Like NASA and SpaceX on April 23, would you like to send Thomas Pesquet into space, but you are not an aerospace engineer, nor are you Elon Musk? You still have the video game, and one in particular: Kerbal Space Program.
Since its release of Alpha, launched by Mexican studio Squad in 2011, this space flight simulator, widely enriched since then and available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, has allowed millions of players to take on the world’s biggest challenges. Space Invasion: Launch a Satellite, Intercept an Asteroid, Put a Space Station into Orbit, Explore Planets …
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The base game takes place in a fictional solar system: rockets launch from the planet Kerpen, similar to Earth with some detail. For technical reasons, and to reduce the time needed to travel into space, the entire system is ten times smaller than the solar system – with similar gravity. Moreover, Earth has not one, but two moons. Six other planets, endowed with moons, orbiting Kerbol, the Sun of the System. Suffice to say, there is no shortage of missions.
Kerbal Space Program – KSP for Close Friends – is a “sandbox” game: it doesn’t set any goals for you, it’s up to you. For those who could be intimidated by this complete freedom, the career mode nonetheless allows for the choice of predetermined tasks. KSP’s great spatial mechanic provides you with all the tools you need to design your machines. Planes, missiles, shuttles, rovers, space units … the player relies on an extensive catalog of parts, some of which are replicas of real rocket components, such as the Ariane V.
Once your missile is built, it is also up to you to control the mission, and even pilot your missile. You can also say it right away: It is not an easy task. Because the KSP is actually a simulation, so the flights obey the laws of physics. It’s simplified for sure, propulsion mechanisms, gravity, aerodynamics, heating, etc. It is imitated here as accurately as possible. An educational version of the game was also developed in 2014 to impart some key principles of physics.
So, for a beginner, the chances of seeing his first blow off at the firing point or after a few seconds of flight aren’t insignificant – see. Attempts by YouTube user Joueur du Grenier. The game’s difficulty also lies in its magic: by posing a real challenge, KSP allows both to touch the range of flight challenges, and provides a very powerful sense of achievement when the crew of the “Kerbals” – the little green men who act as astronauts come out of their capsule in one piece.
Don’t panic: Being the KSP community very active, a large number of online tutorials allow you to get familiar with the game. The said community also produces a large number of mods – mods or add-ons designed by users – that allow for better game management. The rocket, increases the realism of the flights, or allows you to play in the “real” solar system.
In addition to realism, one of KSP’s great strengths is ultimately hours of alternating hours of pure reflection – which reinforcer would you choose? What is the best orbit? – Turbulent moments during mission critical phases and more “contemplative” beaches, where you can watch your missile slowly approaching a planet. As in real life, with one or two details.
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