As i'm sure you all know by now, KSP:First Contract, or 0.24.0 is live now, so while you're downloading, you may be interested to read about everything that's been done on this update.
I've compiled a pretty comprehensive changelog this time, going over all of our logs to make sure I didn't forget anything. Usually we only talk about the highlights of a release, but this time, we ended up with a list of changes so large, I thought it worthy of being showcased here. Plus, if your download is still not finished, it's something to do while you wait.
So, here is the complete changelog for the KSP v0.24, 'First Contract' update:
======= First Contract (v0.24.0) =====================
- Added Funds and Reputation as new Career Mode Currencies.
- Funds are required to launch vessels.
- Part Costs are now in use in Career Mode.
- Resources like Liquid Fuel and Mono Propellant now have costs of their own, which figure into the cost of a launch.
- Tweaking a part's resource sliders in the Editors will adjust the cost of the vessel accordingly.
* Mission Control:
- The Mission Control Facility is now active in Career Games.
- Mission Control allows you to select Contracts, review them, and either accept or decline them.
- Added Gene Kerman as advisor in the Mission Control screen, ready to give his opinion about what you're doing.
- The Mission Control screen also features an 'archives' tab, where you can review previously-completed contracts.
- Contracts require you to complete objectives, in order to gain Funds, Science and Reputation
- Once accepted, contracts must be completed before the deadline expires.
- Contracts will fail if the deadline expires or if some critical parameter fails (like killing a Kerbal in a mission to rescue him).
- Added procedurally generated 'mission briefings' for contracts, which may even make sense sometimes.
- Contracts come in three levels of Prestige ("Trivial", "Significant" and "Exceptional"). Higher levels offer greater rewards and are usually more ambitious.
- Reputation regulates the amounts of each level of contracts on offer.
* Early 'Starter' Contracts:
- First Launch: Launch any vessel.
- Altitude Records: Set a new altitude record.
- Reach Space: Escape Kerbin's atmosphere
- Achieve Orbit: Achieve a stable orbit around Kerbin.
* Dynamically Generated Contracts:
- Part Test: Perform a test of a part in a specific location, situation and within given flight parameters (when applicable).
- Collect Science: Return or transmit any scientific data from a specific location.
- Rescue Kerbal: Rescue a Kerbal who is stuck in orbit.
- Plant Flag: Plant the Agency's flag on the surface of a given location.
- Explore: Complete several exploration goals for an unexplored location.
- Added Agencies, which offer contracts.
- Each agency has its own personality traits, which affects the generation of the contracts they offer.
- Agency Logos added from the winners of the Community Logo Design Contest.
- Clicking the agency logo in the Mission Control screen will display extra info about the Agency.
* Vessel Recovery:
- Recovering vessels now refunds you for the value of recovered parts and resources.
- Recovered value varies based on distance from the Space Center. Land at the Runway for 100% value.
* Space Center:
- Added a universal time clock to the KSC scene UI.
- Added a Pause Menu to the KSC scene, instead of leaving to the main menu immediately on pressing the Quit button.
- The KSC Pause Menu allows saving and loading with a custom filename.
- Added new UI Toolbar, which exists in all game scenes and is mod-friendly.
- Added new UI Widget to display state of ongoing Contracts in Flight, KSC and the Construction Facilities.
- Added new UI Widgets to display the current amount of Science, Reputation and Funds.
- Added Messages UI App, shows messages about contracts and such.
- Redesigned the Resources Panel from flight as a toolbar app, overhauled panel graphics.
- Overhauled the old 'Science Summary' dialog into a complete 'Mission Summary', displaying information about recovered Experiments, Parts and Crew.
- Added new "Vernor Engine", a very powerful RCS module powered by Liquid Fuel + Oxidizer.
- Added new O-10 Maneuvering Engine, a low-thrust main engine powered by Monopropellant.
- Gimballing Engines now respond to roll input.
