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About KSK

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  1. This is a good point. @Spaceception - I don't wish to disparage you in any way - seeking feedback is absolutely the way to improve and asking relative strangers to critique your work takes courage. It's also true (or so I've heard) that getting the opening paragraph of a book right is a fine art and an essential one to master if you plan to be published. However, with that said: Depending on typesetting, an average paperback will have around 3,500 - 4,000 words per page. 250 words is therefore a fairly small section of a single page of a novel. As @CSE pointed out, the structure and pace will become more obvious - and easier to give feedback on - once there's a bit more to read. What I said about opening paragraphs notwithstanding, don't worry too much about getting it perfect at this stage. If you're anything like me (which you may not be), your writing style will almost certainly evolve as you go on. You could spend an awful lot of time getting the first 250 words just so, only to then find that they don't really match up with the rest of your novel anyway. As the saying goes 'perfect is the enemy of good'. Get that first draft finished, learn as you go, and then once you've got the whole picture in front of you, so to speak, go back and revise everything. Fix any continuity errors, close those plot loopholes and make your (now much evolved) style consistent across the whole novel. Goodness knows that First Flight could use a hefty dose of that - my style was all over the place to start with. Which I'm not going to beat myself up about - apart from one short story many years ago, the last time I did any sort of creative writing was back in school. So no surprise that it took my writing a while to settle down. Edit - stupid auto merge. This next bit was intended to be a separate post and not aimed at @Spaceception. That last post got me thinking a bit about writing and feedback. So these are some general thoughts to everyone on this thread. They may be wrong, they may be misleading or just too personal to me, and they might not even be that helpful. If the more experienced writers and literary types here could chip in with their thoughts too, that would be wonderful. I can only go on personal experience here but my advice on writing after four years of doing it as a hobby would be: 1. Write, write, write. Get into the habit of sitting down and churning out those words. It gives you the raw material to work with, lets you figure out how much you really enjoy this writing game anyway and that discipline and habit of simply bashing out words is very helpful when the story isn't going as well as you'd like. 2. Take feedback on board but don't write your story by committee. Only you know how the story is going to go and even the most well meaning of comments or suggestions might be wildly off-target. 3. Once you've gotten the writing habit, that's the time to pick up a 'how to' book or two. By now you'll be developing your own style and you'll have written enough to put any book advice into context. Diving into a 'how to' book to early runs the risk of simply being overwhelming and giving you too much to think about. Again - perfect is the enemy of good. 4. Personally I chose 'On Writing' by Stephen King. Your opinion of King's stories will no doubt be different to mine but in general I find his writing style to be fairly uncomplicated and easy to read, which seemed like a good place to start. I found that he had a lot of good, straightforward tips to offer in a relatively short and digestible package (unlike some of his novels. ) Your mileage will of course, vary.
  2. Like a true taiga child. She was born, born to be wild... What a superb way to kick off the day. And just so you know - I have a Best of Steppenwolf CD beside me, ready for the drive to work this morning! More comments to come later but whilst we're on the subject of soundtracks, I always liked this one. To be played from orbit just as Kerbol crests the horizon - I'm sure Ivan could figure out the timing. Whether your ship is piloted by a sentient AI or a crazy junkyard owner who finally made it to space... One dream. One soul. One prize. One goal. One golden glance - of what should be. It's a kind of magic... One shaft of light. That shows the way. No mortal kerb can win this day. It's a kind of magic... The bell that rings inside your mind. Is challenging the doors of time. It's a kind of magic... The waiting seems eternity.... The day will dawn. On sanity. Is this a kind of magic? It's a kind of magic!
