preformed rendezvous with two spaceships. They also had to deal with a finite amount of fuel and parts that could be destroyed if there was too much pressure or heat on them.

Now with colonies and mining it is less realistic and more sci-fi. I can see the appeal of that, but it is a different appeal. I would have preferred that they spent energy developing things to make it more realistic. For example, Lagrange points, different forms of propellents, n body physics, automation, ets. Recently with Bereshit I learned that before (certain?) rockets can fire their main engines they have to fire small ones to provide acceleration in order to move the fuel in the big tank closer to the main engine. It would have been nice if KSP also took that into account.

On an unrelated topic, I wonder how KSP 2 will make multiplayer work with timewarp

It doesn't seem to me that the new things stray much from the "real but not necessarily actually done in the humanity's past" path. Colonies and mining is what you did (or at least many people did) after nailing their first couple landings and dockings. It's what real people in real space exploration business want to do, it's what they're preparing to do.

The video seemed very realistic to me, in the hard sci-fi, "this is how it might look like under constraints of known physics and technology" way. The most outlandish things they've shown on KSP2 video are Orion and Daedalus rockets, rings for centrifugal gravity, and domed greenhouses, all of which are things taken out of real plans done decades ago, and have no reason for not working in reality except that we run out of funding for Space Race 40 years ago. There's also precedent with original KSP, which had its version of NERVA nuclear-thermal rocket engine, which never flown in space either.

> On an unrelated topic, I wonder how KSP 2 will make multiplayer work with timewarp

This is what I'm wondering too.

I have had a "multiplayer space simulation with time warp" game design brewing in my head for quite some time, but it's a turn based concept. Essentially you submit a turn saying "this is everything I intend to do from today until Mars launch window 2033", and the server consolidates the moves of all players.

Space is a pretty big place, so direct interaction between two players' spacecraft is a relatively rare occasion. In real-life space mission close encounters there is usually only one "active" spacecraft (e.g. Dragon or Soyuz) and the other party is "passive" (like the ISS). Even when both craft are capable of maneuvering (like Apollo Lunar Orbit Rendez-Vous or Gemini/Agena missions), only one of the spacecraft were assigned an active role.

So I have an idea how you could make a pseudo-realtime simulation with a turn-based multiplayer.

This wouldn't allow going on EVA or doing some rendez-vous shenanigans in real time with your friends, though. And that's the kind of thing I imagine appeals to the "kerbal crowd".

> Recently with Bereshit I learned that before (certain?) rockets can fire their main engines they have to fire small ones to provide acceleration in order to move the fuel in the big tank closer to the main engine. It would have been nice if KSP also took that into account.

Afaik there's a mod for this which adds "realistic" rocket ignition, throttling and the need for ullage motors for liquid fuel rockets.

What comes to space colonies and other sci-fi elements, I think they might be a welcome addition to KSP. Now the career mode contains too much grinding for "science points" and when you've advanced far enough down the tech tree, you get to grind for minerals and biomes. The gameplay could certainly use some late-game goals.

There are some mods for ksp that make things more realistic, including a real solar system and more realistic rockets.

I can't find any information on linux support with KSP2. Does anyone have a link with more linux information? One of the many reasons I loved KSP was robust linux support.

KSP is the only case I've seen where people actually learned to use Linux just so that they could play the game - KSP actually worked better on Linux, because for a long time Windows didn't have a 64bit build, and 32bit build run out of RAM very quickly once you started modding the game.

(And mods for KSP are a thing to behold; they turn a somewhat curious game into a masterpiece and deepest treatment of space exploration in videogames to date.)

Eh, that post is left deliberately ambiguous. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Linux port eventually. And if not, there's always wine...

Or modders saying "we'll keep backporting your work on KSP2 to KSP1, only better, until you change your mind".

I was pretty bummed to hear about Squad doing their people dirty; the company seemed to consistently underpay and burn out their developers. Have they improved? (With cites?)

Squad is not developing this game.

Looks fun, anyone play previous versions?

The trailer was hilarious without sound. Watching guy fall out landing module, or they wreck their entire space ship.

Highly recommend picking up a copy. It's the most rewarding game I have ever played.

Absolutely. Just landing on the mun is one of those moment you never forget. And then the rescue mission to get the first lander from the mun. And then the rescue mission for the rescue mission.

