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Worried about KSP magic tech, unrealistic orbital mechanics, and lol-explosions


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I was initially optimistic about KSP 2 stock content. The statement that they wouldn't have magic tech/warp drives,/etc was very reassuring. The consulting with an expert to make realistic planets was reassuring.

Then I watched the dev video instead of just reading, and this lead guy doesn't give me confidence. I get the sense he's the kind of guy that will take an astronomer's qualified statement about a planet being "potentially habitable", and report it as "habitable", and stuff like that.

So now there's a few things that concern me about KSP 2 - that can be modded away I hope, because an optimized engine with nice graphics, axial tilt, etc, should still be a big improvement - I'm not saying KSP 2 will be garbage - just to head off any misconceptions.

In one of the interviews, he seems to think alot of KSP is about crashing and explosions: This concerns me. To me KSP is about the challenge of building something that works, the explosions aren't a goal, and aren't why I play it, and I think that hold for many others.

Rask and Rusk: this system will not work right without N-body physics. I'd like to see lagarange points, I don't think this is too complicated, as simple hohmans and getting to orbit as people do normally work just fine in Principia. Principia's performance is actually quite good with KSP already, so an optimized KSP2 engine should handle it just fine. Principia's only fault as I look at it now is the user interface (can't even click on a point in the orbit and add a maneuver node)

 

Then there's the tech, which seems like it may be magic tech after all:

1) Metallic hydrogen rockets? This would only work if metalic hydrogen was meta-stable, and would remain metallic after being compressed even if pressure was let off (similar to a diamond). - This is unknown and is speculative. Its not like an Orian drive that we know would work. Its not even like an ICF drive that we know would work (at what scale it would need to be built to work is another question).

They are getting very close to being able to examine the properties of metallic hydrogen, and its entirely possible that in a year or two, this type of engine will be shown to be firmly in the magic-tech category.

2) "kerb-stein" drive: Magic tech:

Scott Manley on the Epstein drive from the expanse

Its magic tech as far as the reaction rate of the fusion, and its magic tech as far as efficiency and energy output. Such a drive with such a ludicrous power output would vaporize itself in a fraction of a second if it was even 99.9% efficient with 0.1% of the energy going to waste heat.

And lastly, I'm concerned about all this future tech in a 1/10th scale system... way too OP'd. Will stock KSP 2 be just mincraft in space, with it being trivial to move around the system?

 

At least I'm confident that mods will be able to save it if my concerns turn out to be valid

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13 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

I was initially optimistic about KSP 2 stock content. The statement that they wouldn't have magic tech/warp drives,/etc was very reassuring. The consulting with an expert to make realistic planets was reassuring.

Then I watched the dev video instead of just reading, and this lead guy doesn't give me confidence. I get the sense he's the kind of guy that will take an astronomer's qualified statement about a planet being "potentially habitable", and report it as "habitable", and stuff like that.

So now there's a few things that concern me about KSP 2 - that can be modded away I hope, because an optimized engine with nice graphics, axial tilt, etc, should still be a big improvement - I'm not saying KSP 2 will be garbage - just to head off any misconceptions.

In one of the interviews, he seems to think alot of KSP is about crashing and explosions: This concerns me. To me KSP is about the challenge of building something that works, the explosions aren't a goal, and aren't why I play it, and I think that hold for many others.

Rask and Rusk: this system will not work right without N-body physics. I'd like to see lagarange points, I don't think this is too complicated, as simple hohmans and getting to orbit as people do normally work just fine in Principia. Principia's performance is actually quite good with KSP already, so an optimized KSP2 engine should handle it just fine. Principia's only fault as I look at it now is the user interface (can't even click on a point in the orbit and add a maneuver node)

 

Then there's the tech, which seems like it may be magic tech after all:

1) Metallic hydrogen rockets? This would only work if metalic hydrogen was meta-stable, and would remain metallic after being compressed even if pressure was let off (similar to a diamond). - This is unknown and is speculative. Its not like an Orian drive that we know would work. Its not even like an ICF drive that we know would work (at what scale it would need to be built to work is another question).

