Dec 21 2015

Lifetime Survey Results

Got some great feedback from the survey, a total of 37 people participated which is actually more than I hoped for. I’m going to directly address all of the feedback here to give everyone an idea of how it will affect the new Kerbal Space Agency coming in 2016

Twitter is succinct. Can you recall any tweets that didn’t really make sense or came across as hard to interpret?

I take pride in the fact that although this question was optional a lot of people still bothered to say “no”. Or, maybe they didn’t realize it was optional 😛

sunrise/set tweets

Tweets with the sunrise/sunset

This was surprising, and unfortunately although I gave people a large text box to elaborate in this is all I got. So I’m left to conjecture about the exact nature of the confusion surrounding these tweets (example) and the best guess I have is people didn’t understand how they applied. I think it’s pretty obvious the tweet is telling you the sun will rise at this time and set at this time – but people may have been confused about what the times meant, not understanding that events I tweet about play out in real time? The idea of these tweets was so I could say “launch will be after 2nd sunrise” in order to use a general time rather than a specific time. People could then reference the timetable tweet to see when 2nd sunrise is. You could also use the times to better take certain tweets into context knowing when it is night and day at the time of the tweet. I also think the tweets gave a nice sense of progression since the times change based on Kerbin’s position around the sun.

Well there were some tweets that seemed to be from one of KSA workers rather than official KSA tweets

Pretty sure this was a reference to my night janitor sub-plot, which did confuse a couple of followers who thought I got hacked or something. That was sort of the point tho 😉

Some of the words when shortened down due to the character limit

Yea… not much I can do here except remind everyone that you can always tweet at the account to get clarification when needed and I will respond. Again, a longer answer was allowed for this question and I wish some examples of unclear abbreviation had been given. For what it’s worth, I always try to use popular abbreviations and not make up my own.

What about the KSA did you find the most entertaining?

I was pleased to see this had the most responses out of all the questions. They basically fell into a few themes:

The real-time aspect, (even if you don’t do it in game. How dare you ruin that for me in that last question below!)

The real time interaction with followers!

Live tweet manned missions

The live updates

The fact that it was in real time

Being the basic idea behind the whole endeavor, it was nice to see it is something many people enjoy. Thankfully doing this is quite easy now that Tweetdeck supports the ability to schedule tweets down to the minute – something that wasn’t available when I first began and actually had to rely on a paid service to get that feature. Moving forward real-time tweeting will continue to be the main focus, and now that I have the Flight Tracker able to tweet, I can post launch tweets within a minute of each other for better coverage via twitter for those not able to watch the live stream.

The “events” – whenever an anomaly, or anything not nominal, happened

Following along with the Kerbalnauts.

UKKR Takeover

The mystery goo

The storyline pulling it all together

Dessons launches and manned missions. The manned missions were so built up and really felt like a big deal. Dessons launches were more common but still exciting

Story lines. Mun disaster, Kirk’s crash, hacking etc

clear continuity and progression of events

The storybuilding. Everyone fleshes out Jeb’s character, but fewer have done so for an entire space agency, or even Werner van Kerman

So after the real-time tweeting my next goal was to actually tell stories, not just sound like a twitter bot and state game events – “launched mission to Mun today”. Boooring. I knew this would be challenging but I’m glad to see I’ve managed to pull it off. As I ran out of lead time, it became harder and harder to plan out and execute these various plot lines and that’s one of the main reasons I decided to reboot things. I want to do a lot more of this with the new KSA and keep a strong focus on character development beyond just the astronauts.

Ofc, vessle launches and reports about current vessels orbiting 🙂

Realistic space program development

The sense of progress, the many errors it took to arrive there.

The fact that someone runs a “real” space agency. When I read it it’s like I’m reading NASA’s feed.

The immersion. The feeling that this could be a real space agency.

The overall feel of it.

And here would be my third and final goal and was in fact part of my original inspiration for doing this – reading tweets from actual space agencies. I get a lot of inspiration from NASA, ESA and all of their probe/rover accounts tweeting. I hope to take the development of the space agency to a new level when I can start with Tier 0 facilities rather than a NASA-like space center. I want the space center itself to be an evolving character that grows with the Agency over time. That was one of the biggest things that bothered me ever since the upgradeable space center debuted.

What are some things you think we did best?

A bit repetitive after the last question, but for that I wanted people to focus on the thing that stood out most for them from following the KSA and here I provided a larger text box to let people talk more in general. I mainly ended up with more of the same that I highlighted above – good story lines, realistic space agency representation, live updates. One addition:

Accurate planning for missions

Your flight tracker stuff is pretty impressive

Flight tracker and that kind of thing.

