Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Grumman » 2016-03-30 12:37am

Thanks for the heads-up. I installed the update, started a new Moderate difficulty game, and reinstalled the first mod of many: my space program's flag.

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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby lordroel » 2016-04-01 06:41am

Starglider wrote:
lordroel wrote:What is the biggest thing you can bring into orbit in one launch.


Not the absolute largest, but one of the more plausible and impressive.


That is big, always amazes me what people can build in the game.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby TimothyC » 2016-04-19 04:34pm

1.1 is out, but still has serious bugs. Steam will update, so make a backup of the game folder prior to continuing.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Zaune » 2016-05-06 10:20pm

Well, this just came up on Reddit. Squad may have been badly underpaying its employees. Not the people working at their Mexico City head office, but the modders they hired on who are still based in Europe or the US.

Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Dominus Atheos » 2016-05-07 09:33pm

That explains a lot. 1.1, even 1.1.2 is so buggy that its basically unplayable for a lot of people. Check out this bug:



Despite 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 being released after the bug was reported and assigned to a dev, SQUAD has apparently gone on vacation without it being fixed. I can totally believe that 1.1 was rushed out to meet a deadline after weeks/months of crunchtime programming.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Zaune » 2016-05-07 10:15pm

I'm more hung up on the fact they seem to be treating labour laws outside Mexico as a suggestion, personally.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Dominus Atheos » 2016-05-07 10:28pm

Oh yeah, that probably is more important then me not being able to play a video game. :P

More info:

This post is kind of a crappy way of introducing the entire controversy, let me summarize the situation better. I want to disclose that I am biased, as I'm on the side of "outraged at management", don't take everything I say as absolute truth and please form your own opinion.

The last two major releases of KSP have been questionable in quality. Known major game-breaking bugs getting through the QA phase and released to millions of people to play, followed by several hotfixes over the next few weeks that often break just as much as much as they solve. Last week, the devs were sent on vacation despite numerous of these game-breaking bugs going unfixed; so they remain for the next two weeks.

These bugs range from wheels being completely unusable for aircraft takeoff/landing, to landing leg collision boxes being flat out wrong, to crash to desktop when doing common operations in the CAB, to OSX UI completely freezing, to Linux builds not starting at all (though this is a Unity problem). Absolute messes that should have never been released and they were completely known. The fact that a hotfix comes out within the week signifies they weren't even necessarily difficult to fix.

This is fine and dandy for the early access a lot of us bought into, but 1.0 last year was their "out of Beta" release. They gave it to reviewers and they took the "Early Access" tag off in Steam. They're now selling this game for $40 as a fully functional product, but it's broken and absolutely does not support all the platforms they claim to. After the latest patch, the community has been less forgiving about the mistake and want some answers.

It was fairly obvious that this was a management issue from the start. In previous devnotes they've talked about their strict internal deadlines, which explains the crunch. "You haven't finished the release by the arbitrary date only we know? Well you better work 80 hour weeks because we won't change it." It's not like the community wouldn't understand another delay - we waited an entire year for the last update. We've always sung high praise of Squad and are wildly patient.

After looking into it a bit, we (the community) found that Squad is not really a game development studio, it started as a guerilla marketing company. KSP is the dream child of one of their employees who was about to leave to make his passion project. If he did, the projects he was working on would fall through and the business would go under (good sign). So in exchange for him finishing his projects, they would give him 6 months to work on the game.

Well, it was wildly successful. It was strange, though, they never told us how successful they were. In 2014, it came out that Squad has sold over a million copies on Steam alone, excluding transfers from people who bought straight from them or through GoG. The game's price varied, but assuming that Steam is about 50% of their purchases and the game started at $20, moving to the current $40. So let's safely assume 2 million copies at $30 average, not sure what Steam takes but I'll guess 15%: ~$50 million dollars. EDIT: Down below Arzamas pointed out some errors. Steam takes a 30% cut and the price varies on region quite a bit. My "safe" assumption could be wildly off and there's a lot of factors. I'd still throw it into the tens of millions, but if we want accurate numbers, we need insider information.

A company with a headquarters in Mexico has fairly low operating costs. And KSP doesn't have many, if any, veteran developers, they seem to love hiring from the community. Unfortunately, it does show quite a bit in the art and client stability. A while ago we had an amazing artist on the team, but he left for various reasons (I'm happy to say he's moved on to bigger and better opportunities). Right after that we had the... barn. So where is all this money going to? It surely isn't to the developers and it surely isn't to operating costs.

