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frankzappa

KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM

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You know a space flight simulator’s doing something right when NASA and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk start getting interested. Despite the cutesy appearance of its astronauts, Kerbal Space Program is an incredibly detailed physics-based space game which lets you design and construct your own spacecraft before launching it into orbit and then doing impossibly complicated things like docking with other vessels or landing your wobbly phallic construct on the moon.

Since the earliest version of KSP released in 2011, its community sprang into action with mods, written and video tutorials, a cornucopia of user-created spacecraft to try out for yourself, and a recreation of The Martian. Its popularity prompted NASA – as in actual NASA – to reach out to developers Squad and collaborate with them to create new in-game content based on real missions.

Is it 100% realistic? Given that it’s simulating one of the most complicated human endeavours ever undertaken and letting you have a go with your mouse and keyboard, there’s an element of creative licensing. However – it’s about as close as the medium has produced. Every physical object in the game abides by Newtonian dynamics, which is why that rocket you built to look like Gary Busey’s face collapsed and burned itself to cinders the second you hit the thrusters. Its model of orbital mechanics has also been praised by those in a position to assess that sort of thing.

pcgamesn.com

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