  3. No apology required and you didn't upset me. I disagreed with your views but they certainly didn't offend me. Assuming that your views are correct though (I don't think they are but I don't suppose we'll ever prove that either way), I do have a question - and it's a genuine one because I have no idea what the answer is. How many gamers go for your Barn-KSP-with-99%-gratuitous- explosions because that's what they honestly prefer to do? Playing around with enormous quirky rockets and watching Jeb laugh his head off as they fly apart around him. And how many gamers simply get stuck with the comedy exploding rockets - they find KSP too hard and aren't so invested in it that they want to spend the time digging around on the internet for all the tips, how-to videos and mods that open up the rest of the game for them? If it's the former, then yeah, regardless of what the more serious minded players might think, KSP is probably about right as it is, or at least there's not such an incentive for Squad to change the core gameplay much. If it's the latter, then I think it's a real shame that a handful of Barn-KSP design decisions are blocking players from experiencing all that KSP has to offer, especially when I don't think it would take a great deal to remove some of those blocks. I've said it before and I'll happily say it again - the Map Screen is a fantastic bit of game design - it's a pity that those same design principles aren't applied elsewhere in the game. After all - unless KSP takes a really violent swerve over to the NASA-KSP side, then quirky rockets are always going to be there for those that want them. Interesting - thanks for the clarification. Another genuine question then - I've seen arguments that Kerbal-edu has a delta-V calculator so why not just use that? Aside from gameplay decisions, are there practical reasons why that wouldn't work either?
  4. That would be fun! You're absolutely right though - it's bizarre that the stock game gives us a delta-V meter when we're executing burns, gives us a Map screen that shows us how much delta-V various maneuvers require - but adamantly refuses to tell us how much delta-v we have left after the maneuver. Accepting the argument that making a fully fledged all-singing, all-dancing delta-V meter that can cope with whatever amateurishly whimsical craft the playerbase can throw at it, is too hard, how about just having one that pops up once you reach orbit? Launch vehicles tend to be complex beasts, space vehicles far less so.
  5. Not sure where to start here. The assertion that amateurish whimsy, trial and error and garden shed contraptions make a 'game for gamers' is a sweeping generalisation and a patronising one to boot. On the other hand it clearly marks me as not being a gamer, which I'm not going to lose any sleep over. Then the implication that all that whimsy and trial and error equates to a Barn-KSP, which is therefore more accessible and cheap-thrillsy is, I think flat out wrong. Finally the statement that 'real fans' (which should be a red warning light in any discussion) prefer a NASA-lite KSP manages to be vague (what is NASA-lite?), patronising (implying that you're not a 'real fan' unless you prefer NASA-lite) and insulting. (gamers can't be 'real fans' since Barn-KSP - with attendant cheap-thrills - is for gamers and only NASA-lite KSP is for 'real fans') in a single sentence. Time for my own sweeping assertion then. Trial and error is tedious, a waste of gamers' ('real gamers' or otherwise) time, symptomatic of poor game design, and has no place outside of 5 minute Flash games. Directed trial and error on the other hand is absolutely fine and strikes a happy medium between trial and error and calculated perfection. I might not care about calculating the precise delta-V for a Munshot down to the last metre per second before I let my professionally specified, precision engineered rocket anywhere near the launch pad. However, if my last flight ended in an unplanned crater because I ran out of fuel 2km above the Mun then I'd really quite like to have some in-game way of telling that the good ship Whimsical Trial and Error Mk2 is an actual improvement over the previous version, that might get me a bit closer to my eventual goal of getting to the Mun and back. If KSP did a better job of directed trial and error it would do a perfectly fine job of both taking less commitment and providing increased player rewards. 99% gratuitous explosions are not required or desired.
