SQUAD

KSP Weekly: Refactoring Kerbal

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Short preview of this week's KSP Weekly:

Localization QA is going well, release is on schedule, yada-yada-yada, strut improvements, participate in the Kerbal Chronicles for a chance to win a prize, yada-yada-yada, console testing is going well, stay tuned for more news coming soon! 

This has been your preview of this week's KSP Weekly! :P 

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3 hours ago, Redneck said:

oh there is plenty more room to grow and develop ksp. Where squad is concerned though money seems to be at the top of the list of priorities. You can say what you will but since harvester left loose ends were tied up and ksp has been on a downward trend in all areas since. There was hope then the devs left and here we are. 

I'll clarify my position: A talented team could spend a lot (years) of time and a lot of money working with what already exists while limited by Unity and its physics engine and expand KSP. That is well within the realm of possibility. However, I think it would be far more effective and productive for that team to take what was learned from the creation, implementation, reception, and growth of KSP and its mods and start a new project from stronger foundation. Hopefully the profits of KSP would be enough to fund such a project.

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17 hours ago, Mako said:

The idea of a new project built from the ground up on a more capable (or even custom designed) engine by team of experienced devs using KSP as a proof of concept holds a great amount of appeal to me, and it seems to others as well.

Hmm, sounds like a cookie-cutter approach. KSP worked out awesome because it was so off-the-wall, not despite it. It takes a certain amount of magic to make a game like KSP successful, and I doubt that can be bottled.

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37 minutes ago, The_Rocketeer said:

Hmm, sounds like a cookie-cutter approach. KSP worked out awesome because it was so off-the-wall, not despite it. It takes a certain amount of magic to make a game like KSP successful, and I doubt that can be bottled.

I'm not saying someone should start churning out KSP clones left and right. I'm saying that a second KSP built from the ground up on a better foundation while learning from the creation of the original sounds very appealing. There are definite limits to what can be achieved with the current code base. Unity was a good choice given the circumstances at the time. I believe there are better options now available because KSP has been successful. I believe the magic you speak of comes from the Kerbals and the lighthearted nature the game puts forth. The rest is just programming.

In KSP's case, what made it successful was its approachable nature and its accomplishments despite the engine it was built on. I would love options like axial tilt, a solar system size that could be chosen for each new save, a building system other than the strict parent-child configuration. KSP works as it is. The concept would continue to work just as well if those improvements (and others) could be added. However, after coming as far as KSP has, I don't see any way for anything like my few suggestions to be implemented. I don't think it would be effective to try to wrestle significant changes into what currently exists.

The first time you create something is not likely to be the best version of that thing that you'll ever create. If I draw a picture of a horse for the first time, it won't be good because I'm a terrible artist. The second time I try to draw that horse I can look back at my first attempt and see what worked, what didn't, and try to improve on it. Maybe I bring better tools to the table (better paper, pencils, etc.) based on what I learned from my first experience. But I can tell you this: if I try to erase parts of my previous drawing and correct problems it certainly won't look as good as if I start fresh with what I've learned from my first attempt. The choices I made for the first drawing will be impossible to get away from entirely. And yet, that first drawing will have some magic to it because it was the first. It will not be my best or most impressive creation, but that doesn't change the fact that it was the start of something even bigger and better.

And as I said before: I don't see it happening, but it's certainly possible and it's certainly fun to dream.

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1 hour ago, The_Rocketeer said:

Hmm, sounds like a cookie-cutter approach. KSP worked out awesome because it was so off-the-wall, not despite it. It takes a certain amount of magic to make a game like KSP successful, and I doubt that can be bottled.

Well i mean look at minecraft for instance. How many spin-offs of that have you seen? It is a valid point. Who knows it could happen. I secretly have been looking myself from time to time for a alternative to ksp myself. I dont see this going anywhere any time soon

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Squad is evil because they work for money? So I suppose you guys donate your services? 

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13 minutes ago, Vanamonde said:

Squad is evil because they work for money? So I suppose you guys donate your services? 

Yes, but my work keeps donating money to me.  It's weird. 

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Posted (edited)

44 minutes ago, Vanamonde said:

Squad is evil because they work for money? So I suppose you guys donate your services? 

I know what you mean, but let me just say your words made me think this:

Squad is mostly unknown.

