When Wes chatted with the developers of Kerbal Space Program 2 for a recent PC Gamer cover story, they talked about a detail about the game that will be an earth-shattering change for the Kerbal community: Kerbal Space Program 2’s assembly building will have a built-in trip planner. Those who have spent more than a few hours with the first Kerbal will be familiar with the community “Delta-V Maps,” which indicate how much thrust a spaceship needs to get where it’s going. (My favorite is here.) Along with learning how basic orbital mechanics work, figuring out thrust is one of the biggest roadblocks to enjoying KSP.

Here’s the word directly from the mouth of our Wes Fenlon: “The Vehicle Assembly Building has one more huge feature up its sleeve: a built-in trip planner, inspired by community members who created intricate charts to show the potential velocity a rocket will need to reach targets like the Mun or Duna. These became so popular even the developers used them.” 

(Image credit: Intercept Games)

Here’s a longer quote from creative director Nate Simpson: 

 A big part of the game loop, especially in the early game, is building a vehicle, with some goal in mind, and then discovering you can’t get to the place you’re trying to get to. In fact, that’s the entire gameplay experience for many people. This is a way to tighten up that part of the iteration loop, by giving you real-time information about how far your vehicle can go in its current configuration. As you’re building the vehicle you can open this trip planner, select the destination, like the Mun, decide if you want it to be a one-way or two-way trip, and what it’s showing you is exactly how far each of the stages of your vehicle can take you, at a theoretical maximum. With this deployed you can go back into the build view and do things like remove an engine, replace it, swap out stuff, change the vehicle’s mass, fuel load, and see the effects in real time. It basically removes one of the more frustrating elements of the iteration loop in the original game, which is not knowing the effects of the change you’re making to your rocket … Figuring out the relationship between fuel load and thrust, all those details of the rocket equation can be very counter-intuitive in the early going, and they all of a sudden become extremely intuitive when you’re looking at the trip planner.”

The ability to vaguely figure out how much rocket you need is vital to playing the game, and there’s just no good tool for figuring it out in original Kerbal. It’s kind of thrilling to find out that the developers used the community’s Delta-V maps too. Now, however, you’ll be able to know just what targets a rocket can hit before it’s launched. No more Delta-V maps! No more stranded Kerbals! Okay, actually: Fewer stranded Kerbals!

Kerbal Space Program 2 is due to release in 2021 from Intercept Games. The new game will feature all manner of new features, like multiplayer, planetary colonization, and near-future propulsion tech.

The rocket equation isn’t the only thing that the developers of KSP2 are trying to make easier: You can read more about the upcoming space program simulator in Space Odyssey: Our first big look at Kerbal Space Program 2 or check out everything we know about Kerbal Space Program 2. 

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