Space knower and Iain M. Banks reader (check his bookshelf) Scott Manley says Kerbal Space Program is a “gateway drug to physics”, which I sort of agree with. For me, the rocket sim was an education in things like “apoapsis” and “periapsis”, and I felt slightly more informed for having played it. But it’s not a good teacher, really, which is one of the things Kerbal Space Program 2 hopes to remedy. The game will still be tough, the processes still hugely complex, but you’ll hopefully be able to play it without needing to consult a smart friend or a YouTube playlist.
The latest behind the scenes video shows off how the game will help the player to understand the concepts involved and how they’ll make parts conform to your plans.
It’s fun hearing the people working on it talking about the process of learning the first game. The tutorials they’re making are gorgeous cartoons to make things clear, all run past the keen eye of one of the lead developer’s children. They do seem to have an understanding of what keeps people from getting into the game. The challenge isn’t in whacking the rockets together and launching something ugly upwards, but in working out exactly where that can lead you, and how to do it well. The game doesn’t just need to teach you, but to also make those things intuitive.
This also requires better tools. Adding the correct size and shape of wings to the plane shouldn’t be as frustrating as it is in KSP. They’re not trying to make things click together without much user input, but instead they’re focusing on making all the building actions make sense. Their current plan is to have the wing attach, then as the player adjusts things the wing will procedurally shape itself. At the same time, you’ll see the lift and drag effects on those parts. It’s all just presented better.
I have no direct answer for when this is coming out, but 2022 is the current plan.