Kerbal Space Program Guide: Essential Mods to Improve the Game

With over 10 years since the release of Kerbal Space Program, the game has certainly stood the test of time. It’s a game where you design and fly little green frogs from the planet Kerbin in space. Although the stock game is in excellent condition after the final 1.12 release, it can feel quite outdated at times. Luckily, the Kerbal modding community has created some amazing mods that can improve the game in every way.

Kerbal Space Program is available on Steam, Playstation and Xbox.

Read also : Kerbal Space Program Review (Xbox One)

How to install mods

Probably the best way to modify the Kerbal Space Program is to install CKAN. It has most up-to-date compatible mods, has its own efficient GUI, and works on all non-console platforms. To install CKAN:

  1. Go to this link.
  2. Scroll down to the assets tab and download the ckan.exe file.
  3. Copy and paste the download folder into the Kerbal Space Program game folder.
CKAN Window

CKAN Window

If, however, you cannot install CKAN, you can also directly install the mods from and paste them into the GameData folder of the Kerbal Space Program game file. Links for all mods are given below.

To note: This article lists mods that improve the quality of the base game without drastically altering the mechanics of the base game.

Chart

For a game that’s 11 years old, the Kerbal Space Program can feel a little shocking at times. Here are some of the mods to make the terrain smoother, add more elements to the atmosphere, and improve the look of the rooms.

Visual Environment Enhancements (EVE)

While there are plenty of mods out there to improve the graphics, the visual enhancements to the environment are easily one of the best. This mod adds clouds, city lights and tweaks everything. It is very configurable and enhances the overall look of all planets. However, if you don’t have a very high-end system, you’ll find that the physics simulation suffers.

Environmental visual improvements

Environmental visual improvements

Parallax(2.0)

Parallax(2.0) completely reinvents planet surfaces. It combines a tessellation and displacement shader and greatly improves terrain detail. Parallax (2.0) uses GPU instantiation for surface objects so it can deliver massive improvements to amazing performance, so it’s highly recommended for use with EVE.

Parallax(2.0)

Parallax(2.0)

Streamer

While Scatterer adds several visual enhancements to KSP, it mainly focuses on improving atmospheric scattering and water shaders. The ocean in stock Kerbal Space Program looks very uneven and doesn’t look like water. This mod adds ocean waves and greatly improves the texture quality of the oceans.

Cascade

One of the things that really stand out about the stock is how lousy the engine plumes look and the extremely low frame rates. This can be fixed by using the waterfall mod. This mod gives the plumes very realistic textures at very good frame rates. Additionally, this also includes atmospheric expansion, which means that the higher you go in the atmosphere, the more the plumes spread due to the lower atmospheric pressure, just like they do in the real world. Highly recommended to use with Restock.

Restock

Some of the art style decisions made by the team are questionable because they are made by ammeter artists, resulting in a mess of art style and part design qualities. Restock revamps around 250 pieces giving them more cohesive art design and truer textures. As well as new variants of parts. Additionally, this mod also revamps many mod parts expansions.

Pood Skyboxes

Pood Skyboxes contains some of the best skyboxes for KSP. These include:

  • Deep Star Map – This provides very nice star coverage in the xyz direction. Best if you like the feeling of watching an endless void.
  • Quiet Nebula – Features faint nebula, subtle galaxy star line, and pink/blue proto star fields.
  • Milky Way – Skybox presents you with the familiar rings of the Milky Way, photographed by NASA, if you want to go for a more realistic look.

Utility

The Kerbal Space Program does not do a very good job of creating spatial awareness for players and relaying important data for mission planning. These mods can fix these issues very easily, luckily.

Kerbal Redux Engineer

The Kerbal Engineer Redux adds many flight parameters, atmospheric data and much more information so that you have much more situational awareness in flight without having to open the map. It lets you add entire custom sections to your HUD without taking up too much of your screen. It also has a cleaner look than MechJeb 2 without sacrificing too much utility.

Kerbal Redux Engineer

Kerbal Redux Engineer

Transfer Window Scheduler

The Transfer Window Planner allows you to view the efficiency of planetary transfer in-game. Use it to select your home planet and your destination planet and it will present you with details of the Delta-V required to travel from the origin to the destination by tracing the maneuver nodes.

Transfer Window Scheduler

Transfer Window Scheduler

Kerbal mounting system

Connecting ships can be quite difficult in space. KAS addresses this by introducing neat mechanisms and parts that make these tasks easier. He adds winches, pulleys, harpoons and pipes. You can now transfer resources into space without docking the two spaceships together.

Kerbal mounting system

Kerbal mounting system

Docking port alignment indicator

Docking two spaceships is the hardest thing to do in Kebal space program, if you are a beginner. This mod will help you align the docking port without constantly changing focus and view, which the base game UI doesn’t help much.

Docking port alignment indicator

Docking port alignment indicator

Trajectories

Having trouble getting base pieces to land near a base? This mod provides predictions of the trajectory where your spacecraft might land while it adjusts the trajectory for any atmospheric disturbances. The trajectories are updated in real time with this mod, which means it will keep changing the forecast as it lands.

Trajectories

Trajectories

Better time distortion

The time warp in the base game can be very slow to align planets to get the correct transfer window. Better Time Warp introduces much faster time warp and ×20 physical warp. It can also slow down and even freeze time to help with lagging spaceships or for polished cinematic visuals. Be careful though, because physics warping faster than ×8 can destroy spaceships while moving through the atmosphere.

There are tons of other mods not covered in this article, but hopefully the ones we cover are exactly what you’ve been looking for.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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