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KSP - game or simulator?

Is KSP (first and foremost) a game or a simulator/emulator?  

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  1. 1. Is KSP (first and foremost) a game or a simulator/emulator?

    • Simulator/Emulator
      45
    • Game
      151


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KSP is a game that follows rules of physics that (in some cases) are a good approximation of real-world Physics (or "good enough").

So, I would NOT call it a simulator, because it doesn't simulate the real world.

If KSP were not following a reasonable set of physics-like rules, I would not be interested in it at all.

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well. i think in its current state its boring to be a game with its really limited possibilities and simply just bad for simulator 'cos of its faults. also, i think for most ppl the closest to logical or intuitive (i intentionally dont use the word realistic) is the better both as game and as simulator because they dont have to learn the silly fake game-mechanism instead of working from what they know from real life.

so, heavily modded its a gameulator as sal said. stock? its a good question. more of none

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This begs the question, is something like Sim City a game or a simulation? Does it even matter? :wink:

Best quote I heard about SimCity was along the lines of "in the end what simCity really simulates is itself not a city"

Is it a game well most games have an end game neither KSP or simCity do.

To me KSP is a sandbox. It has physics but they aren't real so it can be fun without having a degree in rocket science. They are real-like so anything I do learn about the real life situation will apply.

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It's a simulation for me. And as such, aerodynamics and continously improving physics would be the most amazing thing could happen to KSP.

The science/economic/career part itself is not as challenging without the technical/physical main aspect of the game and won't even work without it.

On the other hand the sandbox mode works fine without any career mode stuff. Gets a bit boring sooner or later, possibly.

When the first science update came out I was wondering if it was a suitable support for the game anyway.

The contracts and it's challenging missions do much better then the science stuff itself.

Edited by ^^artin

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I, personaly cannot vote on either. to me, ksp is a sandbox indie game where you fly ships to fly ships. kind of like creative mode in space engineers. that is sandbox mode. I do not play the other modes though.

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The notion that the two are mutually exclusive is absurd.

Terms need to be agree upon, or this thread just goes in circles. If "simulation" (and hence "simulator") refers to any attempt to model something in real life at any level, then KSP is certainly simulation. If spaceflight were with "liftwood" through the ether, then no. Some attempt at orbital mechanics? It's a simulation.

That said, like everything else, there are levels of simulation. KSP is a very low-order simulation.

Take a combat "flight sim," like Il-2. They can plug in some real numbers and get somewhat realistic results. It is a simulation, and even at that a low order one. A good test is does it teach you ANYTHING about the real world? In the case of Warbirds/Il-2/etc, it absolutely does. PLay a while, and you understand something in an internalized way about air combat that you did not before you played the game. I was an avid ww2 air war reader before I played combat flight sims. I can honestly say I had little real understanding before I flew sims. Afterwards, I "get it."

The same can be said of KSP. The sometimes counterintuitive nature of orbital maneuvering is absolutely something someone unfamiliar with orbital mechanics can get a feel for in KSP, and that now intuitive understanding is applicable in the real world. Are there elements not in KSP that make this new knowledge imperfect? Certainly, but it's not entirely counter to reality (as a Star Wars "sim" would be, even if it properly simulates bizarro-physics in the SW universe).

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KSP is most likely.. both.

There are many games out there that are multi-genred. Take Minecraft, for example. You build houses, mine and all that. It happens in real life too - but there are no such thing as zombies in the real world. Yet, It's considered a game.

Flight Simulator X has missions and scenarios that are simulated, be it a Boeing 737 losing an engine or refueling an oil rig. Those are missions. It has a gaming side too.

The point is, it's not a game or a simulator. It can be both, It can be neither. You can call FSX a game, and it still applies somehow. You can call Minecraft a simulator, and it can actually apply in some ways.

And it's the same thing with KSP. You can call it a game, it will apply. You can call it a simulator, it will still apply. It's not just one. It can be both. Ship Simulator, Flight Simulator, Space Shuttle Mission Simulator - Are good examples of multi-genre. You can fly (or sail) freely if you like, or you can confine yourself to missions.

KSP.. You can call it either too. It's pretty much multi-genre. That's why it's so fun.:)

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I treat it like a game... but, I never knew what periapsis, delta vee or TWR was before...

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Its both.

To put it in plain terms, when you are flying around your rockets out in space its a simulator. When you sim-city your Space Center funds, reputation and contracts its a game. Just building your rocket is a big function of both sides of the game, to affect what you can do in the simulator and to affect the funds, contracts or personal missions of the general game.

