Miguel Pi a, producer of Kerbal Space Program, took to Reddit yesterday to field questions about the cute yet massive space adventure, and while Redditors didn't manage to tease too much info about future updates or what their eventual next game might be, we did learn a few interesting titbits, including...the dark origin of the Kerbals. Well, OK, it's not that dark, but it does involve tinfoil and fireworks, two things that generally cause chaos when used together.
As Miguel explains when asked where the idea of Kerbals came from: "Our Lead Developer and overall Creator of the game, HarvesteR, used to make little tinfoil men and strap them to modified fireworks. He called them Kerbals". We also learn that female Kerbals are on their way to the game, eventually.
"We are actively working on Girlbals (studio petname, not actual name). They will take some time, it's a decent bit of work and we have to get them right. We may be just a small indie studio but we feel that gaming in general should no longer treat women as an afterthought. Even if it's extra work.
Edit: Must clarify. That is just the petname for the project. Female Kerbals are just called Kerbals."
There's a ton of interesting answers, but it's a hell of a long page, so I'll copy and paste the best ones here.
On maintaining a good relationship with the community, and handling backlash:
"Here's a suggestion for devs out there: Get out of your comfort zone. Being somewhere where you have zero power will not only teach you humility, but you can find gems of wisdom even in a barrage of insults. Just keep your cool and make sure your skin is so thick it'd make an armored rhino blush. That also applies to handling backlash. You have to sift through it, figure out the valid points and in the end have the users trust you. If your players can't trust you, you've already lost."
On their vision for Kerbal 1.0:
"Our vision for 1.0 is actually starting to become visible as career mode gets bigger and better with each update, we want you to feel like you're running (and piloting) a space agency with the same levity of games like the old tycoon series. The resources thing was an unfortunate realization that the game was not only not particularly fun to play through, but also was pulling the game horribly out of scope. Kerbal Space Program has to hit 1.0 at some point, y'know.
"No additional star systems within scope right now, the other thing we'll have to wait and see. Multiplayer -has- to have a deep and flexible framework for it to work like we want it to. And yes, the game is not polished in some areas yet, so work will go into several community faves after .25."
And finally Miguel's thoughts on Early Access:
"Early Access feels like a party that got out of control. We got in where it was only a couple people eating pizza and playing Mario Kart. Then suddenly it's Jesse's party from Breaking Bad. It's refreshing and reassuring that whenever an article, Youtube video or blog comes out bashing Early Access as a whole, someone always seems to pop up in the comments and talks about how we're doing it right."
You'll find the whole thing here. Kerbal Space Program's First Contract update launched the other day, a long-awaited addition that revamps career mode with missions and adds 64-bit support. Ian's thoughts on it are here.