Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scary playtime

Another yoink from Facebook but ... words !

Here we go :
" Had an interesting experience tonight.

I'm an airline pilot, and like many airline pilots I live in a different city than I'm based in. This means that more or less once a week I commute across the country in the back of an airplane. When you spend 30+ hours a month in the coach section of an airplane you either go insane or come up with ways of entertaining yourself. For the last couple of weeks KSP has been my source of entertainment...until tonight. Tonight I decided to try making a space plane. As you can probably guess, my first few attempts didn't go well. Neither did the next few. Or the ones after those. In fact, the whole exercise was pretty much a dismal failure. Fireballs, mid flight structural failures, and events that could be described as "high velocity unintentional landings" claimed the lives of hundreds of brave kerbals.

Midway home the woman in the seat next to me broke the social communication barrier:

: Excuse me young man, are you a pilot?
: Yes mam, I am.
: Oh dear...

I had failed to realize that for over an hour the passengers around me watched as a pilot, in full uniform, crashed what looks to the untrained eye like a flight simulator, hundreds and hundreds of times. I think I'll stick to civ V when I'm commuting. "

The KSP he's referring to is the Kerbal Space Programme, which I think I've mentioned before ...

It's an insanely deep rocketry simulator, which is growing beyond the initial steps of just bunging together a few engines, fuel tanks, coffin for the Kerbals (aka command module) and straps and struts and seeing what would happen when you hit the blue touch paper. It's turned more into a sandbox now, with players doing things like setting up bases on the Mun or having space stations around the planet.

But there's always that potential for massive disaster and huge fireballs. And that's why we like games :-). What adds something here is that the disaster and fireballs happen in a totally fair way, there's always an understandable reason for why it happened and you can learn valid rocketry design tips from it. Everything in the game is based on sound astronomic physics, behind a fairly friendly interface.

Sounds like fun :-) Gotta admit, it's another game where I've thought it's shinier to watch others play than play myself but when I saw that story appear in the Facebook feed, made me chuckle :-)

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