After what seems a long time I start the Kerbal Space Program. Thanks to my blog notes, I quickly am up to date, but also overwhelmed. There are 15 missions to be fulfilled, about a dozen vessels en route, the to-do list on Kerbal Alarm Clock beckons. I check the Vehicle Assemby Building (VAB) for the newly designed parts which were introduced with the latest patch 1.05. Damn, the new Mk1 Cockpit looks better than I thought. But, alas, it thouroughly replace the old, equally nice design, even on my saved files. Also, some parts got modified and need refitting; especially the parts, which I used to place landing gear on, have a new form.
Then, the setback: Almost
all of my designs have become invalid! Checking back with the Science Building
makes things clearer: A certain delta wing got placed to tech nodes higher,
which I do not have access to. Same applies for the Whiplash jetstream engine.
This means that my entire supply structure, my spaceplanes which bring fuel and
cargo into orbit, is down. Back to rocketbuilding, I guess.
As usual, when I enter a
mid-game after a long time of absence, my motivation to continue it quickly
drops. Things are simply not present anymore, and I suffer from the complexity
I have created myself. I am also surprised to realize that my blog entries do
not help me to get back in. On the contrary, it feels wrong to continue with
invalid ship designs floating everywhere. Granted, I could have just deleted
all and start with my current science and wealth, but this feels more like
invalidating past efforts and those good memories. A fresh start is in order,
which has also the advantage that I can experience the game with the new
low-level parts, most notably new small jet engines and a new Mk1-crew cabin
for two passengers.
New Career Game, moderate
- a fresh start
Yes, the mission offering
structure has been definitely improved. Also, having now started two career
games already, I run them much more efficent and smoother, knowing exactly how
and where to reap science on the way.
However, the atmospheric
model has also changed again. I realise this when my Mk1-pods when dropping
from the sky frequently just don´t slow down enough in order to safely deply
parachutes. Not sure if it is properly simulated to have a Mk1-pod plus a
Junior Lab hit the surface with supersonic speed, just from the acceleration of
its own weight from great heights?
- old pilots truth: up is easier than down
Once I try my first
aerobraking through the atmosphere, going down to the 45km, which I still knew
from my last game, the entire ship explodes with the cockpit, pilot and
scientist on board. Thoughtless I had invalidated the reverse-flight option and
not done any quicksave. With 2 of 3 kerbonauts dead and very little money left,
this career game is doomed after one game session. Besides, no way that I
continue without the iconic Jebediah, my chief pilot kerbonaut!
New Career Game, moderate
As it turns out, hitting observation
points above certain altitudes is not possible with the new Wheesley jet
engine. Maximum height is about 5 km. The next powerful version fails at about
10 km. Also annoying is the constant trial and error approach with rockets, as
I have no idea how deltaV and drag interact, each time in a different way for
each new rocket.
- environmental effects mod makes it more immersive
So, surprisingly, I come to
like those tourist contracts. Mostly thanks to the new Mk1-passenger module,
which is very early available, I can ferry them very efficiently into suborbit.
The only problem which remained is the very high re-entry speed, too high for
parachutes. Airbrakes would be nice, but they are locked much higher in the
tech tree. This is the point where I remember the Orbiter approach, i.e. glide
back in like the Space Shuttle did. What can I say, it works fabulous. A pair
of wings not for flying but to slow down the fall until the parachutes get
This idea at the same time
marks the beginning of my “Starglider” series, which finally leads to a very
cheap single-stage-to-orbit plane/rocket hybrid.
- this one marks the beginning of a new concept
In my previous career game,
I had funnelled all research towards the construction of space planes, because
jet engines are a very fuel efficient means to gain altitude, thus allowing for
very good payloads in form of fuel, satellites and even whole spaceships. Since
the changes in the tech tree in version 1.05, the according technology has even
higher science point requirements, which makes it impossible to achieve a
spaceplane logistic in an early to midgame stage. In come my hybrid rocket
Before unlocking more tech
or going to Mun, all tourist contracts remain on demanding suborbital or
orbital flights. The Starglider offers this for up to four passengers and the
trip costs overall only about 8,000 Credits. After some time in the tourist
business, one might also be tempted to already call it grinding, my account is
well filled with about 300,000 Credits. This strategy is similar to what I did
in the career game before. Later contracts will cost much more time to fulfil,
so this phase in the game is the best cash earner, if you can stand the grind.
- matured model
I guess, after three game
sessions, I am back in the Kerbal Space business.
- smooth touchdown