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Kerbal Space Program

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PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Kerbal Space Program AMA reveals origin of Kerbals, plans for 1.0">Kerbal

Miguel Pi a, producer of Kerbal Space Program, took to Reddit yesterday to field questions about the cute yet massive space adventure, and while Redditors didn't manage to tease too much info about future updates or what their eventual next game might be, we did learn a few interesting titbits, including...the dark origin of the Kerbals. Well, OK, it's not that dark, but it does involve tinfoil and fireworks, two things that generally cause chaos when used together.

As Miguel explains when asked where the idea of Kerbals came from: "Our Lead Developer and overall Creator of the game, HarvesteR, used to make little tinfoil men and strap them to modified fireworks. He called them Kerbals". We also learn that female Kerbals are on their way to the game, eventually.

"We are actively working on Girlbals (studio petname, not actual name). They will take some time, it's a decent bit of work and we have to get them right. We may be just a small indie studio but we feel that gaming in general should no longer treat women as an afterthought. Even if it's extra work.

Edit: Must clarify. That is just the petname for the project. Female Kerbals are just called Kerbals."

There's a ton of interesting answers, but it's a hell of a long page, so I'll copy and paste the best ones here.

On maintaining a good relationship with the community, and handling backlash:

"Here's a suggestion for devs out there: Get out of your comfort zone. Being somewhere where you have zero power will not only teach you humility, but you can find gems of wisdom even in a barrage of insults. Just keep your cool and make sure your skin is so thick it'd make an armored rhino blush. That also applies to handling backlash. You have to sift through it, figure out the valid points and in the end have the users trust you. If your players can't trust you, you've already lost."

On their vision for Kerbal 1.0:

"Our vision for 1.0 is actually starting to become visible as career mode gets bigger and better with each update, we want you to feel like you're running (and piloting) a space agency with the same levity of games like the old tycoon series. The resources thing was an unfortunate realization that the game was not only not particularly fun to play through, but also was pulling the game horribly out of scope. Kerbal Space Program has to hit 1.0 at some point, y'know.

"No additional star systems within scope right now, the other thing we'll have to wait and see. Multiplayer -has- to have a deep and flexible framework for it to work like we want it to. And yes, the game is not polished in some areas yet, so work will go into several community faves after .25."

And finally Miguel's thoughts on Early Access:

"Early Access feels like a party that got out of control. We got in where it was only a couple people eating pizza and playing Mario Kart. Then suddenly it's Jesse's party from Breaking Bad. It's refreshing and reassuring that whenever an article, Youtube video or blog comes out bashing Early Access as a whole, someone always seems to pop up in the comments and talks about how we're doing it right."

You'll find the whole thing here. Kerbal Space Program's First Contract update launched the other day, a long-awaited addition that revamps career mode with missions and adds 64-bit support. Ian's thoughts on it are here.
Community Announcements - HarvesteR
Hi again,

I'm sure most of you have noticed a mildly infuriating bug related to right-clicking parts after yesterday's patch... So did we. It was fortunately a simple fix, and we've got a hotfix patch available now.

Here's the changelog:

============================ First Contract (v0.24.2)


* Fixed a critical issue which prevented opening the right-click menus for several parts.

As always, the latest version is available on the download page at the KSPStore, or an automatic update will be headed your way if you're on Steam.

Happy Launchings,

Community Announcements - HarvesteR

We've just released a small revision patch for KSP, version 0.24.1.

This patch contains several small and some not-so-small fixes, tweaks and minor improvements, as well as a few things that were requested by mod-makers.

Here's the complete changelog:

===================== First Contract (v0.24.1)

Bug Fixes and Tweaks:

* Fixed a relatively serious issue with module loading which could result in missing modules if loading old craft.
* O-10 Maneuvering engine scaling was off. Engine rescaled to proper size (smaller).
* Fixed an issue with propellant-defined resource flow modes which prevented some configurations of Vernier engines from working correctly.
* Fixed an issue with some decoupler modules failing to apply ejection forces when activated.
* Fixed missing FX components on root parts after resuming a saved game or reverting.
* Fixed a potential issue with the internal maths in ModuleRCS, which could result in odd RCS response from center-aligned or stack-mounted RCS modules.

