Hey guys. I just wanted to share with you the story of something very strange that happened to me in Kerbal Space Program, in the hopes that someone out there saw what I saw. It all started at around 3:00 AM EST (I'm kind of a night owl), several hours after the recent 0.16 update was released.
I decided to move the game I had been playing, 0.15.2, to an archive folder. The plan was to start new from a fresh install, since I'd heard on the forums that the update would break persistent and craft files anyway. I loaded up the site and began the download. When it was finished, I was extremely excited to play. I extracted directly to downloads and launched it from the application in the main folder.
Although my plan had always been to send the whole crew - Bill, Jeb, and Bob - I was in a hurry, and in order to save time, I decided to use my old design. Before, all three of the intrepid trio could go, but unfortunately the design could now only accommodate the new one-man pod. Jebediah would be making the trip alone.
Launch went perfectly, and soon I was set for a Mun encounter. The closer I got, the more excited I became. I know it sounds silly to get so excited about a computer game, but when it comes to KSP, this is how a lot of players are. Every step forward feels like a major achievement. At 50 kilometers from the surface, I throttled up and began to slow my descent. I was going a bit faster than was safe, and that was when I noticed something strange. The portrait that displays your kerbonaut's face is creepy for that pod. It shows your kerbal in a dull orange light, with his head at a slight angle. And stranger still: Jebediah, the one that never stops grinning, was terrified.
I thought this was pretty weird, but there was no time to pay attention to that. I had to land this craft. 30 kilometers...25...20...15...10. I came to a perfect landing at 0.6 meters per second - my best yet. This was it. I extended the ladder, and Jebediah stepped out of the command pod. I walked him down the ladder, released, and - YES! I had done it. Kerbal-kind had conquered the Mun. There was only one more thing I wanted to do before heading home. I had noticed in the control settings that the EVA suit had lights, so I warped forward to night-time to test it out.
I never got the chance. At my location, I should have had a nice view of Kerbin at night. Instead, it was nowhere to be found. For that matter, where were the stars? This didn't seem right at all. I put Jeb back in the command pod and set the time forward. Not only did Kerbin never rise - neither did the sun.
Then I checked the map view. I had no idea what to think. Rather than describe it to you, I've attached the picture. I print-screened it (by now it's instinctive, though I know of the F1 command). The screenshot of the map view is attached below.
The names of the ships - Columbia, and Soyuz 11.
I had had enough, and attempted to end the flight. When that didn't work, I simply used Ctrl+Alt+Del. I knew of Columbia, but I had to Google Soyuz 11 to confirm what I had already guessed - like Columbia, Soyuz 11 was a spacecraft that was destroyed on re-entry, killing its crew.
I restarted the game, and attempted to try for an orbit using the new big 3-man pod. This time it actually went off without a hitch, and the spacecraft made it into orbit. I let it go a few times, but when I turned to start my de-orbit burn, Jeb looked scared again. I was a bit unsettled, but started anyway.
Once I was in atmosphere, I was ready to separate the crew pod from the rest of the ship. I attempted to release, but the decoupler failed, and it remained attached. The command pod was meant to separate from the ship and drift down with a parachute, but if it was still attached, it would come down much too fast for a safe landing. Hoping the force of the drag would break the pod off, as it sometimes does, I deployed the chute. The chute was pulled clean off by the air resistance. When the ship hit the ground, and Bill and Bob died, Jeb's terrified portrait remained just a second longer than it should have.
I checked the forums a few days later to see if others had experienced it. Not only did I find nothing, but I was informed of something that still creeps me out. With everyone trying to patch their game, the servers went down hard the day of the update. I couldn't have downloaded it directly from the site, and even at the time of this writing, no direct 0.16 download is available.