This is going to be SOOO MUCH FUN!! It’s also going to be pretty damn hard, because Kerbal Space Program is not an easy game to play, especially when you’re doing it like I am, and making it even harder to deal with!

What is Kerbal Space Program?

Kerbal Space Program is likely a new game to most of you. It’s likely you’ve never heard of it before, and even if you have, it’s likely still that you’ve never played it. That’s just what I assume with most indie titles like Kerbal Space Program (KSP). Up until a week ago, KSP was a 32-bit game, limited to just 4GB of RAM usage, which means I couldn’t “have it all” like I wanted for this play-through. I’ve taken a couple hundred hours of playtime over the last couple years to get myself familiar with the game, but I’ve never really done much. I wanted to change that. Now that Kerbal Space Program has launched version 1.1, with the new 64-bit support in the Unity 5 Engine, I absolutely can!

KSP is really a different game from all that I’m used to. Not only is it a physics-based game that has quite a bit of accuracy for real life in many of the aspects within it, but it’s also a true open-world (open-universe?) experience. It’s a game that essentially let’s you do whatever you want to do, and make your own story out of it. “Career mode,” as I’ll be playing, does provide some tasks that take you through a natural progression, but you’re really left on your own to figure out how to do the challenges. For example, the game’s contract may say “Launch a satellite around this planet” which gives you some reward for completing it, but that’s it. There’s no hand-holding, no guidance, no “how to” as to how to accomplish that goal. You’re left to experiment and figure it out. Sure, you can go online and ask around or see how other people do it, but even then, you aren’t likely to get a solid guide as to exactly how to do it. I love that about Kerbal Space Program. It’s always a learning experience while having fun!

What Do We Do In KSP?

Meet Bob, Jebediah, and BIll Kerman - Astronauts and snack connoisseurs

Meet Bob, Jebediah, and BIll Kerman – Astronauts and snack connoisseurs

In Kerbal Space Program, you manage a space program on the planet Kerbin, which is inhabited by Kerbals. Kerbals are fun, goofy, and green. While the game takes a rather toony-like presence with their primary characters, the game is far from a child’s game. KSP demands attention to detail regarding power and resources management, weight distribution, and a growing knowledge of orbital mechanics, gravity,¬†aerodynamics and in some cases thermodynamics. The game plays on real-life science and physics, taking liberties with reality only as a necessary part of entertaining game-play, or when the limitations of the game’s Unity engine demand it. This includes building planes as well as rockets, but it goes much deeper than that, at least if we want to conquer the system as this series is focused on doing. This game will require us to launch dozens of satellites into coordinated networks, research advanced technologies to progress even further to other planets, establish bases and mining operations for fuel and other resources, and build awesome orbital stations… and it’s all FREEDOM based! There’s no rules! No guides on how to do it “right” in any way! Kerbal, in my eyes, is really about freedom and creative exploration. That’s the long and short of it really… and having a great portion of it being based on reality is a huge bonus, I think.

Our Ultimate Goal

Our goal in this play-through is simple… but incredibly ambitious. The mission is to put a base on every planet in the Kerbol system (Kerbol being the name of the star for which Kerbin and other planets orbit). That means a fully operational and fully self-sufficient base of operations for science and mining/engineering on the surface of every planet. We’ll also be implementing life support requirements as soon as they are reliably available with mods (more on that below). I have yet to see anybody on YouTube or elsewhere do it. – It’s possible I just haven’t seen the right video, but either way, this will be something of a great milestone for this game if I can do it.

As a precursor here, I’ve never built a fully operational base on anything other than one of Kerbin’s close moons, and I’ve never traveled outside of our home planet’s sphere of influence before either… so not only is this challenging, but the entire mid-game and end-game will be literally unexplored territory for me the whole time. I believe, however, that I possess enough knowledge of the system and the way things work to perform well in this challenge, even though I’ll likely fail a LOT. Should be fun.

Changes To The Game (for those that know KSP)

kerbal_space_program

In addition to the stock game that Squad as developed, there are also hundreds of mods available and being updated and supported very well all the time! I’ll be using a LOT of them in this play-through, not only because I think it’ll help me in my goals here, but it also makes it more interesting. Some of them actually make the game significantly harder too, so it’s not all about getting an edge either! I’ve got over 100 mods active in this play-through, which I’ll have a list of available later on. Some of the major ones are Remote Tech (for more realistic probe and remote transmissions), Ferram Aerospace Research (FAR) for more accurate aerodynamics, Deadly Reentry (making reentry more realistically dangerous), and TAC Life Support (requiring every Kerbal to have a constant supply of Oxygen, Food, and Water, as well as other things or else… well… death). TAC Life Support, as of this post, is not compatible yet with the newest version of the game, so I’ll be supplementing it with USI Life Support in the meantime, which is a simpler, less difficult and less realistic version of Life Support challenges, but still adds something to pay attention to all the same.

Anyways, I’ve already played into this series about 18 videos worth, and I’m just getting around to editing them to catch the edits up to the current time in play-through… so I’m already pretty committed to this. One reason I did it this way was because I had a limited amount of time to play, and I took advantage of some time that I did have. Another good thing about this, is that I get to let all the mods catch up in compatibility and bug fixes while I edit and upload them… so by the time the edits and uploads actually catch up to recording, it should be a pretty smooth experience, with the exception of my bad engineering or piloting skills. I just have to edit videos and upload in-between my other projects and work. Leave me some comments down below if you have any input or advice on how we will achieve this goal, and be sure to stay tuned and follow along here at HotTips for more updates to this ongoing series.

For a preview at Kerbal Space Program 1.1, you can view the launch trailer for this version of the game below. Fun!

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