Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Graham Smith)

Kerbal Space Program has been floating through the inky black of game development for years now, edging closer towards the ultimate goal of being a structured space program management sim. It’s now in orbit above that target, having moved from alpha to beta and added new features like base building, refined features like ship construction, and a lot more. There’s a trailer introducing the changes below.

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PC Gamer

There's been a lot of early access controversy and disappointment this year. Whatever your overall attitude toward the practice, I'd argue that Kerbal Space Program is one example of it being done well; with no need for reservations or caveats. It's already a good game, and frequently it becomes an even better one. Now, it's a beta one too.

A few hours ago KSP launched into update 0.9.0—the official designation of the game's beta release. There are over 170 changes found in the full patch notes, but, in a new blog post, the team explain the basics of what it's all about.

"Building upon a long term project that was introduced with the last update s destructible facilities," SQUAD write, "players will now have the ability to start from the ground up with a basic space center and turn it into a sprawling compound in the new upgradable facilities feature. It s not just buildings, either. Players will unlock new capabilities and bonuses as their career path progresses."

Kerbals also now have a progression path. As they complete missions, they'll gain experience to unlock new skills. Advanced piloting, science gathering and spacecraft repairs are some of the intrepid astronauts' potential upgrades.

You can see a round-up of changes in the below video, and the full patch notes over at the KSP forum.

Community Announcements - HarvesteR
Hello everyone and welcome to version 0.90.0 of Kerbal Space Program: Beta than ever!

Version 0.90.0 marks the transition from alpha to beta development of the game and will introduce the final major components to career mode. This then is the version that makes the game ‘scope complete’: every major feature that the game was designed to incorporate now exists and from here on, development will shift focus from implementating new systems to improving the existing ones, adding content, polish, balancing and bug fixing.

The update contains many new features and updates to previously existing systems which combined make for quite likely the largest update in the game’s three year history. Here are the highlights:

Upgradable Facilities
In career mode the Kerbal Space Center will advance with your space program. Start out with small buildings and limited functionality and build up your facilities into a state of the art space center with capabilities to launch and manage every mission you’ve ever dreamt of doing. Each building such as the Astronaut Training Complex, Vehicle Assembly Building and Tracking Station can be upgraded separately (and destroyed and repaired too), unlocking new and exciting capabilities and bonuses to your space program. Choose where you spend your money wisely: constructing buildings is most certainly not cheap.

Kerbal Experience and Skills
Your Kerbals now have specific skillsets they will develop as they gain experience: Choosing from your available applicants now mean deciding between pilots, scientists and engineers, each adding abilities specific to their skill, and unlocking further abilities as they earn experience by going on missions in outer space. Pilots are able to take over control of your spacecraft’s orientation to provide stability control during flight; Scientists are better at collecting and analyzing experiment data, so their science skills give bonuses to science collection, data transmission, and lab processing; and an experienced engineer can repair specific parts of your craft which may just save your mission.

Editor Overhaul
Ship Construction has been almost entirely rebuilt from the ground up. The Parts list now allows you tolook up parts not only by function (category), but also by resource, module type, tech level and much more. In case you want to add your own custom categories, that’s possible as well, you can set up lists of your favorite parts and organize your subassemblies into subfolders. As if that wasn’t enough there’s also the option to sort the filtered parts by mass, cost, size and name.

Also new in the Construction Facilites are the Gizmos which will allow you to Offset and Rotate parts, giving you complete control over how they are placed. The functionality to set a new root part for your craft has also been added, so you don’t have to rebuild your entire craft if you decide the root part should be somewhere else.

Other than these, we've also added many other improvements and new features: Symmetry can be toggled between Mirror and Radial modes, in both editors; Crew assignment is now fully persistent as you build; A new Stats toolbar panel lets you see your craft's total mass, part count and size; the list goes on.

Mk3 parts
After the major overhaul on Mk2 spaceplane parts in version 0.25 there is now a lot more to choose from when it comes to the Mk3 spaceplane parts: the old Mk3 parts have given way to a total of 15 all-new parts of unprecedented size, capable of carrying truly enormous payloads. Really. You can fit an orange Jumbo-64 fuel tank inside those cargo bays!