* Fixed an issue with the App Toolbar where mod apps wouldn't display/hide properly at the VAB.
* Fixed an issue with custom staging icons and switching vessels.
* Fixed an issue where the Messages Dialog in the VAB would drift out of place when discarding many messages.

* Fixed a bug in Rescue Kerbal contracts, where rescue by means of external seats or claws wouldn't complete the contract.

* Fixed a save-related bug which made the Orbiting 101 tutorial impossible to complete.

* Fixed vessels not leaving 'pre-launch' condition during take-off roll.
* Fixed a very annoying and potentially destructive bug where approaching another vessel could mess up your control state.

Game Balance:
* Tweaked costs for several spaceplane and aerodynamic parts:
- Advanced Canard: 900 -> 800
- Standard Canard: 1500 -> 720
- Delta Wing: 500 -> 680
- Swept Wing: 500 -> 620
- Wing Connector: 500 -> 560
- R8 Winglet: 500 -> 640
- Structural Wing: 500 -> 540
- Aerodynamic Nose Cone: 680 -> 240
- C7 NCS Nose Cone: 680 -> 320
- Rocket Nose Cone (large): 1000 -> 450
- Standard NC (small): 680 -> 180

* Added IPartCostModifier interface, to allow part modules to tweak a part's cost.

As always, you'll find the new patch over at the KSP Store in zip or installer formats, or if you're on Steam, you should be auto-updated shortly (assuming you haven't turned off automatic updates, in which case you probably know what you're doing).

Happy Launchings!

Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 40% on Kerbal Space Program!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Tuesday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Kerbal Space Program launches First Contract update, adding new missions and 64-bit support">First Contract

Kerbal Space Program's much-teased First Contract update has launched. Not launched in the rocketry sense with drama, tension and spectacle. It's more likely that someone simply clicked a button. Job done. To add at least some ceremony to update 0.24, SQUAD have released a new 'cinematic' (read: completely unrelated to anything) video, detailing the further adventures of Kerbalnaut Jeb.

First Contract gives a big boost to the game's career mode. Not only are there the new resources Funds and Reputation to manage, but also missions, taken at the behest of in-game companies. Rather than just pursue science in an abstract way, you're now expected to take on specific contracts completing a variety of challenges for additional funds and glory.

The game also now offers a 64-bit mode which should offer some performance stability, particularly for those who like to bulk out the game with mods.

For a more detailed look at the First Contract cargo, check out Ian's hands-on impressions of this latest update.
Community Announcements - HarvesteR

Kerbal Space Program, the award-winning, indie space agency sim game from Squad, is launching its latest update, Kerbal Space Program: First Contract, as part of its active development cycle. This major release, numbered 0.24, is a substantial advancement in the game’s Career Mode, which challenges players to run a space agency. It is also the first time the game offers a 64-bit version for Windows via STEAM and the KSP STORE.

Players will now have the opportunity to take on Contracts, manage Funds, a new in-game currency that allows players to buy rocket and plane parts, and earn Reputation for their efforts. Players will take advantage of three new widgets on screen, Funds, Reputation and Science. Players aren’t charged for funds until their vessel launches and the total science amount is now displayed via the widget. Reputation is raised for completed contracts and bringing Kerbals back in one piece. Failing missions, or gasp, blowing them up lowers Reputation.

“First Contract is a massive step forward for Career Mode. Finally, we’re starting to paint a clear picture of our original vision for the complete thing.” creator and lead developer Felipe Falanghe said. “Although there is still a lot to add on future updates, the new Career features should help new players pick up the game in a much more structured manner. One of my favorite aspects, is how it’s added new challenges for even the most veteran players. We’ve found ourselves here, building contraptions we have never had the need to build before, and actually discovering totally new, fun ways to play the game.”


Contracts are offered based on a player’s Space Program’s reputation, which starts off at neutral. After an initial set of starter contracts, dynamically generated contracts are created in three levels of ‘prestige’, from Trivial to Exceptional ones. Reputation regulates the amount and level of offers that are available. If a player’s reputation is low, he or she will be offered trivial, low-profile contracts. However, if a player’s space agency is well-reputed, contracts to attempt increasingly ambitious things will be offered.

