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KSP2 shouldn’t need Sandbox (or maybe it should?)


Pthigrivi
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For fun Im going to start this thread with a controversial opinion: If KSP2 is a good game it does not need a sandbox mode. Very few complete, good games Ive ever played include a sandbox mode. Instead they make the game good and just dump you in, rules and all. In my opinion KSP1’s sandbox mode only persisted as a dominant mode of play because of career and science mode’s deficiencies and failure to attract the vast majority of players to switch over. If KSP2 were to be truly compelling and successful as a game it would not need a mode that avoids all of its key mechanics. Instead it could have exactly one mode: Adventure mode, and a series of cheat codes to unlock all tech, ignore resource costs, etc. for players who just want to mess around. 
 

Agree? Disagree? Strongly disagree?

Edit: For future readers I become reasonably convinced later in the thread there should be a listed Sandbox mode, even if the implementation is actually just a set of difficulty toggles (unlock all tech, etc.)

Edited by Pthigrivi
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59 minutes ago, Pthigrivi said:

...and a series of cheat codes to unlock all tech, ignore resource costs, etc. for players who just want to mess around.

Isn't that just sandbox mode with extra steps?

Rather than having people put in a bunch of cheat codes, it'd be easier to just let them select sandbox mode when they start a new save.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Luriss said:

Isn't that just sandbox mode with extra steps?

Rather than having people put in a bunch of cheat codes, it'd be easier to just let them select sandbox mode when they start a new save.

Maybe 2 or 3, taking at most 10-15 seconds to input, and with the advantage that you can enable or disable them at will without needing to start a whole new save. The main advantage is in development time because you just focus all your energy on building and balancing the core game. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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1 hour ago, Pthigrivi said:

Strongly disagree?

I have no opinion about KSP2.  

I play KSP exclusively in Sandbox mode.  If KSP2 doesn't have Sandbox mode, it won't matter because I'll just keep playing KSP.

The only 3 games I have ever heavily invested time and expertise in are MS Flight Simulator, Minecraft and KSP.

Edited by Hotel26
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2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Adventure mode and a series of cheat codes to unlock all tech, ignore resource costs

That's sandbox mode.

Also sandbox means you take things out (rules, buildings, gameplay mechanics), you don't put things in the game.

Why would you want to worry about anything else but the construction aspects if you play sandbox?

It's literally in the name.

Edited by Vl3d
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2 hours ago, Superfluous J said:

I'll agree that it doesn't need it if you agree it would be fine with it. :D

Sums it up perfectly. Minecraft didn’t need creative mode, survival is good enough to make a solid game. But it wouldn’t hurt. 

2 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

The main advantage is in development time because you just focus all your energy on building and balancing the core game. 

If the devs are implementing sandbox mode features via the cheat menu, they can easily add a button when you are starting a save. And I completely agree that the focus should be on balancing the core game, sandbox is by definition unbalanced. 
 

Definitely doesn’t need sandbox, but it would not hurt, and just like sandbox in other games, it would bring benefits, like being able to easily test things before dedicating more time and resources to it. 

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Pretty strong take there. Sandbox is KSP's most well-known aspect. Some people are too lazy to grind. Besides, Sandbox can give the player an opportunity to test a design without risking money or resources. Take Minecraft for example; I barely play on creative mode anymore, but when I do play it, it's mostly about designing a base to use in a survival world.

5 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

Very few complete, good games Ive ever played include a sandbox mode. Instead they make the game good and just dump you in, rules and all.

Examples, please. And don't be like "Doom Eternal" or something, it should be examples of games with sandboxy aspects without an official "god mode" of sorts.

Edited by intelliCom
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I'll take that a step further.

In KSP1 "sandbox" means free stuff from the KSC and unlocked tech tree.

 

KSP2 is going to be way more complex than that, what's sandbox when more than half of your progression is going to be based on player built space infrastructure and resource supply routes.

Free stuff from the KSC and the tech tree bein unlocked could be irrelevant when a big interplanetary mothership can't possibly be launched from the ground and the exotic fuel for its engine requires a tier 4 colony with some complex resource routes.

