What is KSP: First Contract?
This is a new update to Kerbal Space Program, also numbered 0.24, as each update to the game has a number attached to it. It is free for existing players and new players will install this version when they download the game.
When is it coming out?
We're crunching the last few issues as we speak. It's been a game of whack a bug that we're just about ready to win.
What are the main features of KSP: First Contract?
The biggest update to KSP is the inclusion of Contracts to Career Mode. Players will choose available contracts in Mission Control, earning three in-game resources:
- Funds: Kerbin’s very own currency.
- Science: This was already in-game, and it is how you unlock new parts in the game’s tech tree.
- Reputation: Just like on Earth, companies that stay on budget, on time and avoid any um, complications, will see their reputation grow. This means better, more rewarding contracts. Fail to complete your contracts, miss deadlines or lose Kerbalnauts and your reputation will suffer.
What are the smaller features of KSP: First Contract?
We don’t like to think of there being small features, especially when new UI (user interface), rocket parts, updated parts and update Tech Tree are among them. Read more HERE.
What bugs were fixed in KSP: First Contract?
Ted: One of the big bugs of 0.23.5, the size 3 decoupler causing crashes or StackOverflowExceptions is fixed in 0.24. As well as asteroids being tweaked so that they collide into each other. We’ve had a vast number of other bug fixes on the way, such as stack separators being able to be root parts and thus causing krakens. There are too many to list, unfortunately, but hopefully you’ll notice that your ‘favorite’ bug is squashed.
HarvesteR: During these experimentals, we’ve been finding new and old bugs and fixing them as usual, but we really have fixed a larger-than-average number of very old bugs this time. I think this is partly because the Contracts system led us to work on areas of the game that hadn’t been looked at in a while, and possibly because we are nearing some stage of development where things are starting to come around full circle. We’ve caught bugs with parts, with Kerbals, with fuel flow - some were as old as 0.14 in fact.
Why did this update take so long to develop?
Like several other features in the past, we’ve been working on the Contracts system in the background for several months already. In fact, We’ve started work on Contracts early this year. However, there is a big difference between a functioning game system and a fun gameplay mechanic. This is why we needed to take our time on this one, to make sure the contracts were not just working, but were also a fun addition to gameplay. That plus the extra time needed to polish and bugfix added up to a pretty massive update, indeed. We’re very happy with the results we’ve achieved now and everyone who’s worked on the update or tested it agrees it was time well spent.
What did testing involve?
This time around, we were not just hunting for bugs, we were also listening to every bit of feedback from the testers about game balance, which is something that you can only improve by playtesting, and required a lot of careful adjustments of hundreds of values. We’ve already tweaked parameters on over a hundred parts, if we're not mistaken, correcting inconsistencies and making sure their values make sense for what they are. We’ve also had to do multiple iterations for balancing the rewards (and penalties) of the contracts themselves, to make sure they reward you consistent amounts for what they’re asking.
Will the update break my saves?
Ted: I’ve tested 0.23.5 saves here and they’ve upgraded fine. However, please do note that they were stock saves, modded saves might behave differently. Furthermore, because of the way contracts are implemented, they’re appropriately generated for an existing save so the upgrade should be seamless.
Harv: Keep in mind, however, that due to a small bug in the progress tracking system in 0.23.5, it’s possible that some contract offers on those saves may not reflect your actual progression (offers being more advanced than your achievements would warrant). This has been fixed on 0.24 and should not happen on new saves. It should only be noticeable on saves where very little progress has been made (as in not even reaching orbit).
How will budgets and contracts work?
Players will be budgeted based on their funds so they’ll need to take contracts with missions they can afford to accomplish. Contracts will have varying deadlines but all of them will be offering a chance to acquire Funds, Science and Reputation. On accepting, many contracts also give you a Funds advance, which should come in handy if you’re running so low on funds you can’t afford even to launch the next mission.
Are contracts available outside of career mode?
No, Contracts are a keystone feature of Career, and it wouldn’t be Sandbox mode if you had to do contracts there.
Will “classic” (0.23-style) career mode be an option?
Yes. This was something we managed to get into the update at the very last minute, but we felt it was essential to still allow the game to be played in the way people have gotten to know it. When starting a new game now, you’ll see three game modes: Sandbox and Career, which we already know, and ‘Science’, which has the Contracts, Funding and Reputation modules disabled, so only Science is active. This makes the game function in a 0.23-style mode.
What is the name of the money currency?
Funds. We’ve gone over many, many ideas for what to call them, but nobody wanted another ‘K’ name, and all the suggestions were, well, not good. One of the QA Testers came up with the fan theory that they’re called Roots (given the symbol). That one was actually not that bad, but they’re really just called Funds.
Who are these companies giving out contracts?
The biggest names in part production in Kerbin as well as civil societies and scientific organizations.
Will contracts and science interact?
You can receive science rewards for completing some of the contracts. Gathering more science won’t directly change the contracts offered, though unlocking new parts with the science will. Some other contracts will even ask you to perform experiments, so you can even get science while completing contracts sometimes.
How is reputation earned/lost?
You can earn Reputation by completing contracts and recovering Kerbals. You lose it by failing contracts and killing your Kerbals.
What happens if I run out of money?
The best "ekonomists" (rimshot here) in Kerbin have claimed that it’s technically impossible to run out of money, though I’m sure people will still manage it. As you are given advances for contracts and you are constantly offered new contracts, you should be pretty safe.
What happens if I choose not to take a contract?
The contract will simply expire after a certain amount of time and you will be offered a new one after some time.
Are there refunds?
