Kerbal Space Problems – Reloaded

By Shamus Posted Sunday Oct 4, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 58 comments

Did you miss the hangout last month? Don’t worry! Because really, that’s a very silly thing to worry about. But also don’t worry because here is the whole two hours and forty minutes of it:

Link (YouTube)

Yes, I lied. That was only the first hour and twenty minutes. Sadly, the second half is shrouded in mystery, lost in the depths of time, or perhaps simply featured in Part 2:

Link (YouTube)

I forgot how much I loved this game. Doing the hangout got me playing KSP again. We obviously couldn’t show them off in the hangout, but in the late game they’ve added some really cool parts. It’s actually (eventually) possible to build stuff with some aesthetics, rather than forever being a slave to the practical.

Fly safe!


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58 thoughts on “Kerbal Space Problems – Reloaded

  1. Volatar says:

    My name gets mentioned many times during this stream. I spent the whole stream yelling in all caps at Josh trying to help him just get into orbit, as well as yelling at Shamus for trolling Josh so much.

    It was good times.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Yup me too. I almost ddin’t have time to look at the chat, but I did notice your brave attempts.

  2. rofltehcat says:

    I’m 30 minutes in and I want to scream. He has at least 2 people who know how to do it in voice chat with him but they don’t want to help =(

    1. Redingold says:

      Not to mention all the people in the Twitch chat who do want to help but can’t get his attention (not that I’m criticising Josh for being inattentive, he had a lot on his plate).

      1. Supahewok says:

        My favorite part was where his parachutes were repeatedly destroyed before even leaving the atmosphere, but he never saw the notification in the middle of the screen and kept trying his damndest to complete the mission.

    2. Shamus says:

      To drop the act and thus ruin the joke:

      Obviously Josh could have studied the game, or I could have helped him. But the assumption is that if you want to see Kerbal played WELL, you could watch Scott Manley do rocket-science sorcery on YouTube. The point of a hangout is just have lighthearted fun, not showcase “pro skills”. If we had worked very hard and prepared for days, what would the stream look like? An ordinary, competent player, simply playing the game with very few mistakes. That wouldn’t make for an interesting show.

      So since doing it competently is boring and doing it REALLY well is a niche lots of other people have already filled, it made sense to instead show off the mishaps and disasters that comes from climbing this game’s learning curve. You might notice that once in a while I stopped trolling Josh and gave him genuine advice when he get truly stuck.

      So it wasn’t intended to be frustrating. It was supposed to bring back fond memories of rockets falling over on the launchpad and exploding.

      1. Raygereio says:

        An ordinary, competent player, simply playing the game with very few mistakes. That wouldn't make for an interesting show.

        Quoted for emphasis. There really are only two types of playthroughs of KSP that are enjoyable to watch for more then a few minutes:
        The one were the player is incredibly competent and uses it explain basic rocket science.
        And the one where the player just builds something silly and everyone enjoys the explosions when it inevitably explodes.

      2. rofltehcat says:

        It’s just soooo frustrating =(

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          It is when you expect everyone to play a game the one proper way.But once you stop expecting others to play every game the way you do,you can relax and have more fun.

        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          I had this whole rant ready to go about how it bugs me when people hound LPers for not being good at a game when their show is clearly based on humor/commentary/first impressions or whatever. Why not just move on and find an LPer you like?

          But you did point out that some of them already do know how to play this game correctly. So you make a valid point at least. But just as LPers who play less than optimally are a pet peeve for some, people who bug LPers about it are a pet peeve for me. Not really directed at you since you have a valid point, just thought this was as good a time as any to mention it.

        3. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I’m kinda glad KSP doesn’t really appeal to me as something I’d want to play so I can avoid this frustration. I actually enjoy watching people just starting it the most because of all the “Oh, I didn’t connect the engine to the structure, did I?”, “What do you mean ‘re-entry’?” and even an occasional “Is it upside down?” It’s also fun to see the player eventually succeed but the early catastrophes are really entertaining to watch.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            The problem here is that while it’s fun the first couple of times after that it starts to grate that there are knowledgeable persons around and not only do they refuse to at least drop hints at what he is doing wrong but they are actively giving out bad advice as jokes.