What "sandbox mode" is even supposed to be in KSP2?

 

"Sandbox" is an improper term to begin with, KSP is a sandbox game as a genre, progression or not, from the mere fact that it's up to you to pick a direction, build a colony on Mun first or explore and send the first kerbal on Duna with a early tech chemical rocket?

What we call a "sandbox mode" it's just what is usually referred as a cheat, creative or god mode. And it's not usually the main gameplay mode, as @Pthigrivisaid it is in KSP more due to a failure of the proposed progression modes.

Edited by Master39
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24 minutes ago, Master39 said:

it is in KSP more due to a failure of the proposed progression modes.

6 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

KSP1’s sandbox mode only persisted as a dominant mode of play because of career and science mode’s deficiencies and failure to attract the vast majority of players to switch over

It is prevalent due to a failure of the proposed progression modes. The existence of sandbox itself is not the result of a failure. I would also like to see sandbox become less relevant, as I find the progression modes more fun even though they do have major flaws, and I think that people playing together will need to be in the same game mode. 

28 minutes ago, Master39 said:

Free stuff from the KSC and the tech tree bein unlocked could be irrelevant when a big interplanetary mothership can't possibly be launched from the ground and the exotic fuel for its engine requires a tier 4 colony with some complex resource routes.

What "sandbox mode" is even supposed to be in KSP2?

No resource constraints also means no resource type constraints (at least at the KSC). You could send up a far-future OAB with just an advanced probe core, some tanks, and the actual dock, and then just ship up boatloads of antimatter, MH, whatever you want from the KSC. Further away, things get closer to standard progression but that was true in KSP 1 too

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Sandbox mode exists in KSP1 only because it's the only mode that was there before the implementation of science/career modes. So they just left it in (also to not ruin people's saves).

Now in KSP2 it's tricky, because even if you have all the available parts from the start in KSC VAB, there's only so much you can do with it. You can't build an interstellar vessel on the surface, there's an orbital construction required for that, with all the resources it needs. Technically it could be dumbed down to orbital assembly station having the same unlimited resources as KSC, but even so you still need to build that station. And while that seems easy, let's go further to surface colonies. Okay, you may have a vab out there, with unlimited resources, again, but here's the tricky part - you can't just fly your VAB from A to B. You have to build it on the site, and that requires resources from elsewhere. And correct me if I'm wrong but didn't VAB construction require level 2 or 3 of colony? It's gonna take a while to get there I imagine. Unless we're gonna skip the leveling entirely and we're going to see all the buildings in BAE from the start. So the big question is, resources or no resources in sandbox, since we're going much deeper into these.

Look at cities skylines. There's technically an option for sandboxy play, with no money, unlimited ores, trees etc, but the player still has to worry about healthcare management or the population is going to die off. So there are still some limitations.

So I'm not sure how sandbox KSP2 would work while still making sense from gameplay perspective.

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7 minutes ago, The Aziz said:

Look at cities skylines. There's technically an option for sandboxy play, with no money, unlimited ores, trees etc, but the player still has to worry about healthcare management or the population is going to die off. So there are still some limitations.

This is kind of what I was envisioning KSP 2's sandbox to be like - primary resources are unlimited, so just like in Cities Skylines, you can go crazy and spam things all over to kickstart your city (or colony) but you still need to manage it properly, make sure LS is working, make sure that your (admittedly infinite) resources are making their way to the right places, and so on. It is still a sandbox because you could theoretically jump-start a massive orbital colony and from there do pretty much anything that can be done in the game, which is the point of the sandbox, but at the same time it has structure. 

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20 minutes ago, t_v said:

This is kind of what I was envisioning KSP 2's sandbox to be like - primary resources are unlimited, so just like in Cities Skylines, you can go crazy and spam things all over to kickstart your city (or colony) but you still need to manage it properly, make sure LS is working, make sure that your (admittedly infinite) resources are making their way to the right places, and so on. It is still a sandbox because you could theoretically jump-start a massive orbital colony and from there do pretty much anything that can be done in the game, which is the point of the sandbox, but at the same time it has structure. 

Still yet is not an easy black or white decision.