Well, a Polygon article was found, where the owners themselves admitted to the author that they were channeling money from the game's profits as a way to escape the marketing industry. One owner, Ayarza, is working on his own movie. The other, Goya, wants to work on his own record label:

Whenever anyone joins Squad, Goya and Ayarza make a pledge to listen to their pitch someday... While Ayarza and Goya are tight-lipped as to what share of Squad's total income is earned by the game, they admit that it's significant. It's the lifeboat they've been looking for, and they're both ready to leave the safety of the mothership... Squad is not becoming a publisher per se, rather an incubator for the passion projects of its staff. Ayarza has finished the script for his first movie, which will be produced by Squad. Goya is creating a record label and composing, all funded by Squad.


I don't blame them for wanting to follow their own dreams, and they claim the studio supports other members of the team doing the same, but we've never heard about anyone else's enormously expensive endeavors: It's... fairly uncomfortable to see the owners doing this.

A little further up in the article, a pretty damning quote:

Goya says that when Ayarza is in front of a client he only ever says yes, often leading to short timelines and absurd promises of lavish spectacles. Goya the artist provides the creative vision to pull it out in the end, while the rest of the team at Squad carries the load.


This plays heavily into a recent assumption that the 1.0 and 1.1 releases have been pushed so hard and sloppily because of their new console deals. They needed to leave Beta to secure the deals, they needed to release 1.1 (Unity 5 update) to work on console ports. It fairly undeniably confirms that they're setting unrealistic timeframes and nigh-forcing the developers to meet them. EDIT: That last sentence just seems to me a nice way of saying "the owners make impossible promises, then make the employees work to the bone to meet them."

And now we have ex-developers coming out and confirming the conspiracies:

https://www.reddit.com/r/KerbalSpacePro ... sts_about/
https://www.reddit.com/r/KerbalSpacePro ... ormer_ksp/

The first post there speaks about how they would work 80 hour weeks yet only make $2,400. As soon as their immediate "usefulness" ran out, they were booted from the team. In Mexico, this is about twice minimum wage, so if you live there it's not... atrociously bad... kinda. But they're hiring international as well, so who knows what's going on behind these closed doors. For all we know, some of them make $2,400, others make $90,000, and they have NDEs that bar them from speaking about it to each other. EDIT: /u/r4m0n has apparently confirmed with other developers that this was the usual salary being offered. Some members made significantly more, up to $2,000 monthly, but these were the exceptions and is still far below what they should be receiving.

With regards to legitimacy, the parties speaking in both the posted threads, as well as the top comments to them, are confirmed to be past-developers or people who have worked with the developers. Specifically:

/u/DamionMRayne - Ex-developer
/u/r4m0n - Creator of MechJeb (also posting anonymously on behalf of those afraid of legality or blackballing)
PDTV from the 4chan thread posted a video proving his identity earlier, but has since taken it down. - Ex-community manager (EDIT: The "!!" does not confirm identity, but merely shows that posts under that name are from a consistent password-protected identity)
/u/NovaSilisko [+2] - Ex-developer

And I'll say it again, I'm a bit disappointed in the people who aren't refuting the claims, but are defending Squad anyway:

Who care's, this is how most studios operate.


That excuses nothing. It's unethical regardless. It's not even close to the same drastic scale as forcing children to work in coal mines during the rise of the industrial era, but that's a great example of "industry standard doesn't mean okay". And last I checked, industry standard salary for a game dev was over $60,000, not $2,400.

It was in their contract.


Most people don't realize the lengths companies will go to absolutely screw you. Especially when you're going into what you think is a great small company with indie roots and a loving community. And especially when you're passionate to get into the field. They're taking advantage of small people who don't know better, and I'm sure half the reason there aren't veteran devs in the team is because anyone with experience laughs at their offers.

Further, have you read some employment contracts? I've seen suckers several dozen pages long in legal jargon. Good luck finding all the loop holes professional lawyers crafted in.

And I'll sign off with: The developers are really great people. None of the previous employees had anything bad to say about anything but management. Please don't take it out on the wrong person here, the guys who actually work on KSP are passionate and I'm sure they're doing their absolute damnedest given the situation.