The flight tracker, graphs, stats, all the science was amazing

the flight tracker

Mission briefings

All this is going to get even better with the recent Flight Tracker 3.0 update that I’ve not even really been able to fully leverage before killing the current KSA iteration. Mission planning will continue to be a fully fleshed-out process that will be communicated through various blueprints, orbital plots and videos (need to make more of this!).

What are some things you think we did worst?

I was very happy with the responses to this question. By and large they were the reasons I decided I had to stop things and reboot in 2016. To be specific:

Too much low-excitement activity. I know you want to simulate a real agency, but I can only be interested in so many of Desson’s sounding rockets before I’m like “you need an Eve mission, bro”

Yup, pretty much this. The thing about Desson’s rocket launches is that they were relatively easy to set up and run and then tweet about. As I ran out of lead time and had more and more things I wanted to do with the Flight Tracker I had less and less time to really properly plan and carry out more complex missions. I barely had any time to even introduce new plots to keep things busy. Eventually I realized I just needed to stop and finish up all my backend work and set myself up for a new story line altogether.

I know you have your reasons but the break from launches you took has been long.

Unfortunately this is probably something that will occur with the new KSA as well. I’ll try to prevent it as much as possible but real life tends to find a way to screw with you 😛

Bit slow on the activity scale

Not really the worst, but I would prefer more actual launches

Launch intervals

Keeping up. As you lost lead time, the story lost that final polish.

Yup, yup, yup and especially yup on that last one. I had some stupid mistakes slip in to many tweets when I ran short on time to edit and as I was sleep-deprived writing them. One of the reasons I ran so quickly out of lead time was due to the increasing complexity of missions, but that was also coupled with building the back-end stuff to handle them (mainly the Flight Tracker but also setting up and managing a YouTube channel and other media accounts) as well as figuring out processes to get them all written up and shared. With a lot of that streamlined & finished before starting the new KSA I’m hoping that when missions eventually start getting complex again I will be able to keep up. I’m hoping.

Storyline to cover up the Hiatus

I assume that refers to the long summer break. Again I wish people had been more elaborate, especially in regards to how the storyline was lacking.


It was an accident I swear. I also imprisoned Bill. Doesn’t anyone care about Bill? I will try to keep Jeb alive in the new KSA. No promises – he’s pretty crazy.

The website was confusing to navigate.

Well, glad I fixed that!

The transition between KSP versions – sorry

That’s surprising, given that I didn’t have to de-orbit any vessels or scrub any missions on account of a version update. The only noticeable difference I can think of was the admin building, which I wrote into the story well ahead of it actually appearing. I’d really like to hear more about this from anyone who agrees and can point out specific examples. Or maybe they meant during the time it took me to switch over things were a bit on the dull side in terms of activity?


I… err… okay? Without citing anything I can’t really see what I did wrong here.

You used NovaPunch. God it looks terrible

But it works great! Function over form, I say.

What would be your preferred methods for following along with KSA activities?

Not too surprising, except for Youtube this pretty much falls in line with my own priorities when it comes to spreading news and information. Videos are a major time sink but I will do what I can to improve the content I put up on Youtube as well as the frequency.

How did you originally learn about the KSA?

I was really curious to see how the breakdown would turn out between Reddit and the forums. It makes sense Reddit would beat out the forums though since if I get something upvoted well on there it gets shoved in front of people whereas a post in the Mission Dispatches sub-forum is only ever seen by people who actually choose to go there.

BTW the “other” responses for this and the previous question were from a troll on Reddit. Someone took the time to troll my survey! I feel so great. Thank you troll!

Have you ever felt @KSA_MissionCtrl flooded your timeline in an annoying way?

This was an important one, and good to see I stayed on the majority of people’s good sides here. I took a lot of care to make sure I wasn’t drowning out the other accounts people are following in their twitter streams. Due to the real-time nature of the account it was impossible at times to prevent a lot of tweets in a short time period, but in most cases I was able to just not tweet a lot of stuff in “the moment” and instead push it off for “analysis” so I could elaborate more at a later time in the day and space things out better.

Other than one vote Yes from the troll, 3 respondents said Yes and two provided details:

While amusing, the Komunist arc was a bit too much.

The funny thing about this is that it wasn’t supposed to be such a huge deal. I wanted a little break so I had the KSA get hacked so I wouldn’t have to do much over the weekend! Turns out I was more busy managing all the responses from the community than doing anything else haha. Still, I feel for the followers that had to get carried along. I’ve temporarily unfollowed accounts I felt were being too “loud” before and don’t mind if that’s what people want to do when things like this happen.

Multi-tweets about model rocket launches

I’m going to interpret this as “repetition” because none of my tweets about Desson’s launches exceeded the amount put out for larger mission launches.