Infinite resources? Ok, where? Only the KSC? Colonies too? Does that mean free buildings? If buildings require kerbals to operate do we lift that requirement or not?

Tech tree unlocked, but to build a VAB you need a "Tier X" colony, and that's a matter of the colony growing with time and other achievements, not just of money and resources, do we lift those requirements too?

Isn't that more like removing atmospheric drag or gravity?

Are we limiting the sandbox mode to just preserving the flying simulation and gameplay or does that extend to the managing the colonies and making them grow, and thus limiting the "all parts free from the beginning" part of the sandbox by having the orbital VAB locked behind colony requirements?

All of those question need an answer, and for what we know "sandbox" could even just mean that you have all KSP1 parts and tech and the rest you have to unlock them through gameplay.

Edited by Master39
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All excellent points. Let me take this controversial (possibly wrong) opinion and put an even finer point on it: I don’t think KSP should have a sandbox “mode”. As many have pointed out having a base game with cheat codes creates exactly what sandbox is, and given how much more complex KSP2 promises to be cheat codes would give them finer and more flexible, reversible control over the kind of sandbox experience they’re looking for. 
 

But also many players have gotten so used to sandbox in KSP1 that they may be resistant to even trying the new core game. They’ll think they know how to play KSP2, they’ll think Adventure mode will be harder and more restrictive, but will miss out on some of the key differences by skipping the tutorial phase of progression. This might cause some new players to become frustrated or annoyed at those differences rather than taking the time to carefully walk through them. And of course at any time if they just want to skip ahead and see all the crazy tech the game has to offer they could plug in the “unlock all tech nodes” cheat and mess around, but they’d get a fresh start at least and would have the opportunity turn those cheats off without abandoning all their progress. 

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Personally, I love Sandbox, 

However, if there is a science type mode, or however they implement on boarding new players, will start with that. Not sure I would be fussed on a "Career" mode, if similar to KSP 1. I have been playing ksp for hundreds if not thousands of hours, but actually glad there will be better instructional videos. Hopefully with some advice on how to do some calculations myself. 

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1 hour ago, Master39 said:

Are we limiting the sandbox mode to just preserving the flying simulation and gameplay or does that extend to the managing the colonies and making them grow, and thus limiting the "all parts free from the beginning" part of the sandbox by having the orbital VAB locked behind colony requirements?

 

The second one. If you've played sandbox KSP 1 before, you'll know sort of how it works. Everything is infinite and free on Kerbin, but your ISRU won't have infinite speed and your tanks won't have infinite capacity, and your probes won't always be controllable. Yes, that cuts into the freeform of sandbox, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It preserves the gameplay of the game while also allowing players an infinite safety net of resources to fall back on if they want to experiment. 

1 hour ago, Pthigrivi said:

But also many players have gotten so used to sandbox in KSP1 that they may be resistant to even trying the new core game. They’ll think they know how to play KSP2, they’ll think Adventure mode will be harder and more restrictive, but will miss out on some of the key differences by skipping the tutorial phase of progression.

that is a very valid concern - if sandbox is put up there alongside Adventure, lots of returning players will never even try the progression mode. I don't think it'll be as bad for new players, but there needs to be a way to funnel players into Adventure first. Maybe starting the game right away and dropping the player into Adventure the first time they click on Start Game would work, and then upon the next visit to the main menu, the standard Continue Saved Game/ New Game options will show up. It has the benefit of putting people into Adventure mode (which eliminating sandbox would also do) while allowing people to create dedicated sandbox saves easily if they really want to. This would go alongside the cheat menu thing to help encourage playing in Adventure mode. 

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21 minutes ago, t_v said:

there needs to be a way to funnel players into Adventure

Force the player to finish the tutorials and a part of the game before unlocking sandbox mode. That's how other games do it.

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Have to disagree. One of the missions of KSP is to get people (young people) interested in space exploration. Sandbox Mode is the easiest way to do that. I think plenty of people like messing around in Sandbox mode for multiple reasons. Some use it to test things they plan in career, and i bet some do primarily play in Sandbox mode.

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8 hours ago, Luriss said:
9 hours ago, Pthigrivi said:

...and a series of cheat codes to unlock all tech, ignore resource costs, etc. for players who just want to mess around.

