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Please, please somebody help me with my situation


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So I thought I had posted a comment last night wherein I asked for advice re buying my son a suitable PC on which he can play KSP. He already plays it on his PS4 and maybe on his iPad as well or his netbook. The thing is, I don’t know if I successfully submitted my request for advice since I’ve yet to make my bold foray into the 20th century, let alone the 21st century. In other words, I don’t have a firm grasp on tech in general, and even less so when it comes to KSP.

My son absolutely loves KSP and has been wanting to play it on PC for ages. He is 13 years old and of late has been experiencing occasional mild depression. I really want to buy him a PC and am excited at the prospect of being able to do so. But - and here’s where I call upon the KSP community - I have no idea what I should be purchasing.  The only criterion is that KSP can be played on it. 

Please, please someone, anyone, any piece of advice or guidance would be so appreciated. 

I don’t know if it makes any difference but we live in Australia (Melbourne). And while I’ll be happy just to have enough knowledge to buy the right PC, you won’t see my name listed on the Forbes Top 50 Rich List, so it would be best to err on the side of cheaper, if that’s possible.

Thank you sincerely (in anticipation) to whomever, if anyone, can help me sort this out.

Ann (loving mother of a KSP devotee)

:)

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2 hours ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

My son absolutely loves KSP and has been wanting to play it on PC for ages. He is 13 years old and of late has been experiencing occasional mild depression. I really want to buy him a PC and am excited at the prospect of being able to do so. But - and here’s where I call upon the KSP community - I have no idea what I should be purchasing.  The only criterion is that KSP can be played on it. 

Please, please someone, anyone, any piece of advice or guidance would be so appreciated. 

You're the best, Mum. My words will fall short of true nature of the feels this gave me. Respect.

 



 

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'Sup Mom! 

Indeed, the KSP forums are populated by mostly very nerdy, smart, and mindful folks that are a cut above most of the riff raff found on the internet.  The genre and scope of the game does not attract the usual gamer or miscreant you immediately think of online.  In fact, these forums have quite the rules in place about not being a jerk to anyone. KSP is a game that will really help you kid(s) mature their understanding of physics and science, inspire creativity and a problem solving attitude, all while having a community that is always super helpful (probably because none of our real-life family and friends likes to hear us drone on ad nauseum about dorky rocket science, lol.)  If I had had this game when I was in gradeschool, I might been inspired far more in what they call the STEM fields nowadays.

 I own Simple Rockets 2 for PC as well as KSP.  If you're on a budget and can only get him 1 game, KSP is it handsdown.  Its a far more finished product with lots more community support, mods, and things to do in it.  A much better value. 

$500 can get you plenty of oompf for a KSP machine.  Feel free to post any links for machines you're thinking of getting and we'll give you the yes or no on them, or tell you which would be best. In addition to being space nerds, we are also computer geeks.  ;)

Edited by klesh
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21 minutes ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

So I thought I had posted a comment last night wherein I asked for advice re buying my son a suitable PC on which he can play KSP. He already plays it on his PS4 and maybe on his iPad as well or his netbook. The thing is, I don’t know if I successfully submitted my request for advice since I’ve yet to make my bold foray into the 20th century, let alone the 21st century. In other words, I don’t have a firm grasp on tech in general, and even less so when it comes to KSP.

My son absolutely loves KSP and has been wanting to play it on PC for ages. He is 13 years old and of late has been experiencing occasional mild depression. I really want to buy him a PC and am excited at the prospect of being able to do so. But - and here’s where I call upon the KSP community - I have no idea what I should be purchasing.  The only criterion is that KSP can be played on it. 

Please, please someone, anyone, any piece of advice or guidance would be so appreciated. 

I don’t know if it makes any difference but we live in Australia (Melbourne). And while I’ll be happy just to have enough knowledge to buy the right PC, you won’t see my name listed on the Forbes Top 50 Rich List, so it would be best to err on the side of cheaper, if that’s possible.

Thank you sincerely (in anticipation) to whomever, if anyone, can help me sort this out.

