Lu K.

KSP2 - Progression mode

Would you like to see some kind of storyline in the KSP2 campaign ("progression") mode?  

60 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like to see some kind of storyline in the KSP2 campaign ("progression") mode?

    • Yes
      28
    • No
      32


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I wouldn't mind a (non-intrusive) story line, but I don't think it's important.

I'd really like to see a different take on progression other than science gathering, at least as an option (either in progression or career mode). An example would be having achieved milestones unlocking nodes in the tech tree. That could be combined with the need to make money from tourism / mining / science experiments, funds then used to upgrade space centre facilities.

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Not in favour of a set 'story' like those in many single player FPSs. I want to play the game not be a movie character.

Thst said, sequences of linked missions as part of a tutorial series woukd make some sense.

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I think a lot of non-advanced players would probably like to have the career mode, rather than create their own story or have to search for user-created ones to use.  My biggest problem I have with the game today when playing sandbox is, anything science related is worthless for me to build unless I just want it to sit in space/on a planet and look pretty.  Same thing with reputation being worthless.

I'd rather see them do away with funds/science/reputation, and then come up with a points/scoring system for doing Science experiments or completing Contracts.  In a Progression mode, the more Points you earn, the more of the tech tree you unlock.  In a Sandbox mode, you have all your parts, experiments, etc unlocked.  You can do whatever you want to do in Sandbox just like today, but, you can also try to earn as many Points in Sandbox as possible.  It isn't for unlocking Tech Tree or anything, but, maybe there is a leaderboard to see who has earned the most points in a save.  Point values increase with harder tasks, harder contracts, and the further you get away from Kerbin.

Just my .02 funds.

 

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I have a friend who has played KSP, but really doesn't have the imagination to make up stories and missions for him self. Thus, once he had done the most obvious stuff in the game, that was it for him. For people like that I think a story-driven game-mode could bring a lot to the game. That said, like most people here, I don't think the traditional movie like story mode, where you are basically just an other character in the movie would be good for the game.

What I would propose is to essentially reuse the multiplayer system to have competing space agencies driving the story, and tying the flavor-text of the missions to the storyline. This still leaves the player to do what they want, but gives them direction and ideas for things to do.

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If there’s anything in the game that’s ripe for an overhaul it’s career mode.

Let’s not forget the origins of career mode (which is really science mode today) as a way to give some direction and introduction into the game. Whether that attempt was succesful is open for discussion but the whole idea of gradual introduction of parts was motivated to easy new players into the game, and not necessarily as a gaming mechanism, which is why the tech tree makes little sense from a development point of view. It’s a reward-for-progress tree, not a technical-evolution tree.

When it comes to a walk-before-you-run approach, we now have tutorials, and missions. And KSP2, more likely than not, has additional learning tools.

That means a career/progression game mode can purely focus on that — progressing a space program. In some ways less extended than current career mode, but also without the grind.

For stories, there can be missions, perhaps even randomized ones (much alike contracts but more complex). When developed well, it can be a real addition to the game and if done right, mission packs can be a primary candidate for DLC (not being the only kind of DLC, just one of different kinds).

Given the “let’s not repeat what didn’t work” opportunity Star Something has, I’m sure this is one of the areas where the KSP2 will really be an improvement.

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15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

More bad logic and assumptions here.

I'm sorry-- my intent wasn't to make inferences, i.e. "logic" and "assumptions" wasn't what I was talking about.  Apologies if I didn't make myself clear.

I'm simply sharing my observations about how the software production process works, based on spending the last few decades shipping commercial software for a living.  I wasn't saying "here's how I think it might be", I'm saying "here is how it's always worked, based on my personal experience."

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

Of course making a story would cost them more, yes, but this idea of using resources that would otherwise be spent on other features is not necessarily true.

Except that my experience at a variety of companies on a variety of project types, over the last quarter-century, is that it actually is.  Nothing's free. Budget is budget, and having more of one thing means having less of something else.  Everything's a tradeoff.