      3. Hermocrates says:

        This really was the best way to run the show; I actually came into the hangout hoping Josh had never opened the game before. It certainly brought back many fond memories of when I was but a fledgling Kerbonaut.

        It was also hilarious as hell.

      4. Redingold says:

        Be that as it may, with this being a one-time thing, it would’ve been nice to see a successful launch to and return from orbit.

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          At least one Kerbal made it out of the atmosphere and returned alive, I think. Frankly, that’s one more than you’d expect with Shamus’… peculiar guidance.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Yes but that Kerbal did not achieve orbital flight. His was suborbital.

            1. Volatar says:

              What are you talking about. He made it to the Mun.

      5. squiddlefits says:

        You make a valid point, but there is a difference between a new player flailing around because they made the rocket brick-shaped and mounted the SRBs upside down, and a player struggling because they haven’t seen/misinterpreted the UI.

        That is partially a problem caused by the game having bad AI but also the other hosts could have helped Josh how gathering science works (right-click on stuff), how and why to transmit science and keyboard shortcuts such as how to adjust thrust and how to get in and out of first-person mode.

        Having issues because you made a badly designed penis rocket is hilarious, pressing all the buttons because you clicked on the IVA button and don’t know how to get out is just sad and frustrating.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          What AI?!?!

          1. squiddlefits says:

            UI, not AI. Call it a freudian slip.

    3. Nixitur says:

      Backseat gaming is usually and rightfully regarded as very rude. It can absolutely ruin the enjoyment for the player because they don’t get to discover mechanics for themselves which is a huge appeal for most games. It also often leads to the player feeling that they’re not really playing the game themselves if the game is effectively controlled by whoever’s giving unsolicited advice, be it the chat or a co-commentator.
      And no, simply not following the advice is not an option. If the player knows what’s most efficient even though they didn’t discover it themselves, then that’s already a problem. Unless Josh specifically asks for or seeks out advice, no such help should be given.

      What actually counts as backseat gaming and what doesn’t will, of course, vary from player to player, but it’s better to err on the side of caution. I’d say that if you’re mostly just giving advice on the UI, as Shamus does, then that’s alright for this game, in my opinion.

  3. Rutskarn says:

    I appear in the start of part two, by the way, so why would you watch anything else

    1. squiddlefits says:

      We need a control group to lay down the baseline quality and see where it deviates to. Josh’s decreasing skills may or may not correlate to your presence.

    2. Josh says:

      Actually you show up at the end of Part 1, where you discover what we had been naming the shenanigans we’d been up to.

      1. squiddlefits says:

        The real question is this: did you enjoy it and will you play more?

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because you appear in part 2.

  4. shiroax says:

    Is Jarenth really a scientist or is Josh being Josh?

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      I do remember him commenting that he was traveling to USA on some conference and thus will be able to meet Josh. And then there is his fixation with science in his LPs. So he could be at least scientist in training (aka. postgrad aka science servant) at least.

      1. Supahewok says:

        He’s either working on the European equivalent of a PhD, or he already has it. I think its the latter. I don’t remember what his field of study is.

        1. David W says:

          Pretty sure the European equivalent of a Ph.D is…a Ph.D. I mean, they invented universities.

          1. Supahewok says:

            Different countries call their doctoral degrees by different names, as far as I know. They also don’t all have the same requirements, so you can’t really call them the same, only “equivalent,” hence my word choice.

    2. Aulayan says:

      IIRC he’s a Scientist in Training. He has a very scientific mindset. Also those glowing blue eyes were due to a chemistry accident when he was an underclassman.

    3. Jarenth says:

      Wow, I should really check these comment threads more often.

      I’m doing a Ph.D currently, yes. Or as we call them in Europe, a metric Ph.D.

  5. rofltehcat says:

    Do you guys think Josh might have learned faster if there was some sort of better feedback mechanism in the game?

    e.g. if a rocket flips on ascent there could be a Kerbal looking in from the side and telling you to try a shorter rocket with more rear drag.
    or if you burn up after a very steep ascent it could tell you to angle the craft after it is halfway through the atmosphere

    Basically something more interactive. In general, building good tutorials/tips into a game is probably an art in itself.