They are getting very close to being able to examine the properties of metallic hydrogen, and its entirely possible that in a year or two, this type of engine will be shown to be firmly in the magic-tech category.

2) "kerb-stein" drive: Magic tech:

Scott Manley on the Epstein drive from the expanse

Its magic tech as far as the reaction rate of the fusion, and its magic tech as far as efficiency and energy output. Such a drive with such a ludicrous power output would vaporize itself in a fraction of a second if it was even 99.9% efficient with 0.1% of the energy going to waste heat.

And lastly, I'm concerned about all this future tech in a 1/10th scale system... way too OP'd. Will stock KSP 2 be just mincraft in space, with it being trivial to move around the system?

 

At least I'm confident that mods will be able to save it if my concerns turn out to be valid

I wouldn't think the Epstein drive is magic tech as Fusion reactors are being made as we speak and all of them use magnetic confinement to keep the plasma and radiation within the structure. 

The toroidal ring fusion reactor uses magnets to keep the plasma and radiation spinning in circles around the chamber.

The, IIRC, German fusion reactor uses lasers to create a fusion, and I believe they are also using magnets to keep the plasma from touching the chamber walls. 

Fusion reactors exist today, Britain has been doing tests of their fusion reactor and managed to take their plasma up to 1000 degrees K sometime last year. They plan to go for 10,000 K this year or the next and then 100,000 K. If they can contain 1,000 K heat with magnets, I don't think it's too far fetched to use the same concept with the epstein drive. 

Edit: Apparently they have gone all the way up to 15 million Celsius. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5808167/UKs-latest-nuclear-fusion-reactor-hits-key-15-million-C-milestone.html

So yeah, Magnetic containment works. Epstein drive is not magic tech. 

Edited by GoldForest
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Fusion drives are fine, but something like the Epstein drive that gives 7 G's of acceleration with an Isp of 1,000,000 s, and a dV of 5% the speed of light (and the total dV could be be much much higher if the fuel fraction is increased, but you could increase the fuel mass by 7x and still get 1G of acceleration.

This is ridiculously OP, and the power output is ridiculous.

If it was something like 0.01G and 1,000,000s, that'd be more reasonable... but still quite high...

Since KSP 2 allows thrusting in time warp, ion engines and other high Isp drives can have much lower and more realistic TWRs, and then they'd be appropriately used for interplanetary and interstellar transfers, without silly things like Ion engine mun and minmus landers.

Fusion drives should be great for interplanetary and interstellar drives, but allowing them the TWR to take off from the surface of a large planet is too much. You wouldn't need any drive but the Epstein drive in that case.

Edited by KerikBalm
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4 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

Fusion drives are fine, but something like the Epstein drive that gives 7 G's of acceleration with an Isp of 1,000,000 s, and a dV of 5% the speed of light (and the total dV could be be much much higher if the fuel fraction is increased, but you could increase the fuel mass by 7x and still get 1G of acceleration.

This is ridiculously OP, and the power output is ridiculous.

If it was something like 0.1G and 1,000,000s, that'd be more reasonable... but still quite high...

Since KSP 2 allows thrusting in time warp, ion engines and other high Isp drives can have much lower and more realistic TWRs, and then they'd be appropriately used for interplanetary and interstellar transfers, without silly things like Ion engine mun and minmus landers.

Fusion drives should be great for interplanetary and interstellar drives, but allowing them the TWR to take off from the surface of a large planet is too much. You wouldn't need any drive but the Epstein drive in that case.

Well, it's a fusion engine, which means it probably needs H-3 or even H-4 fuel, which would only be minable from gas Giants. 

It's probably a late or even end game item, so if it is OP, probably OP for a reason. 

The solar systems are about 1 to 2 light years away from each other IIRC. A high output long lasting engine like you're saying would be great for those Journeys. It would be faster than Daedalus which would get you to 12% of C in maybe 3 to 4 months (Note: Daedalus was designed to get to 12% of C in 4 years IRL, but because KSP has a sized down system, I'm guestimating 3 to 4 months)? If you could get up to 12% of C in 1 month, it would seriously cut down travel time. 