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

A story writer is unlikely to be coding things <more discussion in this vein snipped>

Nor was I claiming that they would.  Certainly there are a variety of disciplines that go into shipping a product-- engineers, UI designers, artists, sound technicians, story writers, QA staff, localizers, all sorts of jobs.  Some people may wear multiple "hats," but usually they're fairly specialized within their discipline.  And different projects will have different mixes of disciplines-- some projects will be more engineer-heavy, others will be more writer-heavy, etc.

But they're all coming out of the same budget, and in general the "more of one thing equals less of something else" still holds true, in my experience.  Features take time and money to implement, and that comes out of the time/money budget of the project.  And it's rare for a feature to affect only one discipline in isolation-- for example, a feature may be kinda "writer-centric", but typically it'll still have aspects that will require coders to provide a framework to allow it to happen, and the QA people will have to spend time testing it, and the localization staff will need to translate it, and so forth.

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

Plus, if the modding system is good and/or the writer has basic development knowledge, they wouldn't necessarily be using up anyone's time other than their own in order to get everything done.

Really, really not the case.  This is absolutely not how shipping commercial software works.  A lone modder can absolutely bang something out, often something impressive that a lot of people will like to play.  But a mod is not the same thing as actual, shipping commercial software.  They're just not, in a variety of ways.  I could go on a multi-page rant about this, for anyone who's interested.  But unless you're interested in the nitty-gritty details, it would likely bore you.

I'm just asserting this as a statement of fact, based on 25 years' experience shipping commercial software for a living, plus several years of writing mods for KSP.  I've seen both sides of the fence from personal experience, and I'm saying that they're completely apples-and-oranges.

A lone story writer could bang out a story, sure, but it will require a lot of other people getting involved in order to be shippable, and it will be a significant overall investment of time and effort.  (I have noticed a very common tendency, among people who haven't had personal experience shipping software for a living, to greatly underestimate the level of sustained effort required to ship a feature.  I don't know you personally or what your background is, so I'm not in any position to say whether this would apply here.  Just... unless you've done it, please be aware that it may be a whole lot more work than you think.)

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

The modding framework for KSP1 is already so strong that I could put together a story without having to install monodevelop and learn c# - contract configurator, module manager, the barn kit, etc - this is all the framework you need for a deep story and the language is much simpler and more accessible.

Yes, and that's great. Putting out mods-- or putting out new config for existing mods-- is remarkably quick and easy, and can do some really nifty stuff.    It's a big part of why KSP has such a huge and diverse ecosystem of mods out there.  I really love it, myself, having produced a mod or two in my time.  ;)  So yes, I'm reasonably familiar with that space.

But mods are mods, and commercial software is commercial software.  They're not the same thing, and the latter is orders of magnitude more expensive and labor-intensive than the former, for a variety of reasons.

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

The financial incentive to hire one writer and add a story mode separate to sandbox is strong. It would add interest for a lot of different kinds of players and when you are going AAA and expanding to the console market these things are definitely a drawcard as it's a different audience from the pc crowd.

A good point.  But as with everything, it comes down to the numbers.  It would add interest for some players.  Not all.  At the unavoidable (for software-development reasons) cost of spending less time on other features that might interest other players.  Like everything, it's a tradeoff, requiring prioritization.

  • For example, if adding a story mode would multiply the potential KSP audience by a factor of 10, then of course it would be a total no-brainer-- obviously they should spend time to develop that, as long as they don't totally lobotomize the game otherwise.
  • On the other hand, maybe the population of potential players who would really like that might be pretty small.  What if 90% of players actually don't care about story mode and have no use for it?  In that case, it would be a bad decision to add, because they'd be penalizing 90% of the player base (by having less time/money spent on features of interest to them) in order to benefit only 10%.

So of course the big important question is... what are the numbers?  What are most KSP players (current  or potential) actually into?  Which one's more prevalent, the story people or the non-story people?

I don't have the faintest idea what that is, and neither do you.  Nor, likely, does anyone outside of Squad / Star Theory / Private Division, since we're not privy to sales numbers or any customer focus groups they might have done.  Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else is in any position to say authoritatively who's in the majority, there.

So all you really can say is what you like.  And all I can say is what I like.  And you can do a poll-- as you've done here on this thread-- which is a great idea, the more feedback the better.  ;)  But even that is not a statistically large sample and is at risk of things like selection bias, since people who respond to the poll are self-selected.