And then you pronounce the resulting pile of wreckage the first Mun colony, and set sights on Minmus, which is somewhat more forgiving.

And then, eventually, you'll have done everything in the game... And then you'll install RSS+RP-0 [0] and struggle to get back into orbit again. The mods add a ton of depth beyond what the base game can provide.

For those curious, RSS stands for Real Solar System - replacing the Kerbol system with ours. This is a large difficulty ramp, since things in our solar system are far larger than those in Kerbol, so even with the same surface gravities delta v requirements end up much higher. (For instance, ~2.7km/s is enough to hit orbit on Kerbin if flown properly, while 9.5km/s is more common on Earth) To partially compensate for this you have RP-0, a modpack that (among other things) replaces all the engines, fuels, tanks and other parts with their real life counterparts, making the higher delta v requirements actually achievable. (And also adding a ton of complications, such as life support, communications delay, cryogenic fuel boil off, limited restarts, fuel ullage, and more!)

0: https://github.com/KSP-RO/RP-0

Now I want to build a giant tangle of lander modules with solar cells and batteries attached and crash it into the Mun to see how many viable "colonies" I can create at once.

Seriously!!! I literally have told so many people this and they just think I'm insane but I love this game!!

It's a pretty good game with a very realistic physics simulator. They simulate everything from orbital mechanics to aerodynamics. There is a planet in the "solar" system with an atmosphere close to Earth's (Kerbin) so you can go there with a gigantic rocket, bring your airplane and fly in a different planets atmosphere. Pretty amazing.

I wouldn’t call it very realistic. The aero modeling is quite hacks/primitive and even the gravity is rather simplify... afaict they only calculate to the dominant object in the sphere of influence so you don’t get Lagrange points, for instance.

I mean, it’s playable, certainly but it’s realistic in the at something like Forza is Realistic. So, sorta, but no.

Correct. Air and gravity models in KSP are simple (though aerodynamics has been improved in the past years). Gravity simulation is essentially planet vs. active vessel, everything else is "on rails" and non-interacting. That means no Lagrange points, no sun-synchronous orbits, no need for station keeping.

However, mods come to the rescue. For flight, you have Ferram Aerospace Research, which gives you much more realistic (and much more punishing) aerodynamics, including all the interesting supersonic effects. For space, you have Principia, which introduces n-body physics, with all the Fun coming from it.

As counterbalanced to FAR, there is NEAR, which is FAR but the supersonic flight behaves as if it was subsonic, so it makes things a bit easier.

> I wouldn’t call it very realistic. The aero modeling is quite hacks/primitive and even the gravity is rather simplify... afaict they only calculate to the dominant object in the sphere of influence so you don’t get Lagrange points, for instance.

Perhaps this will change with KSP 2?

It's a great game - played the original KSP since early beta.

> The trailer was hilarious without sound.

There was no foley, so it was just as funny with sound.

Yes. I found it extremely challenging while managing to remain fun and educational.

I've been playing it semi-regularly since 2012. I can't recommend it enough.

To counter the glowing reviews others have left, it really depends what you want out of it and if you install mods or not (and if you do if all the mods you want work together). I don't use mods and want a more relaxing gamelike experience than a lot of folks here (but with lots of building and little micromanagment or random limitations just for difficulty) and it is meh in my opinion, although there aren't a lot of alternatives that are available DRM free and in some ways it is better than the alternatives. Look at actual gameplay, these trailers are useless for evaulating it as a game. Kerbals falling off the rocket is mildly amusing but they are mostly there to fly the rockets and don't really do much or have much to interact with. If they add ways to build stuff to interact with when you go somewhere (it sounds like they are) that would be nice.

There is a quite a bit of fun in building and launching a rocket. The learning curve is very steep but can be its own challenge if you like that kind of thing (I do). It takes quite a long time to do anything. Lots of people have posted interesting stuff that they built if you get frustrated and want inspiration. The wiki [0] has extensive documentation (except for the recent Breaking Ground extension so far) although the game much less so. Look at threads of the month in the Announcements forum for some amazing stuff people do with KSP [1] (seems like it would take an unreasonable amount of time to do any of that).

[0] https://wiki.kerbalspaceprogram.com/wiki/Main_Page

[1] https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/forum/11-ann...