  • Part Test: Perform a test of a part in a specific location, situation and within given flight parameters (when applicable).

  • Collect Science: Return or transmit any scientific data from a specific location.

  • Rescue Kerbal: Rescue a Kerbal who is stuck in orbit.

  • Plant Flag: Plant the Agency's flag on the surface of a given location.

  • Explore: Complete several exploration goals for an unreached location.

Contracts will be found in the new Mission Control building, which was previously not an interactive part of the Kerbal Space Center. Players will enter Mission Control and have the option of choosing between available contracts.

Players will also find new engines, updated parts and vessel recovery, which means you can reclaim the value of landed parts and any resources they contain, in the update.

You can also check out the full changelog on this article from KSP Forums.

Happy Launchings!

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Kerbal Space Program: First Contract hands-on: career mode gets missions">Kerbal Space Program

My ship is...well, unwieldy is putting it charitably. Butt-ugly would be more accurate. My little space plane has a set of double wings, a pair of rocket boosters bolted on, and a mismatched set of double engines one pointing forward, one pointing back, a puny cockpit sandwiched in the middle. It keeps falling over, because this Frankenstein s monster was never meant to see the light of day.

As I attempt to launch for the fifth time, something dawns on me: I ve never done this before. I ve played Kerbal Space Program for hundreds of hours. More than any other game in my library. But I've never found myself parachuting a malformed, experimental craft into the Sea of Kerbin so I can run tests, fulfill my contract, and make bank. After all this time, KSP is forcing me to play it in a new way.

Update 0.24, or First Contract, is the next stage of the space agency simulator. KSP has been a solar-system-sized sandbox for three years now, but First Contract s budgets, contracts, and reputation system add a loose veneer of guidance to the game for the first time. Not into rules? These changes only apply to the game's career mode; sandbox mode is still a free-for-all.

The legendary Gene Kerman hands out assignments in the Mission Control building

New toys

Every rocket or plane part in KSP has a price. The sum of all these parts add up to a $10,000 plane or a $500,000 interplanetary lander (Note: KSP does not use dollars, it uses Funds, represented by something like a square-root symbol. I m using dollars for simplicity). Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, you can build any ship you can imagine from the parts you ve researched, but you can t send it to the launchpad unless you can afford it. To afford bigger and bigger missions, you ve got to fulfill some contracts.

Visiting the new Mission Control building gives you access to contracts. These start small and help guide you through the early phases of the game especially vital for new players trying to literally learn rocket science for the first time. The first contracts, basics like Launch a new vessel and Set altitude record of 5,000 meters are easy to meet. Accepting a contract gives you an advance of cash, and completing it adds a shot of funding and a boost to your reputation. Failing to complete a contract entirely or, more likely, missing the deadline, will incur a penalty to your bank account or your reputation or both.

Also note that, win or lose, safely landing a ship will recover the full cost of its parts, minus any fuel you've used. If you build a giant ship full of stages, shooting fuel tanks and electronics into the atmosphere at random, you're going to end up getting only the cost of your command pod back. Taking a plane up and landing safely on the runway, on the other hand, will be essentially free after you factor out the fuel. I love that KSP is making single-stage-to-takeoff vehicles (planes that fly to orbit and back without dropping parts) not only super cool, but cost-effective as well.

In addition to adding an overall structure to the game, some randomly generated contracts provide extra stuff to do. If the game was Grand Theft Auto: Kerbistan, these are the things we d refer to as side missions. These contracts include testing new parts under very specific conditions, and they can be a real pain to pull off. I spent over an hour trying to fire the RT-10 solid fuel booster while 1) flying 2) over Kerbin 3) from 6,000 to 9,400 meters in altitude and 4) between 320 meters per second and 420 meters per second. I soon gave up my conventional plans and, instead, built a plane, strapped the booster to the top, and flew to the correct altitude and speed. For all that effort, I was rewarded a tiny cash payment that was less than the cost of a basic cockpit. These details need some tweaking as time goes on, but as I said, they re optional and very much in-progress.

It wasn t long before I used this method to test all of the experimental parts, which is how I ended up flying a double-ended reject space plane into the ocean on a raft of twenty parachutes. It had to be done; not for science, but for engineering!

Don't look at me! I'm hideous!