Isn't that just sandbox mode with extra steps?

Rather than having people put in a bunch of cheat codes, it'd be easier to just let them select sandbox mode when they start a new save.

Honestly, yeah. Just have sandbox mode anyway and let players make the choice themselves if they want to be bound by pointless rules. Removing modes doesn't do anything but force players to play the way you like - and the way you like it isn't the way everyone else has to like.

8 minutes ago, Vl3d said:
34 minutes ago, t_v said:

there needs to be a way to funnel players into Adventure

Force the player to finish the tutorials and a part of the game before unlocking sandbox mode. That's how other games do it.

That only frustrates sandbox players coming from KSP 1 and players reinstalling KSP 2 after a hiatus. Forced tutorials are a massive pet peeve for many people.

1 hour ago, Pthigrivi said:

But also many players have gotten so used to sandbox in KSP1 that they may be resistant to even trying the new core game. They’ll think they know how to play KSP2, they’ll think Adventure mode will be harder and more restrictive, but will miss out on some of the key differences by skipping the tutorial phase of progression. This might cause some new players to become frustrated or annoyed at those differences rather than taking the time to carefully walk through them. And of course at any time if they just want to skip ahead and see all the crazy tech the game has to offer they could plug in the “unlock all tech nodes” cheat and mess around, but they’d get a fresh start at least and would have the opportunity turn those cheats off without abandoning all their progress. 

This is all based on assumptions. Just because you hate sandbox mode doesn't mean other players enjoy having to put cheats and mods into their game before they can just play the game setting their own goals. The reason KSP 1 took so long to get a career mode is because people felt just fine having a little game that didn't put them on a leash tightened by budget and tech tree mechanics.

2 hours ago, t_v said:
2 hours ago, The Aziz said:

Look at cities skylines. There's technically an option for sandboxy play, with no money, unlimited ores, trees etc, but the player still has to worry about healthcare management or the population is going to die off. So there are still some limitations.

This is kind of what I was envisioning KSP 2's sandbox to be like - primary resources are unlimited, so just like in Cities Skylines, you can go crazy and spam things all over to kickstart your city (or colony) but you still need to manage it properly, make sure LS is working, make sure that your (admittedly infinite) resources are making their way to the right places, and so on. It is still a sandbox because you could theoretically jump-start a massive orbital colony and from there do pretty much anything that can be done in the game, which is the point of the sandbox, but at the same time it has structure. 

This is how KSP 1 always did things so I'm not sure why people suddenly see sandbox as a threat. Why do people need to care so hard about how other people like to play?

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7 minutes ago, SickSix said:

Have to disagree. One of the missions of KSP is to get people (young people) interested in space exploration. Sandbox Mode is the easiest way to do that. I think plenty of people like messing around in Sandbox mode for multiple reasons. Some use it to test things they plan in career, and i bet some do primarily play in Sandbox mode.

 I suppose the question really is 'How much sand do you put in the sandbox?'  

As has been pointed out, even default KSP1 sandbox isn't without limits of some sort (fuel capacities, isru resources etc).

 

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Pthigrivi, can you take a moment to consider how you'd feel if KSP 2 removed its career mode because a few players decided they didn't like other players being able to play with the restrictions they like in a game? That's only what you're suggesting, with career swapped for sandbox and restrictions swapped for freedom and choice. Some people just want to build a space station in their days off without having to worry too hard about money, resources and research points. Why you don't like the idea of players having a choice in how they play is beyond me.

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4 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

This is how KSP 1 always did things so I'm not sure why people suddenly see sandbox as a threat. Why do people need to care so hard about how other people like to play?

Don't worry, this is all just a thought experiment. Sometimes I like testing ideas to destruction. I personally love playing both Sandbox and Career despite their drawbacks. I also hear folks like Hotel who ONLY play sandbox-style games and might be put off by the omission, even if it was in-principle replicable with cheats or difficulty toggles. I do think the advantage of the latter--allowing players to turn sandbox-like features on and off at will rather than locking them in from the 'start game' screen is valuable. 

 

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