PunkyFickle

State of the game - How is KSP doing?

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20 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

 

Ditto to what @Deddly said, although I often miss the "junkyard" old parts the game once had. :D 

You may like the Rusty Star Rockets set of mod I reviving

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KSP is doing mostly fine. Not much has really changed, save the soup-o-sphere and nuclear engines using just liquidfuel and I think the engine nerf.

The core gameplay is the same. You can even play sandbox without heating and commnet... 

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The Unity engine upgrade was huge. Sure there were some content changes, but we forget quickly that the version of Unity KSP used a few years back was a steaming pile of trash.

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Aparagus is easier now. Just enable advanced tweakables from the options menu, and you'll find that your radial decouplers allow for cross-fuel-flow. And as someone mentioned, fuel tanks have a priority setting on them so they drain in the order you specify. No more fuel lines are needed.

Everyone's pretty much covered everything except the Making History expansion. I think it's really worth the money because of the additional parts, specifically the 1.8 meter parts that fills the gap between 1.25m and 2.5m, and also you get the giant 5m parts. Personally I don't asparagus much anymore because there's a really nice progression of increasing rocket diameters and more powerful engines. Plus you get thrust plates which let you easily cluster smaller engines and tune each stage exactly how you want it.

In my opinion, KSP 1.6 plus the expansion are together a much more complete game than when you played it in 2014. There's so much more to do now, and much better reasons to do it. For example, ISRU has made bases and stations important for mining, and probes with different types of scanners for searching for ore. Commnet has made communication satellite constellations important especially if you go unmanned, and probes for mapping out biomes and even searching for anomalies. I don't remember when asteriods were added exactly, but that's yet another activity to undertake.

Edit: Oh, also, do you remember procedural fairings? Well stock KSP has fairings now and they're important.

Edited by Xavven

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4 hours ago, ExtremeSquared said:

The Unity engine upgrade was huge. Sure there were some content changes, but we forget quickly that the version of Unity KSP used a few years back was a steaming pile of trash.

The version of Unity KSP uses is still a steaming pile of trash. To wit: the perpetually janky wheels and the recently deceased GNU/Linux input support. The ever-present GC problems fall partially into this category too.
The only good thing that has come out of Unity upgrades so far is the physics performance improvement we got in U5. It was nice, but it would have been a lot nicer if it didn't bork wheels and landing legs.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

Everyone's pretty much covered everything except the Making History expansion. I think it's really worth the money because of the additional parts, specifically the 1.8 meter parts that fills the gap between 1.25m and 2.5m, and also you get the giant 5m parts.

1.85m and 5m were covered by mods long before MH was released, with better art and fewer bugs. Same goes for thrust plates.
I'd still buy MH as a show of support, but that's not going to happen until joystick support is fixed.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

KSP 1.6 plus the expansion are together a much more complete game than when you played it in 2014.

In stock form, that's true.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

ISRU has made bases and stations important for mining, and probes with different types of scanners for searching for ore.

We had Kethane back in 2013.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

Commnet has made communication satellite constellations important

And Remote Tech, which is better than the stock commnet anyway.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

do you remember procedural fairings?

Still around, and still better than the stock solution.

 

29 minutes ago, Xavven said:

stock KSP has fairings now and they're important.

At least Squad got rid of confetti deployment, so stock fairings are usable now.
The aerodynamics model is better than it was as well, but it's still rubbish compared to FAR.

Edited by steve_v

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10 hours ago, steve_v said:

The version of Unity KSP uses is still a steaming pile of trash. To wit: the perpetually janky wheels and the recently deceased GNU/Linux input support. The ever-present GC problems fall partially into this category too.
The only good thing that has come out of Unity upgrades so far is the physics performance improvement we got in U5. It was nice, but it would have been a lot nicer if it didn't bork wheels and landing legs.

 

1.85m and 5m were covered by mods long before MH was released, with better art and fewer bugs. Same goes for thrust plates.
I'd still buy MH as a show of support, but that's not going to happen until joystick support is fixed.

 

In stock form, that's true.

 

We had Kethane back in 2013.

 

And Remote Tech, which is better than the stock commnet anyway.

 

Still around, and still better than the stock solution.

 

At least Squad got rid of confetti deployment, so stock fairings are usable now.
The aerodynamics model is better than it was as well, but it's still rubbish compared to FAR.

Essentially, the stock game has added many features that have long been supplied by mods, but the stock features are still an “entry package” compared to the quality of gameplay provided by extensive mods.

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10 hours ago, steve_v said:

The version of Unity KSP uses is still a steaming pile of trash. To wit: the perpetually janky wheels and the recently deceased GNU/Linux input support. The ever-present GC problems fall partially into this category too.
The only good thing that has come out of Unity upgrades so far is the physics performance improvement we got in U5. It was nice, but it would have been a lot nicer if it didn't bork wheels and landing legs. 

 ...

At least Squad got rid of confetti deployment, so stock fairings are usable now.
The aerodynamics model is better than it was as well, but it's still rubbish compared to FAR.