Ann (loving mother of a KSP devotee)

:)

Most modern PCs can run Kerbal Space Program. In fact, I'm running KSP on an ex school laptop from 2010 quite well (getting decent performance from the game even with mods and other things). As long as the computer isn't too old, it'll be able to run the game. I'd say getting a laptop from 2018 - 2010 as anything older than that may start to lag and make the game just seem slow and not really enjoyable. For pricing, look for something around $500 - $300, or if you're lucky, you might be able to find a gaming laptop on eBay or other sites.

Hope this helped

- Cat

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On 2/27/2019 at 9:00 PM, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

If all the other Moderators are even a quarter as nice as adsii and Snark, then I’m not going anywhere!

See there, @adsii1970, I told you it pays to pretend to be nice while we're busy oppressing the masses!  ;)

On 2/27/2019 at 9:00 PM, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

I look forward to learning more from KSP than I did in all six years of science classes at secondary school. :)

Obligatory:

orbital_mechanics.png

(to be clear, that's Randall Munroe, not me, click the image for the original page... though it does describe me except for the "actual job at NASA" part)

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Hello, and welcome to the forums!  You've definitely come to the right place.  :)

(Moving your post from the "console" tech support section over to the PC section, where it's more likely to get the focused attention it needs.)

KSP is not a super "high end" game; it doesn't need a killer (read: expensive) top-end gaming rig to play on.  It works on even fairly "modest" systems.  That said, there's no hard boundary line, because like most games it's got various knobs one can twiddle to adjust quality (at the cost of using more system resources, of course).

Basically:  KSP will run on just about anything.  The better the system, the prettier it will be.

I expect other people will be able to give more specific recommendations than me, but just off the top of my head:

  • I would advise not getting any less than 8 GB of RAM.  If you can afford 16 GB, that would be a useful step up (and I think RAM isn't terribly expensive, these days).  Getting more than 16 GB probably won't make much difference to the KSP experience.
  • Graphics cards make a significant difference to how pretty KSP can be, but how hefty a graphics card it needs is largely a function of screen resolution-- i.e. if you're getting a great big monitor with scads of pixels, you'll need a more powerful graphics card than if you have a smaller monitor.  You don't need a super-duper top end graphics card to play KSP; if you just get a "mid-range" one I expect you'll be fine.

A couple of questions:

  • What else do you think your son may be likely to use the computer for, other than KSP?
  • Any rough idea of how big a monitor you'd like to get?  (This can be a function not just of cost, but of available space, etc.)
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6 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

Oh and KSP won't really run on Windows XP or anything lower, so try to get a machine with Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7. 

She's talking about buying a new computer-- is XP even sold anymore?

My suggestion would be to get Windows 10, if you're getting a new computer.

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Just now, Snark said:

She's talking about buying a new computer-- is XP even sold anymore?

Yes it is. If you're on a really, really low budget you can find a computer running XP for like 20 dollars, but I don't want this to turn into a discussion about different computer models or specs, just about helping the OP

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4 minutes ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

Yes it is. If you're on a really, really low budget you can find a computer running XP for like 20 dollars, but I don't want this to turn into a discussion about different computer models or specs, just about helping the OP

Yes, and I think if Mum sees a $20 computer that's really old, I would strongly advise not to get it-- the likely heartache from trying to sort out various bugs and quirks would be far more trouble than it's worth.

@MumOfKSPdevotee, do you happen to have a rough idea of budget?  "Not too expensive" is a helpful guideline, but different people can mean different things by that-- might help to get an idea of the ballpark you're thinking of.

 

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Thank you both so much! That’s a wealth of knowledge, right there. 

I (surprisingly) understood the majority of the info, which is more of a reflection of you guys, as I’m sure you made a concerted effort  to speak in a language I’d likely understand. Thank you for that.

Having read Snark’s great explanation of the graphics card/monitor size correlation, I’m sure a small- to mid- sized monitor should suffice. I also get that a minimum of 8GB is advised, 16GB is preferable and over 16GB is probably not necessary.

My son likes a game called Simple Planes and he is keen to play another called Simple Rockets 2 which has recently been released for PC.

