There are 46 billion light-years between our planet and the edge of the observable universe. A space of that size is incomprehensible. There are a number of brilliant minds here on Earth working around the clock to make sure we can visit the nearest solar system, which is only 4.2 light-years away.
It may come as a surprise, but the team behind Kerbal Space Program 2 (Intercept Gaming) is actively researching the feasibility of interstellar travel alongside experts. As such, it has been painstakingly crafting a follow-up from the ground up to allow for interstellar travel in-game.
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“One thing we’re noticing, especially with the more advanced technologies in the game is that we’re sometimes the first people to depict something because we’re trying to keep abreast of the latest research,” said Kerbal Space Program 2 creative director Nate Simpson. “Sometimes a piece of research will come very hot off the presses and we’ll have to figure out what it might look like and our depiction of this thing is going to be the only one for a while.”
Kerbal Space Program’s systems are based on genuine science, making it an extremely intricate game. Many would-be astronauts and rocket scientists got their start in the industry by constructing rockets to launch a goofy green humanoid from Earth in the original game.
Because of its intricacy, learning how to construct rockets and fly them can be a daunting task. Its formidable learning curve is sufficient to scare away inexperienced players. With Kerbal Space Program 2, Intercept Games is aiming to change that.
“Perhaps the reason Kerbal Space Program 2 even exists in my opinion, is to take another crack at making the core concepts of Kerbal Space Program access accessible to a broader audience,” Simpson said. “I want to be able to send a copy of Kerbal Space Program 2 to the same people I sent the first one to, and to have them have a relatively smooth ramp into the experience. That’s the number one thing.”
The new series of tutorials for Kerbal Space Program 2’s early access release on February 24, 2023, was demonstrated in a brief gameplay sample. Following each animation film that explains a concept, you’ll be given a mission to accomplish in-game. Information on the navbar, as well as the basics of rocketry, staging, launching, recovery, and creating and maintaining an orbit, are all covered in the lesson.
The tutorial is an enjoyable method to ease into the game. The videos were all fun to watch, and it’s clear that Intercept Games spent a lot of time on them; after all, the studio apparently threw away hours of animation in order to create what they consider to be the ideal lesson. The transition from the tutorials to the sandbox mode, where players can construct their own rockets and try to launch them, was still quite large.
There’s a good chance I never would have landed on the mun, Kerbal Space Program’s equivalent of the moon if I hadn’t followed a tutorial given by Simpson himself. There was a lot of work done into revamping the game’s user interface and tutorials, but despite those improvements, the game is still difficult to pick up and play. But, just like the first game, the sensation of accomplishment upon seeing your ship enter orbit is as satisfying as ever.
On the day of release, you’ll find a few more ships, improved graphics, and other tweaks. Although a new instructional system, user interface, and a few other minor changes can make it seem like a new game isn’t worth your time, that’s not why Intercept Games released a sequel. Both colony construction and interplanetary travel, two of the most significant innovations, are unavailable in the original game.
“There was a huge amount of what is, I think at the moment, not highly visible work that’s going on in the sort of foundational technologies of the game,” Simpson said. “[They] will become much more obvious as we begin to put it through its paces and show people what it can really do.”
For Simpson, the Wikipedia test is a good rule of thumb when creating systems in Kerbal Space Program. Launching a rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Lompoc, California, gamers can then go online to learn that their tactics aren’t too different from the real thing. Yet, humanity has never successfully accomplished interstellar travel.
KSP 2 launches in just over a week; check out some of the highlights of what you can do! 🚀
Kerbal Space Program 2, Gameplay Trailer:https://t.co/VA5JXcQUkR pic.twitter.com/WcSeLRZfAk
— Kerbal Space Program (@KerbalSpaceP) February 16, 2023
Experts have been working to make interplanetary travel, either manned or unmanned, a reality. The engines, fuel, and other components of Kerbal Space Program 2 are inspired by real-world scientific discoveries being made at facilities like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
More freedom will be given to other new systems in Kerbal Space Program 2, such as colonies. The studio’s goal, according to Simpson, is to strike a balance between “complete realism and engaging gameplay.”
In Kerbal Space Program, for instance, you won’t find any kind of artificial life support. These tiny green humans don’t have an appetite, so they can spend years aboard a spaceship without becoming bored. It won’t change any time soon in Kerbal Space Program 2, even as it travels further into the galaxy. Rocketry, especially as it relates to setting up new colonies, will be a major focus.
“It’s all about resource utilization and having various factories connected to your colony,” Simpson said. “When you bring those raw resources and have the proper facilities you can synthesize fuels and materials that can then be used to construct new vehicles. It gets really interesting when in orbit, then you can make Star Trek-style space docks.”
Since 2011, modders have upgraded vintage Soviet spaceships with autopilots, rockets, turret guns, and more. After the game has been released, Intercept Games plans to encourage a more mod-friendly atmosphere and provide new features, such as colonies, interstellar, and more.
“If you think of Kerbal as a tree, rocketry is the trunk,” Simpson said. “We don’t want to limit people and we are often surprised by non-rocketry things that people manage to achieve in the game.”
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Frequently asked questions
Will KSP 2 have multiplayer?
You and your pals will soon be able to explore new solar systems and found colonies in deep space once multiplayer is implemented.
How long will KSP 2 be in early access?
How long will the Early Access period last? "KSP 2 will remain in Early Access until we feel that the game and its full feature set are at our desired level of quality.