How do you play KSP?

Maybe start of the space sim section with some good discussion!

I’ve had KSP for a long time, since around version 0.18. I’ve been to a few of the planets. Many times to Duna and Eve, and a few trips all the way to Jool, including a single excursion to Laythe, that moon has intrigued me for the longest of times Because of the low gravity but presence of an atmosphere breathable by conventional jet engines.

My question is about the career modes though. There’s 2 different modes. In the science career there’s in infinite amount of money and lives for you to throw away in futile efforts, the things you do earn your science points wich will further your work on developing new modules and equipment. In the normal career you’ll also have to consider the fact that stuffs cost money, and that training new kerbalnauts costs money too. Not to mention that the launchpad and landing runway are nothing more than dirt patches and if you want something better than that you need to get ready to shell out.

So I start a normal career in good faith. I get the base rolling for a bit and do the first few missions but then look at the offered mission board and I do not feel entertained. Take a tourist into space. Let him do a lap around the world. What else could we do? Take a satelite into space, yeah we can do that. So I try to put it up there. Turns out the customer wanted it going the other way. Some other mission is about doing recording at various altitudes some place the other side of the world. Neither rocket nor jet friendly. It reminds me of my time working a job in retail next to my studies.

So I restart a science career. It goes well for some time. I go into space with my science thermometer. My kerbal concludes that empty space has (practicly) no matter and therefor no temperature. So I do the same experiment multiple times near the Mun, Minmus and other places. At some point I do start to miss something though. Usually around the time I unlock enough parts to design an SSTO ( single stage to orbit. No expensive rocket parts falling into the sea). You can design one in science mode but whats the point without the economic advantages?

So my question to you is how do you play? Just the sandbox mode? or still one of the careers? Or do you know of a mod that makes missions more engaging?

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It’s been a long while since I cracked open the Career mode, but I’m going to use this new 1.1 update as the opportunity to check it out again. By the looks of it they’ve really improved things like the tutorials too.

I tend to not want to be constrained by cash. :slight_smile:

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Haven’t played it some time myself either, but always preferred the science only one. But that is probably due to the fact that I had played that for some time before the other version appeared. One day I shall mount a rescue mission for all those stranded Kerbals on the moon and maybe actually rescue them instead of stranding yet another one up there :smiley:

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I usually do this:

  1. Install new version

  2. play around with stock (sandbox mode) for a few hours to see the new stock features

  3. look for mods (I have a list of around 30 favourite mods, and I have around 10 that I do not want to play without at all, like KER, FAR, ProceduralWings, ProceduralFairings, DeadlyReentry and a few more)

  4. wait a few weeks until most of my favourite mods (or replacements that almost do the same) are updated to be compatible

  5. Install all of those mods, do checks for compatibility

  6. Start a career game with all those mods

  7. rinse and repeat, because new version is there. Sometimes it happens that fast, I skip a version.
    At the moment I am in stage 3 again.

I have been playing since 0.18, but since there is a career mode (since 0.24 or so IIRC) I love to play that one. It usually prevents me from getting very far though, since I just love to play around with planes as soon as I have enough parts.
I also think you get far too much science, the stock tech tree is usually finished before I leave Kerbin’s SOI. I need more to do, which is why I like tech tree mods.

Also I like to play “kind of realistic but not too much”, so while I play with the standard Kerbol system (no re-scaling or such things, I like it that way) I install life-support mods, FAR for realistic aerodynamics (a must have mod!!), Remotetech (no instant communication anymore, but realistic delays and so on) and other “hardcore-mods” that tend to make the game more complex.

As a result I have never been farther than Duna manned. I went to Even, Moho, Dres and Jool unmanned though (which is actually quite hard when you have minutes delay of your signals. I am happy I can use kOS to program a mission computer).

SSTOs are cool but hard to build if you play realistic. I am looking forward to test that in 1.1 though. :slight_smile:
Building a global commmunication satellite network for remoteTech is also a good way to slow your progress down and spend some money.


I play either the career or the sandbox, usually alternating between. I use sandbox to test out designs, learn how parts work, check out the new aerodynamic features, and just plain play around. For example, with the new aero-heating and parachute deployment limitation “features” in KSP 1.0, I had a hard time safely retrieving vehicles. I spend a lot of time in sandbox testing out both vehicle designs and re-entry procedures. I’m not sure I’ve found an optimal solution, but at least I’m able to come home safely most of the time!