As for budget, I have about $500 at my disposal which until now I thought was sort of meagre. But now I realise I should be able to buy a pretty decent setup with that amount. Or I could buy a $20 laptop and spend the remaining $480 on shoes and chocolates and wine. ;)

Again, thank you guys. I reckon I have more than enough info to arm myself with when I start the whole shopping around thing. And with the info comes a degree of confidence, something I wasn’t expecting to have so soon.

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Aww thank you for your beautiful words. But it’s easy to be a good mum when you have the best children in the world. I have three sons and they’re all individually awesome. I have been heard to say on more than one occasion, “Not to blow my own trumpet, but geez I make great people.”  :D

And on the subject of great people, I am totally struck by how sweet and kind you guys of the KSP community are! Genuinely lovely people. I would normally be loathe to approach a forum lest it’s full of nasty, mean-spirited people, the likes of which I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing. Probs my own fault as I used to go on messageboards on fansites of bands that seem to attract pretentious, arrogant, judgmental knobs that never miss an opportunity to disparage someone like me. 

It just serves as further confirmation that my son is spending time interacting with the best kind of people out there.

Much love <3

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My mom got me this laptop, for around £300 on Ebuyer, and it can run KSP pretty well. :) 

I really enjoy it. It is extremely light, but still feels secure, and it has an anti-glare screen, which I find stops my eyes hurting as much. It also has 8GB of RAM. :)

Edited by Barzon Kerman
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16 hours ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

As for budget, I have about $500 at my disposal which until now I thought was sort of meagre. But now I realise I should be able to buy a pretty decent setup with that amount. Or I could buy a $20 laptop and spend the remaining $480 on shoes and chocolates and wine. ;)

Here's an exercise that may be useful.  One of the nice things about buying a PC is that you don't have to walk into a bricks-and-mortar store and pull something off the shelf.  You can go to the website of one of the major PC manufacturers, such as (for example) www.dell.com -- that's just one example, there are lots of others-- and they generally have really nice options that let you spec out the machine you want, specify all the fiddly bits, and give you a price quote.  So you can compare and contrast.

So for example you could go to such a website, fairly straightforwardly go through their options to pick out the base model type you want, then they'll have a bunch of options like "how much RAM do you want" with a price for each, and so forth.  Spec out a system with 16 GB of RAM, a reasonable-sized hard drive (you don't actually need all that much space just for KSP, but hard drives are so cheap that you might as well get a terabyte at least just so the machine's usable for longer), a reasonable mid-range graphics card (nVidia and Radeon are both good makers), a 20" or 24" monitor, and then see how the price comes out.  If it's substantially lower than $500, maybe pick a nicer video card (your son will thank you).

That will at least give you a starting point to work from.  Just speaking personally, I usually go with Dell machines (not that they're somehow better than everyone else, it's just what I've used for a long time and I'm happy with them, plus I like their monitors), and whenever the time comes to get a new machine, I always enjoy how quick and easy it is to spec out a system, see the price, fill out a few details, and a few days later a computer shows up on my doorstep.  Yes, I'm a computer nerd so I can probably navigate that stuff a bit faster than you will ;) ... but bear in mind that the target market for $500 computers is generally not computer nerds, which means they go out of their way to make a website that a normal human can use.  So it's a pretty painless experience.

And even if you actually prefer to do your purchase some other way (e.g. from a bricks-and-mortar store in person), nothing says you have to actually buy a computer from the website-- you can use it simply as a convenient basis for comparison by spec'ing out a system as if you were, then jotting down the price and features.  That way, if you walk into a computer store, you'll have a better idea of "is this computer a good deal or not".

It's also worth noting that graphics cards are easily swappable.  You're not painting yourself into a corner.  If you end up getting a certain graphics card, and a year or two from now your son is chafing because there just aren't enough pretty pixels... it's pretty easy to buy a new card and swap it out for the old one.  It's nicely modular that way.

(One reason not to break the bank by shooting for a really top-end graphics card is that this is one area of technology that's still very rapidly advancing, i.e. each year the graphics cards get a lot better and cheaper.  A graphics card two years from now will be a lot better than a graphics card at the same price today.)

