Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kerbal Space Program AAR, First Flight

Decided to do something different than my usual stuff, by making an AAR (After-Action Report) for KSP. For those unfamiliar with the format, it's basically a writeup of what happens with pictures and a bit of extra fluff put in. This will be my first time writing something like this, so any comments or criticisms are much appreciated. Please let me know what you think!

Today marks the first day for the Kerbal's glorious new space program lead by director Xeorm. For anyone unfamiliar with this glorious race, these are Kerbals:

They have but one interest known to us: to build a space program. If nothing else, they prove that rocket science's difficulty has been exaggerated.

Here is a photo of our great facilities:

Small buildings, roads going to nowhere, a dirt road for our aircraft to launch, and a launching pad far away from the everything else. At least they got one thing right. Each building here has a function and can be upgraded to be better at what it does, or provide new functionality. Unfortunately, upgrading costs money, which we don't have much of. Up on the top you can see our current funds, reputation, and how much Science! we have collected.

Money is collected by breaking records or completing contracts, and we use it to build our crafts and upgrade our buildings. Reputation is used to impress the ladies get better contracts, and Science! is used to research new parts. The small building farthest to the left lets us turn one resource into another,

Enough with the introductions! Let's get this thing started. First thing we want to do is earn some money by accepting some contracts. Our first contract:

A very simple contract indeed, almost depressingly simple. Well, all journeys must start with a simple step, and this is ours. While we're at it, we grab the other contract:

When we launch our first rocket, they want us to grab some Science! from Kerbin. These guys really have some high expectations. I'm not sure we'll be able to do this.

Now that we have our goals, the next step is our design. We step into the Vehicle Assembly Building and I'm greeted with the plethora of options available to me. After a bit of tweaking, I've put together a functional rocket:

We use a model rocket someone bought at the store, we fill some canisters with strange goo found in the dumpster for Science!, a well-built command pod, and a parachute on top. We would have used a real rocket, but the Kerbals were too busy making things comfortable to worry about the actual rocket part of the program. Onwards to the first launch!

Here we are, on the launchpad, for our first ever rocket launch! Before we launch, we want to perform an experiment. Experiments are the main way we get Science!. We do an activity, at a location, and can choose to keep it, or send the information back. In this case, we've open our goo canister while landed at the launch pad, and we'll choose to keep it. Assuming the module is recovered successfully, we'll get our Science!

Off we go! We have liftoff. Our first rocket is in the air! Our rocket reaches a truly majestic height of 5,000 km. Only 65,000 km more to go and we'll officially be a space program! Until we're able to reach orbit though, all things that go up must come down.

Our pilot, after his successful landing, takes a stroll out in the open air. He doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation though, and gives us some lip. Just for that, we'll find some other pilot to fly the next rocket, when we get into actual space.

Finally, here's the mission report:

We made a decent amount of Science! from the trip, along with a good chunk of change. Turns out, there's a number of organizations that give out good money for achieving World Firsts, which is where the bulk of our money from this mission came from. Next mission should be more exciting, as we develop actual rockets and get into space. None of this amateur model rocket crap.

PS: For anyone interested, here's the difficulty settings I'm using for this run;
Hard settings, but with quickloading enabled to save my sanity.

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