Career offers a bit more challenge in that development is constrained in a somewhat logical sense (funding and technology limits), but I don’t really like the contracts or the science system. Some of the contracts don’t make sense and are incredibly difficult (activate a jet engine at an altitude between 33,741 and 33,821 m while in a suborbital trajectory at a velocity of between 2,319 m/s and 2,407 m/s = wut). The “game” of driving around the Kerbal Space Center and racking up a couple hundred science points by doing experiments around each of the buildings also seems forced.

So I typically play career until I get annoyed and go back to sandbox.

As for mods, I prefer the vanilla configuration, although I do use Kerbal Space Engineer to get vehicle delta velocity capabilities by stage - it’s certainly a heck of a lot easier than calculating it by hand!

For activities, I like planning complex maneuvers and executing them. There’s also something special about bringing a Kerbal to a foreign planet, doing some romping, and then bringing them home safely again. I’ve been to Mun, Minmus, and Duna and back, safely. I’ve had Kerbals in orbit around Eve, and brought them home, but still haven’t mastered the descent/ascent/return part of that mission.


Thanks for all the answers so far!

I used to play a lot with FAR and DeadlyReentry before the stock game implemented decent aerodynamics and reentry mechanics themselves in patch 0.9. ProceduralWings sounds like something I need to try out. A question beforehand though. Does KSP now properly calculate differences between a straight wing and a swept wing? There used to be no difference in terms of stall speed and high speed performance etc wether you went with a delta like a MiG-21 or made something that resembled an A-10 provided you had the same surface area and centre of lift.

I know how that feels. One unlock allows me to go deeper into space. The other contains plane parts. The choice for me is obvious.

I found them hard enough to build in the mostly stock game! I just feel massively attracted to them partly because of their efficiency. Take off from the runway, fly to space and get into orbit and then deploy a small satelite, or assemble the next part of a spacestation or even a huge space-built ship. Then back to Kerbin and land on the runway with only a few hundred kg worth of fuel left. Refueling her only costs a few thousand compared to the 70 to over 100 thousand it usually costs to get something worthwile into orbit. This is obviously possible in the science career but it feels so futile without the economic advantages. Like playing a game of chess against yourself. It’s these thoughts that haunt me while I play the science career. I really like it in a game when you can try for something hard that requires some problem solving skills but the end product is a lot more efficient than what you had.

Building the satellite network should be no problem! I already network satellites everywhere for the ISA MapSat mod :slight_smile:

I’m not even bothered by how hard they are, but mostly by how dumb they are. Test a solid rocket booster on an escape trajectory. Test an engine at X altitude, Y speed etc. Take the tourists out for a spin… To be honest if KSP had the right, fun missions I could probably play it untill the end of times.

I started this topic secretly hoping someone knew a fun mission mod pack or something that would enhance the current system. I remember back in the day I used to play with a historic mission mod that offered some cool historic missions from all perspectives. Roscosmos, NASA and the ESA. But that didn’t offer to many missions and not always something I wanted to do. Although I just checked it and they massively expanded it offering missions from all the way back to V-2 experiments in fascist Germany to the Rosetta comet 67P landing and the new Horizons mission. It used to start with Soyuz missions.

Oh man, sorry, I’m the worst for that then since I’ve never used any mods at all in the game

There are such mods for the missions! I don’t remember the names but I think I will find them again.

As for the Wings: IMO stock aerodynamics and heating are still not good enough, I still mod them.
I don’t know if wing shape matters much.

In FAR they do. I once even built a plane with a sweeping mechanic (using a hinge from infernal robotics). It was a challenge, but fun. In the end it resembled a MiG-23 a bit.
The cool thing about FAR is: designs that work well in real life work in the game too, for the same reasons even!


This thread’s second post lists a few contract packs which greatly enhance the experience.

But there was another one that let you disable contracts by type.
I for example really dislike the Kerbal rescue contracts.

