Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kerbal Space Program - 5/20 hours

I don't think I've ever been quite so satisfied to finish a tutorial. There's a lot of stuff going on in this game and the physics that govern your spacecraft aren't always intuitive. And even the stuff that made sense was incredibly fiddly. I don't remember the last time I died in a tutorial, but landing on Mun was a parade of carnage.

I'm not sure I'd want it any other way, though. The difficulty and the weirdness make the game feel real. I think that's because space travel is the one, great romantic adventure still out there. Even after being around for sixty years, it still feels vaguely "science-fictiony." So to add fantastic elements on top of that would actually make it less magical. I'm not saying that Kerbal Space Program has ruined Space Engineers for me, but it does make me acutely aware of the latter game's limitations (what a fool I was, to think I could fly to the moon by pointing my spaceship towards the moon . . . and don't get me started on the scale).

Having finished all but three of the tutorial missions, I think I'm ready to give Career Mode a try. I'm a bit more confident about the space navigation than I was before, given all the new automation and planning tools that were added since the last time I played, but I'm on much shakier ground when it comes to landing and retrieving my spacecraft. I understand now, why NASA has been sticking to robotic exploration lately - space is fucking dangerous! I'll probably follow their example, given how crummy repeatedly blowing up Valentina Kerman made me feel.

Still, it's an exciting prospect, building an entire space program from scratch. And while I don't think the tutorial has made me immune to making the occasional disastrous misstep, it has given me an idea about what those missteps will look like when they inevitably happen.

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