EDIT: The inevitable grammar mistakes, wording.

THIS JUST IN: Just before 1.0 was released, a Dutch company called Deported B.V. was created and the KSP license was transferred to them. Due to the permissive Dutch tax laws, this allows them to avoid paying taxes to Mexico and use the much lower Dutch ones. This company is then owned by a Parallel Dynamics corporation, which we know little to nothing about at the moment other than being based in Mexico City, similar to Squad. Thanks to /u/Mirkury for the information.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby TimothyC » 2016-05-14 04:42pm

Playing KSP 1.1.2 with Bluedog Design Bureau and Trails:


Saturn I - Gemini on the pad:
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We have lift-off:
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S-IV ignition:
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Fairing sep above the sensible atmosphere:
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Pushing to orbit:
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S-IV de-orbit burn:
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De-orbit burn is successful (taking advantage of the RL-10s restart capabilities):
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Transtage burn for the Mun:
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Getting close now:
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Sliding into darkness:
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And out again:
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Kerbinrise:
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Orbital adjustment burn:
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Downhill run:
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Entry Interface:
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The 'chute is good!
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-06-23 12:44pm

I played the game for literally the first time, this morning. Still poking around the tutorials a bit just to get a sense for how to operate the rockets, but... I had my first catastrophe!

[Memo to self: remember not to let finger slip and push 'stage' button while SRBs are still firing.]
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-06-25 11:38am

Still poking around in the game...
________________________________

"Two days ago, astronaut Jebediah Kerman became the first kerbal to circumnavigate the globe in under forty minutes. He, and Kerbal Space Center flight control, insist that the unexplained trajectory anomalies which placed him in a retrograde orbit at an inclination of thirty degrees rather than a prograde orbit at an inclination of zero were "totally working as intended" and "not at all the result of pilot error. Or ground control error, you nasty-minded person you.."

The Kerbal World-Firsts Record-Keeping Society insists that, despite circling the globe twenty-five times, Jebediah's flight "doesn't count" because it was not a stable orbit, since the bold kerbal had to use literally all his fuel to get into orbit at all and then slowly aerobraked against the outer edges of Kerbin's atmosphere to get back down.

Jebediah's response was not printable.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Napoleon the Clown » 2016-06-25 05:13pm

Simon_Jester wrote:I played the game for literally the first time, this morning. Still poking around the tutorials a bit just to get a sense for how to operate the rockets, but... I had my first catastrophe!

[Memo to self: remember not to let finger slip and push 'stage' button while SRBs are still firing.]

Did you experience Unplanned Rapid Disassembly? You probably experienced URD.

Watch out for staging mishaps involving early deploying of parachutes. And beware the dangerous of unintended lithobraking.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Zaune » 2016-06-25 06:59pm

Oh, and if you get attached to your kerbals, Separatron mini boosters make really good Launch Escape System motors.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-06-26 12:26am

So I tried the same rocket, only this time on an equatorial prograde orbit, and it worked quite well; I even had surplus fuel at the end of the reentry burn (performed with the same second stage of the rocket). Now that I have an experienced pilot (and thus can activate SAS) I bet I can make the flight stable to have some fuel in hand for higher orbits or other cool things like that. :)

Napoleon the Clown wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:I played the game for literally the first time, this morning. Still poking around the tutorials a bit just to get a sense for how to operate the rockets, but... I had my first catastrophe!

[Memo to self: remember not to let finger slip and push 'stage' button while SRBs are still firing.]

Did you experience Unplanned Rapid Disassembly? You probably experienced URD.
Well, it was unplanned, but it was a direct and predictable consequence of my own actions, so I can't really say I experienced classic URD.

No, classic URD is what's been happening to my jet airplane designs on the runway.

Watch out for staging mishaps involving early deploying of parachutes.
Ayup, run into those too.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-03 03:09am

So I managed to strand a pair of tourists in orbit with Valentina Kerman in the Mk I command module, by accidentally hitting 'stage' and jettisoning the retrorockets...

Due to a better than usual gravity turn, my periapsis was at 72 km, so I just needed a LITTLE delta-V to start aerobraking...

Remembering a suggestion Timothy_C made some time ago, I've had Valentina get out and push.