More contracts
Kerbal Space Program version 0.90.0 also brings the Fine Print mod by Arsonide into the game. This addition brings a whole new array of contract types to the table for you to choose from, adding depth and diversity to the contracts system. Survey areas, deploy satellites in precise orbits, capture asteroids, construct orbital space stations and build bases on planets or moons. This isn't a simple mod addition however. Fine Print author Arsonide has worked with us to tweak the mod into the stock game seamlessly. It’s all included and should provide any player with a challenge suited to their skill level and interests.

More biomes
The biomes system has seen a major overhaul for the first beta release of Kerbal Space Program. With help from KSP enthusiast and streamer Tanuki Chau every planet and moon in the game now has new biomes players can go out and explore. From the canyons of Dres to the peaks on Pol, the game now counts over 100 unique biomes. Each of these places represents another location where your Kerbals can gather, analyse, recover and send data from.

These are the major changes for Kerbal Space Program update 0.90. For everything else, check out the complete changelog here:

As always, the update is now available on the KSPStore and Steam.

We hope you will enjoy Kerbal Space Program: Beta Than Ever as much as we enjoyed making it.

PC Gamer

As Phil previously noted, Kerbal Space Program will enter beta with its next patch, the not-too-far-from-release-surely update 0.90.0. At the time, we didn't know what this first beta version would comprise, exactly, but now we do, because developers Squad have released a big video detailing exactly that. As the four-minute-long trailer explains, we'll soon be able to upgrade facilities, level up Kerbals, and take advantage of an "overhauled" editor, which does look slightly less intimidating than the old one. That's in addition to a load of other stuff, some of which has drawn from player mods (with their creators' permission and involvement, obviously).

'Beta' is a word that means different things to different people, but Squad see it as the point at which Kerbal Space Program contains the minimum amount of stuff necessary for it to be worthy of the name. They're going to keep adding stuff during the beta, and even after release, including the long-promised multiplayer elements. The video above is just a glimpse what the game will look like soon, when 0.90.0 touches down on planet Earth.

Announcement - Valve
For the next six days, take advantage of huge savings throughout the Steam store on thousands of titles. Plus, discover new and recommended games on your personalized Exploration Sale page here. Check back each day for new Daily Deals.

Today’s Featured Deals Include:

The Steam Exploration Sale runs from now until 10AM Pacific Time, December 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals and other special offers can be found on Steam.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Graham Smith)

I spent half my evenings this week advancing through Advanced Warfare. Call of Duty games are uniformly about forward progression, but some of their most memorable moments comes from points of scripted failure: missing your chance to grab a gun as a Russian soldier in the first Call of Duty, or the nuclear blast in Modern Warfare 1. You learn something about the realities of those scenarios in both moments.

Advanced Warfare squanders its one point of necessary failure: the first mission’s unfortunate end incites action from both the player and from Kevin Spacey, but there’s little that’s real about it. You lose an arm, you gain a robot arm. As a player, you learn nothing. Failure in videogames can be so much more, both as a way of generating interesting play experiences and in making less abstract the knowledge we hold about the world around us.

Here are some games that I think do failure better, and what those failures taught me.

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PC Gamer

Kerbal Space Programupdate .25, which went live earlier this month, adds a lot of back-end structure, including new modes and detailed difficulty options. The design and flight of ships in KSP remains as challenging as ever, but granular controls now give you the option of enforcing harsh penalties on yourself like the masochist you are. Whether Kerbals respawn, how bad a mission failure is for your public image, and how much money you start with can all be toggled and adjusted for a game in career mode.

Science mode is new to update .25, but it s actually old—it s what career mode looked like months ago before funding, reputation, and contracts were added. In Science mode, your only objectives are making new discoveries and going to new places. Sandbox mode remains the same: it s just you against physics, and the solar system is your playground.

Much to my delight, KSP s new Hard mode is classic PC gaming all the way: minimal funding, brutal penalties for failure, and Ironman-mode restrictions on quicksaves or rewinding flights to launch. If your ship blows up on the launchpad, guess what, commander: you get to pay for a second one. As I get deeper into my Ironman career save, I may end up with a body count rivaling my misadventures in XCOM.