Each version has lots of bugs [2] and some fundamental stuff was only implemented recently or not at all. DeltaV estimation and accurate maneuver planning are two things that only appeared about a year ago and are huge improvements. There is still no quick base game way to check the center of gravity of a plane with empty fuel tanks, although it won't fly well after a while if that is much different from the full center of gravity and you might not find out for a half hour or more since it takes forever to get anywhere and it is hard to balance a plane well enough to be able to use time warp. There are a few auto direction holding options if you have the right tech but nothing to keep your plane wings level with the ground or fly holding altitude. You can recover the parts of rockets that you land but you can't recover anything you separate before getting your main craft in orbit so you can switch focus to the debris (the huge fuel tanks that some people complain about in other comments are for those of us who want to recover everything and not leave space junk).

[2] https://bugs.kerbalspaceprogram.com/issues

I'd recommend both of the extensions if you are going to try it (although maybe try the base game first to make sure you minimally like it), particularly Breaking Ground that adds some minimal automation ability and the ability to get science by crashing stuff in to a planet or moon (this has bugs, although it should be fixed shortly). In career mode it takes forever to unlock all the science and almost none of it is at all related to building rockets, it is just doing the same few trivial things in a variety of locations.

Once you do get somewhere, on your home planet or elsewhere, there isn't really anything there, even with Breaking Ground that does improve it a bit. It used to be all terrain scatters (tree, rock, etc. looking stuff that you can go right through) and hills, now there seem to be two things you can interact with (also rock and tree looking things) that are the same all over a planet. So much of the fun is in the building and making up your own stories as you test a design. Or you can make stations and visit your stations.

I've played quite a few games due to poor health. Better in many ways IMO are Infinifactory (other than the horrible story), RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 (and 1 and 2 for that matter, with OpenRCT2 a nice requires-the-original-game upgrade mostly to be able to use higher resolution), and SimCity 3000 (unfortunately the GOG version crashes randomly after a few hours). Tropico (any version) and Surviving Mars also but they do the mandatory micromanagement and random limitations thing that I don't like (Surviving Mars more so but it has some good ideas too, like a number of camera options for taking in game photos). Theme Hospital (difficulty focused) and Banished (fairly building focused once you figure out the mechanics, although not that many layout options) are much simpler games but have some advantages from the game aspect and at least some building (Project Hospital looks nice and has more building but still has game breaking bugs nine months after release). Spore is also worth a mention; the building is mostly cosmetic and the gameplay has a bunch of issues, but it is still one of the few others that have a build and fly a space ship aspect (only with no atmosphere at all :/). OpenTTD (fully open source) and Cities in Motion focus on transportation building and are limited but decent for what they are. Widelands and Unknown Horizons are also fully open source builder clone games that are IMO improvments over the games that inspired them, Settlers II and the Anno series, although still not all that great. I hear Planet Coaster is good but it isn't avilable DRM free. There are a few more DRM free options but I get the impression they are difficulty focused rather than building focused.

Will be excited to see if it uses a re-vamped game engine. KSP 1 is based on Unity and bottlenecks at single core cpu.

From the extant details it's hard to tell if it's even a new game.

The cinematic launch video is pretty funky but is clearly marked as "Not actual gameplay". The press materials talk about new parts and new places to visit, all of which could simply indicate a very large expansion pack on the original. There's nothing in the accompanying "developer journey" video to suggests it's a new base game either, let alone a new engine; quite the opposite: everyone is wearing Unity t-shirts.

I'm hoping it's both, because the current gameplay vastly exceeds the game's performance envelope. In particular, the physics engine: I get 5 frames per second when docking large space stations, and KSP is running its physics engine on two CPU cores out of 10, and not even warming up a GPU.

"Not actual gameplay" might just mean it's all theoretically possible in game and rendered in-engine, but they staged everything.

Or the whole trailer might be rendered in Maya.

The graphics from the "pre-alpha" footage in their developer video are significantly worse than the trailer (although still a step up from KSP1)

The "not actual gameplay" disclaimer was only shown onscreen during that brief silhouette shot of the craft flying over the moon. Does it apply to the entire trailer?

i find it somewhat amusing that they couldn't get smoke right even in the cinematic render. but there were a lot of large craft in there, so maybe they got a better physic engine for the rigid body parts

Unfortunately, looks like KSP 2 will also be using Unity: https://forum.kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php?/topic/187315...

Won't be a problem if they're using ECS and DOTS

What do those acronyms mean?