Repeated EVAs, in which I try to ram the capsule in a vaguely retrograde direction using my kerbalnaut as a blunt instrument. It's starting to work, for admittedly generous definitions of 'work.' I can only imagine what the tourists think.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Imperial528 » 2016-07-04 04:35pm

Tip: when getting out to push, it's most effective to have your Kerbal thrust in comtact with the craft, rather than repeatedly smacking into it. Easier to line up with the CoM that way.

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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-04 11:13pm

I tried that; she always slid off. No handholds except right by the cockpit; this craft was not designed for EVA. Plus, I wasn't entirely sure where the center of mass WAS, at least not exactly.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-05 02:50am

Well, I launched my first (intended) Munar flyby mission, Woo We're Going To The Mun 1. Yes, that is the name of the spacecraft. Still waiting to see how things turn out, but I did get a few screenshots of the trans-munar insertion burn...

Image
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For reference, the craft is extremely simple but hopefully effective, a Mk 1 command module with a service bay holding some batteries and science experiments on top of the heat shield, then that is stacked onto two FL-T800s fueling a Terrier.

I managed to hammer it most of the way into orbit as the third stage of what is otherwise an all-Rockomax rocket. It has looots of delta-V, and a good thing too, I suspect... if I'm interpreting that return trajectory correctly things could get interesting.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Zaune » 2016-07-05 04:20am

You should be alright. Throttle up to just high enough to keep the temperature bar stable as soon as you start seeing atmospheric heating effects and keep it there until you reach parachute altitude, then throttle up all the way and use up your remaining fuel before deploying the chutes.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby TimothyC » 2016-07-05 09:24am

Simon_Jester wrote:I tried that; she always slid off. No handholds except right by the cockpit; this craft was not designed for EVA. Plus, I wasn't entirely sure where the center of mass WAS, at least not exactly.

For CoM approximations treat the parts as point masses at their geometric centers (mass values are on the wiki). To that end, the best path is to place the rocket pointing in the direction you want to thrust, and push against the heat shield.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-05 10:05am

If I hadn't given up on trying to hold Valentina in a stable location due to her sliding off, that is what I would have tried, yeah.

And yes, I'm planning to try and tweak my course on the way back from the Mun, and to use a final main engine burn to slow back down as necessary.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-05 03:58pm

Forgot to take screenshots of the rest of the trip, but the flyby went really well. Although I wound up using more delta-V than I expected, I still had plenty in reserve. My original trajectory was a hyperbolic flight past the Mun, so I had to brake in order to get a slingshot around the dark side. Then when I left the Mun's sphere of influence, I found that I'd managed to put myself in a near-circular orbit around Kerbin, so I had to burn repeatedly to lower myself to a more reasonable circular orbit, then the ground. But I still had like 600-700 m/s of delta-V in hand to slow my reentry, so all's well that ends well and let's hear it for grossly overdesigning things!

Next up: I'd like to try designing a probe for a change, and perhaps send it to Minmus... low gravity makes, in my book, for straightforward landing tests.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby TimothyC » 2016-07-05 04:08pm

I suggest that next time you go for a Mun flyby you burn for a PE over the Mun's orbit (about 15Mm) and slightly ahead of the Mun's orbit. This will allow you to do a free return trajectory.
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-07-06 09:40am

The good news is that I performed my first rendezvous and rescue of a stranded kerbalnaut.

The bad news is that on further reflection, the craft I used to perform the rescue has effectively no chance of surviving reentry. Oops.

The ugly news is that I must now perform my second rendezvous and rescue two stranded kerbalnauts...
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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Zaune » 2016-07-06 12:52pm

Simon_Jester wrote:The good news is that I performed my first rendezvous and rescue of a stranded kerbalnaut.

The bad news is that on further reflection, the craft I used to perform the rescue has effectively no chance of surviving reentry. Oops.

The ugly news is that I must now perform my second rendezvous and rescue two stranded kerbalnauts...

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Re: Kerbal Space Program, Revisited.

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-07-06 12:59pm

At least your Kerbalnauts are still alive. Last time I played using a Project Orion mod, I built a big ship to go exploring all the planets, Voyager-style. Decided to stop at the Mun first, only I eyeballed the TMI burn, cocked up without realising it, went to make a cup of tea, and came back just in time to see my beautiful interplanetary Orion craft slam into the Mun at about 7 kms. Dang it.
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