I tried the Kerbal Space Program (KSP) demo almost a year ago and didn’t find it to my liking. Piloting the ships felt too difficult and the even concept of getting into orbit was more daunting than I was prepared to deal with. This past week though I picked KSP up from the Steam sale and decided to give it another go. I’m not sure whether I changed or something about the game got balanced, but after logging almost 50 hours I find myself completely obsessed with KSP to the detriment of every other game in my backlog.
KSP, which is currently available in alpha form on Steam, plays like a NASA simulator, tasking you with designing rockets, piloting them into orbit, and exploring the solar system. Its still missing some key components (like money), but a rudimentary career mode is in place that requires you to collect science from your missions to feed into a tech tree. The tech tree adds an addictive progression system as you move from sub-orbital flights to moon landings in an attempt to gather ever more research to fuel your technical progress. A Sandbox mode is also available, but I haven’t tried it yet; where’s the fun in having everything unlocked from the start? ;)
I can honestly say this is the first game that’s motivated me to seek out and apply complicated physics equations, and I spent several hours of my weekend attempting to calculate the delta v of a heavy moon lander I was having trouble launching. Sadly these efforts didn’t pay off quite as well as I’d have hoped, leaving me with no recourse but to blame my own limited understanding of the complicated math. I hope when the game finally releases, the developer sees the potential in adding an in-game lab with resources to help with such computations; its possible to do the calculations by hand on paper, but a built-in system to do so would go a long way to making me feel more like I’m using rocket science and not trial and error to put my mark on the moon.
KSP is a fantastic sim and I’m looking forward to what the developers add next. I’d strongly recommend it. Anyone else tried KSP? What were your thoughts? Any cool achievements? Leave a comment below.