I'm on linux. Performance and stability are more important than features, and those are night-and-day better than 1.0. I'd rather voluntarily close the game after an hour due to bad GC and leaks than have it crash every 15 minutes. Still not great, and every update seems to break one thing or another, but there are far fewer crashes and completely unplayable situations now.
 

Also, when stock fairings were released, they didn't block aero drag at all. That was a pretty big QAQC oversight.

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7 hours ago, ExtremeSquared said:

Performance and stability are more important than features, and those are night-and-day better than 1.0.

Of course, 1.0 was still on U4 and 1.1 crashed constantly.
That's still no excuse for breaking joystick support though, that one happened between 1.3.1 and 1.4.0 and came with no improvement in performance or stability.
 

7 hours ago, ExtremeSquared said:

every update seems to break one thing or another

This is why I don't have more positive things to say here. Frankly I'm tired of it.

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On 1/27/2019 at 2:00 AM, PunkyFickle said:

 Additionally, I feel safe assuming that the developer(s) working on the game physics for example are not related to the Russian translation and were as available as before on their core duties, so that time and those resources spent during the localisation process were not lost for gameplay improvement, at least in theory.

That's not how it works. Localizing a game takes time for translators, of course. But they can't translate the game unless the game is translatable, i.e. is architected in a way that is amenable to swapping out language without having to rewrite all the code. And pre-1.3, KSP... wasn't.

Seriously wasn't.

So the 1.3 release required serious heavy lifting from the software devs, doing major rearchitecture work to retrofit localizability onto a game that hadn't even vaguely been built with that in mind. I presume that's why 1.3 was rather feature-poor, otherwise: localization simply ate up all the cycles.

KSP has come a long way since 2014. Aero got way better. Reentry heating is a thing. Performance improved remarkably. It's available in a variety of languages. CommNet adds a whole new dimension to the stock game. Part variants are a thing. Artwork is gradually getting a revamp. Planets have biomes to explore. Stock dV readouts for the navball and the editor.

Quality has improved overall, too. Yes, there are still bugs here and there... but I remember how it used to be, and frankly I had way more bug problems in the pre-1.0 days than I do now.

Is KSP perfect? Of course not. And if one compares it to one's personal vision of what it "should" be, then naturally that will depend on the person.

But if you compare it to KSP of 4-5 years ago? Yeah, it's held up and gotten better in many ways. If you liked it then, I expect you'll like it now.

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27 minutes ago, Snark said:

That's not how it works. Localizing a game takes time for translators, of course. But they can't translate the game unless the game is translatable, i.e. is architected in a way that is amenable to swapping out language without having to rewrite all the code. And pre-1.3, KSP... wasn't.

Well that is an aspect I overlooked indeed. I remember fan attempts at translating the game that were particularly unsuccessful for that very reason.

31 minutes ago, Snark said:

If you liked it then, I expect you'll like it now.

I already do! In the space of a few days, I filled it with close to as many mods as before and I didn't experience any crash yet and the loading times are very reasonable. I also briefly flew a few rockets and planes in stock and started a vanilla career to check it out and it seems very playable, which it was really not prior to 0.90. The lack of at least a dV and TWR display was especially critical, and I'm surprised at how long it took for the game to include those, especially since there are console versions that don't allow for the use of mods.

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15 minutes ago, PunkyFickle said:

In the space of a few days, I filled it with close to as many mods as before and I didn't experience any crash yet and the loading times are very reasonable.

Oh yes, that reminds me of some other significant changes: compressed textures and 64 bit.

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1 hour ago, Deddly said:

64 bit

If I remember well, modders would state that they would not provide support for the then experimental 64 bit (or was it multi-core?) version and it seemed to me that there was quite an opposition from the community to this feature or (most likely) the way it was handled. Is that a thing of the past?

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Just now, PunkyFickle said:

If I remember well, modders would state that they would not provide support for the then experimental 64 bit (or was it multi-core?) version and it seemed to me that there was quite an opposition from the community to this feature or (most likely) the way it was handled. Is that a thing of the past?

There was an experimental version kicking around for a while and, as you say, it caused all manner of problems for mod creators and users. It eventually became so good that the 32 bit version was dropped completely.

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3 minutes ago, Deddly said:

There was an experimental version kicking around for a while and, as you say, it caused all manner of problems for mod creators and users. It eventually became so good that the 32 bit version was dropped completely.

Well, that's a huge improvement! And I can confirm that the 64 bit version of the game is indeed the default one. I didn't notice that.

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2 hours ago, PunkyFickle said:

Well, that's a huge improvement! And I can confirm that the 64 bit version of the game is indeed the default one. I didn't notice that.

It's not just the default. As of ... 1.5? 1.6 for sure... 32-bit is not even available.

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20 minutes ago, 5thHorseman said:

It's not just the default. As of ... 1.5? 1.6 for sure... 32-bit is not even available.

Update 1.5 removed 32-bit support:

 

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On 1/29/2019 at 7:58 AM, RealKerbal3x said:

Update 1.5 removed 32-bit support:

Yet another reason why Take Two/Steam need to make old versions available in Steam (do they at least have 1.3.1?).

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11 minutes ago, wumpus said:

Yet another reason why Take Two/Steam need to make old versions available in Steam (do they at least have 1.3.1?).

