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Starting a sandbox playthrough after "finishing" a career one?


noname_hero
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Okay, the question mark in the title is a bit misleading. I've already started a sandbox playthrough. But I'm still having second thoughts, because I'm abandoning everything I've built. Again. Which is my own fault, but still... So I'll bother you with a summary first.

I've completed the tech tree on easy-, on medium-, on hard-ish difficulty, and that suffix is there because I play with quicksaves on. And I've had the game crash in a way that corrupted the persistent savefile, so I'm not turning them off. I've landed on every stock body one can actually land on (and made it back to Kerbin), I've been inside Jool's atmosphere, I've been in low Kerbol orbit, I've landed an asteroid at the KSC, I've hitched a ride on a comet. I've been to Mohole, seen the dead kraken, parked a mobile base next to the face on Duna... I've built a fully-reusable fleet that can ferry tourists to Duna and back. Am I a great KSP player? Not in the slightest.

But I've (again) gotten to a point where money is not an issue. I have in effect an unlimited amount of money, all I have to do to gain more is fulfill contracts that offer no challenge and no fun. I'm (again) at a point where I have no new tech to discover. All that remains is having fun and getting better.

I can switch to sandbox and do just that, but that means an empty tracking station. Again. Sure, I can have fun and build whatever I feel like and I don't have to waste time grinding for money. But all the infrastructure I've built in career is gone. All the relays, all the mining ships,all the bases... Everything. So...

Those of you who have experience similar to mine, what late-game do you find more rewarding? Continuing with the career mode, with all the grind to finance the fun stuff? Or the sandbox mode with no grind, but you have to start from scratch and you might feel you're getting stuff for free now?

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I’m not exactly sure whether mentioning the Alt+F12 menu around here is a social faux pas or what, but have you ever thought about using it to cheat funds? 

That way you can stay in your current game with all of your hard work in the form of bases and stations still in place, without having to worry about grinding for cash. But at the same time the contracts and science points are still there if you ever feel the urge.

 

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7 hours ago, noname_hero said:

Those of you who have experience similar to mine, what late-game do you find more rewarding?


You mention career mode, and sandbox mode...  But those aren't the only modes.  Your experience is why I play Science mode.  I still have the challenge of climbing the tech tree and the cleverness that can require - but I never, ever have to grind for cash.  I can do what I want, when I want, bound only by the current state of the tech tree and interplanetary launch windows.

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1 hour ago, lemon cup said:

I’m not exactly sure whether mentioning the Alt+F12 menu around here is a social faux pas or what, but have you ever thought about using it to cheat funds? 

That way you can stay in your current game with all of your hard work in the form of bases and stations still in place, without having to worry about grinding for cash. But at the same time the contracts and science points are still there if you ever feel the urge.

 

To be honest, I've actually played Career mode with that kind of stuff from the start because I've tried to see if you could profit from ISRU in stock KSP (results were disappointing). Also, true sandbox feels "hollow" sometimes. No rewards screen, even when rewards don't truly matter, makes the game feel hollow. I get that sandbox is for testing. It makes sense. But, seeing your tests work and then having absolutely nothing else to show for it feels empty to me. Bringing Kerbals back in one piece is nice. But that's the expectation (someone did most of this IRL without killing someone after all). What else did I accomplish? 

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3 hours ago, lemon cup said:

I’m not exactly sure whether mentioning the Alt+F12 menu around here is a social faux pas or what, but have you ever thought about using it to cheat funds?

I haven't, and I've already "finished" the career's challenges anyway, so I'd say that's a *great* idea. This isn't multiplayer, so I don't see a reason to shame others for how they're having fun.

I don't actually need those extra funds now. But it is good to remember I can have them if those fun projects drain the funds I have.

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2 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:


You mention career mode, and sandbox mode...  But those aren't the only modes.  Your experience is why I play Science mode.  I still have the challenge of climbing the tech tree and the cleverness that can require - but I never, ever have to grind for cash.  I can do what I want, when I want, bound only by the current state of the tech tree and interplanetary launch windows.

I do get why you play the Science mode. The reason why I (mostly) don't is that career feels both more challenging and more meaningful. I'm under pressure to be more efficient in career, and things like probes on various bodies keep bringing in rewards for me having managed to land them, instead of just giving me a one-time batch of science points.

I've passed all the challenges of the science mode too when I gave the Kerpollo challenge a try. I've completed the tech tree four times now. The trouble is, I like having to watch my funds when I don't have an unlimited amount, but I don't see the point once I can have whatever sum my latest build would cost.

i guess I'll have to use that Alt+F12 option if the need arises...

 

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On 8/7/2020 at 5:26 PM, noname_hero said:

Those of you who have experience similar to mine, what late-game do you find more rewarding? Continuing with the career mode, with all the grind to finance the fun stuff? Or the sandbox mode with no grind, but you have to start from scratch and you might feel you're getting stuff for free now?

My solution to this particular conundrum is that I play deliberately finite careers.  That is, when I set out to play a KSP career, I begin with a particular "story arc" in mind.  In particular, a very important criterion is the goal:  what does "done" look like?

Depending on how ambitious / committed I'm feeling, the goal might be something modest, or it might be something big and complicated that would take a long time.

Other than the goal, the other part of deciding on a story arc is deciding on which game play-altering mods, if any, I'll use in that save:  is life support a thing?  is the solar system modified or replaced?  etc.

Once I've picked out the set of mods and chosen my "done" criterion, then I set out to play the career. :)   Length varies based on complexity of goal and how much spare time I have available for playing, but typically it occupies me for a month or two.

Then, when I achieve the goal, yay!  I win!  :)  I pat myself on the back for a job well done, and I'm finished.  When I feel like playing KSP again-- which might be right away, or might be later-- then I pick a new set of mods and/or a new goal, and start a brand new career.  I make an effort to make each career something different and fresh (by picking different goals and/or mods).

That's how I keep KSP "fresh" for me over the years, and why I never get bored of it.

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Since I figured out the game well enough to be able to go pretty much anywhere I want, I've played multiple careers. I give them themes, and play until I feel I've more or less exhausted the theme. Themes have included things like

  • Only probes (with a bit of starting Sci to get the first probe cores obv)
  • No probes
  • Everything recoverable (in theory or in practice)
  • Planes! Planes! Planes!
  • KSSR Space Program, or A Certain Aesthetic
  • Orbital stations
  • Surface bases

It's been good fun. I'm currently between careers. If/when I come up with a cool idea for one I'll start a new one.

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