Edited by GoldForest
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I don't care if its the end of the tech tree, or you need to mine gas giants... its OP magic tech that is acting like an anti-matter rocket in its power output.

The extreme acceleration is not needed to go interstellar. The OP'd neess of this drive means that you can easily ship helium and hydrogen (its likely hydrogen and Helium3 fusion). I don't know why you say "even H-4". H4 doesn't exist. He-4 exists, and its what you'll get on a terrestrial planet. H-3 is tritium, and is also relatively easy to get on a terrestrial planet (split lithium, or run hydrogen through a nuclear reactor).

ICF drives that can do 0.01g brachistichrone trajectories are fine. ICF drives doing 7 Gs are magic tech

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10 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

I don't care if its the end of the tech tree, or you need to mine gas giants... its OP magic tech that is acting like an anti-matter rocket in its power output.

The extreme acceleration is not needed to go interstellar. The OP'd neess of this drive means that you can easily ship helium and hydrogen (its likely hydrogen and Helium3 fusion). I don't know why you say "even H-4". H4 doesn't exist. He-4 exists, and its what you'll get on a terrestrial planet. H-3 is tritium, and is also relatively easy to get on a terrestrial planet (split lithium, or run hydrogen through a nuclear reactor).

ICF drives that can do 0.01g brachistichrone trajectories are fine. ICF drives doing 7 Gs are magic tech

I mean He-4, doh… 

And it might not do 7 Gs. It's going to be scaled down.

We'll just have to wait. 

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(Edit: whoops, wrong thread.)

Anyway, they aren't putting Epstein drive in the game.

But yes, metallic hydrogen is a bit too speculative for a non-magic tech.

Edited by Psycho_zs
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33 minutes ago, Psycho_zs said:

(Edit: whoops, wrong thread.)

Anyway, they aren't putting Epstein drive in the game.

But yes, metallic hydrogen is a bit too speculative for a non-magic tech.

How will an metallic hydrogen engine work anyway? 
The fuel is metal so I assume you had to use pellets and turn it into atomic hydrogen an laser or perhaps an current. 
Metallic hydrogen will be expensive and not very good compared to fusion. think isp is 1700, now if you could make an small engine for use on probes that would be excellent. 

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Metallic hydrogen can also be liquid (plenty of liquid metals), but I suspect that makes it even less likely to be meta stable (remaining metalic even after pressure is released).

I could also see it being present as a suspension of grains within liquid hydrogen. Metalic hydrogen undergoing a phase change would create far too much heat (similar problem to liquid and gas core NTRs), and would need to be mixed with somethign to cool the resulting gas down to a temperature that won't melt the engine. Using water gets you pretty bad Isp, using LH2 is the best option ... so maybe you just have LH2 and metalic hydrogren grains in the tank, and keep it well mixed? Settling at the bottom while under thrust would be a problem. Maybe a dry tank with metalic hydrogen "sand" that mixes with liquid hydrogen? I dunno

2 hours ago, Psycho_zs said:

Anyway, they aren't putting Epstein drive in the game.

Source? because they said they were putting a version of it in, so unless there is a source retracting it/clarifying that they just meant a more mundane ICF fusion drive... its wishful thinking (that I hope is turns out to be true)

30 minutes ago, magnemoe said:

Metallic hydrogen will be expensive and not very good compared to fusion. think isp is 1700, now if you could make an small engine for use on probes that would be excellent. 

MEtalic hydrogen would act like a chemical engine, and should have similar TWR, just with much better Isp. A Fusion engine (barring a thermonuclear Orion type vehicle) shouldn't have a anywhere close to a 1:1 TWR. It should be great as an engine for interplanetary and interstellar travel, but the exhaust would destroy and launch pad, and it shouldn't have the TWR to lift off of Kerbin. Orion type drives would have the TWR, but should destroy the colony if used for liftoff.