- 4x Engine Cluster and RAPIER Engine have gimbal roll authority even if stacked over the centerline (due to multiple nozzles).
- Added Windows 64-bit executable.
- Added several new tutorials.
- Added 'Science' Game Mode, where Science is the only currency and Mission Control is closed (as in pre-0.24 'Classic' Career).
Bug Fixes and Tweaks:
- Asteroids are now able to collide with other asteroids.
- New launches now start with throttle set to 50%, like in the old days.
- Saving restriction when throttled up removed.
- Timewarp restriction when throttled up removed. Engaging time warp now automatically cuts throttle.
- Improved logic for detecting a vessel in 'orbiting' situations.
- Fixed a bug in the editors where dragging a part off the ship and deleting it straight away would not generate an undo state.
- Fixed a bug where ctrl+clicking over a part in the build area would not reveal the part in the parts list.
- Orientation of VAB scenery rotated so spacecraft orientation is consistent at launchpad.
- VAB Flag moved to the opposite wall.
- Redesigned the Parts List UI 'Footer' section.
* Tracking Station:
- Fixed a bug where map objects were created but never removed, leaving dozens of 'leaked' objects behind.
* Space Center:
- Launchpad and Runway Launch Dialogs now show vessel costs.
- Added 'Edit' Button to Launch Dialogs, which takes you to the VAB or SPH to edit the selected vessel.
- Launch Dialogs and Craft Browser now allow selecting vessels with 'invalid parts' (for editing).
- Added new Pre-Flight Checks to prevent launching vessels containing invalid parts or with costs exceeding available Funds.
* Solar System:
- Kerbin's Solar Day is now exactly 6 hours long (sidereal day is now 59 seconds shorter).
- Slight optimization to Kerbin, Mun and Eve surface shaders.
- Resource flow mode can now be defined for each propellant on Engine, EngineFX and RCS Modules in the part config.
- Previously useless Engine Nacelle and Radial Engine Body parts repurposed as air intake + fuel tank combos.
- Tweaked Costs for almost every part.
- Tweaked Mass for several parts, especially spaceplane fuselage sections and structural components.
- Fixed a potentially gamebreaking issue when activating a Separator if it was the root part of a vessel.
- Fixed a bug where some particle FX (mainly on newer engines) would cause a stream of errors when the vessel was unloaded with the FX active.
- Fixed a bug where StrutConnectors could cause hierarchy issues if linked in certain configurations.
- ModuleRCS can now use multiple resources.
* Tech Tree:
- Revised R&D node layout so 'control' type nodes have a more logical progression.
- Moved basic RCS parts to tier 4 (from tier 5).
- Added more connections into aerodynamic parts from other nodes on tiers 5 and 6.
* Progress Tracking:
- Fixed an issue introduced in 0.23.5 where unowned vessels could complete progress nodes.
- Fixed AltitudeRecord progress node (now used for contract generation).
- Fixed crewmembers not being properly flagged as dead if their vessel was destroyed while unloaded.
- Crewmembers are now keyed by name in the roster, and can properly be added and removed.
- Added reputation reward and penalty for recovering and killing crewmembers.
- Added new unique names for Kerbals, suggested by the Community Logo Design Contest winners.
- Fixed issue with persistence when reverting to flight.
- Added rich text support to several UI text fields.
- Fixed several cases of texture point-filtering issues resulting in crooked text.
- Fixed potential crash related to reentry FX on Linux when no depthtexture hardware support is available.
- Overhauled all UI screens and text. All text fields using Arial font now use proper Calibri.
- Exposed Gameplay difficulty options to the Alt+F12 Debug Toolbar.
- Updated Credits Scene.
- Fixed permission issues with KSPLauncher which prevented it from properly launching the game on Linux.
- Messages displayed on the upper-right corner in flight are now displayed above the crew portraits instead.
- Removed a 'rogue' tooltip from the Staging Reset button at the VAB and SPH.
Hey, you read through the whole thing! congrats! (or sorry for the slow DL speeds).