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Whether some people likes it or not, KSP is a game first, and would make for a pretty bad 'simulator' if it ever was meant unless you have quite low standard. (though considering the market we can all understand)

I know I'm being harsh there, but I'm often quite exasperated to see some players daydreaming that what they are doing is serious rocket science, or player using that faulty logic to claim that adding their X realistic features make for better game (if it was actually the case it would make ORBITER the funniest space game ever made and not a difficult simulator)

The error would be to believe that a game is inferior to a simulator... or that a correct simulation of some token aspects make for better game.

Now, if your question is just to distinguish semantically KSP as a Game or a Simulator, I'm afraid reviewer and gaming website abuse the word so you'll never see anyone using it correctly and frankly we shouldn't care because games-developers know better than keeping the boring part of what inspire them.

Defined correctly, a simulator is a software that simulate a process in a way that make it as close to what it is defined like as possible.

Hence why you don't see X-plane deactivating deep-stall or reducing the planet size because it is actually more fun that way.

So the only thing KSP simulate is a Space Program as defined in the Kerbal Fictional universe.

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I know I'm being harsh there, but I'm often quite exasperated to see some players daydreaming that what they are doing is serious rocket science,

Does anyone really do that, though? I mean, KSP is great for introducing people to the more basic concepts of real life rocket science and orbital mechanics (the simulation aspect has enough fidelity for that), but I don't recall anyone claiming that KSP experience is analogous to doing real rocket science.

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The notion that "simulator" or "simulation" has a precise meaning is pretty funny, because like many other aspects of english, one, it just doesn't have a precise definition, and two, english has no clearing house of definitions (unlike french, for example). Use defines what a word means, like it or not. If the world at large calls "the Sims" a simulation, then simulation demands a pretty low order of fidelity to be justified as a word. Look at "RTS" games, we rightfully lump games into that category because of common english use, even though the majority of those game neither occur in real time (they occur in vastly accelerated time), nor use strategy much (most use tactics, instead).

Does anyone really do that, though? I mean, KSP is great for introducing people to the more basic concepts of real life rocket science and orbital mechanics (the simulation aspect has enough fidelity for that), but I don't recall anyone claiming that KSP experience is analogous to doing real rocket science.

The short answer is, "no." I can't recall ever seeing such a post, though I'll acknowledge my error should given posts be demonstrated to me… and those will still be very isolated cases.

"Simulation" and "game" are entirely unconnected concepts.

"Game" is binary, really: it's a game or it's not, it's meant primarily as an entertainment, or it's not. Orbiter is a game, SpaceX or JPL simulators (used within those organizations) are not games. Whatever simulators NASA, JPL, or SpaceX use to plan and train for their missions are not games, NOT because of the level of simulation, but because their intent in not entertainment.

"Simulation," on the other hand, is a continuum. Any attempt to model reality at any level is simulation. KSP is a very low level simulator of orbital mechanics (giving roughly proper qualitative (note I don't use quantitative) outcomes for a given set of initial values), Orbiter is a significantly higher level simulation of the same (to compare you'd obviously need to compare vs something like RSS/RO, since stock is a simulation of orbital mechanics in the kerbal universe, which it does with 100% accuracy by definition :) ).

Edited by tater

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It's both. Something between them. And that's just one of the things that makes KSP special.

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I must say as a game it can be seen from Career OR Sandbox. Same for a simulator. KSP makes many sacrifices for gameplay however, in both modes. Therefore, I can't consider it a simulator first. However, I believe it should always be open enough on some mechanics that mods can turn it into a simulator for those who wish to use it in such a way.

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Is a cow an herbivore or a mammal?

Is it more herbivore than mammal?

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While reading this thread, I've seen a fair bit of discussion that a simulator must be something realistic. Is that necessarily true? For example, if I designed a program that modeled a collection of masses, but with gravity being repulsive rather than attractive, haven't I created a simulation? Not a realistic simulation, no, but still a simulation, right?

From what I've seen, a simulation attempts to model a process, and the accuracy of the simulation is judged by how well it matches real life observations. But its accuracy doesn't decide whether or not it's a simulation, nor its level of resolution.

In that vein, KSP is a game built around a core physics simulation of thrust, aerodynamic forces, and joints. Is it entirely accurate? No, but it doesn't need to be to be called a simulation.

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