    Of course he could have played the tutorial but the tutorials in KSP are really just “do this about now” without telling you why or really making you understand why you should do something. Telling the player: “Oops, that didn’t work, maybe we should try this next time: …” might work better.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      So what you are saying is that KSP needs Klippy Kerman the helpfull Kerbal scientist?

      All joking aside it might help but I expect it would be difficult to program so it doesn’t annoy advanced users due to the insane amount of possible designs.

      1. rofltehcat says:

        “It looks like you’re trying to build a rocket…”

        Of course people would be able to turn it off. Maybe by transferring Klippy from the control room to the Kerbonaut complex, then shooting him into space. Could even make a mission out of it!

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      You know what would be an interesting solution? If hints were offered as part of research. Say, the game could detect that your rocket keeps spinning around because it lacks stabilizers so every launch that this happens would contribute a bit to first the ??? research topic, then the topic would be revealed as “stability”, then it would unlock following hints.

      On the other hand while I like the interactivity of it and it would preserve the experimentation phase (which I have the most fun watching, I don’t really feel like playing the game myself) it could turn into the player just repeatedly smashing against a problem waiting to unlock the solution that they can’t figure out themselves.

  6. hborrgg says:

    I’ve recently started playing KSP again too. And I must say that coming back to find re-entry heating and more realistic areodynamics added to the game is a major wake up call. I just lost my best pilot the other day coming back from a Mun flyby. I’d just entered the atmosphere when science alert reminded me I still needed to do a high atmosphere EVA, so I figured “no problem. I’m still at 65 km and the air is super thin, I’ll just pop out, grab some science and pop back in.” So I got out of the capsule and died instantly. :\

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      For me the wakeup was the fact that you no longer can simply pop up to 70k to get suborbital achievement or get some tourists up there to complete the contract and drop down, since such steep reentries are likely to destroy your capsule due to sheer stress, destroy them through reentry heat or they will survive all that but you won’t be able to deploy parachutes since you will be travelling too quickly. In order to get down safely you basically have to almost reach orbital speeds laterally to prolong your flight and give time to allow the craft to slow down through drag so you are going slowly enough to open the chutes.

      1. hborrgg says:

        That was the other annoying thing. It used to be that since everything had the same drag you were pretty much guaranteed to hit the ground at under 200 m/s no matter how fast you were going when you hit the atmosphere, but now your rocket has a tendancy to just tilt nose first and slice through the atmosphere like a dart.

        I eventually got the hang of suborbital trips. The main trick is to not try to save anything other than the capsule, since that keeps it from falling right. Also, if you have multiple parachutes it can sometimes help to deploy some of them early. They will burn up, but they might slow you down the extra 100 m/s you need to deploy your remaining cutes.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Chutes don’t help in my expirience (unless you are using drogue chutes and they are stronger) since you can not open them if you are going quicker than ~200-250 m/s, and heat isn’t an ussue if you have an ablative shield. As for the stability it’s easy, just make sure that the center of mass lies towards the direction in which you want your craft to fall. This is why I put the science instruments and other cruft on TOP of my craft since most of the time they are much lighter but provide as much drag.

    2. Hermocrates says:

      My wake up call was coming back to the game after two years to find out it actually had a career mode and any drag physics (fins used to do nothing but add weight) and oh god I had to unlearn everything I previously knew. It felt as overwhelming as the first time I had launched the game back before it was even on Steam.

  7. 4th Dimension says:

    Just as clarification to those not aware of KSP, despite all Josh did manage to create couple of quite viable designs, whose only problem was Josh’s inexperience in flying and how aerodynamic forces act on his craft. Here is a moderately competent KSPer (me) flying one of them successfully.

    1. Supahewok says:

      Hey now, that’s not a true Buttskarn craft! The parachute wasn’t destroyed on its way out of the atmosphere!