How do you feel when we go an entire day without posting a photo?

Ah good, that’s nice to know. I honestly did get stressed out quite often worrying about what images I should share on a given day to make sure I’m posting images frequently. It’s hard to come up with good images to post when you don’t have a lot of new stuff to feature, so part of that was just a result of losing my lead time and not really advancing the story all that much.

Do you use twitter mainly just to follow us?

I figured there were some people out there that did.

Twitter polls

Pretty much what I expected. Given that you can only have two options (currently) I doubt I’ll find much use for them, especially considering that it makes no sense to poll for things when you’re playing with a lead time.

How often would you follow links to the Flight Tracker?

A surprisingly large number of respondents for “What’s the Flight Tracker”, and I was hoping red would beat out orange but otherwise mostly in line with what I suspected.

How many of these Flight Tracker features did you know existed?

You can look back at earlier times for the Kerbol and Inner Kerbol system views
You can see the location of flags planted on Kerbin
You can see the location of flags planted at KSC
You can see the static orbit displays by clicking on a ground plot on the dynamic map
The craft description pops up when you hover your mouse over or tap the craft image
The craft description is updated with each new vessel event
All images and underlined text display tooltips with additional information
You can get the current engine alternator and solar panel energy output from the Electrical Charge resource icon tooltip

The results just prove to me that the Flight Tracker could use a guided Help system for first-time visitors (which will be everyone once I enable cookies for those that allow it) so that people can learn about some of the more “hidden” features that you can’t discover without playing around a bit.

How often do you visit the Flight Tracker?

Whenever it’s linked in a tweet
Sometimes when it’s linked in a tweet
Regularly on my own
Every now and then on my own
I don’t bother with it much if at all

The usage pattern shows I have some dedicated fans but the majority only interface with the Flight Tracker when it’s needed to get a better understanding of events that are being tweeted about, which is totally okay. Just know that being able to elaborate in the craft description box saves me a lot of tweets and will continue to be the normal way of providing mission event updates.

What would you like to see added/changed to the Flight Tracker and/or Crew Roster?

More information regarding the crew with story line

There’s a crew roster?!

Astronaut mission list

Pretty much all this will be taken care of in the v3.1 update of the Flight Tracker/Crew Roster. All the astronauts will have background and bio information in a scroll-up box that appears over their photo like in the Flight Tracker for vessels. There will be a link added to the right-hand menu to let people transfer from the Flight Tracker over to the Crew Roster – right now the only way you’d know there was a Crew Roster is if you saw a crewed mission, which has links to the crew’s roster pages. The right-hand menu will also appear in the Crew Roster and let you sort astronauts based on their current mission, among other filters.

For crafts that have a camera, a picture taken every few hours

Not going to happen, because that means I have to load every craft and let it take photos. Of what? Whatever it happens to be pointing at at the time? That wouldn’t be very interesting, and if I wanted it to be oriented for good photos that’s more time spent. So yea, I can’t see any appreciable gain for that amount of time.

That said, I have had thoughts about eventually having a space station that streams live video like the ISS.

Sattelites and/or space stations? 🙂

Space stations would be a natural progression and the only reason there are none is because the KSA never progressed to the point of being able to build one. Plenty of satellites already though so….?

More stream lined site

More launched craft ;). But seriously maybe the it could be more colourful and graphically appealing.

Great suggestions, but without specific feedback on what needs to be improved and ideas of what you would think is better I can’t do much. As far as I’m concerned it’s all pretty streamlined and functional. I’m not a wizard web designer so don’t ever expect much in the way of fancy design. I just need it to work.

Better live functionality

This could mean so many things. All I can say is that I will at least take a closer look at what the hell is wrong with Chrome HTML5 video streaming for my live launches for Flight Tracker v3.1

A home page, with an organized list of all active and inactive flights

The right-hand menu is an organized list of all active and inactive flights.

Do you have any suggestions for our website?

There is a paid mobile version for the current WordPress theme I have installed, at some point I will get around to purchasing and installing it. Can’t say when I will feel like bothering with it but it will happen at some point before the new KSA launches.

A weekly newsletter or RSS that summarize the events of the week (both mission related and perhaps some extras like backstories)

Yes, this was something I was planning to do every Friday as a “week in review”.

More info on how you plan missions

I suppose a page for each mission would be a nice thing to have for the website, and also give me a place to go into more details on planning. Will do.

You know I don’t actually play out entire missions in real time in the game right?

I’m going to make this abundantly clear in the About page for the new KSA website. I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about how I play the game and try to emulate me only to find out that’s not what I’ve actually been doing. Time warp FTW!!

Thanks again to everyone that responded. If you’re one of them and would like to elaborate on any of your responses, leave a comment below please.

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