ECS = Entity Component System. DOTS = Data Oriented Tech Stack, which is the new implementation of ECS in Unity.

Current KSP is plagued by performance issues during advanced gameplay, particularly threading granularity issues with physics simulation when running large craft such as space stations or complex rocketry. There are some amazing KSP videos on YouTube with orbital construction on a grand scale, gigantic interplanetary vehicles, complex planetary bases and so on; their dirty secret being that the original gameplay is actually occurring at a painfully frustrating <10 fps and has been massively sped up for consumption.

GP is suggesting that using DOTS those issues can be relieved, by making more efficient use of available system resources.




ECS and DOTS aren't quite ready for prime time by Unity's own standards so there aren't many games actually shipping using ECS or DOTs because the API isn't stable.

As a game eveloper I was hoping to see they might make the switch to UE4 but guess they have too many solutions in Unity for that to make sense.

I was hoping they’d switch to Nintendo Switch :-)

KSP2 is still based on Unity, but Unity has changed a lot throughout the years. (It's like how Apex Legends and Half Life 2 use the "same" engine). The new entity-component-system (supposedly) makes it much easier to write games with a job oriented approach that scales to multiple cores very well.

AFAIK they switched to a multithreaded physics engine some time ago, during one of the Unity version bumps. Can't test it now, but my vague memory of looking at htop when playing recently seems to agree with that.

from the dev interview [1] it looks like they are still using Unity for KSP2?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wmJlnTqjSg

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. Maybe when there's a real game and more details, or some actual meat regarding what they mean when they say "deeper mod support", and an absolute answer on Mac/Linux support.... But even then I'm not sure.

What worries me more is how this announcement seemingly came out of nowhere, all while the actual KSP is still receiving updates. Even little quality of life updates like new textures for most (or all?) of the planets in the next update. Something just seems off.

And let's be honest - half the charm of KSP is its lack of polish, and the janky little things at the corners that just don't quite work right and probably never will.

Maybe this is successful and introduces a new (half)generation of simulation gamers to space/physics sims. Or maybe it blows up and we never hear about it again. Who knows. I'm just not "hyped" at all.

"Not actual gameplay" So this flashy expensive trailer is utterly pointless.

This is a game sequel that I am worried about. The original is a fantastic game. The sequel is being made by different people. Maybe they dont have as good an understanding of the medium of games. This trailer is a bit of a red flag in that regard already.

The Original Kerbal Space Program is playable on Mac and Linux. If its sequel is a worthy successor, I hope it will follow suit.

Will it be available for Mac?

I've read that it'll be available for "PC, PS4, and Xbox One."

Such disappointing backward progress. They obviously have developers who know how to write cross platform, since they are also targeting consoles. Would it kill them to compile and release unsupported Mac and Linux binaries?

This is likely very much on Apple for depreciating OpenGL for a proprietary standard, making cross platform development a hell of a lot of work for such a niche market.

Combine that with the lack of Nvidea drivers and Macs are in an especially dismal place for 3D gaming for the forseeable future.

Shameless plug, I wrote a book on KSP (for O'Reilly!) with some friends: https://www.amazon.com/Kerbal-Players-Guide-Easiest-Program/...

I spy an Orion AND a Daedalus - be still my beating nuclear heart!

Very nice they kept the pilots fairly simple and dressed up their surroundings as much. granted as we seen in this video I suspect the much higher details are going to lead to all sorts of videos people out doing each others for disaster launches.

Love KSP and I'll be looking forward to this!

I really don't get cinematic trailers though. If it's not actual gameplay, then what does it tell me about the game? What does it tell me that I don't already know from KSP1?

They are communicating their aspirations. That they want to do colonies. That they want bigger stations. Interstellar travel. Multiplayer. Unusual drive concepts.

And they tell you the tone. Note all the stuff crashing, but also the hopeful message of expanding. It's an emotional appeal to you. It's a way to communicate to your audience that, "Hey, we get you. We know what you want from this series, and it's in good hands."

I laughed, I cried, it was better than "Interstellar"

I wonder if version 2.0 is written in Unity? I hope not. I recall a lot of the performance issues in KSP1 being blamed on the choice of engine...

