After four years of development and countless improvements from its initial debut on Steam Early Access, Kerbal Space Program is preparing to officially release its 1.0 version. The developer, Squad, announced that preparations are now underway to get the space simulator creation game out of beta as the team’s “original design document has been fulfilled.”
Kerbal Space Program has come a long way since its initial release, where it was little more than sandbox build-whatever-spaceship-you-want-and-probably-fail simulator and little else. It now includes everything from a budget you have to follow, science experiments to perform, and upgrades to buy. All of this has helped ease the impossible difficulty curve that once made the game far too intimidating to even try if you couldn’t dedicate dozens of hours into learning real-life rocket science. Even still, with a tiered unlocking system and small goals to help you learn along the way, completing even the smallest of tasks feels like a monumental achievement.
It’s also pretty safe to say that Kerbal Space Program will end its time in Steam Early Access as one of the program’s most successful games. In a sea of developers exploiting the system to get some quick cash and other projects remaining unfinished for various reasons, Squad has kept their nose to the keyboard and maintained a constantly evolving development cycle that has kept Kerbal interesting every step of the way. Not to mention the sprawling and extremely dedicated community that has been created as a result of the game.
Squad also announced a laundry list of updates coming with the 1.0 release. This includes some minor things like letting Kerbals finally maneuver over small obstacles, and the addition of female Kerbals, to some real game changers like the possibility of losing your job at the Space Center (resulting in a game over), and the ability to quickly warp to a point in time where you want to perform a maneuver.
* New Drag Model:
We’ve redesigned the way drag is calculated, now it will take into account things such as part occlusion, facing, and got rid of the calculation being based on part mass.
* New Lift System:
Corrected the lift so that it is now (properly) a function of the square of velocity, not linear. This allows for far more effective, and accurate, wings.
* Aerodynamic Stability Overlay:
A new part of the UI that shows you the stability of your crafts as you build them, so you can easily tell at a glance how air-worthy (or not) your design is, and see the effects of any changes as you build.
* Engineer’s Report:
A new panel in the VAB and SPH which will warn you of crucial (and generally frustrating) issues in your design, such as a lack of fuel tanks, engines or landing gear, among many other advanced concepts like those.
* TimeWarp To:
Fumble with timewarp and mess up your burns no more, with this new feature you can choose a point along your orbit and the game will take you there as fast as physically possible.
* Deep Space and Planetary Refueling:
Adding a new system and a set of parts that will allow you to collect matter from Asteroids and other bodies, then process it into useful things, like Fuel or Oxidizer.
* Game Over:
Be careless with your funds and reputation and you might promptly find you no longer have a job at the Space Center.
* New Landing Gears:
With the much larger Mk3 parts, we too felt the need for equally much larger landing gears. We’re giving you larger and more diverse ones to fix that.
* New, Larger Wings:
Mk3 crafts also require you to make large wings out of way, way too many small ones. We’re adding wings that are not only larger than all others, they also carry fuel, so you can finally make room for a properly massive payload area.
* Kerbal Clamber:
Kerbals can now climb over small obstacles and out of ladders up onto flat surfaces; because their job wasn’t dangerous enough already.
* Female Kerbals:
Long time in the making, finally joining the team at KSC.
* Economic Systems Rebalance:
Strategies, Part costs, contract payouts, they all needed to be fixed, and have all gotten a much needed balancing pass.
* Part Stats Rebalance:
We’re making sure no part is too light, too heavy, too powerful, or too weak. Exploiters beware!
* New Contracts:
We aim to bridge the gap between the early and late game contracts, as playtesting showed the difficulty curve could use some easing.
* Tier 0 Buildings:
The originally revealed buildings have been enhanced and modified to meet our original vision for them.
* Sound Overhaul:
Adding sounds to several parts of the game and interface that needed them, as well as improving some existing ones.
A lot of long standing bugs are being fixed, and we do mean a lot of them. Beta means bugfixes, after all.
No date has been announced for the 1.0 release, but if you haven’t already given Kerbal Space Program a shot, now is the perfect time.