Apr 16 2014

Two Month Update

The KSA is chugging right along. I’ve been at this for two months and the story has already grown out past 4 months, nearing the end of June at the time of this writing. There are two main reasons for the lead time. The most important of course is the fact that life can always get in the way at unwanted times, and having to put aside KSP when needed and still have events rolling on is a good thing. Second, this is very much a game still under development. When things break, sometimes you need a lot of time to fix them. If I decided to upgrade to a new release, I might need some time to get everything working again to continue the story. So yea, I’m trying to maintain at least a two-month lead time.

More Thoughts on the Story Embellishments

So in my first monthly update I mentioned how nothing was pre-ordained. Everything that happened happened and I needed to write about it. Well, fact is that’s not really the best way to build a story. If you’re failing mission after mission after mission – people are going to get bored and annoyed. So I’ve started making some very high-level plot decisions in advance and tweaking events as necessary to make sure they happen. For example, I specifically know how I want a character to die. Don’t freak out that’s not really much of a spoiler – you don’t know who, how, when or why. But the fact that I can specifically answer those questions later on and do so in a way that adds to the story is the goal of such a decision. It won’t just be some random “oops I forgot to check my staging and launched him backwards into the ground.”

Overall though the story mainly continues to be guided based on how I perform in the missions I plan and execute. I said before how continued failures could lead to problems keeping the story interesting – fortunately I actually have not ran into that problem as of yet. I’ve been through about 15 missions so far and I’ve never had to fly any of them more than once. Okay, there have been a few game crashes and bugs that have caused me to reload the last quicksave every now and then, but never because I mistakenly pointed prograde for a burn instead of retrograde (that was an embarrassing event I pawned off on a computer glitch in the story :P). I own up to all my mistakes – except in the case where it results in the failure to reach one of the few high-level plot points I’ve set so far. So if “pre-ordained death character” were to die for some reason because I accidentally hit the stage button early, I would quickload but then purposefully trigger the stage button and work out how to prevent his death. So I’ll never completely deny the fact that a mistake was made – it just can’t be a mistake that leads somehow to his death.

Other twitter Accounts

Two more twitter accounts have popped up since my last update, @M22_MissionCtrl and @KerbalRSC. There might be one more soon. Overall the activity from these other accounts has been sporadic and minimal, most likely due to tweeting things as they go and not having as much time as me to really build up a large lead time. Still, it’s been encouraging to see others pick up on or return to the idea and I’ve had a few nice conversations with them. You can read some new ones in the previous post gallery.

Fully Leveraging imgur and gremln

I’m a paid subscriber to both these services now. My imgur account image limit would have been exceeded eventually, and I wanted to be able to upload full-res game pics. My gremln account upgrade gave me the ability to squeeze in more scheduled tweet updates per hour, which has been a requirement as missions have grown more complex. I’ve also put some effort into my imgur account to make it more useful overall. It now hosts albums for all the mission reports I post here on the site – the tumblr-blog gallery style option is just perfect for them. It also hosts any images made public thus far in case the link server for my images goes down, and just because having them all in one spot is nicer than picking them out of mission reports or a twitter stream.

Learning to Use reddit

I’ve never really used or even visited reddit before, but I’ve seen other stuff pop up from it elsewhere around the webs and knew it would be a nice place for some more exposure. In fact it was the common practice of linking to imgur albums that really drove me to get my account over there organized and useful. I then linked to my Mission 10 report where Jeb Kerman meets his untimely end. It’s up to 124 with an 88% rating so that’s pretty awesome. It hovered as high up as #3 on the Top and Hot pages for almost the entire day. I did take note of the 19 downvotes and the fact that reddit generally doesn’t like you linking only to your own stuff. I’ve been helping out with question threads and upvoting other people’s submission I like to hopefully stave off any warnings abotu being a spammer. I also won’t be linking to every mission report. My favorite comment was “Awwwwh no ;~; You did not just make me tear up at Kerbal Space Program. You ******* Q^Q” 🙂

Where is the Website?

So this was a dilemma I wasn’t expecting to face, and it came about when more and more twitter followers starting asking the KSA about the website it kept referring to for stuff. of course the KSA would have a website and of course it would post stuff on it but it turns out that if people are reading about it they also want to see it. I spent an entire weekend thinking about this. Do I really want to build a website for the KSA? I’m running 4 WordPress sites on my server – building a new site isn’t a problem. What is a problem is that I’m pretty sure the gain will be minimal – to the audience, to the story and most of all to me. I’m scrabbling to find enough time to play as it is – maintaining a website just for the sake of having an actual website for people to visit is not worth the extra effort. It was a tough decision – I actually had the register.com page open ready to buy a domain – but ultimately I’m happy to keep things focused on twitter. Website references will continue, and followers will just have to learn it’s all part of the fiction.

Moving Right Along

So that’s been this past month. Scott Manley graced me with a retweet for Jeb’s fateful mission and that brought around a bunch of new followers. Couldn’t get another retweet from the official KSP account unfortunately but I will keep trying every now and again when I feel events in the story warrant it. The reddit posting helped as well and overall the follower count has been climbing steadily and most followers are sticking around, so that’s a good sign. I always get worried during mission days that people will just look at their feed flooded with KSA tweets and say “yea **** this” – but seems so far people are happy following along. I really enjoy the times I get to interact with followers as well.

We’ll see how things are going come May… by then there will be a lot more character-driven story action going on between missions. I’m really excited for that.

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