KSP2. Few games have generated as much ink in recent years. Just think:
- In 2017, Squad was acquired by Private Division.
- In 2019, a tantalizing trailer for KSP2 was released.
- In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic (an argument perhaps overused to justify certain shortcomings, in my opinion).
- In February 2023, KSP2 finally launches amid complete chaos, requiring a powerhouse machine to run a bug-ridden experience and charging €50 for early access. It takes more than 6 months for the studio to announce a gameplay expansion by the end of the year.
- In March 2023, a wave of layoffs at Private Division raises concerns about the aftermath of the tumultuous launch.
- On December 19th, the arrival of science and exploration mode.
For my part, I devoted little time to KSP2 between version 0.1.0.0 and 0.2.0.0. This was due to my machine simply unable to meet the game’s technical requirements (1060 6GB). The graphics and lighting management were far from satisfactory in my eyes, compounded by a series of bugs that posed genuine obstacles to an enjoyable gaming experience. Additionally, the absence of essential features carried over from KSP1, such as a satisfactory ΔV calculation, the inability to precisely set maneuver nodes, and the lack of alarm management, also contributed to my reluctance. In a game like KSP, mission planning is crucial! Despite acquiring a new graphics card in May, I barely explored versions 0.1.1.0 to 0.1.5.0.
Well, what can I think about it? As you can imagine, there are both positives and negatives.
Performances. FINALLY! Feedback is remarkably unanimous: the game now demands much less power than before. My graphics card fan, which used to stay constantly active in certain views like the VAB or the map, can finally take a break. There still seems to be room for improvement, as the game hasn’t reached the caliber of titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, which isn’t that recent, or Starfield, known for pushing the most powerful machines to their limits. With my setup consisting of a 5600X and a 6700XT, I can finally play in 4k with settings mostly at maximum, even if it doesn’t necessarily maintain 60 fps, but that suits me perfectly.
Stability. With this version, one finds oneself playing for several hours without anxiously awaiting any manifestation of the Kraken at the slightest of our actions. Special mention to the almost disappearance of wobbly rockets.
Graphics. The lighting is softer, more diffuse, and the game loses that very metallic lighting that I found unappealing. The Blackrack touch is really felt, in the best sense of the term.
The Tech Tree! A true progression is finally introduced, sparking the desire to follow it and come back to the game to continue evolving. This novelty significantly transforms the perception of what the game has to offer.
The game still lacks a feature akin to Precise Maneuver. Planning and precisely adjusting a maneuver have become essential for accurate interplanetary transfers. Thanks to the community for providing a mod that fills this gap!
Several shortcomings prevent the optimization of spacecraft construction, and these are often complementary features:
- No priority management for fuel tank consumption,
- Unsatisfactory fuel tank consumption as soon as fuel lines are attached,
- Inability to delete parts in symmetry groups.
It is still very difficult to create an asparagus build, for example.
One can also note the blue reticle indicating the entry and exit points of Sphere of Influence changes. The idea is not bad, but as implemented, it overloads the display, with pixelated fonts that are hard to read and gradients or texture effects reminiscent, to their disadvantage, of EGA graphics from the 1980s.
each block must be placed separately.
Moreover, it’s impossible to create a maneuver node outside the current SOI.
The list of bugs tagged v0.2.0 is impressive. The ones that have had the most impact on my gameplay are as follows:
NavBall markers disrupt orbital rendezvous
None known to date
In particular, the DeltaV calculator does not know how to handle multiple engines distributed across several tanks as well as fuel lines.
As you can see, there are still many criticisms to be made regarding KSP2. The task remains enormous, and the developers will undoubtedly have a lot of work when they return from their holidays! However, after silently cursing the disastrous February release, exacerbated by poor communication, I finally want to adopt an optimistic stance. For the first time since the beginning of this adventure, I feel that the game is finally on the right track. What’s even better, this new version has prompted me to spend more time on the game since December 19th than I had devoted to its previous versions. Finally, I have been able to experience what one is entitled to expect from a game: playing it to the fullest! It is also remarkable to note that I have spent more time flying planes on Kerbin in KSP2 than during my entire period of activity in KSP1, a sign that the game is enjoyable!
When you spend hours fine-tuning a spacecraft in the VAB, it’s usually a good sign 🙂
Ultimately, this release marks a genuine embrace of the product by players, and I believe that this update, v0.2.0.0, has literally saved KSP2. Finally, a sign that the tide has turned favorably, within the KSC association, we are seriously starting to consider KSP2 as a platform conducive to the creation of exciting challenges!