If metalic hydrogen can be made metastable at ambient pressure, it would be an amazing power source for a SSTO rocket on Earth, and for KSP2 I would imagine it being the premier engine for getting to orbit from high gravity world where you don't want to use Orion drives- or at least for taking your craft far enough away from the colony before you start ol' boom-boom.

I mean... maybe it could exist, but the point is that we don't know if its magic tech or not. We know Orion drives, Schimitar engines (ie, a rapier, but with good Isp for a chemical engine in closed cycle mode), scramjets, ramrockets, etc would work though.

We know ICF fusion could work (if scaled up enough and if there's enough precision to have uniform enough energy directed at the fuel pellet)... a Bussard ramjet may work... and I'd put it as more of a certainty than metastable metallic hydrogen, and they haven't even shown us a bussard ramjet.

Edited by KerikBalm
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36 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

Source? because they said they were putting a version of it in, so unless there is a source retracting it/clarifying that they just meant a more mundane ICF fusion drive... its wishful thinking (that I hope is turns out to be true)

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/features/interviews/an-in-depth-conversation-with-the-creator-of-ksp2/

Well, they will have engines

similar to the Epstein drive because of their torch-ship qualities

But they mention Orion and ICF engines among those. So the similarity is rather stretchy.

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It's not just the new dev team that has pushed the lolsokerbal narrative.

Spoiler

 

On 4/29/2018 at 4:21 AM, klgraham1013 said:

Consider The 1.0 trailer vs Build Fly Dream.

Though Build Fly Dream certainly has explosions, it is not the main through line of the trailer.  Build Fly Dream ends in accomplishment; the reward of struggling only to succeed in such a grand fashion.  So, what does the KSP1.0 Launch trailer say?  Isn't the imminent death of two Kerbals funny!?

Now consider what the end of the KSP2 trailer says: Success in such a grand fashion...but, opps, your engineers are silly little Kerbals and now your colony is collapsing leading to the death of who knows how many!  ...but it's funny, right!?

I will quote Bac9 again and again until people get it.

"I'm convinced the obsession with disasters and perception of Kerbals as worthless engineers only caring about explosions is destructive for the game. KSP deserves much more than being a glorified disaster simulator where rockets falling apart and crews being killed is the prime entertainment and the only expected result. The achievements of players who strive to be successful, who create beautiful, well-engineered, reliable designs, should never be devalued, and the opinion that going to space is impossibly hard deserves to be crushed and disproved over and over again. Kerbals are capable engineers and it's up to the player to utilize their technology well."

Edited by klgraham1013
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Then again learning by failing is also what KSP is all about, and explosions make failing much more fun.

As to the interstellar engines, I'm not worried. For one thing it looks like they'll be really big and really expensive, and engines aren't really the hard part of reaching the hardest-to-reach places in the system.

For another, even if they do make end-tech-tree exploration of the Kerbol system easier, I'm quite sure that the interstellar missions will more than make up for that with new challenges.

And finally, for players like the OP there are always mods that add even more challenge. 

It'll be great, trust me.

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3 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

Then again learning by failing is also what KSP is all about, and explosions make failing much more fun.

As to the interstellar engines, I'm not worried. For one thing it looks like they'll be really big and really expensive, and engines aren't really the hard part of reaching the hardest-to-reach places in the system.

For another, even if they do make end-tech-tree exploration of the Kerbol system easier, I'm quite sure that the interstellar missions will more than make up for that with new challenges.

And finally, for players like the OP there are always mods that add even more challenge. 

It'll be great, trust me.

I agree. Mods will fix any problems people have with the game. And if they don't like a certain engine, they could just not use it. Ignore it. Or make a MM file to make it more realistic for them. 

But I for one will like a super fast super high ISP engine if the solar systems are light years away, which they sound like they are. But I'll have no problem if I use 9 Daedaluses. 1 Daedalus can reach 12% of C in 4 years. I plan to reach 99% of C in less :cool:

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4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Then I watched the dev video instead of just reading, and this lead guy doesn't give me confidence. I get the sense he's the kind of guy that will take an astronomer's qualified statement about a planet being "potentially habitable", and report it as "habitable", and stuff like that.

