RevRico SuperDork
3/2/17 5:02 p.m.

I've seen a few people mentioning it in threads, and went back a couple years in Simulation Central and didn't see a thread for it, so I thought I'd start one.

I'm kicking myself for not buying this during the xbox xmas sale, but I recently got it for my computer.

It's... interesting. I'm sure if I spent some time watching tutorial videos on youtube it would be better/easier, but it's interesting for sure.

I still haven't gotten out of sandbox mode. Gave up during the tutorials, in part because according to steam forums the ones I couldn't do were bugged, and in part because frustration of trying to get into orbit.

I have tried the horizontal takeoff from the runway builds, and wind up with highspeed fireballs every time. But I do think I'm getting a handle on the vertical takeoff area. I can build, launch, and return without killing everyone involved maybe half the time. The learning curve for leaving atmosphere is daunting and a bit confusing. Once I get to space, 100KM or so up, the liquid engines are gone, and my solid boosters have usually detached, so going further like to Mun or Sun or Minmus is.... lost on me.

Still running it vanilla, no mods or addons. I understand MechJeb will help a lot with docking and entering/exiting orbits, but I'm not ready to commit to modding the game until I'm better at it.

So, what have you built? How do you find the learning curve? What mods are you running?

aircooled MegaDork
3/2/17 9:52 p.m.

I run it without mods. I have gotten to as far as putting probes on "mars". I really haven't played much lately since it can be a bit of a time drag as the challenges get harder.

Orbital docking I have to say is quite a challenge, but you really shouldn't have that much trouble getting into orbit. Orbit takes about 90% of what it takes to get anywhere else, so it's an essential step. If you don't know, the energy turn is essential. You can look up a tutorial, but I think the energy turn (tilt 45 degrees) is done at 100,000. You also don't want to get too fast, low in the atmosphere. You will see shockwaves when you get too fast. Those two tips should get most rockets to orbital speed.

One in space, the atomic engines are your friend. Not a lot of thrust (which you don't need in space), but great fuel economy. Oh, and if you want to get heavy rockets up without throwing cubic rockets at the problem (which you can't afford in the non-sandbox), look up asparagus staging. A creative design that I believe the big SpaceX rocket will use in a smaller way (it's essentially making sure the main rockets full of fuel when the boosters drop off)..

Look for Scott Manley videos on YouTube. He has some very good materials.

You do want to get Minimus or Mun. It's quite fun messing around there, and uses VERY little fuel once you get out of Kerbal orbit.

I have a lot of issues with planes also. The balance, more specifically center of lift, just seems really wacky.

P.S. you will need to learn about the Hohmann Transfer if you want to do any orbital work.

Rufledt UberDork
3/2/17 10:07 p.m.

I've played it way more than I would like to admit. Generally my procedure for achieving low-kerbin-orbit (assuming the rocket is capable) is to launch, keep speeds around or just below 200m/s and go straight up until you are close to 10k above the surface, then start tilting east gently and turning up the throttle if you haven't already. Keep the apoapsis around 100km above the surface. Map view helps here with the nav ball open. If it's getting too high, tilt more and build horizontal speed. If apoapsis isn't up to 100k, don't tilt more. Make sure to tilt gradually, getting the nose pointing too far off from your direction of travel will waste fuel and can make the rocket flip around. When apoapsis is 100k and you are traveling somewhat horizontal (like suborbital but you are still going to crest at 100k, cut engines and wait. When apoapsis is down to 30 seconds away, point fully east and gun it. When periapsis (lowest point of orbit) goes above 70km, you are in orbit.

To make it "square", like to make it a circular orbit, you can adjust at the apoapsis and periapsis points. Burning at the apoapsis will effect the periapsis and vice versa. Going faster at apo will raise peri, going slower (pointing the rocket backwards at apoapsis to slow you down will lower periapsis. Doing that you can raise or lower the 2 points until they are about the same altitude.

Reentry is an extension of that, burn slower until your periapsis is below 70km, something like 35km. Do not try to lower it to the ground, you will be going too fast at too low of an altitude and you will burn up. Let the atmosphere slow you down gently. If you start going back up, don't worry, you'll go back down the next orbit and you'll be fine.

For mods I would recommend Kerbal engineer. DeltaV is very important to know and understand when designing a rocket.

jv8 Reader
3/10/17 12:42 p.m.

I will second Kerbal engineer. It is very useful to know the DeltaV and thrust-to-weight of each stage. You can detect problems when assembling parts and it saves you all the failed launch attempts.

Without mods I made it to a Minmus landing+return (easier than Mun because of lower gravity). I think I even did an orbital rendezvous to rescue Kerbals - but it was painful. I stopped for a while because it was starting to feel like work.

But then I installed Kerbal Engineer and MechJeb. These tools take all the tedious pain out of the game and really make it enjoyable. It's still very much a challenge to design and fly things like a Duna lander or whatever - but many of the routine things can be automated. The planning/automation help is just imperfect enough that you have to monitor it and jump in and override once in a while. It definitely doesn't fly for you... but it does put more emphasis on rocket design and mission planning - less on flight execution & exact timing.

I went back and played through career mode and unlocked the entire tech tree. Looking back I think science mode might be a good way to learn the game. You don't worry about money but you have limited tech and need to learn what each thing does. You don't get overwhelmed by the choices in sandbox mode.

Stick with it... once you get over the learning curve it is an awesome game! One of my all-time favorites. As a plus you learn a ton and have a completely different perspective when you read about actual missions like New Horizons flying past Pluto.

RevRico UltraDork
1/21/18 10:55 p.m.

After an extended absence thanks to licensing problems and handling bugs, Kerbal Space Program was recently reintroduced to the Xbox store. So I finally got my hands on a copy, still thinking using a controller would be easier than mouse and keyboard. 

I've got maybe 15 hours into it so far, and have finally, successfully gotten a Kerbin into orbit, the problem is he is stuck there. I'm in science mode, so it's not a huge deal, but there is a lot of research on that ship I want. 

Option 1: get out and push. Seriously, EVA, push until out of fuel, board, repeat until on an inbound orbit. Eww. 

Option 2: attempt a rendezvous wth another ship, either push it into orbit or recover the Kerbin. 

Option 3: Get some communications satellites into a similar orbit and try to relay the data back home. 

I picked option 3, and can't stop spinning out around 5000m up trying to send up an unmanned satellite. But I will persist, and eventually I'll get one up there. 


I have to say, I haven't had this much fun failing(repeatedly) at something in a long time. Hopefully they'll add mod support, it would be nice to have MechJeb or some sort of flight plan programming option. 

jv8 Reader
1/29/18 3:26 p.m.

Option 2 is pretty hard.  I'd rendezvous with Minmus or Mun first - it's easier to rendezvous with something that pulls you in with gravity.

I will have to try KSP on my PS4.  There are so many controls... I can't imagine how it works on a console.  Also there is precise part placement... it's basically a CAD tool for rocket design.  I think it works pretty well on PC keyboard+mouse.  Plus mods fix the annoying parts.

On the other hand I'd rather game on couch + big screen.  KSP is my only active PC game... which hasn't been that active lately.



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