TheIndieJar: Kerbal Space Program Preview
In the beginning there was Kerbin – a small blue and green planet orbiting a yellow star. The Kerbals that inhabited it decided that it was a good idea to leave the sphere of their home and travel into the void, exploring the mysterious baubles that float around the sun with them, thus the Kerbal Space Program was born.
Unfortunately the Kerbals are neither smart nor geared towards building spaceships, so you have to do it all for them. They are more akin to Lemmings in my mind – brave, willing to die and, most importantly, green. They seem to be very useful as test pilots because you send three up with each attempt. As of beta 0.15 you can create both a rocket and a space plane; the planes are much harder to make because you have to get into orbit from a runway. The rockets can go into space quite easily but maintaining an orbit is a different matter.
Everything from the weight of your craft to the launch trajectory makes the difference between being suspended in space or crashing on the concrete. The look of the game suggests fun and larks, which is exactly what you get, but underneath that is a layer of more advanced mechanics. It includes a realistic physics-based flight engine, allows you to make very precise plans and corrections in space, and build a plane to your specifications to fly it round the world!
The beta is a sandbox where you can build whatever you want with all of the parts available to you. I’ve managed to spend several hours trying to make various models of rocket to work. Eventually I ended up with two functional models that were powerful and reinforced enough to make it out of the atmosphere. At this point I just went crazy, sending rocket after rocket until the map of Kerbin was hoola-hooped by all of my (successful) missions. Next up was the moon, which resulted in a few Kerbals being flung off into the void. Currently I have a ship orbiting the moon but haven’t been able to land without catastrophic explosions.
Planned features include doing missions for more money, and being able to create your own missions; that may mean putting satellites or space stations into orbit, or landing on another planet. Currently there is the Sun, Kerbin and it’s two moons; Mun and Minmus. By the time the full release is out, the entire solar system will have been created including giant planets with lots of moons and an asteroid belt! You can fly to all of them and eventually make bases and satellites for them too. Organising your space program by training your astronauts and researching better parts will be a big part of the fun when it is all complete.
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