Sorry for my brief hiatus but through a long and highly epic saga concerning various people’s forgetting to bring in externals and a wild scramble to grab the latest version of EVE off a friend, i now have crucible 1.01 and am ready to rock. Figuratively- i find when the boat is literally rocking it means something has gone drastically wrong and hull intergrity failure is imminent followed by a short and painful death.
To fill the time between then, i found this wonderful little program off at EVE- a ghost blog about this thing called KSP or Kerbal space program. Although calling this thing little is like calling the universe little- literally.
Ever wanted to be NASA? well now you can. a top of the line space simulator with very few faults despite being still in the alpha stage, KSP is where you construct your own Saturn V launch it and… explore. To make things even better, it has a SDK (software developement Kit) leading to a thriving modding community in turn leading dozens of mods that add hundreds of new parts. Is this a good time to say that the game was released in June?
This game is unexpectedly hardcore, with tiny considerations in design, mostly weight, thrust & fuel becoming promient. once you escape the atmosphere even tiny amounts of thrust alter your orbit/trajectory by tens of thousands of kilometers.
After taking about 2 and a half hour to develop my first orbital launcher, the Helion II i broke earth orbit and found myself orbiting around the sun.
After developing the Helion into a considerably improved design that inovled multiple fuel tanks per stage and alowed me to get onto a lunar equalivant orbit on a full fuel tank of gas (out of three)- the Athrun I.
After achieving a stable earth orbit (not as easy as you think- and it’s defs harder than getting in solar orbit), i then set my sights on the ultimate target.
The Mun. (or moon officially).
Let me just tell you this, provided your running with the stock parts, then hitting the Mun is like hitting a bounding rabbit at 200 meters with a 18th century musket while on a bucking bull. And potentially blindfolded.
That’s because the Mun is a rather small object inhabiting a fraction of a degree of the sky, moving at 538 MS relative to Kerbis (the Terra-like planet) and has virtually no gravity (and due to the KSP’s only flaw of only being able to compute one gravitational pull at a time, neglictable unless you are on the Mun side of the Kerbis-Mun graveopause)
It involves timing your earth orbit that coincides with the moons, hitting the time warp button, waiting, waiting, waiting, missing it because you left the time warp on for 0.5 of a second to long, trying again, missing cause you accelerated towards the Mun rather than breaking like a derp, trying again.
I must have tried 30 or so times (development launches included to make the number bigger ), and lets say that i once passed within 900km of the Mun. didn’t make it though cause i ran out of gas.
It was the “Lunar Lander pack” Mod that eventually made it possible, as well as a few other mods (damn filter blocked out most of the good ones over at KSP.net) which invovled some much needed, erm lander legs. i always found slightly (not the OP tanks) improved tanks that made things a lot easier.
So the Kira I took off, (yes i’m watching Gundam Seed) i eventually hit the moon by breaking myself on a AP on the Mun’s path. and keeping myself there…. and there… for a while.
After it dawned that since i hadn’t even considered the fact that i might actually land on the Mun and that only my original tri-booster stage had legs (which concidentally after a marathon effort were on the last 20% of their last fuel tanks). End Result? I hit the Mun at 660 MS. Stage one of Mun Mission achieved. Now to actually land on it so that my adorable and slightly spastic green kerbonauts don’t get squished in the process.
So the Kira II lander took off. After another excruciatingly long and complicated “waiting for the moon” affair, followed by (hurrah) the trans-lunar relative orbit breaking burn, and then the slow, tedious and excruciating breaking operation designed to get the Kira landed on it’s legs.
It’s a very tedious and exacting operation. burn too little and you crash into the moon and die. burn too much and you have to start again. use too much fuel and you crash and die. the window? about 17 ms or less.
It turns out that since i had only assinged one tank to the descent section, i was at 3km above the moon and perilously low on fuel. After being a bit stingy with the final landing procedure, I ended up hitting the moon about 10 ms faster than strictly allowed.
As such I lost the legs, and the bottom thruster…. And just like that I was stuck on the moon- crew alive… but sorta stranded.
After that I went onto exasolar missions to get out of the solar system (they really need a faster time warp for that).
Suffice to say that my KSP experience has instilled a profound respect for all the Apollo people in the 1960s, and NASA in general- even as an Aussie. The monumental achievement of taking a rocket and literally hitting the moon at feather speed and coming back- with not only inferior (theoretical) kit than me, but also with less than the computing power of my calculator- all on the first try- I find frankly amazing.
Another Lunar Lander mission with improved leg systems and more fuel coming soon.
In other news my hugely long training for T2 large guns has finally completed, so the Germanica, my faithful maelstrom will be fitted with them.
I’m considering getting a PVP ship in the large guns class to celebrate, probably either a Tornado or a Tempest. TBH I think that at the moment the Tornado is overpriced, and despite it’s “PEW-PEW” potential with 8 turrets and 5% per lv falloff, it has virtually no tank. By comparison the Tempest is actually slightly cheaper, with it’s 20% (at my lv) damage buff (but loss of falloff) it can compete in the DPS department at close range, and has a LOT more utility. Oh and it has a tank. Thought it might be important.
Both of them are vertical so the way I figure it it’s all G.
Besides in my fleet role (as the highest SP player- 12 mil SP ftw) I really need “Presence.” My tempest fit (yes I’m Forrestal on battleclinc) with it’s heavy tackle, massive buffer, good utility with neuts and good end of the day DPS will basically be linchpin our gang will be built around (If in a tempest, or it’s highly effective Hurricane equaivant- literally everything sized down a bit) with everything else providing EWAR, extra DPS, first contact tackler and even potentially logis if we are lucky (T1 but it might be useful).
You can’t get that on a Tornado hovering around at 40km+.
The Holidays begin proper tommorow and so does serious EVEing.