A new building has been added to the Space Center grounds: the administration building. Inside, members of the KSP administration involved in purchasing, public relations, research, and accounting argue at board meetings. The administration building allows players to fine-tune their agency s strategy based on current needs. If you ve had some lucrative contracts but a high-profile explosion has flushed your reputation out the space toilet, sacrificing cash for a reputation boost with a public appreciation campaign might be worthwhile. If you ve got a lot of science points sitting around and need some quick cash, a patent licensing program will help you get sorted out.

Because so much of update .25 is in the background, it may appear to be a stale, unsexy patch. That s where you d be wrong. Sexy update number one:

Space Center buildings are now destructible, so I spent some time crashing into them to test the mechanic. You know: for science. Each building crumbles and explodes in chunky gouts of flame, made even flashier by KSP s new explosion animations. When the ashes cool, destroyed buildings are useless until you pay to rebuild them. This can either be inconvenient or catastrophic, depending on the building; there s a very real possibility that crashing into the Vehicle Assembly Building on hard mode will mean the permanent end of that space agency.

Update .25 s other new hotness: space planes have undergone a full makeover. Partnering with community mod SpacePlanes+, KSP has overhauled fixed-wing designs and mechanics. Two new cargo bays (previously only supported through mods) have been added, along with new cockpits and structural options. Since a reliable space shuttle program is the cheapest way to bring supplies to low orbit, these new space planes will form the supply-line backbone for assembling deep-space missions at a space station.

Oh, and they look great, too.

Squad has already been on the horn about its plans for the next update, which will land the game in beta for the first time. Unless you ve been running self-imposed Iron Man rules on yourself or struggling with single-stage-to-orbit plane fleets, this update might not be the most groundbreaking. The supporting options are necessary groundwork for the fully fleshed-out release and, eventually, the addition of multiplayer game modes.

PC Gamer

Kerbal Space Program's next update will be an important milestone along its development path. Not because of what it contains (we don't really know yet), but because of what it represents. In a post on the game's forum, SQUAD's Felipe Falanghe explains that, after more than three years of alpha development, KSP is almost ready to be in 'beta'.

"The next update will mark a big milestone for us at Squad," Falanghe writes, "as it is the last update focused on Career Mode. After the next release, Kerbal Space Program will reach an internal milestone we call 'Scope Complete'.

"It means KSP now has all the features we considered vital to be in the game that we designed so many years ago. It doesn t mean the game has everything we want it to have, it means everything we considered necessary for it to be Kerbal Space Program exists, even if only in a minimal form."

After the update, which will be numbered 0.90.0 to mark the beta transition, the game's development will shift to improving and further implementing the game's existing features and systems. Two desired improvements have already been revealed: more realistic aerodynamics, and deep space refueling.

For more, head to Falanghe's forum post, where he includes an FAQ on the beta transition.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Alice O'Connor)


You might think yourself a real Top Gun, the next Dan Dare, or a veritable Buck Rogers. Kerbal Space Program has been out long enough for you, oh mighty pilot, to master space flight and possibly get a bit cocky. Don’t worry, the latest update has added new things to cock up. Your space centre is destructible now, for starters. It also bulks out the Career Mode a little with new strategies that might help you but can backfire, like unpaid interns. KSP’s on sale for a few days to celebrate.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The latest Kerbal Space Program update is a little less space, a little more program. Called Economic Boom, update 0.25 further expands on the career mode with a new Administrative building. Because, as we all know, the most exciting part of life at NASA is the paperwork.

The admin facility lets players select Strategies. "The Strategy system is a new gameplay mechanic," explains SQUAD's patch post, "where each strategy, once accepted, applies effects over several game aspects, specifically Kerbal Space Program s three in-game currencies." Examples include "Aggressive Negotiations," which can give players a discount on parts at a cost to reputation.

As well as a new building, all facilities are now destructible. "Buildings can be decimated by poorly-steered rocketships and in the game s Career Mode, require costly repairs for players trying to manage their space agency."

Spaceplanes have also received some love, thanks to the integration of the SpacePlane+ mod.

Head over to the official FAQ for more details of the patch, which is now live in-game.


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