Sure, there are a few team members we know from the community, but all the new hires we only know through a short bio that was relayed to us upon their being hired. Also, the current team has yet to release an update. I'm not speculating that the upcoming release will be bad or anything like that. I just want to point out that we really don't know current Squad apart from the little information they've chosen to give us. I feel like even the current PR people are mostly unknown to us. Say what you will about Maxmaps or other past public facing representatives, but my feeling is that Squad was more approachable and more interactive with its community in the past. I'm not accusing Squad of anything, just sharing my perception (which may be biased because I mostly lurk, but I lurk a lot and what I've seen has affected my perception).

So when people say things like what I suspect motivated your comment, I think it's a symptom of the apprehension some of the community is feeling since we're waiting to find out more about this team (through their hard work [because I understand the hesitance to be too directly involved in the community even if I don't exactly agree with the choice]), more about the updates, and more about future plans for KSP. The teasing of announcements and secret projects that can't be discussed has not helped the feeling that the community really has very little information by which it can form an idea or opinion of Squad and the future of KSP. That's not doom and gloom, it's just facts. In some way it doesn't matter too much, because KSP already exists and is worth its price. The present of KSP is pretty darn good, so the future of it only matters because Squad keeps saying they're working on it...

...we just have no idea right now what that actually means...

Edited by Mako
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I don't think Squad is evil to work for money. In fact, I'm more than happy to shell out more $$ for a sequel or a DLC. Squad just has to hire the right people and decide to do what the community has been asking for. Not sure what the darn holdup is. Is this company going to turn it around or not?

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13 hours ago, Redneck said:

money seems to be at the top of the list of priorities.

I know. It's like they want to eat and live and support their families.

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2 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I know. It's like they want to eat and live and support their families.

Yet still there is a difference between SQUAD developing only features that are solely aimed at attracting new customers and SQUAD developing new features that attract new customers as well as features that make the game better for existing ones. Both cases are complete valid ways to do your business but you should not expect your existing customers to laud you for choosing the first way...

 

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8 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I know. It's like they want to eat and live and support their families.

I know you're joking about this, but this is exactly the behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud. Before you know it, these entitled types will tell you that frivolities like housing, clothing and shoes are considered "normal" in their hipster lifestyle and somehow they expect us to pay for their extravaganza.

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5 hours ago, cfds said:

Yet still there is a difference between SQUAD developing only features that are solely aimed at attracting new customers and SQUAD developing new features that attract new customers as well as features that make the game better for existing ones. Both cases are complete valid ways to do your business but you should not expect your existing customers to laud you for choosing the first way...

 

In which category do bug fixes and inclusive language options fall?

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Posted (edited)

16 hours ago, Mako said:

I'm not saying someone should start churning out KSP clones left and right. I'm saying that a second KSP built from the ground up on a better foundation while learning from the creation of the original sounds very appealing. There are definite limits to what can be achieved with the current code base. Unity was a good choice given the circumstances at the time. I believe there are better options now available because KSP has been successful. I believe the magic you speak of comes from the Kerbals and the lighthearted nature the game puts forth. The rest is just programming.

I don't think that's entirely fair. There's a lot of exceptional design in the core game - and programmers don't necessarily make good designers. Making something as complicated as orbital mechanics so visually intuitive and discoverable is no mean feat and those accessible orbital mechanics (plus the build-your-own-rocket system) are a big part of the magic - and they're also what drove all the popular press and rave reviews that KSP received.

With that said, I do agree with your basic premise. KSP has been struggling against Unity imposed limitations almost from the start. Rebuilding (or even just replicating) the current game on a better foundation would be appealing. Imagine the current Stock sandbox game running on an engine that allows for more detailed planetary surfaces and graphics in general without exacting such a performance hit. Imagine a game engine that allows something like Infernal Robotics to just work, without having to resort to workarounds to fit into the game engine.

It's incredible what players have managed to build (working clocks, working Rubic cubes, actual turboprop engines) within the confines of the current game. I'd love to see what they could do with a game engine that explicitly allows for separate moving parts in the same craft. It wouldn't kill the magic - it would make moar magic.

Edited by KSK

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10 hours ago, Vanamonde said:

Squad is evil because they work for money? So I suppose you guys donate your services? 

You and I do, Global Moderator, sir :wink: 

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10 hours ago, klgraham1013 said:

Yes, but my work keeps donating money to me.  It's weird. 