I think it's fair to say that you're far from alone, and there are other people out there who, like you, would love to see some sort of story mode; certainly you're far from the first person I've seen to ask for something like this.  On the other hand, it's also clear that huge numbers of people (as I do) love KSP because it's an open-ended, free-play environment where they can tell their own stories, like playing with Legos or a dollhouse or, well, an actual literal sandbox.

Nothing wrong with that-- different people like different things.  But where it makes the most sense for the company to spend its resources depends on the relative numbers of those two, and you and I just don't know the answer to that.

So if you're asserting that you, personally, would like to have a "story mode", great!  That's what you'd like, I'm glad to see that you're advocating for it here, and I have not the slightest quibble about that.  It happens to be that what I want is pretty much diametrically opposed to what you want, but there's nothing wrong with that-- tastes differ, that's all.

On the other hand, if you're asserting that your preference is somehow more "valid" than mine (or anyone else's)... that's simply not the case. 

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

To me, KSP is NOT a sandbox game, I never play sandbox games because I find them boring and I only use KSP sandbox mode in rare cases where I need to test designs or look up stats on a whole bunch of different parts at once which is easier than digging through cfg files. This is why the game frustrates me so much - it has great depth and mechanics and is my all time favourite but the career mode feels unfinished, underdeveloped and abandoned probably because the devs think that most people are only interested in sandbox.

And that's fine.  Nobody's arguing with you-- certainly I'm not.  Not even slightly, and apologies if I gave you that impression in any way, that certainly wasn't my intent.

What you've done here is to articulate, very clearly and very well, what you, personally, like or don't like.  And it would be unreasonable for anyone to try to argue with you about that, because of course you like what you like, same as anyone else.  Trying to argue with that would be as silly as arguing over which ice cream flavor is better, vanilla or chocolate.  (Chocolate.) 

I see no evidence to think that the KSP devs "think people are only interested in sandbox".  You can say that career mode feels unfinished to you, and that's fine-- another personal preference-- but of course that's entirely subjective.  For example, I love KSP's career mode and play it all the time; I don't consider it "unfinished" at all, and my opinion's just as valid as yours or anyone else's.

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

The game could only be enhanced by adding a story mode and if you think not I challenge you to present an argument that doesn't rely on fallacious reasoning.

See above. Like I said, not "reasoning", merely sharing my personal observation of a variety of projects and companies over the course of a few decades in the industry, plus a fair amount of experience producing KSP mods.

That doesn't mean I can't be wrong, of course, any more than anyone else could.  ;)

But first-hand observation does have a certain amount of value-- you (and anyone else reading this) can decide for yourself how much you want to take my word for it, of course.  If you don't find me credible, naturally that's your prerogative.

But if you're asserting something about the actual mechanics of shipping commercial software-- such as claiming that the cost of a feature would be consequence-free and not involve significant tradeoffs-- then it would be nice to cite some evidence and examples to support that claim, since it doesn't match what I've observed in the industry.

15 hours ago, Lu K. said:

Otherwise the poll should give some indication of how popular the idea is.

The poll's a great idea, thanks for adding that.  :)  As I write this, it's currently running 17-to-24 against, i.e. 58.5% of respondents thus far would prefer not to have a story mode.

Though it's worth noting that it's far from a scientific sample.  It's a vanishingly tiny sample size, compared with the KSP player base as a whole, and it's going to be strongly susceptible to selection bias-- i.e. first, the fact that only a very small self-selected group of players are going to be on the forums at all; and, of those, only a small self-selected group is even going to read the thread, let alone respond to it.  (And I wouldn't be surprised if the people who choose to look at the thread are disproportionately likely to be folks who are pro-story, given the thread title.)  So it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, same as anything else in the forums.  But it's certainly a nice thing to look at, no arguments there.

 

Anyway.  Everything I've said above basically boils down to this:

  • Adding features ain't free.
  • It also ain't cheap, and always requires significant tradeoffs.
  • Your viewpoint about your own likes/dislikes is perfectly valid, and good to share.
  • So's mine, and so's everyone else's.
  • Knowing what's right for the company to do depends on what the numbers are for what the player base as a whole would like, and that's a very difficult thing for anyone here in the forums to know.