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        That’s because I was using devious cheats known as “experienced KSP pilot”. And I figured out that the craft was unstable and would flip if I ran out of power.
        I didn’t record it ut at least once I tried descending after spin stabilizing my craft. Results were mixed.

        1. Supahewok says:

          I’ve never actually played KSP, so could you tell me how your parachute survived exiting the atmosphere while Josh’s didn’t? It seems like the heat from the air friction as a result of blasting through the atmosphere too quickly was the cause, but I didn’t really see a difference between your methodology and his. As a matter of fact, you looked like you were burning for longer than he was.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Chutes are vulnerable to speed. If you are going too quickly the chute will not open but tear itself away. The heat is really not much of an issue if you have an ablative shield. In fact the second video demonstrates the descent with a ablative shield.

            The dangers of descent are twofold. If you don’t have a shield and you descend too laxly you will spend too much time in atmosphere moving horizontally burning and then falling down burning again. The ablative shields mitigate this. But you can not descend too steeply either because if you hit lower atmosphere too quickly you will be forcibly slowed QUICKLY and capsules aren’t rated for infinite Gs of deceleration, and the capsule will simply explode. When this happens the G meter (the dial right of the navball).

            And finally if you survive all that but are still moving too quickly, possibly by becoming more aerodynamic by going nose first you will avoid being disintegrated by G forcess, but your joy will be short lived because you will quickly realize you are moving WAAAYY too quickly to SAFELY deploy chutes and you will unintentionally perform Kerbin Lithobreaking and become a crater.

            Basically his approach differed from my own because he was constantly going too high because he didn’t know how to ration his burns, this high orbits were causing steep descents with high speeds which inevitably caused his crafts to succumb to heat or G forces. All this was helped by the fact that halfway in his descent power would go out and he would loose the stability given by the gimbals.

  8. Retsam says:

    So when is Part 3 being posted, the part where he successfully (and quite elegantly, I might add) lands on the Mun?

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      It’s due to be edited as soon as part 2 of 8 By Zombies is posted.

      1. Supahewok says:

        Which will come only after Shogun 2 Part 21.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Gabes law:The more sequels something has,chances of it becoming another instance of half life 3 are approaching 1.

      2. Henson says:

        Or once the Amnesia Pig Butts episode gets added to the Spoiler Warning page.

        1. The Rocketeer says:

          That’s a joke, right? That’s definitely on their YouTube page. In fact, it’s been the video pinned at the top of their profile since around the time they made it.

          EDIT: Oh, wait, do you mean the Spoiler Warning page on this website? Yeah, that hasn’t been updated in a while; the Arkham Asylum season isn’t listed either.

  9. Ravens Cry says:

    In the immortal words of xkcd‘s ‘Up-Goer 5’, “This end should point toward the ground if you want to go to space. If it starts pointing toward space you are having a bad problem and you will not go to space today.”

  10. bigben01985 says:

    I can’t hear what anyone except Josh is saying, except if I want my eardrums blown out when Josh laughs. I mean, I watched the whole thing nonetheless, but…

    1. Dude says:

      Yeah. Ditto. Reminds me of the first few episodes of Fallout 3.

  11. SpaceSjut says:

    Nude mod.
    Naked Kerbals.
    Huge penis-shaped rocket.
    And suddenly, someone says “junkyard”.
    Am I the only one nà¶who noticed that?

  12. McNutcase says:

    Well, it’s all your fault I’m playing KSP again. The hangout got me back into playing, which I hadn’t since the beta version dropped. KSP is currently both much more and much less accessible than it was when I started playing (which was with version 0.8.5, really early) because you have much more and better tools, but on the flipside, you have much more and better tools. It’s easy to get carried away.

    In my old man voice, when I started playing, the atmosphere ended at 34500m up, with a brick wall. You only had one kind of liquid engine, and only one kind of solid booster. There was no orbital map, no time warp, and if you landed on the night side of the planet you died instantly because it was antimatter. Speaking of which, the planet didn’t rotate, the sun was a singularity, there was no Mun, and the VAB didn’t do “symmetry”. And if you launched even slightly off vertical, odds were you’d clip the tower and die.

    Now I want to play one of my archived versions again…

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