You run a holistic detective agency?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, 5thHorseman said:

In which category do bug fixes and inclusive language options fall?

Bugfixes are part of the contract of providing a "working product".

"Inclusive language options" (nice choice of words to brand everyone finding the localization efforts a rather questionable use of development resources as intolerant, btw) is pretty much purely "get into new markets" and such " solely aimed at attracting new customers".

Edited by cfds

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1 hour ago, cfds said:

Bugfixes are part of the contract of providing a "working product".

Your contract is actually with Deported B.V, and all terms are in the end user license agreement which you accepted when you purchased Kerbal Space Program.

No part of which guarantees a working product or updates in perpetuity, any updates beyond the 1.0 release are at Squads discretion, they will listen to feedback or ignore it also at their discretion and development can be ended at any time, there is no legal obligation to continue development regardless of the end users opinion of the products quality.

Yes, being a company based in the Netherlands means Deported B.V are subject to European laws on products and services, the laws you may be thinking of do not apply to software however.

Thankfully, Squad are committed to supporting Kerbal Space Program despite no legal requirement to do so, and are continuing to work on content, including localization which regardless of your opinion is much welcomed by the majority of other players, especially foreign players who see this as the positive move that it is.

Further off-topic posts claiming any 'contract' or 'working product' will be subject to moderator removal :)

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2 hours ago, cfds said:

"Inclusive language options" (nice choice of words to brand everyone finding the localization efforts a rather questionable use of development resources as intolerant, btw) is pretty much purely "get into new markets" and such " solely aimed at attracting new customers".

I was not trying to paint those wishing Squad work on things not language as intolerant, merely pointing out that being inclusive and scheming on how to milk the world of cash don't generally go hand in hand.

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Can you stay on topic please @5thHorseman.

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I appreciate that there is no legal or otherwise requirement for Squad to continue to work on KSP. However, I just wish you would work on stuff the players want, for which I suspect that the vast majority of us would happily throw money at you. 

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7 hours ago, KSK said:

I don't think that's entirely fair. There's a lot of exceptional design in the core game - and programmers don't necessarily make good designers. Making something as complicated as orbital mechanics so visually intuitive and discoverable is no mean feat and those accessible orbital mechanics (plus the build-your-own-rocket system) are a big part of the magic - and they're also what drove all the popular press and rave reviews that KSP received.

 I'd love to see what they could do with a game engine that explicitly allows for separate moving parts in the same craft. It wouldn't kill the magic - it would make moar magic.

You're absolutely right, and at the same time you absolutely understand my thought process. Thank you.

So let me just try to make amends and say again: you're right. I undersold the very smart, very deliberate design choices that Harvester and others made when I said "the rest is just programming." Those choices are definitely part of the magic just as much as choosing fun little green aliens as the protagonists. I did say "the lighthearted nature the game puts forth" is part of the magic, and that encompasses the good design but totally does not gives the devs the credit they deserve. Thank you for calling me out on that. I will just say that I made those comments in response to someone saying a sequel would just be a cookie-cutter project and therefore kill the magic, but just as I don't believe that poster did my idea justice, I didn't do the devs justice on their design and cleverness. If it were so easy to program such a game as this I believe we'd have seen clones pop up by now, and to be fair I doubt those clones would have the same, if any, magic that KSP has.

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, sal_vager said:

Thankfully, Squad are committed to supporting Kerbal Space Program despite no legal requirement to do so, and are continuing to work on content, including localization which regardless of your opinion is much welcomed by the majority of other players, especially foreign players who see this as the positive move that it is.

 

And may I ask how do you/squad know this? "welcomed by the majority of other players" How is this conclusion reached? Because the majority is us and in that case already own KSP

Edited by Redneck
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29 minutes ago, Redneck said:

And may I ask how do you/squad know this? "welcomed by the majority of other players" How is this conclusion reached? Because the majority is us and in that case already own KSP

How about all the other games localized in other languages to great effect?

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3 hours ago, klgraham1013 said:

How about all the other games localized in other languages to great effect?

How is that relevant? KSP is not really a text heavy game, the only point where texts are important are the arbitrary module requirements for satellites/space stations/bases in contract descriptions. And there the better solution is to open the contract list in the VAB and look when green markers appear for the current craft [this feature exists, right?] than hoping the localized text is any more clear than the English one.

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