 

14 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

Yes but with no story you don't need to hire a story writer and their salary can go to a programmer.

^ This.  Also, you don't have to spend time from the many other people besides just the story writer who would have to be involved.

14 hours ago, 5thHorseman said:

I don't need to present an argument. I wouldn't like it. I don't and can't speak for Squad, KSP, you, Snark, or anybody else. I speak for me. And to be clear, it's not that I think it wouldn't add anything to the game for me. There's plenty of stuff that doesn't add anything to the game for me and I think they're perfectly fine. The problem is that I think that the existence of a "this is what really happens" story line - which an official story line would be and I don't think there's any way around that - would actually detract from the game.

So should they put time and effort into making the game worse? No. I do not think they should.

^ This sums up, perfectly, my own personal reasons for not wanting story mode.  Like 5thHorseman, I make no assertions that what-I-like is any more "right" than anyone else's.  It's simply a statement of what I, personally, like (or don't), that's all.

11 hours ago, Lu K. said:

You're appealing to a whole other section of the market

Of unknown size.

11 hours ago, Lu K. said:

those engineering-focused sandbox features won't, and it could be done by launch day with maybe 1 person on a part time salary (for a simple one anyway). Stories aren't like coding a physics engine.

You're making some fairly strong assertions about how developing commercial software works, which are directly at odds with my experience of how the industry works.  Citation please?

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As I have said before a 'set story' is not something that appeals to me, but as an option for those that do want it then how could I object?  I can simply choose not to play it.

But I think it is very easy to under estimate the time and resources needed to write and implement it well. 

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On 9/12/2019 at 10:29 AM, Lu K. said:

The tech tree strikes me as very illogical and disorganised - parts are scattered all over the place, and the progression from 1.25m engines to both smaller and larger engines and starting with kerbals before probes makes no sense. Surely this can be done a lot better and provide players with more choices (either manned or unmanned starts, rovers to zoom around KSC on in the beginning, etc) and a sense of progression.

Storyline - there isn't one. Why not? It could add so much fun and character to this game. I want to be drawn into the Kerbal world. The contracts are often funny and show character - I'd like to see this built on and fleshed out a lot more.

I would love a rational tech tree for stock.  I can launch rockets all over the Kerbol system, but I can't make a rover because I haven't unlocked the wheel yet?  Crazy!  I've edited a fair number of parts to change their spot on the tech tree in my saves to be a little more rational, but it would be nicer if that was stock.  I can understand the reasoning for putting kerbals before probes as attempt to appeal to more people, but the opposite makes more sense to me.

As for storyline, I'm happy with the little bits that KSP1 has (monoliths, crashed saucer, face, etc) just to give a sense of something bigger going on without cramming it down my throat.  That way I can weave it into my own story or ignore it completely as I see fit.

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59 minutes ago, Cavscout74 said:

That way I can weave it into my own story or ignore it completely as I see fit.

Obviously that worked fantastically, given the number of fan works! Entire novels are being written here!

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Finally someone discuss career mode, my favorite part of KSP. And the reason I stopped playing (because it was so lackluster and every update brought it in the wrong direction). 

What I would want:

1. To really run a kerbal space program. Start by getting a government funding, i.e. choosing between exploring mun, Kerbin, Minmus or building space stations. Then you get a cash up front and for every milestone correlating to your chosen ”mission” you get more cash. (Like if you chose mun, you get rewarded for lunar orbit, lunar landing, planting a flag.) 

2. Have an ingame wiki that starts empty and then gets filled as you explore and do science. So if you again choose mun as your ”mission” the way to finish the mission would be to fill out everything in the wiki about the mun. 

3. Have a deltav readout in VAB that starts empty (so you cannot really use it) and as you do science on other bodies it gets filled and you can use it. (Ie to be able to use the deltav readout to understand if a landers TWR and deltav is enough to launch back from the mun, you first has to land a (probably unmanned) rocket and measure the gravity at ”sea level” of the mun.

4. Have reasearching new parts cost money, not science. But some nodes in the research tree can only be unlock by, for example, bringing back a stone from mun. This is so that money would have more meaning. But then you could have a discount for parts needed for mun (when you choose that as your mission) or station parts (when you choose space stations as your mission) to help guide newer players.