The other aspects of this argument were already handled above, but I want to talk about this one.

Of course he would report it as "habitable", that dude is a gamer designer. :) He need to grasp on every possible plausible concept in order to keep some contact with the reality, otherwise the history will not stick as Science Fiction and will be tagged merely as Fantasy.

I got an argument once with my father, he didn't liked 007 moves (that I love) because they were unrealistic. My reply? "Of course it's unrealistic,  it's a fiction movie! A realistic movie would end the franchise on the first movie, with Bond dead in the first 15 minutes!!!".

Elon Musk took 10 frakking years to have a reliable, recoverable and reusable Launch Vehicles. It's hard to believe that someone would play a realistic game where you would need to do the same - no to mention buying the damned thing. :P 

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2 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

Then again learning by failing is also what KSP is all about.

I've always disagreed with this.  KSP is about succeeding through learning.  It's the perspective of the statement that's different.  You know how I learned KSP?  It certainly wasn't by trail and error.  It was by going outside of the game and learning about gravity turns, TWR, and delta v.  Failing in KSP hasn't been a common occurrence in my game for a very long time, and, guess what, it's still really fun!  No constant explosions needed!  I would much rather encourage people to play KSP2 through the awe inspiring opening shot of the Kerbin rise on the Mun in the KSP2 trailer, than the colony collapsing at the end of the very same trailer.

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4 minutes ago, GoldForest said:

I agree. Mods will fix any problems people have with the game. And if they don't like a certain engine, they could just not use it. Ignore it. Or make a MM file to make it more realistic for them. 

But I for one will like a super fast super high ISP engine if the solar systems are light years away, which they sound like they are. But I'll have no problem if I use 9 Daedaluses. 1 Daedalus can reach 12% of C in 4 years. I plan to reach 99% of C in less :cool:

If special relativity isn't implemented, can we try crashing ships at >1c speeds?

Spoiler

Last Jedi: the hyperspace rammer

 

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3 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

I've always disagreed with this.  KSP is about succeeding through learning.  It's the perspective of the statement that's different.  You know how I learned KSP?  It certainly wasn't by trail and error.  It was by going outside of the game and learning about gravity turns, TWR, and delta v.  Failing in KSP hasn't been a common occurrence in my game for a very long time, and, guess what, it's still really fun!  No constant explosions needed!  I would much rather encourage people to play KSP2 through the awe inspiring opening shot of the Kerbin rise on the Mun in the KSP2 trailer, than the colony collapsing at the end of the very same trailer.


There's three ways to learn:
Learn from Failure
Learn from Success
Learn from Others. 

Everyone learns differently and possibly through multiple ways. 

 

2 minutes ago, Xd the great said:

If special relativity isn't implemented, can we try crashing ships at >1c speeds?

  Hide contents

Last Jedi: the hyperspace rammer

 

Omg... I never knew I wanted to do this until now. What would happen if you ram a space station in KSP 2 at light speed....

Edited by GoldForest
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16 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

Then again learning by failing is also what KSP is all about, and explosions make failing much more fun.

As to the interstellar engines, I'm not worried. For one thing it looks like they'll be really big and really expensive, and engines aren't really the hard part of reaching the hardest-to-reach places in the system.

 

6 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

I've always disagreed with this.  KSP is about succeeding through learning.  It's the perspective of the statement that's different. 

I don't mind either statement, because they both emphasize learning... failures may be something that happens while learning and succeeding, but they aren't the objective. Statements that imply that they are are detrimental.

As to the part about " engines aren't really the hard part of reaching the hardest-to-reach places in the system." If the engine has far higher than a 1:1 TWR, and 1 million Isp, then there are no hard to reach places in the solar system. Eve would be trivial. Re entry would be trivial due to the ability to just go to zero surface velocity above the atmosphere, and then just slowly descend on engine thrust, because lulz, you can get 1:1 TWR with 1 million Isp.