Unity is not inherently bad. It's garnered that reputation because its super easy to learn and make a somewhat workable game out of, even if you have absolutely 0 understanding of the workings of your code. I'm not familiar with Kerbal's code or any blogs / videos on it but I would imagine they're doing Newtonion physics simulations which are going to be rather intense for a game and probably add an unavoidable burden to the overall performance of the game. They also could have just been doing things that are not efficient in Unity and not realized at the time and maybe will not repeat the same mistakes in Kerbal 2 if it is written in Unity. This meme that Unity is inferior to either Unreal or a custom built engine are annoying. Sure, if the Kerbal team built their own engine from the ground up and hired on their own engine team I'm sure they'd be able to make micro-optimizations to make the game run better but at a much higher development cost.

I heard a fascinating explanation for the general belief that Unity == bad, and it has to do with licensing.

If you pay at least $300/year for Unity, you are permitted to disable the splash screen. If you do so, it is not at all obvious that your application is based on Unity. If, however, you use Unity's free, "personal" tier, your application may not disable the Unity splash screen. This tier is allowable until your game is making at least $100,000 per year.

The effect of this is that less successful, low budget, and therefore buggier games are much more likely to display the logo then polished games with multiple people working hard and a budget. Thus Unity has accidentally created a licensing scheme which causes gamers to associate them with lower quality games.

Is it really a meme?

Every large AAA Unity game I've ever played has a certain jankyness to it...microstutters, glitchy UI. At some point you just have to accept that the common variable is: Unity.

It definitely is a meme. Cuphead, Hearthstone, Ori, Cities Skylines, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, Subnautica, Hollow Knight... There's a bunch of great games made with the engine that I've never seen issues with, many of these games are performance sensitive as well.

Edit: Maybe you could provide a few examples of games with those issues?

Games like Cuphead or Hollow Knight I wouldn’t call AAA games.

Cities Skyline is the poster child (well besides KSP) of Unity Jankiness. Just look at how many mods there to fix basic things in Skyline.

Ok. Sure, those are games made by small teams. Still, they have a high degree of polish and depend on good, consistent performance because the combat requires precision.

I suspect that KSP is janky because of KSP (or because it was built on a very old Unity and ported over across many engine versions.)

I agree. Quite a few times was I surprised to find out a game uses Unity. But the better ones usually don't show a big Unity splash screen. Return of the Obra Dinn was on I totally expected to be its own engine.

But yeah, AAA games usually have specific requirements better satisfied by a custom engine.

"Subscription limitations

The Unity Pro and Plus subscriptions have no limitations to customization of the Unity Splash Screen.

The Unity Personal subscription has the following limitations:

    The Unity Splash Screen cannot be disabled.
    The Unity logo cannot be disabled."
I wonder how much the logo displaying has an impact on your perception of the game.

https://store.unity.com/ - I think these prices have changed since Unity first appeared.

Logo: Some

The abomination that is the Unity launcher: Very much.

I've played plenty of games both ways, and as a developer I have to agree with something I've heard before - The reason that so many Unity games have "cartoony graphics" or performance issues is because Unity is one of the easiest game engines to learn (also cartoony graphics are one of the easiest styles to achieve because of it's inherit lack of details).

So you end up with more asset flips, unexperienced devs, etc. on the Unity engine than say the Unreal engine.

"Meme" doesn't mean "false" or "exaggerated" but it seems that's how you took it.

1. An element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.

2. An image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations.

At the time Unity was a reasonable choice; a mix of decent licencing terms at different scales and cross platform support (even if it used to be wonky, it might still be TBH).

I've heard that Unreal's cross platform support matured in that time and I recall that Unity made some headlines for less progressive changes to their licencing terms... within the last two years I'd like to say?

They say on the forum it is in Unity.

Scott Manley has a reaction video to the trailer:


He seems to think it holds promise and is looking forward to playing it.

Is KSP1 any fun for casual gamers with only an hour or two and a joystick? Will I have to read up on lots of math and orbital mechanics to get anywhere in it?

No math needed at all. It's hard to explain, but you end up understanding orbital mechanics visually and by feel. It's really just a game about speeding up and slowing down.

Is there a space game where there is math required? I'd like to play a game where I'm less of an aerospace engineer, and more of a 1960s astronaut, doing Emergency Slide-Rule Sums™️ during landing.

"Orbiter" might be what you're looking for. It's less "game" and more "sim". There are computerized aids for most things, but you don't have to use them. You might find that rather challenging, though - even 1960s astronauts had electronic computers!

