“The next update will mark a big milestone for us at Squad, as it is the last update focused on Career Mode,” developer Squad write. “After the next release, Kerbal Space Program will reach an internal milestone we call ‘Scope Complete’.”
This doesn’t spell the end of Kerbal Space Program, instead we’re about to see the start of the game’s beta. Squad say that with all the systems in place the team can finally get to work on adding content. Lots, and lots of content.
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The upcoming release will bring with it the last features Squad consider “vital to be in the game that we designed so many years ago.” However, they also admit that some of the game’s features are more complete than others, with some existing “only in a minimal form.”
“As soon as the next update is released, KSP will enter a new phase of development, which for want of a better term, we’re calling ‘Beta’,” Squad write. “There shouldn’t be any huge frameworks that we have to build for months on end and still have to release with barely more than enough content to showcase the system.
“We’ll be focusing on creating content, on using the tools we’ve built. It means a different approach to selecting which features go in, since we won’t be constrained by the development constraints of one feature requiring another. Priorities should level out, which means the things we consider important should also match what everyone considers important. Beta essentially means we’ll be working a lot more on stability, usability, performance, balance, aesthetics, all the while still throwing in little and some not-so-little things we hope you will enjoy.
“Some areas are obviously short on content at the moment (Contracts and Biomes come to mind). Those are going to be highest on our lists as they’re the least developed sets of content at the moment.”
As an example of some of things Squad will be adding to Kerbal after the move into beta they’ve detailed two of the things that the team are already planning. Overhauled aerodynamics and deep space refuelling. They want to make the aerodynamics systems “more realistic, reliable, predictable, and hopefully a lot less arcane.” And, for deep space refuelling they want to make something a lot simpler. The current resources system is extremely complex with you needing lots of different parts working perfectly together to accomplish a fairly basic need “to be able to find something out in space which can be used to fill up the tanks again.” To that end Squad “are now planning a new, more elegant system, which hopefully will add a new, fun element of gameplay, as well as the massive boost to continuity this feature implies.”
Squad aren’t talking release dates for the next update and the start of beta “because chances are high we’ll end up changing it afterwards.”
This move into beta doesn’t mark the end of Kerbal development and Squad are saying that moving out of beta won’t either. “When we hit 1.0, KSP will be coming out of Early Access” but features like multiplayer are planned for release after 1.0.
We’ll have more details on the next update as they’re revealed.