Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Final Frontier

Space is hard, so it's said.

Like many people who were children at a time when men were playing golf on the moon, I grew up with the romance and adventure of it all. I dimly recall some childhood book that told me that if I answered the ten questions on the page, I could be an astronaut. Since I could recite the order of the planets, and knew that Saturn was the one with the rings, I was almost convinced, at least for a short while, that my destiny lay in the stars.

Dear reader, by the age of ten, I'd pretty much decided that I didn't have The Right Stuff, but I've maintained an interest in all things spacey ever since.

These though are the days of miracle and wonder, and I can now experience the thrills, with none of the effort or danger involved in being a real astronaut, thanks to a game called Kerbal Space Program.

Despite the cutesy minion-esque characters that populate the game, it places a strong emphasis on realistic physics. Completing the increasingly challenging tasks is no easy task, and so far, I've killed hundreds of the little buggers.

I've managed to work out how to take off, and land again without generating too much shrapnel, but I've yet to develop any real finesse with the game. After days of playing, I've managed to get first a pilot, then a pilot and a passenger into orbit and safely back down again, but getting to any given location with any accuracy is a skill that mainly eludes me. Getting enough mass high enough to do useful stuff requires a lot of thought and trial and error. Space is hard afterall.

Some screenshots...

 On the launchpad, t-plus about 3 seconds

In orbit

Final stage seperation


The final stages of descent

There's also a bit with planes, but I haven't explored that aspect of the game much yet.

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