I really hope they are overstating the resemblance to the fictional Epstein drive. I'd be happy with an ICF design with 1 million Isp, and a maximum TWR of around 0.01.

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10 minutes ago, GoldForest said:

Omg... I never knew I wanted to do this until now. What would happen if you ram a space station in KSP 2 at light speed....

It will phase through without colliding. How do I know? Because unless you do something really clever with collision detection, specifically to simulate hypervelocity impacts, then collisions are detected on each physics frame. As it happens, sub-frame collision calculations are impractical for anything that isn't a point mass. In KSP1, you can go through planets at high warp, and if you were going at c, you wouldn't even need to warp. KSP2 should have higher average framerates (both graphics and physics), but nowhere near enough to fix that.

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13 minutes ago, KerikBalm said:

I really hope they are overstating the resemblance to the fictional Epstein drive. I'd be happy with an ICF design with 1 million Isp, and a maximum TWR of around 0.01.

Considering support of thrusted timewarp, this would be a great scenario.

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12 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

It will phase through without colliding. How do I know? Because unless you do something really clever with collision detection, specifically to simulate hypervelocity impacts, then collisions are detected on each physics frame. As it happens, sub-frame collision calculations are impractical for anything that isn't a point mass. In KSP1, you can go through planets at high warp, and if you were going at c, you wouldn't even need to warp. KSP2 should have higher average framerates (both graphics and physics), but nowhere near enough to fix that.

But, what about a boomstick? Rod of God? Something very long?

Edited by Xd the great
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10 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

It's not just the new dev team that has pushed the lolsokerbal narrative.

Perhaps I'm being optimistic, but even the fact that this team seems to have recognised that the build fly dream trailer exists at all, gives me the hope that they at least understand why KSP works so well, the sense of achievement and all that. I'm not too worried on the explosion focus just yet - after all, succeeding in KSP does often involving failing a few times first for many people, and it'd be nice to make those failures a lil more spectacular ;) As long as they don't push the 'lol kerbals are so stupid' angle massively in the actual game, keeping it to the same level it is now, I'm not too fussed.

4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

"kerb-stein" drive: Magic tech:

I haven't got a source for this right now, so I may be entirely mistaken, but I *believe* one of the developers called this engine an 'easter egg'. My assumption there being that it would be more like a 'hidden' thing, not really something you'd get just playing the game normally. In my head, it'd be more like those little cheat rewards you used to get with older games, like a "if you beat the game on highest difficulty, or do this really specific set of things that no-one would ever think to do normally, then we'll give you this super silly special weapon, just to mess around with" kinda thing.

...That said, I too am worried about the different direction they seem to be taking things, in terms of technology. I've always been in the "chemical engines and a bit extra" camp of playing, only really using a few select pieces from Near Future. This sounds like they're focusing a lot more on slightly-further future stuff, what with the heavy colonization, and the advanced nuclear technology. I'm not totally sold on it yet... but we'll see, I suppose. I'm open to see where this is going ;)

 

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36 minutes ago, klgraham1013 said:

I've always disagreed with this.  KSP is about succeeding through learning.  It's the perspective of the statement that's different.  You know how I learned KSP?  It certainly wasn't by trail and error.  It was by going outside of the game and learning about gravity turns, TWR, and delta v.  Failing in KSP hasn't been a common occurrence in my game for a very long time, and, guess what, it's still really fun!  No constant explosions needed!  I would much rather encourage people to play KSP2 through the awe inspiring opening shot of the Kerbin rise on the Mun in the KSP2 trailer, than the colony collapsing at the end of the very same trailer.

Speak for yourself. I would likely never have made it to the Mun without the entertaining explosions.

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1 minute ago, Xd the great said:

But, what about a boomstick? Rod of god? Something very long?

Yes, if it's 2500km long. Assuming 120 FPS, an object moving at c moves about 2500km per frame. You'd phase through most celestial bodies in JNSQ, nevermind stock size system. 

I don't think any of you people really realize just how fast the speed of light is. 

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