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Boy, did I make the right choice in coming here for advice! It is so heartening to know that I can do this with confidence. I’m definitely gonna take up Klesh’s offer of staying in touch with you guys ‘til such time as my son and his new computer disappear into the bedroom never to be seen again. Well, except for mealtimes. That’s a given, he’s nearly 14. He has the appetite of an entire village (livestock included). Klesh made a great point that probably wasn’t meant to be earth shattering but nonetheless is to me. That being that “space nerds” and “computer geeks” are two separate qualities altogether. My son is definitely a space nerd. He’s a rocket nerd, a solar system nerd, a tanks (WW2) nerd, a bridge construction nerd. He’s an all-things-science nerd. But... when it comes to computer matters he’s not that far removed from me. So, I’m gonna fess up to him that I came here for help, which, until I read that comment from Klesh, was not something I would’ve anticipated doing. When he realises that he ought not be embarrassed about his lack of tech knowledge, he will also realise that his mum has not joined a forum of his single favourite thing in the world thereby coming perilously close to ruining the experience for him . You know... my mum is on KSP getting advice! My MUM! How embarrassing! They’re all gonna think I’m a loser who doesn’t know a thing about computers.

Right now he’s at school. So when he gets home I’m gonna show him all of this and then he can be instrumental in the whole acquisition process.

Again, thank you so, so much. You guys are a godsend. I am beyond happy to be in contact with such a bunch of genuinely lovely people. And I suspect it won’t end even once we’ve finalised our computer purchase. There is something else I’m curious about, that being “modding.” But that’s a whole other Oprah show, so for now it’s back to rereading all of these responses, happy in the knowledge that I’m slowly getting the gist of it all.

<3  Ann, but you guys are very welcome to call me Mum, or Mom, depending on which hemisphere you call home)

:)

 

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42 minutes ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

Boy, did I make the right choice in coming here for advice! It is so heartening to know that I can do this with confidence. I’m definitely gonna take up Klesh’s offer of staying in touch with you guys ‘til such time as my son and his new computer disappear into the bedroom never to be seen again. Well, except for mealtimes. That’s a given, he’s nearly 14. He has the appetite of an entire village (livestock included). Klesh made a great point that probably wasn’t meant to be earth shattering but nonetheless is to me. That being that “space nerds” and “computer geeks” are two separate qualities altogether. My son is definitely a space nerd. He’s a rocket nerd, a solar system nerd, a tanks (WW2) nerd, a bridge construction nerd. He’s an all-things-science nerd. But... when it comes to computer matters he’s not that far removed from me. So, I’m gonna fess up to him that I came here for help, which, until I read that comment from Klesh, was not something I would’ve anticipated doing. When he realises that he ought not be embarrassed about his lack of tech knowledge, he will also realise that his mum has not joined a forum of his single favourite thing in the world thereby coming perilously close to ruining the experience for him . You know... my mum is on KSP getting advice! My MUM! How embarrassing! They’re all gonna think I’m a loser who doesn’t know a thing about computers.

Right now he’s at school. So when he gets home I’m gonna show him all of this and then he can be instrumental in the whole acquisition process.

Again, thank you so, so much. You guys are a godsend. I am beyond happy to be in contact with such a bunch of genuinely lovely people. And I suspect it won’t end even once we’ve finalised our computer purchase. There is something else I’m curious about, that being “modding.” But that’s a whole other Oprah show, so for now it’s back to rereading all of these responses, happy in the knowledge that I’m slowly getting the gist of it all.

<3  Ann, but you guys are very welcome to call me Mum, or Mom, depending on which hemisphere you call home)

:)

 

It was a pleasure helping you, may your son enjoy Kerbal Space Program and all it has to offer

- Cat

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4 hours ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

When he realises that he ought not be embarrassed about his lack of tech knowledge, he will also realise that his mum has not joined a forum of his single favourite thing in the world thereby coming perilously close to ruining the experience for him . You know... my mum is on KSP getting advice! My MUM! How embarrassing! They’re all gonna think I’m a loser who doesn’t know a thing about computers.

