Kerbal Space Program

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Hey fellow Wingnuts.

For all of you out there who ocassionally like to get their Newtonian physics groove on, I highly recommend this great indie game called Kerbal Space Program: https://www.kerbalspaceprogram.com/

You can design, build, and launch your own rockets. The rockets can carry anything from little probes to big landers and there is a whole little solar system for you to send them around. All of the orbital and interplanetary maneuvering is governed with realistic physics. Its still in a pre-release stage (ver 0.18.4 at the moment), so some things aren't implemented yet (like atmo heat), but there is a big mod community that has added new space ship parts and plugins to expand things.

I've had a blast with this thing over the past two weeks, and its almost funnier when you fail then when you actually get something to orbit. I highly recommend it to anyone else here who wants to channel their inner astronaut.
 

capi3101

Admiral
This is a pretty kick-awesome game. Even the demo is worth playing; considering shelling out the bucks for the full version.
 

capi3101

Admiral
I've never actually played Orbiter, so take this with a grain of salt. From the description of Orbiter at Wikipedia, the two programs are very similar; the main difference (as far as I can tell, anyway) is that you can design and build your own spacecraft in KSP. I'm still playing around with that feature; if I launched "Fiery Death Trap 7" once last night I re-designed it and launched it half-a-dozen times last night, and I never did achieve a stable orbit (though I did finally figure out how to put a drogue parachute on the command module; pretty sure ol' Jeb liked that). Spent a good portion of the night last night dreaming about the word "apoapsis" and how I would always run out of gas before I got there...

The demo is definitely worth checking out, as I've said before.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
The best way I can describe the difference between Orbiter and KSP is, besides KSP's obviously more fanciful art design, is that Orbiter is to KSP is that Orbiter is like playing Jane's Longbow where literally every switch in the cockpit does something different, and KSP is like playing Microprose's Gunship, where its still semi realistic, but you don't need to go through three pages of instructions to discover how to turn left.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Well I've just started the demo, certainly a beautifully crafted game - a lot to take on though, feel like it's going to take some time to play around with this.
 

capi3101

Admiral
If it makes you feel better, my space program is going exactly like the early American space program - two-thirds of the rockets I've built so far have exploded on the pad.

I know how rockets are supposed to work...
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
If it makes you feel better, my space program is going exactly like the early American space program - two-thirds of the rockets I've built so far have exploded on the pad.

As few as 2/3? Good work! I've had maybe one successful takeoff after an hour of trying. I like to think of myself as a bit of a science buff, but I've not been so challenged by any game in some time.
 

capi3101

Admiral
Do you point them in the right direction?

Most of the time...

It'd probably help if I A) stopped freaking out when something off does happen and B) remember to throttle down more often before separating stages.

Those default SRBs are hardly worth a good crap, IMHO.

As few as 2/3? Good work! I've had maybe one successful takeoff after an hour of trying. I like to think of myself as a bit of a science buff, but I've not been so challenged by any game in some time.

Really, I think the problem is that I'm too eager to figure out what all the little gizmos are supposed to do; I keep on trying to build Saturn-Vs when I should be building Redstones.

Of course, I would like to actually get a ship into orbit. I don't think that's too much to ask...
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Most of the time...

It'd probably help if I A) stopped freaking out when something off does happen and B) remember to throttle down more often before separating stages.

Those default SRBs are hardly worth a good crap, IMHO.



Really, I think the problem is that I'm too eager to figure out what all the little gizmos are supposed to do; I keep on trying to build Saturn-Vs when I should be building Redstones.

Of course, I would like to actually get a ship into orbit. I don't think that's too much to ask...


Starting small is the best. Try starting with the small probe shape and just get into low Kerbin orbit (70+ km). To achieve orbit, you want to launch and continue straight up until you hit about 10 kilometers. Then start pitching over slowly on the 90 degree bearing line until you are only about 20 degrees above the horizon. Its key to increase your horizontal speed a great deal as you climb, or you'll burn a lot of fuel later on achieving orbit. Hit 'M' to switch to the map screen and watch as your apoapsis (Ap) climbs above the 70 km mark. Once that happens, cut your engine and coast upwards until you get near the apoapsis. At that point (and make sure you're clear of the atmosphere - above 70k), you want to point your ship in the prograde direction (open circle with three hashmarks that make a 'T' shape) and burn your engines. In the map view, observe your orbit get larger until a Periapsis (Pe) point appears. Once you raise the Periapsis to above 70 km, you are in a stable orbit.
 

capi3101

Admiral
Part of my problem may be that I'm only playing with the demo. Only payload available is the Command Pod with ol' Jeb in it and it looks like I haven't got access to some of the more useful parts. I did finally get a ship into orbit tonight; it didn't have enough fuel left when I finally killed the engines to make a successful re-entry burn. Attempts to alter the design were unsuccessful......
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
This isn't available for iOS, is it? What's a good game like this for iPad?
 

capi3101

Admiral
Ah! So increasing the mass without increasing the thrust is a bad thing...explains a lot. You'd've thought I would've known that already.
 

capi3101

Admiral
Apparently my piloting sucks too. After taking a look at the tutorials and building a rocket out of the demo parts that, by all the numbers, should've been capable of making a mun-shot, I still barely made orbit. It's the only other thing I can think of that I'm doing wrong.

Makes me wonder what would happen if I turned the graphics down to the bare minimum; I am after all playing on a bare-bones system here...
 

capi3101

Admiral
Okay, so turning the graphics down has helped and so has reading through the tutorials. Last couple of rockets have made it up to a stable orbit with fuel to spare.

I am noting that my first stage ascent rockets are wobbling around a lot, though not enough that they want to sheer off. Anything I can do about it? Struts perhaps? The wobble bothers me; I don't know if it's affecting performance or not, or if I should be concerned; the rockets are making orbit after all.

Would probably help to describe the stack - my first stage is a group of seven RT-10 SRBs attached by a series of TR-18A stack decouplers to the stage above it, which consists of a staggered group of LV-T30 and LV-T45 engines each with an FL-T800 tank on top. They're being held together in a rough hexagonal shape by a set of EAS-4 struts. That stage is being held to the rest of the rocket by a single TR-18A, which connects to a single FL-T800/LV-T45. It connects via a TR-18A to the CSM/Lander. I added a munar landing stage to the design this morning; came up with a delta-V budget in aggregate of 7900 m/s^2 and a TWR for the first stage of 2.23, so as best I can tell this thing's finally mun-worthy.

CSM/Lander? CSM is a Mk-I command pod, Mk16 Parachute, 5 RV-105 RCS Thrusters, an FL-R25 RCS Fuel Tank, and ASAS. Probably oughta add a ladder somewhere. The lander section is a TR-18A decoupler, an FL-400 tank, LV-909 engine and 4 LT-1 landing struts. Haven't tested this bit out yet, obviously, but the numbers say it should work.

If I can get the piloting down, of course.
 
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