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Ok, here’s my mod list for KSP 1.02 (yes, wall of text incoming! Most of it was created by KSPmodAdmin)
Not ordered in any way I think, and more than half of it isn’t working anymore. Some may not even be needed anymore. And some are just in there but never tested, I just kept them because they sounded interesting.

The list may give you a bit of inspiration.
Also I keep it here so I don’t lose it. :smiley:
I’ll check which ones may still be fun/updated in 1.1 soon.

Name                                     URL

[+] ActionGroupsExtended132
[+] Adjustable_Landing_Gear-v1.2.0
[+] Advanced_Progression_Contracts-4.0
[+] Aggressive-Release
[+] B9 Aerospace Procedural Parts Loading...
[+] B9-PWings-Fork
[+] Bahamuto_Dynamics_Parts_pack-v1.2.0
[+] BetterTimeWarp-2.0
[+] Chatterer
[+] Collision_FX-3.2
[+] Community_Tech_Tree-2.1
[+] Contract Pack: Kerbal Space Station GitHub - severedsolo/KerbinSpaceStation: A contract pack for KSP, designed to replace the current Space Station Missions
[+] ContractConfigurator GitHub - jrossignol/ContractConfigurator: A config file based solution for creating new contracts for Kerbal Space Program.
[+] ContractPack-FieldResearch GitHub - jrossignol/ContractPack-FieldResearch
[+] ContractPack-RemoteTech GitHub - jrossignol/ContractPack-RemoteTech: KSP Contract Pack for the RemoteTech mod
[+] Corvus_V1.1.1
[+] Critical_temperature_gauge-1.0.2-e
[+] Fanfix_for_Habitat_Pack_v0.4-
[+] Ferram_Aerospace_Research-v0.15.2_Ferri
[+] Final Frontier Loading...
[+] Firespitter
[+] FreeEVA-0.5.1
[+] Graphotron
[+] Habitat Pack
[+] Impact
[+] InfernalRobotics
[+] KAS GitHub - ihsoft/KAS: Kerbal Attachment System
[+] Kerbal Engineer Redux
[+] KerbalAlarmClock Releases · TriggerAu/KerbalAlarmClock · GitHub
[+] Kerbal-Joint-Reinforcement
[+] KerbalSmartParts GitHub - BrettWebb/KerbalSmartParts: KSP Mod SmartParts
[+] KIS GitHub - ihsoft/KIS: Kerbal Inventory System
[+] kOS_Scriptable_Autopilot_System-0.17.2
[+] KSP_Achievements-1.8.1
[+] KSPModAdmin-v2.0.0.15_Win
[+] KSPTrajectories Releases · neuoy/KSPTrajectories · GitHub
[+] LandingHeight14
[+] Mark_IV_Spaceplane_System-1.1.2
[+] MenuStabilizer
[+] Mini_Airbrakes-1.1
[+] Mk_1_Cargo_Bay-1.01
[+] Mk2_Stock-a-like_Expansion-1.3
[+] Mk2Essentials
[+] ModularFlightIntegrator
[+] Navball_Docking_Alignment_Indicator-7
[+] PreciseNode-1.1.3
[+] Procedural_Fairings-3.14
[+] protractor Releases · RealGrep/protractor · GitHub
[+] QuickGoTo Loading...
[+] QuickRevert Releases · malahx/QuickRevert · GitHub
[+] QuizTech_Aero_Pack-v1.2.5.2
[+] RealChute
[+] RemoteTech GitHub - RemoteTechnologiesGroup/RemoteTech: Community developed continuation of Kerbal Space Program's RemoteTech mod.
[+] RKE Joystick
[+] SCANsat GitHub - S-C-A-N/SCANsat: Real Scanning, Real Science, at Warp Speed!
[+] Science_Revisited_Revisited-1.3.0
[+] SETI-CommunityTechTree
[+] SETI-Contracts
[+] Ship_Manifest-
[+] StockBugFixModules.v1.0.2d.4
[+] TaurusHCVr1.5.1
[+] Temperature_Gauge_Killer-2.0
[+] Thermal_Helper-0.1
[+] Toolbar-1.7.9
[+] Transfer Window Planner Releases · TriggerAu/TransferWindowPlanner · GitHub
[+] USI-LS GitHub - BobPalmer/USI-LS: USI Life Support
[+] WaypointManager GitHub - jrossignol/WaypointManager
[+] Heat_Management-0.24
[+] WarpDrive_0.2.1

Aaaand a few more.