Well, you realize, of course, that when he creates his account here on the forum (and he will come here, I do hope!)... it's up to him whether he chooses to reveal his secret identity as Son of Super-Mum.  ;)

This is a friendly and welcoming place.  And people don't make fun of others, here.  Both because the folks in this forum are really darn nice, but also because it's not allowed-- and moderators (such as yours truly) see to it that it stays that way.  Personal criticism is strictly out of bounds, and we take that very seriously.

4 hours ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

And I suspect it won’t end even once we’ve finalised our computer purchase.

Well, here's hoping you'll both stick around.  It's tons of fun, and there's always plenty to learn.

4 hours ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

There is something else I’m curious about, that being “modding.” But that’s a whole other Oprah show

Oh, my goodness, it is indeed.  It's a whole other world right there.  Literally hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to extend KSP, make it do different things, add endless variety to the game.  There's a whole subforum here just for talking about mods, and another one where mod authors publish them, and various other forums that help mod authors with advice on making new mods.

And the mod authors are right here in the forums, and tend to be, if anything, even friendlier than the average KSP forum member-- because these are, after all, people who have spent countless hours building things to give the community for free.  (And a sub-community quite near and dear to my own heart, since I'm a modder myself.)

But there's plenty of time for those later.  :)

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I can't add any more to what has been said by everyone else. Most of us enjoy helping others enjoy what has become our favorite way to spend three or more hours a day, so if your son has any problems or questions, just direct him to this forum! :) Again, welcome aboard!

 

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Thanks sincerely for the welcome adsii! And as monstah says, you are all my children, therefore as your mother, I’m just reminding you to not drink too much coffee. It’ll interfere with your sleep. Mother knows best! ;)

If all the other Moderators are even a quarter as nice as adsii and Snark, then I’m not going anywhere! Seriously, moderators are usually the worst when it comes to being nasty and condescending. And I’m sure my (real) son will join the community. I’m surprised he hasn’t already, such is his passion for KSP.

Snark, I’ll no doubt talk to you again in the very near future in one of the modding forums. I look forward to learning more from KSP than I did in all six years of science classes at secondary school. :)

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I would say 500AUD is a pretty tight budget for a new machine and peripherals. Snark mentioned Dell. Their australian store has three options for desktop PCs below 500$. One is a trap and the other two have only 4GB of RAM.

I would probably look for a refurbished office machine with a 4th generation i5 or i3 and then try to upgrade that with a dedicated graphics card. Something like this: https://www.reboot-it.com.au/p/Used-Computers/Core-i5/HP-Elite-Desk-600-G1-SFF-i5-4670-3.4GHz-8GB-500GB/59038

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I forgot to mention an important point: I am limited to using only retailers who offer Zip as a payment option. Zip is an interest-free company similar to afterpay. I’ve had an account with them for years and it’s how I bought my son’s iPad and his netbook for school.

 I looked at ReBoot IT and Newegg as suggested by Harry and  klesh but neither are with Zip. So I looked at sites that definitely are and I found this computer that I was hoping Snark (or any other uber-helpful, uber-friendly community member, of which there is many) could take a look at. Hopefully this the right link...

https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/hp-19-5-all-in-one-desktop-pc-c416a-hp20c416a#features

 It has windows 10 and 1 TB as Snark advised but it has only 4GB of RAM. There was no feature (that Snark described and that I saw on other sites) that lets you add on optional extras such as extra RAM. Does this mean I can’t buy extra RAM? 

Also, is a graphics card the same thing as a graphics processor?

Thanks again, KSP-ers  :)

 

Edited by MumOfKSPdevotee
Forgot to italicise proper nouns.
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12 minutes ago, MumOfKSPdevotee said:

 

Hi Mum,

I don't like it.  Not only can you not buy more RAM to put in it from the website, but the computer itself has a max RAM of 4GB, meaning you can't even get some RAM elsewhere and slap it in there later (which is a perfectly viable way of expanding the beefiness of a machine post-purchase).

Also it looks like the graphics processor is one of those integrated ones, ie not ideal for games.  I think we can do better.

 

Zip payment, okay, we can all look around for a good machine with that as a mandatory payment option.  Standby.

 

Edit:  https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/lenovo-ideacentre-310s-a6-tower-pc-desktop-310s-08asr-slic310sa6#features

Save up another $97?

Edited by klesh
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