5 The missions would NOT lock you in. If you want to switch from mun to minmus exploration, you could. But probably some small penalty.

6. Keep private missions (like in KSP1) with for example tourists, but as side missions.

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"The Original Story of Kerbals,
and how have they lost everything and degraded down to a cheap barn in a wasteland with a junkyard of rocket parts scattered along the road sides;
and why should you treat some Kerbals more equal than others for being the story heroes, and care about them, and do not send them in dangerous missions."

***
Also, there is a story.
"In the beginning there was HarvesteR, and HarvesteR made the Kerbals...
Then, from thoughts of NovaSilisko the world has come...
On 0.7.3 Day the world hath been revealed to others...
As Kerbin the Planet was feeling alone, the Mun has appeared... And later the Minmus, its lesser minion..."

Edited by kerbiloid

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21 hours ago, neistridlar said:

I have a friend who has played KSP, but really doesn't have the imagination to make up stories and missions for him self. Thus, once he had done the most obvious stuff in the game, that was it for him. For people like that I think a story-driven game-mode could bring a lot to the game. That said, like most people here, I don't think the traditional movie like story mode, where you are basically just an other character in the movie would be good for the game.

What I would propose is to essentially reuse the multiplayer system to have competing space agencies driving the story, and tying the flavor-text of the missions to the storyline. This still leaves the player to do what they want, but gives them direction and ideas for things to do.

My answer to that would be: KSP is not for them, which is fine.  I enjoy stories, but it is NOT at all why I go to KSP.  I am someone who can create his  own lore, and if you look at some of the mission reports, like @purpleivan's Lost On Laythe, you realize that personal story creation is a big part of the game. (To be fair, I am making assumptions about another player here, but I am sure he will set me right if needed :))

If I want lore I can go to Homeworld. If I want a story slowly revealed to me, I go to Subnautica (which I am about 20 hours into--so no spoilers please!)  But when I want to build stuff, test it and create my own reality, I come to KSP. We have characters--amazingly strong characters--but it is up to us to fill in the blanks.

Reading all of your post, I realize we are probably pretty close in opinion on this.  I just wanted to highlight the point. 

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4 hours ago, Lu K. said:

It's pretty frustrating seeing how much effort they put into other areas of the game, and never finished or improved career mode in so many years.

Yes, but career doesn't need a Story, even if they add a Story mod they should leave career alone. 

The career mode is a management game and needs management gameplay if a campaing is to be added must be a separate thing just like in other management games.

In City Skyline, Planet Coaster or similar management games you can have story scenarios to play but there is always a pure management mode in which you start from a clean map with some starting resources and build your own game from there, KSP must be the same if it has to have a story mode.

That said having some kind o "progam" system in which you choose a goal ("Ares Program", land 6 kerbals on a Duna base you built and bring them back) that help people setting and objective for themselves and rewards people that already know what they want to do for doing that would be awesome.

Edited by Master39

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On 9/14/2019 at 12:05 AM, Cavscout74 said:

I would love a rational tech tree for stock.  I can launch rockets all over the Kerbol system, but I can't make a rover because I haven't unlocked the wheel yet?  Crazy!

Also, I think it would make sense to have some basic airplane parts available at the start. Seems strange to have both a hangar and a runway built that's (initially) more or less useless.

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I think the whole concept of the tech tree, contracts, and science should get a rework.

 

They definitely give me the feeling of 'But why?' attached to them.

 

Why would KerbalGov pay me money to add a cupola to my own station?

Why would landing on minimus let me build better jet engines? 

 

These gamification steps feel just like that, and indeed, it kind of makes a fun sort of sense with creating a bunch of mini-rewards along the path of play. Human-apes like getting their reward centers stimulated. But it does create alot of perverse incentives, and especially some pretty weird issues with flying say, a silly two command seat with a radio biome hopper to minimus and unlocking 'all the parts'.

 

It would be much more interesting (in my mind) if our 'space program' learned about new things in a family by working with old things in a family. For example, if we use a Flea in a launch, that contributes practical experience in working with solid rocket boosters. Rather than unlocking things via 'science points' we unlock them via engineering points (EP). 