Why would you want to use the 32 bit version?

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2 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

Why would you want to use the 32 bit version?

Good question, and @wumpus, old versions are available anyway.

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I have only one little gripe about KSP development; and it is this:  please, please, please, can we have something to do when we get to a planet run a Kerbal's gloved fingers through the dust of Duna or leave boot prints behind and blast-off scatter when we leave a moon or planet.  Hell! just if I could wave the flag like a marching band that would be something.  I don't just want the intellectual challenge of rocket design and the skill challenge of flying a spaceplane: What I want is to feel truly immersed in the landscape.

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24 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

Why would you want to use the 32 bit version?

Presumably on an old system with <=4GB of RAM.  I'll admit that I don't think I have any working non-64 bit CPUs, but the RAM issue is another story (64 bit pointers use up twice as much RAM, and it also leads programmers to think that RAM is infinite on 64 bit systems).

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My view on the current state of the game is that it's slowly getting better now that we have a mature game company running things.

From my perspective, Harvester hit upon a brilliant game concept with KSP that was unexpectedly popular and drew a lot of attention. This attention and the lack of game development experience at Squad led them to make some unwise business decisions (the whole console port fisaco), which really hurt overall development with the need to rush to hit the console release deadlines, resulting in the 1.0 alpha release. Many times it also felt like there really wasn't much of a development plan (at least from my perspective as an outsider) and the devs were often winging it from update to update.

On top of that, nothing against Harvester personally, but this was a personal project to him and that emotional attachment seems to have affected his judgement with some of the game design decisions (not including a dV readout because "trial and error is fun" for example and the wobbly rockets).

As much as I didn't like to see most of the original devs leave, in many ways the house cleaning and handing control over to a mature game management team is probably what KSP needed. Other than the MH fiasco, with Take Two in charge, the devs have actually been doing a good job of systematically going back through the game and fixing things that should have been addressed years ago (and they finally added a dV readout in stock).

After seeing the last few updates, I'm cautiously optimistic for the future of the game.

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25 minutes ago, Lord Aurelius said:

After seeing the last few updates, I'm cautiously optimistic for the future of the game.

Well said. While I don't think 1.5 and 1.6 are the best updates evah or anything like that, 1.5 was a very sharp turn in a distinctly good direction, and 1.6 has continued going in that same line.

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5 hours ago, Lord Aurelius said:

Many times it also felt like there really wasn't much of a development plan (at least from my perspective as an outsider) and the devs were often winging it from update to update.

Well, I had the same feeling a few years ago.

5 hours ago, Lord Aurelius said:

in many ways the house cleaning and handing control over to a mature game management team is probably what KSP needed. Other than the MH fiasco, with Take Two in charge, the devs have actually been doing a good job of systematically going back through the game and fixing things that should have been addressed years ago

KSP was indeed lacking rigour in its development and seeing it under a more "mature" management is rather positive for that reason. However, I am not as enthusiastic as you are about its future, as I am skeptical about the actual profitability of a 2011 (!) game which commercial glory days clearly lies behind. Things are to be done and the game can improve in many ways, likely becoming more appealing to more people (the point where vanilla becomes playable is closer than ever), but I reckon most of the core target audience already own the game and it is a bit too niche as a concept to appeal to a broad audience even with an hypothetical huge advertisement campaign. So I really wonder what TakeTwo plans in terms of business model regarding KSP. Did they buy it under the effect of a passing infatuation, had no real plan and will drop its development as soon as they lack funds to finance their activities? Do they plan on multiplying DLCs to sustain them? KSP 2?

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1 hour ago, PunkyFickle said:

Well, I had the same feeling a few years ago.

KSP was indeed lacking rigour in its development and seeing it under a more "mature" management is rather positive for that reason. However, I am not as enthusiastic as you are about its future, as I am skeptical about the actual profitability of a 2011 (!) game which commercial glory days clearly lies behind. Things are to be done and the game can improve in many ways, likely becoming more appealing to more people (the point where vanilla becomes playable is closer than ever), but I reckon most of the core target audience already own the game and it is a bit too niche as a concept to appeal to a broad audience even with an hypothetical huge advertisement campaign. So I really wonder what TakeTwo plans in terms of business model regarding KSP. Did they buy it under the effect of a passing infatuation, had no real plan and will drop its development as soon as they lack funds to finance their activities? Do they plan on multiplying DLCs to sustain them? KSP 2?

Agreed on the concerns of the long-term profitability of KSP. We don't have any information on this at the moment on what the long-term plans are for the franchise as there hasn't been any talk whatsoever of additional DLC or any hints at all on anything like KSP 2.

I know that the Making History expansion didn't go well, so if they are planning additional DLC they could have had to scrap whatever plans they had and reevaluate to avoid another PR disaster. In the meantime, the current crop of updates that's causing me to be cautiously optimistic might be an attempt to win back trust from the community before they announce the next big thing. The Kerbal franchise still has a huge amount of potential for spinoff games that could appeal to a much wider audience, and Take Two might very well have some secret development projects behind the scenes with a different studio entirely.

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