Improvements to the presentation
In KSP 1 aside from the initial launch and the landing you spend most of your time flying the craft in map view. It would be a shame for the developers to
beautifully shade, light and texture the spacecraft parts just so we can spend 90% of our time not looking at them. This is a difficult problem to solve as it objectively
is easier to fly the craft in map view. Maybe you could add a small orthographic top down view of your orbit around the planet, you could use this for simple stuff such as circularizing
your orbit, and you can use the map view for more complex maneuvers such as rendezvous. Although it would be ideal to only setup maneuvers in map view, but to perform them while looking at the ship.
It would also be cool to have a cinematic camera that automatically chooses good camera angles so that both your spacecraft and the planetary body you're orbiting are in view.
Time Warp improvements
KSP 1 time warp is completely linear, speed in eccentric orbits isn't. This can be a problem as when you are approaching periapsis your spacecraft speeds up rapidly and that has
made me miss my maneuver so many times. The fix for this would be to make the timewarp non linear. So when you are approaching periapsis timewarp would automatically slow down.
And it would speed up as you're approaching apoapsis. Also general improvements to timewarp (like fixing warp to node, or automatically slowing when getting close to a node etc.) would be good.
RCS and reaction wheel balancing
Let's be honest, reaction wheels are very overpowered and not very fun, and RCS is pretty much useless unless you're just learning docking. It's sad to see RCS, which is an integral
part of most real life spacecraft being overshadowed by reaction wheels (which have a much more niche use case). RCS in KSP1 is 100% active continuously throughout rotation
(even though its much more efficient to do a small burn to start the rotation and then another equal one to stop the rotation), this leads
to frequent overshooting and a lot of wasted monopropellant (which takes a lot of space and is generally heavier than using reaction wheels), making RCS and SAS work together more elegantly
would solve this problem. Reaction wheels should only be used on small space probes, and RCS should be used for everything else. At the start of the game you should be
working with small unmanned probes which would use reaction wheels, then you could slowly introduce RCS, flattening the learning curve. In conclusion RCS is really cool and I would
much rather have cool jets of compressed gas be rotating my ship than an invisible arbitrary force. RCS add a lot of interesting depth to ship design which should not
Probes before manned
To be honest, the only reason I wanted probes before manned was because it's more realistic. But after thinking a lot I found a great gameplay reason to implement this type of progression.
People mostly stop playing KSP1 because they get stuck somewhere, I think that is because the leaps from one goal to another can be very jarring (especially in the early game).
Unlocking probes first would be a great way not only to add realism, but to also flatten the learning curve. Instead of after achieving orbit, you immediately try landing and returning from the Mun.
What if your next mission would be just to set a satellite in orbit around the Mun, without the need to return it. This goal seems much easier and
only teaches one simple concept, while going from barely knowing how to orbit to landing on the Mun and returning to Kerbin intact seems like an impossible challenge.
Constantly having challenges that are difficult but doable would make newer players want to continue playing.
Although Kerbals are central part of KSP, they can still be in the picture when piloting probes. Imagine while you're piloting a probe instead of normal kerbal portraits,
there would be a mission control portrait and the Kerbals would react to whatever is happening to the probe,
they could be screaming as the probe is about to crash,or they could be celebrating a successful landing.
Some minor things
Ballistic entry would be awesome since, if you nerf reaction wheels, the commands pods falling through the atmosphere would only be able to turn using aerodynamics,
so having a ballistic reentry profile would only make sense.
I find it much more fun to dock with a docking camera than just blindly, any way to measure movement relative to another ship would be great.
Non linear thrust would mean that you wouldn't have to mess with the engine thrust menus just to accelerate less than like a 100Gs.
Engines should also not accelerate to 100% immediately, they should take some time to spool.
Engine gimbal should be smooth, would make rockets more stable, and of course, make the game more realistic.
And last of all, just take your time, I have a lot of faith in you guys and I wish you godspeed in the development process.
I hope that you guys can make the best version of KSP2 possible. Cheers!