Each part has a 'type' ie (storage, power generation, structural members, aerodynamics, propulsion, science, habitation, survivability for ex). Every time you get a part to a biome (or new milestone place) that part accrues experience, which would contribute towards the unlocking of items farther down the technical development tree that share the same class. Each part should have some sort of 'practical knowledge' cap that can be learned about it, so that you don't just fly a 1,000 radial flea booster to insta-unlock all boosters. This could be done in a very clever way, for example, by awarding different specific parts different amounts of EP based on where they are used. Using a Flea on Kerbin for launch does not get you alot of progress towards future boosters. Reaching space with a Flea, on the other hand, is something pretty cool. This gets alot more interesting when you start to use parts in places other than Kerbin / LKO. You'd earn tons of aerodynamics points for flight surfaces on Eve, for ex. Not as much for a ballistic nosecone on Duna. All the points for a Orion Drive in the Mo-hole (nuclear cannonball). 

This then ties back into exploration; once you visit / know about a biome, your scientists have an idea of what would be interesting to test there (it can be high level; engines get extra points, solar panels are boring). That helps you plan unique and interesting missions, that would actually involve *learning* about how your equipment works in places you visit, and tying that back towards what you are doing back at KSC.

This system is quite intuitive to understand, and works in the model of loads of other games, which allow you to 'get better' at certain skills / attributes by using them. As opposed to the 'from the head of god' way we learn about stuff now. 

This then lets us break the idea of 'science' away form 'engineering' which is a really important step in making the game more interesting to explore and play with. Science is something accumulated by going and doing there, and accumulating knowledge. What good is knowledge? It could be used to unlock the *concept* of new things, or it could be used to all for better planning (of course, this is defeated by Wiki). Knowledge is also how we often judge a space program, doing amazing things and learning amazing stuff impresses the public, which makes them more likely to fund our space program. 

 

So, TLDR

 

Replace Science points by engineering points, and link engineering points accumulation to taking parts to places where those parts could be useful.

Use Science to better understand the places we are going to visit, to better plan those trips, to unlock new concepts or to impress the public. 

 

 

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I respectfully disagree in part with the OP.

Purely in the interests of the discussion...

For me personally, KSP has always been about spacecraft building - Lego style. I came to KSP just the science-points-to-unlock-more-lego-bitz mechanic was added. I'm aware that there are many people who berate this mechanic but, as far as I've always been concerned, it's a beautifully simple and fun system that was more than enough to motivate me to push my creativity further to reach more distant bodies. Yes - it's gamy and 'unrealistic' but, as I have said many times before, KSP is a game not a simulator. For those who want more realism, there are a plethora of amazing mods that cater for this desire wonderfully. I have no doubt the same will be the case for KSP2, if not more so.

Again, this is just my personal opinion and I'm expressing it purely for discussion's sake so please don't bash me:

I've never enjoyed the additional economic, contract and reputation mechanics as I found them to get in the way of what I wanted to do - fly fantasmic contraptions to space and do KSCIENZE!!! Thus, I have stuck to playing in science mode. Of course there are many people who only play in sandbox mode, and others still who love the contracts system and want more development in those areas. Fair enough I say. However, I do wholeheartedly agree with the OP that the science mechanic could and should be a far richer experience in any event. However, I'm not keen on the idea of a predetermined story/campaign mode.

Thus, If I was to ask for one thing in KSP2 it wouldn't be a story campaign or economic mechanics of any sort. Instead, I'd hope for science and discovery to be the sole currency of the game. Said currency would do one thing and one thing only: facilitate a players exploration of the glorious mystery-gooey Kerbally kuniverse in the way they see fit. My reasoning for the preference is a personal one: As far as I'm concerned, real life space exploration is principally about science and discovery. Money and politics are a tedious constraint on said concern and only stifle ones creativity as a Kerbal-space-thingy designer IMHO. For me, the science mechanic (whatever form that may take in the new game) is where the fun sweet spot is and I hope that sentiment will be allowed for with KSP2.

In short, I'd very much prefer to write my own Kerbal story thank you very much. :D

Carry on 

X

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