Bonus - it's free. I've burned a lot of hours in Orbiter.


You can also use the kOS mod for KSP and restrict yourself to only flying spacecraft for which you've written the control logic by hand :)

I consider myself a connoisseur of ridiculously time-consuming single-player games (Civ series, Crusader Kings, city builders and the like) and I have found no game as ruthlessly time consuming as KSP.

If you happen to have heroic self-control, you could find a lot of enjoyment simply doing a few moon landing missions over the course of 5-10 hours.

> I have found no game as ruthlessly time consuming as KSP.

I wonder if you've tried Factorio?

Simple test: if we never see them post again, the answer is yes.

I absolutely love KSP, Factorio, Civ, etc. I'll just add Rimworld here into the mix, my newest obsession. It's a rare game where you can harvest people's organs. And the mod community is really good, just like KSP's mods.

So very excited about KSP2!

I could never get into Factorio. I despise games where the main gameplay loop is inventory management.

The main gameplay loop is entirely based around ever-increasing the level of automation in your factory.

Any perceived struggles relating to inventory management should be recognized as a signal that you should be carrying carry fewer things, which can be accomplished by automating the production of various intermediate components.

The point of Factorio is to automate inventory management.

Well, now that I put it like this, it sounds way too close to my dayjob...

Hour or two is 1-5 "missions", depending on complexity of your craft and planned flight. However, you'll quickly discover you want to do "just one more mission", and suddenly it's 5:00 AM.

As for math, you won't have to read up much - KSP is the ultimate textbook. Watch some introduction videos by Scott Manley or whatever the community currently recommends, and fire up KSP. Make your first orbit, then first transfer to Mun or Minmus, then back, learn to change planes, intercept objects and dock... you won't even notice when you've gained intuitive understanding of basic orbital mechanics.

> you won't even notice when you've gained intuitive understanding of basic orbital mechanics.

You will, because every time you watch sci-fi where a ship drops from orbit by accelerating towards the planet you’ll be screaming inside.

Fair. You will cringe hard. I haven't been to a cinema for a space movie since Interstellar, but I vividly remember watching The 100 at home, standing up and almost walking away from the computer screaming "THIS IS NOT HOW YOU DEORBIT A SPACE STATION".

Other KSP side effects include: wondering how much Δv your car has, calling reverse "retrograde", calling right/left "normal"/"antinormal", calling up/down "radial-out"/"radial-in"...

> a ship drops from orbit by accelerating towards the planet you’ll be screaming inside

Aww hell that'll work if you have sci-fi amounts of delta-v. (:

There are even KSP mods that let you build honest-to-god, as-Clarke-would-have-recognized-them torchships [0] - so if you want to deorbit by burning radial-in, you can certainly try!

You might end up with reentry heating issues, but that's what burning retrograde with your torchship is for. Who cares about making the landscape glow for the next century, we've got fusion!

0: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/torchships.php

What's wrong with accelerating toward the planet, if 1. your whole ship body is essentially one big jet engine impelling air through and out; 2. for the parts not covered by the impeller, you have a technobabble "deflector dish" bouncing off the dust that'd be ripping you to shreds; and 3. the existence of technobabble "inertial dampeners" implies that you can generate instantaneous gravitational fields† in any orientation you like (presumably both inside and outside the ship), to serve as a very fast drag chute?

† Though, y'know, I've never heard a sci-fi story mention gravitomagnetism. Instantaneous change in gravitational force would imply a large gravitational flux, which would cause similarly improbable and interesting phenomena as the ability to instantaneously teleport magnets further together/apart would. With magnetism the weird things are monopoles; with gravitomagnetism... dipoles?

> What's wrong with accelerating toward the planet

It rotates the orbit, which is not the most efficient way to de-orbit. Instead, to de-orbit with minimal delta-v expended, you burn retrograde at the highest point of the orbit. This will lower the lowest point of the orbit into the atmosphere.

> I've never heard a sci-fi story mention gravitomagnetism.

Out of curiosity, what would you want from the story? Astronaut in mid-altitude polar orbit around Earth notices at the end of a few [...thousand...] years that the vacuum-freefalling fuzzy dice art piece in the cockpit finally shows a different face to the entry hatch? Spooky stuff! ;)

A low altitude polar orbit around a millisecond pulsar would certainly allow for plot twists (pardon the pun), but effects highlighted by the GEM formalism would be way down the list of post-Newtonian observables (and in any case you'd be far from the weak field limit in which the GEM formalism is reasonably reliable).