No refunds! All sales are final, especially at Jeb’s Junkyard and Spaceship Parts.
Do contracts expire?
They do indeed. Note that you have two ‘expiration dates’ for contracts. The first is the actual date which is when the offered contract expires. The second is the deadline, which is when the contract must be completed by.
Can the manufacturer logos be modded and customized?
You can edit a config file for the Agencies that allows you to customize the mentality of the Agency and the logo that it uses.
Are Contracts moddable?
Yes. it actually went through several rewrites to make sure it was fully moddable and that any ideas were possible within the system. You can add new contract types and create lots of interesting interactions.
What else is moddable?
You can add new agents and new mentality types, new parameters (objectives) for contracts, relationships between agents, company backstories and more. You can even add in your own logos As usual, we want to give you as much creative freedom as possible.
What types of contracts are there?
There are five types of contacts, after you get through the initial series of contracts.
How many times can a contract be taken?
Technically, only once, since each contract is uniquely generated. However, the game will continuously generate new offers, and with the exception of very basic contracts like ‘first launch’ and such, most other contract types will be offered again and again in some form or another.
Does it cost funds to recruit and train Kerbals?
Currently, Kerbals don’t cost any Funds to recruit or train. This is a planned feature for an upcoming release however.
Can we spend reputation on anything?
Not yet. Reputation does affect the difficulty and amount of contracts that you may be offered, though. On later updates, we do have plans to make currencies interchangeable for one another, at varying degrees of efficiency (depending on your economic situation).
If I stage a part on ascent, can I recover the Funds for it if I attach parachutes?
Unfortunately, you can’t currently recover Funds from debris that were destroyed by the game for going out of the active physics range (>2.5km). You can only recover parts which are attached to the vessel you’re recovering, so reusable spacecraft are a very attractive prospect, for the same reasons as in real life. The more parts you can land back, the less you have to spend to re-launch.
Also keep in mind that the farther away you land from KSC, the less Funds you’ll get back from your recovery efforts. Stick a runway landing though, and you’ll get a full 100% of the value back of all surviving parts.
Can you lose anything from killing Kerbals?
You will lose Reputation for killing Kerbals, although new applicants are still as eager as ever to participate in the Space Program.
Will the mission control building be accessible in sandbox mode, or will it be locked like the R&D facility?
Just like R&D, it’s closed in sandbox mode.
What will the new parts do?
There are a couple new parts added to this version : “O-10 Monopropellant Engine” and the “Vernor Engine”. The first one is a small single-nozzle motor that consumes monopropellant but responds to the main throttle input instead of RCS. The second one is also a small engine, it responds to RCS input but it consumes liquid fuel plus oxy. They are very useful for stabilization purposes, more control authority on heavy launchers, and simpler propulsion systems for small vessels in deep space.
What are the new tutorials and how are they different from the old ones?
All of the older tutorials are still there, but most have been revised, for example, the Mun Part 1 tutorial now includes a crash course on Maneuver Nodes, the flight tutorial now walks you through a simple flight and the recovery mechanic. There are a few new tutorials, To The Mun Part 2 now actually exists, it explains how to get from the Mun back to Kerbin, a tutorial that explains the basics of science is also there, and there’s also a new two part tutorial on asteroid redirecting.
Will fuel and oxidizer have their own costs independently of the parts which use them?
Each Resource has its own cost in Funds, which means you can decrease the amount you're spending on a vessel by using Tweakables to lower the resources you’re carrying.
Is it true that KSP: First Contract is in 64 bit for Windows?
It is true!
What does 64 bit do?
Ted: The 64-bit build allows the game to address more memory that it previously could. Now, you can load up more add-ons than you could before and (hopefully) KSP should stay stable.
HarvesteR: Please mind that the Win64 executable does have bugs of its own, and platform-specific bugs are for the most part, Unity bugs, not KSP bugs. That means every unity game probably also has this bug, and it means that we can do very little about it from our end, other than wait for a fix on the next unity version. We’ve tested the Win64 version quite thoroughly though, and the issues we’ve found are very minor and not commonly reproduced.
If I already own the game, what do I need to play the 64 bit version?
Ted:You need a 64-bit Windows machine, that has 4GB or over of RAM (otherwise, there’s little use in running the 64-bit version). You’ll also need a dash of perseverance as the 64-bit build can still be a bit grumpy when it comes to some issues. If you’re on Steam, the win64 executable will be downloaded alongside the win32 one automatically.
Samssonart: One more thing here, if you want to use the 64 bit version for the KSP Store distribution, you will have to download and install it manually, the patcher doesn’t support “cross-updating”, you can backup your saves and use them in the 64 bit version though, that much shouldn’t be a problem.
Why was 64 bit implemented only after the hack was discovered by the community?
Ted: We often have a lot in plan for KSP, but get our priorities on the ‘fringe features’ from what the Community is currently interested or vested in. So when the Community is very interested in something like 64-bit builds, that allows us to take a look at what we have in plan and see what can be moved around to accommodate the new interest.
Harv: The fact that there was so much interest in a win64 version of the game that a community hack was invented led us to reconsider the priority for a win64 version. It was planned, like Ted said, but not scheduled until later. The community hack showed us that the demand for it was much higher than we thought, so we set aside some time to rig up the build pipeline to produce win64 builds for this release already.
What’s next for KSP and when might 0.25 be released?
As usual, the next release will be out whenever it’s ready. For the most part, though, we plan on continuing to improve on the recently added Career Features, add the still-pending bits to make Career gameplay more complete, and we’re also working on a few other things, which we’ll talk about later.