Kerbal Space Program has finally outfitted your Kerbals with an R&D department, unlockable ship parts, and experiments across the stars.
Some gamers wonder why anyone would buy an unfinished early access game, but Kerbal Space Program players aren't part of that camp. Despite containing little more than a sandbox mode for spacecraft launches, the Kerbal Space Program alpha found a dedicated fanbase that eagerly tests ship combinations while awaiting additional patches. Now, with the latest 0.22 update, Kerbals have several features to tinker with inside KSP's Career Mode. Specifically, players can complete mission objectives, conduct scientific experiments, and construct new ship parts for your increasingly complex vessels.
Unlike Sandbox Mode, Kerbal Space Program's Career Mode introduces new players to the game by cutting down on the number of available ship parts. Instead, your Space Center's Research & Development Facility must unlock them using an in-game tech tree, which you progress along by completing scientific experiments. Properly completed experiments will need to be conducted multiple times across the solar system, with different potential results occurring in each location. Assuming that you're the kind of player who frequently crashes your spaceship between missions, that's okay too; The game now has the ability to save ship subassemblies, sparing the hassle of rebuilding entire components from scratch.
Even though Kerbal Space Program's Career Mode is still under development, 0.22 stands out as one of the game's largest updates in terms of content. The full changelog is posted below to help you decide whether you'd like to dive back in, or try your hand at spaceship design for the first time.
* Career Mode:
- Career Mode is now open! Although still very much under development, you can now start new Career saves.
- Sandbox mode, of course, is also available from the start.
* Research and Development:
- Added the Research & Development Facility to the Space Center.
- R&D allows players to unlock parts (and later other stuff) by researching nodes on the Tech Tree (In Career Mode).
- Researching requires Science, which must be earned by performing experiments during your missions.
- You can now collect surface samples while on EVA, and process them to do Science.
- Science experiments return results, which are different for each situation in which the experiment is performed.
- Experiments can (as all proper experiments must) be repeated over many different situations across the whole Solar System.
- Added a new dialog to show the results of experiments when reviewing the collected data.
- Added a new dialog to show a breakdown of all scientific progress made after recovering a mission.
- Added new scientific parts, like the Materials Bay and the Mystery Goo Canister. Also added experiments to many existing parts.
- The old science sensors now have a purpose. They all have their own experiments which enable them to log scientific data.
- The antennas are now functional, and can be used to transmit science data back to Kerbin, if recovering the physical experiments is not an option.
- Antennas consume massive amounts of power when transmitting. Make sure you have fresh batteries in.
- Added a new deployable antenna, which is an intermediate model compared to the two original ones.
- Completely remodelled the Communotron 88-88 Comms Dish. The new mesh uses the same placement rules so it won't break ships that have it.
- Nose Cones now actually help with improving stability during atmospheric flight.
- Revised a lot of part values and descriptions, in preparation for them actually meaning something in the near future.
- Overhauled the landing legs and gears, they now have proper shock-absorbing suspensions.
- Added a system to allow saving and loading of Sub-Assemblies.
- Subassemblies are subsets of spacecraft, which can later be attached to other designs and re-used.
* Space Center:
- The KSC Facilities have all been revised, and feature new ground meshes and many other graphical improvements.
- Greatly improved the Island Airfield.
- Added lighting FX to several facilities. The Runway (among many other things) is now properly lit at night.
- Added a new backdrop and soundtrack for the Astronaut Complex Facility.
- Added a new music track for the R&D Facility.
- It is now possible to recover a flight after landing/splashdown on Kerbin without going through the Tracking Station. Look above the Altimeter.
- The SAS system was again largely overhauled, based on all the feedback we've gotten from everyone. It's now stabler than ever.
* Solar System:
- Celestial Bodies now support Biome Maps, which are used to create different conditions for experiments.
- Biomes are currently implemented on Kerbin and on the Mun, more will be added on later updates.
- We've got a new launcher application for KSP, featuring a news bulletin, patcher management, and also allows you to tweak settings from outside the game.