Rather than cast about in the GEM formalism for ideas when departing dramatically from a slow stable orbit around a rotating spherical body, you might be happier going down the Equivalence Principle route directly, thinking about a pseudo-gravitational field popping up in response to acceleration. Michael Weiss's text at the link might give you some ideas: http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/Twin...

The rough sketch based on that is that an astronaut bouncing around in his reentry capsule, absent any view of the interactions between the outside of the capsule and the atmosphere, is free to think of the pseudo-forces he feels (he and the capsule both want to keep freely falling, but the capsule keeps interacting with the atmosphere, jostling the capsule around his free-fall trajectory) as pseudo-gravitational, much like riders of a vomit comet, roller coaster, fast car making a sharp turn, etc. and their experiences of changing weight. (Weight in the "contact" sense: the quantities piezo-electric bathroom scales would report if slipped between human body parts and surfaces bolted/welded to the inside of the capsule/car/roller-coaster/vomit-comet, with those scales essentially quantifying the feelings arising from stimulation of their skins' various sensory receptors like Merkel nerve endings and Pacini corpuscles).

As a complete aside (I was thinking of dynamic neutral buoyancy for astronauts in your proposed situation, so fish came up), Kerbal probably doesn't simulate anything like the observations in this thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/k0bdu/would_fis... and really you should be able to send simulated octopus astronauts on missions!

> you’ll be screaming inside.

Just like the passengers.

OTOH, I don't remember the last time I saw Sci-fi where things were actually orbiting and then drop from orbit.

Can definitely just pick it up and go, no need for a joystick. Just slap some boosters together and have fun blowing stuff up.

> Just slap some boosters together and have fun blowing stuff up.

This might sound like a flip comment to some, but it's 100% legit. After playing KSP way too many hours over the years, I'll still get an unreasonable amount of joy from creating a new sandbox game (which has unlimited resources), creating an absurd but monstrous rocket and spend two hours trying to get it into orbit.

Yes, that process will cause many explosions. Yes, you will destroy parts of the space center. Yes, it's all-together fun.

It's one of those games that has a fair amount of breadth for those who just want to jump in and have some fun, but a ton of depth for those who get hooked.

You won't need to read a textbook or anything, but you'll want to invest more than an hour or two before you make orbit for the first time.

The great thing about this game though is that it teaches you orbital mechanics in an intuitive and fun way, much better than reading a textbook full of vector calculus ever could.

You do not need math but do need quite a bit of time. I suggest some DRM-free builder alternatives at the end of my long comment above, but even most of those need quite a bit of time and all much less than KSP. I'm not sure builder games in general are the best option on limited time, but maybe you are much faster than me :).

The thing that KSP got right was making orbital mechanics "intuitive" e.g. you just drag maneuver nodes and go by eye.

You can do the mathematics if you want (or look at a summary in the game) but it's not required.

I have hundreds of hours in KSP and have never wanted a joystick. It's extremely forgiving and encourages learning by experimentation. This includes developing an intuition for orbital mechanics.

Part of the "forgiveness" here is space itself - most of spaceflight consists of periods of inactivity interrupted briefly by burning the right amount of fuel in the right direction at roughly the right time. It's not a kind of flying joystick will improve much.

That said, I did use a joystick with KSP briefly, and it made docking much more fun. And, of course, flying airplanes.

Out of curiosity, how much does the "not using a joystick" piece align with reality? I feel like all of the movies I see have the shuttle pilots using joysticks for everything.

what was the song playing during the trailer?

edit: M83 - Outro


I'm in.

Oh yes. A proper multiplayer is the final thing I miss in KSP. I'm not really sure how it could work reliably, given the need for regular timewarping, but I would so love to build and operate a space station with other players simultaneously.

they promised the same for 1.0 so don't hold your breath


I'm still mad because that article killed all momentum between the multiplayer mod

As long as I can self-host and keep it running on the LAN throughout our 6-month playthrough as a family!

I am so excited about this. Curious how the gameplay/graphics will be on Xbox.

Wait where are the Kerbals? I didn't see a single one. Looks like it's just space flight simulator now or universe sandbox.

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