Guest post from Matthew Dreher, age 13:
Kerbal Space Program, as mentioned earlier, is a game about building and flying your own airplane or spacecraft. Inspired by games such as BARIS and Orbiter: 2010, KSP has grown from a small side project worked on by a single Mexican developer to a full-time job for eleven people. But how did this seemingly niche game turn into a seemingly niche game with a multinational following?
The first Kerbal appeared as “Kerbos,” small tinfoil men strapped to model rockets by a young Felipe Falanghe, who would grow up to become the game’s lead developer. Many years later, the Kerbo became the Kerbal, little green men with a penchant for rockets and explosions. Nearly a year after the first landings on the Kerbal moon, called the Mun, brave (or simply dumb) explorers could walk on it. Extra-Vehicular Activities weren’t introduced until recently.
Kerbal Space Program, like the smash hit Minecraft, has enjoyed a lengthy development process. Unlike most games, KSP is released in segments, each improving on the last. This process keeps you interested for a long while, as new content is nearly always coming out. KSP has gone from a rudimentary physics simulator focussed on rockets to a fully-fledged spacecraft simulator, with many ways to build a rocket, five planets, eight moons, and extensive support for user modification.
Enterprising KSP players can make their own rocket parts and gadgets, provided they have a bit of coding experience and a decent 3D modeling program. One famed (at least among the community) part maker was hired, and now works on the game officially! These people have made things ranging from replicas of the Space Shuttle to the ship from Alien. People with no 3D modeling experience can get in on the game as well. One can also make plugins such as autopilots and cars, and many other things previously deemed impossible my the community at large. However, there will always be the stubborn but admirable pilots who don’t use any modifications at all.
Kerbal Space Program is a game that won’t get old quickly, with almost monthly official updates, and a sea of user content. Personally, KSP taught me the metric system, introductory orbital physics, and revitalized an old interest in space. I recommend KSP to anyone with an interest in space or aircraft, young and old alike.