Monday, December 16, 2013

Make-it Monday: KSP Day 1 - The Founding of DASA


I know Make-it Mondays are not supposed to be videogame related, but I am going to bend the rule this week, because I think this videogame project fits the spirit of my Make-a-thing-a-week resolution. Yesterday I got together with several of my friends for the first-ever meeting of the Dubliner Aeronautics and Space Administration (DASA). The name is derived from the name of the karaoke bar where we all used to be regulars.

For several months, a group of us have been kicking around the idea of getting together to run a day of Kerbal Space Program as though we were actual 60s-style rocket scientists, complete with black ties, white shirts and lots of hand-drawn diagrams. Well, this weekend, we finally made it happen.

Four of us gathered at 4gency studios, which is run by my buddy Charles, to plot Kermankind's first tentative steps off the planet. We had the game running on one big screen and multiple laptops. We used the laptops to test fly rocket designs before launching them on actual missions on the big screen.

We also made good use of the office whiteboard to plot out ship designs and discuss the finer points of orbital maneuvering.

Our first orbital rocket is plotted on the left, with a 3-kerman vehicle for orbital rendezvous on the right.
One of the founding participants had never actually played the game before, so we used the early missions to show him the ropes. After a few comedic mishaps, we got the rookie successfully into orbit.

Charles explains the finer points of aiming the pointy end away from the ground.
We flew three main missions over the course of several pizza and bourbon-fueled hours. The first was a simple orbit and return, which we had the rookie fly. Then we did a low Kerbin orbit rendezvous and docking mission. We used a ship that I designed. The rookie launched the first ship, and the Aaron, a more experienced kerbonaut flew the second in for rendezvous.

Aaron couldn't be bothered to wear a tie.


Once we had successfully returned the rendezvous mission, I flew a Mun landing and return using a ship that Aaron built. We managed to meet the objectives for all three missions and return their crews home safely. Though Aaron could really learn to put lights on his vehicles, especially the ones that end up making nightside landings on the Mun!

That's me in the pilot seat while Charles makes out with his dog.
Turning a single-player videogame into a real-world social activity was really neat. It felt like being part of a hobbyist club, except we didn't have to jump through permitting hoops to launch our rockets. Because the missions were flown on Charles' machine, all of the good screen caps have yet to be uploaded. I'll be sure to share them once better pics are available.

Mission success!
In other make-it news, I spent all day on Saturday with a group of exceptionally generous friends painting the new house. We didn't get everything done, but I'll be headed back in the evenings this week until we are move-in ready. I could have done that as my Make-it Monday, but I thought the exploits around the founding of DASA were much more entertaining.

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