  6. I'm definitely not the first person to point this out but if you stop thinking of 'fun' and 'realism' as points along the same axis then the problem goes away.. Draw a pair of orthogonal axes, have one going from 'not fun' (-x) to 'fun' (+x) and the second going from 'realistic' (+y) to 'unrealistic' (-y) and you've got a quadrant for each of those categories. Personally, I agree with @Pthigrivi - I like the idea that your kerbals are pioneers, talented, driven amateurs starting a space program from scratch on a shoestring budget and making the best use of what they have. I see the 'lying by the side of the road' meme as an excusable exaggeration of that. However, the key word there is starting. I find the extension of that meme all the way through the tech tree (which is what we've got at the moment) tiresome. What starts out as being humorous and light hearted just gets tedious at the end of the tech tree. We've progressed from basic, somewhat cobbled-together rockets to gigantic SLS sized parts, nuclear engines, near future aerospace parts and fully functional ISRU gear - those jokes about parts out of warranty and engineers cutting themselves on cutting edge parts start to get more than a bit lame. With that said, there's no reason why the endgame can't be humorous and light hearted too - it's just that the humour can (and, in my opinion, should) be found somewhere other than the part descriptions. Check out @purpleivan's work here as an excellent example. His kerbals are plenty goofy, going to the Moon for fun and giggles, much to the bemusement of certain observers. For the most part though, the humour doesn't rely at all on junkyard spacecraft.
  7. I see what you did there. Agree that Spielberg would be a good choice. Or how about Ron Howard? He made a good job of Apollo 13.
  8. *blinks* I'd love to see the premise for that crossover. And actually, I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible in principle. A Song of Ice and Fire is certainly violent but (as I recall) quite a lot of the violence is fairly cursory and not lingered on. Strategic use of 'off camera' material as suggested by @Ten Key and I see no reason why it wouldn't be forum acceptable. @czokletmuss's work for example didn't raise any moderator eyebrows despite a distinctly Game of Thrones body count. Actually, a bigger problem might be toning down that body count a bit for artistic reasons. A Song of Ice and Fire has long since passed the point where the deaths have any impact in my opinion. Borrowing from @Ten Key and @Ehco Corrallo's comments, there's almost no duality or contrast any more. When you know any given character is likely to die, it takes out all the narrative tension and also makes it rather difficult to care about them.
  9. It's a good question but in my opinion - no. Not unless you want to take out all the impact that fight or death is likely to have on your readers. Having said that I agree with @Kuzzter - situations where a warning might be appropriate are probably best left off the KSP forums. That would include (in my opinion) situations where violence is mixed with other adult themes, drawn out, lingering descriptions of gore, torture, or characters being otherwise gratuitously and gruesomely unpleasant to one another. Death per se though - I'd be upset if that was considered off-limits here.
  10. I have a friend that completes it most years. It's a good way of getting words onto paper if that's how you roll and I gather that's mostly the point - its an exercise to get you into the discipline of sitting down and cranking out the words. Quality is mostly either optional or presumably (if your 50k words are halfway promising) - left to the editing stage. I've never participated directly but I've spent a few 'writing dates' with said friend during the last few NaNoWriMos whilst I've been working on First Flight. That's 'date' in strictly inverted commas I might add, with my dear wife well aware.
  11. In Ussari Union, monkeys butt you? Da - it causes much unfortunate bruising. But we do not speak of this.
  12. Not a problem - the hull sealant is the edible stuff right?
  13. Hey folks, No new chapter to post I'm afraid but I thought a quick update was in order after the last, somewhat pessimistic, post a couple of weeks back. Anyhow, things are moving again. Words are being set down and some of them even make sense on a second reading. This chapter is coming together in chunks and the chunks aren't necessarily being written in chronological order, so some sanding and polishing will probably be required to fit them all together. But - be fitted together they will!
  14. Ahh, those loveable scamps at the Leyland-Wutani propellants division. Putting the 'ex' into 'experimental' since the company was founded! Mind you, I couldn't help laughing (and boggling) at the unspecified 'nasty stuff' in the stasis pods after the previous litany of high energy chemistry. Oh - and you nailed IVAN's speech patterns. Couldn't help but read his(?) lines in Douglas Rain's voice!
  15. Here you go. There's a section on bipod redesign photos. Pretty sure another 5-10 minutes of Googling (other search engines are available) would find you more if you need them.