  • Surface Experiment Pack
  • Graphics Enhancement Assembly
  • outer planets mod + dependencies
  • Kerbal Foundries
  • Orbital Decay
  • M.O.L.E
  • SXT airbags
  • Background Processing
  • Karbonite (but there are stock resourcesd now, may be sufficient)
  • Enhanced Navball
  • Contracts Window + (
  • KSP Alternate Resource Panel
  • T.I.M.
  • Landertron
  • Origami
  • ResearchBodies
  • RKE Kanadarm
  • K2 Command Pod

EDIT: I just noticed I forgot to mention one or two

  • Better Burn Time
  • DMagic Orbital Science
  • HabTech
  • PlanetShine
  • Fusebox
  • RCS Build Aid
  • PersistantRotation

… and a BOOT TO THE HEAD! :smiley: :smiley:


You’re my new hero! I’m going to get most of those contract mods. Funny that the historic contracts I mentioned earlier is there as well. Also going to check out that big lists of mods.

Added a few more to the list. :slight_smile:
EDIT: Also I really should use an avatar after all those years in different forums. No idea what to use though…

woah even more. I installed some of them last night :slight_smile: I’ve been playing for a bit but I am getting a lot of stuttering so I’ll guess I’ll wait a few weeks for most of them to get ready for 1.1 before trying again.

Yeah, I guess we have to wait about two weeks for most of them to work.

I usually install them one at a time to check whether they are not only working, but working together. :slight_smile:

EDIT: FAR is released for 1.1 :slight_smile:

ah yeah. I worked the other way around. Installed all of them and now deleting them a few at a time till I figure out what’s causing the issues. I’m doing a clean install now. I’ve had FAR going last night I think. Didn’t get anything special out of it yet (I didn’t even make it to orbit. Just the beginner campaign stuff) although I do intend to reinstall it. I wonder if you still got that Mig 23 flogger design? I’m highly curious about it partly because I also had that robotic mod (in the past) but never did anything worthwile with it.

I doubt it is still working (that was back in 0.98 or something), but I will try to reproduce it as soon as the needed mods are working. The advantage now is that we have much better robotic parts, back then the only hinges working in the right way were very blocky and looked awful.

And maybe I also remember it better than it actually was. :smiley:
But I remember it having a big engine, a shoulder wing, intakes on the sides of the fuselage, and short, almost straight “wings” that contained the hinges for the variable parts.
With swept wings it was about as maneuverable as a lawn dart, but it reached mach 2.5

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Made it to orbit with about 15kg LF and LOX left to make it back down :slight_smile: got a few mods rolling, including the contract ones and FAR, everything is working fine now.

Remember when using FAR that you have to make a more realistic (which means earlier) gravity turn, and you will also need an aerodynamic shape and keep an eye on your speed to not waste lots of energy. (keep your speed below mach 0.9 on low altitudes).

EDIT: Oh, and angle of attack for wings really matters. :wink:

Another interesting one, but to be honest I don’t quite get what it does, and how. Have to check it out I guess:

EDIT: Aaaand another one:
“[x] Science!”


  • Mk3 Hypersonic Systems
  • Ship List

Stay tuned! Soon on this channel: Aginor receives the first ban in Mudspike forums history for spamming. :smiley:

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Its a great game. One of the few early access beta purchases that worked out well. I bought the game for a tiny amount and watched it grow into what it is today for not one cent more.

That there will mean i have and always will sing the praises of this little gem of a game.

Its great fun for kids and adults or adults that like to be kids.

Anyway started again in a “no calculator” campaign. So no delta v calcs, and no orbital mechanic calcs. I will just use what gets unlocked in the tech tree.

So it makes it more fun chucking a rocket together. Though in the early stages (in the tech tree where i am at the moment) its not too difficult, because i know how to farm the xp well with little tech and the years of playing ksp means i can get to the mun and back with my eyes closed.

Its the outer planets where delta v calcs and planetary transfer calcs come in handy so winging that on a whim will be quite interesting and may involve a few “incidents”

Great game… it really is