EVE Online isn’t the only game I play. I know that comes as a shock to some of you, but it’s true. There are two types of games I play. There are the stressful ones like EVE Online, and there are the relaxing ones. Okay, EVE Online is relaxing at times. But it can go insanely stressful in an instant. That’s why we all love it. Right?
Well, some days I don’t need any more stress; the past six months especially. (For those who need to know, mom’s treatments are going well but the complications are a BITCH.) In the realm of stressful games, besides EVE Online I play Starcraft II and League of Legends. I suck at Starcraft II but play it anyway. I recently started League of Legends and evidently show some promise. Who knew?
In the non-stressful realm, I have my old favorite Civilization V and this year’s sorely disappointing Simcity 2013. It’s still fun to play, but damn they need to patch some terribly awful bugs in their simulation code. Until they do, I’ve set Simcity 2013 aside. That left me needing another non-stress game to play. My nephew recommended I try Kerbal Space Program.
I’d never heard of it before – but it was a space game so couldn’t be too bad. I went out on Steam and found it. It’s an alpha release game. Whoa, my nephew didn’t say it was alpha release. What’s more, for the full game – alpha release mind you – it’s on sale for a smidgen over $18. My first reaction to that was, “Where’s the free demo?”
I installed the free demo and gave it a try. The tutorials are about as good as EVE Online’s. The graphics are still rough though they do work. There are obviously big pieces to the overall game missing. But you know what? The physics in that game is incredibly realistic – as in they use real physics. The whole point of the game is to build a space program to get the Kerbals to their “Mun” (moon) and then explore the rest of their solar system. This project starts in the vehicle assembly building… with parts… some of dubious origins… and you have to get a Kerbal astronaut not only into space, but into orbit and beyond.
And when I say you have to do it, I mean just that. You are the flight director, engineer, mission control and if necessary the automatic pilot. You send the rocket up, and with luck you bring the capsule down slow and easy. But believe me, there is nothing easy about it.
But it is non-stressful to a nerd like me. The computer does all the math in the background. You just need to understand when to burn and how to burn. It is unbelievably engaging. And it’s stress free, even when the rocket crashes and burns. It’s just what the doctor ordered!
Just for fun, I made a video of the first Kerbal I got into orbit. It took me 7 hours of game play. The rocket you’ll see I had to “engineer” myself. Then I had to do the apogee burn correctly to “grow” the orbit. The video is less than 10 minutes so give it a watch.
It was very satisfying to finally get a capsule into orbit. It’s not enough to just build a big rocket. It’s got to fly true and it’s got to work synergistically. This rocket did that but it’ll never get beyond a simple orbit. Even at that, I made a mistake – a bad one. Did you catch it? Let me know what you think it is in the comments. The first person to name it (by the comment time stamp) will get an Asteros hull from Mabrick as a Christmas present. [EDIT 12/15/2013 03:25 – Darvid Austrene nails it! Merry Christmas, you get the Asteros!] !Don’t forget to give me your EVE character name or you’ll miss out! How’s that for an incentive? And you thought this wasn’t going to be about EVE at all. Tsk, tsk and Merry Christmas!