New worlds

Reputation is the least well-defined of the three new systems. Your reputation grows as you experience success and fulfill contracts. In order for anyone to put up money funding a trip to the Mun, for example, you ll need to prove you re not a complete screw-up by hitting milestones like the first orbit. This makes sense. But what s left unknown is the exact reputation amounts required for certain new contracts. Reputation operates in the background, theoretically, but I don t have a way to fully understand its nuances. I d like to see the reputation stats presented more transparently and have a bigger impact on what I can do and why. Perhaps future updates will see missions to Duna (the Mars equivalent in the Kerbalverse) only funded if your rockstar kerbal, the hero of previous missions with the high reputation rating, is at the helm.

I also don t know how KSP will handle failure. If I m being honest, dozens of kerbals and millions of dollars worth of equipment have exploded during my hours playing for this preview. Between loading quicksaves and reverting flights back to launch, though, I have a spotless safety record in the game. But, and I m just spitballing here, what would happen if I spent my entire budget on a manned trip to the moon, failed, and everyone died? There s an easily predictable death spiral in place where you don t have the reputation to earn good contracts, so you don t have the money to launch more ships, so you don t have a way to fulfill even basic contracts. What happens then? Is that game over?

I ve got some quibbles, sure. The specific payouts, variables, and penalties for contracts will undergo a long tweaking process before the difficulty and the rewards line up. But the master-stroke of this new system is its depth and malleability. When KSP s boisterous modding community gets ahold of this system (which is running in 64-bit for the first time, by the way), we ll see entire storylines written to play out through contracts, each one supporting a custom-made set of variables and goals. For the first time there will be a real reason to build space stations and colonies on other worlds, and the exciting endgame will evolve beyond simply reaching the outer planets.

Before this update, I took a few months away from KSP to play other things. Now that I ve seen the contracts system, I ve been sucked right back in. If you ve never played KSP before, you now have a better guide through the early game than ever before. With First Contract, I can see the final shape of what KSP will eventually look like, and it continues to surprise me.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)


What a scientific utopia Kerbin once was! Seemingly the entire world came together in the spirit of exploration and discover, endeavouring to reach the skies, then out into space, and to the Mun and beyond, simply because they could. Eventually. With a little trial and error. A space-plane could smear across the runway or a rocket tumble from orbit and the Kerbals would still happily start building on another. Discovery was its own reward.

Now the grim spectre of capitalism rises over Kerbin, as Kerbal Space Program developers Squad are preparing to roll out key parts of its career mode, adding funds, contracts, and reputation. Come have a look at a video with the first few contracts, amounting to taking off without exploding.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Kerbal Space Program trailer shows First Contract features">First Contract

Maybe you've read about First Contract, Kerbal Space Program's next update. Now you can see it in action, as SQUAD take you through the contracts, funds and reputation systems that it adds. Despite sounding like a largely administrative update, First Contract should give a big boost to the game's campaign. The contracts are randomly generated, and promise to be tailored to your style of play, hopefully making for an enjoyable series of escalating assignments.

For more on First Contract, check out the KSP development blog.
PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Kerbal Space Program’s next update to add contracts, budget and reputation systems">KSP

There's something about Kerbal Space Program's current update path that I find extremely charming. They've already added the ship-building, space exploring, physics simulation stuff; now they're slowly adding the admin. The next update for SQUAD's space program, titled First Contract, will further expand the career mode with a mission system that ties into new Funds and Reputation systems.

"Career Mode is greatly expanded now by the addition of Funds and Reputation," writes SQUAD's Felipe Falanghe. "Funds are required to launch vessels, and reputation is earned (and lost) by doing contracts (or failing them). In this release, your reputation is already used to regulate the level and amount of contracts offered you. Lower reputation means fewer and less prestigious contract offers, while high reputation means more and more ambitious proposals."

The contracts themselves will be available via the Mission Control Facility, and, when completed, will offer additional Science further boosting Career players up the tech tree.

In addition, Falanghe reveals that First Contract will introduce vessel recovery, letting players reclaim some of the cost of parts; a new mod-friendly UI toolbar that enables easy switching between the messages, resources, currencies and contract panels; and a new tech-tree layout.

For a further look at what First Contract has planned, head to the SQUAD blog.

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