Kerbal Space Program (opens in new tab) creator Felipe "HarvesteR" Falanghe will return to the do-it-yourself skies next summer with a new game called Balsa Model Flight Simulator. Much like its predecessor, the new game will enable players to design and build their own aircraft and then take them into the sky, where they can suffer whatever consequences may come.
(Balsa is a very soft, lightweight wood that's commonly used in building models because of its relative strength. Not like that Revell SnapTite stuff, though. As you can see in this video (opens in new tab) of a balsa P51 model being assembled, they're a hassle to put together and a real mess too: The Vintage Model Company makes it look like a breeze but trust me, that glue is going to get everywhere, and that's without even trying to put the skin on. Believe me, it gets worse.)
Back to the matter at hand: Rather like how KSP lets gamers experiment with space flight without the risk of 100 different kinds of horrific death, Balsa Model Flight Simulator will enable model construction and flight without having to worry about getting Eze-Dope and tissue all over the carpet. Players will be able to construct a wide variety of highly detailed models or design their own via a built-in editor, and then customize them with paint and decals. Mod support will enable the addition of custom content including individual part and complete planes, plus new maps and modes.
Once built, models will be flyable in multiple challenge modes including checkpoint flights and dogfighting, or in a free-flight sandbox that will support solo and online play for up to 16 pilots simultaneously. For more committed pilots, there's also a single-player campaign mode with challenges and rewards that will enable upgrades and improvements. Planes will be flyable from chase position, on the ground with a controller in hand, or from the cockpit.
"Balsa is about that same spirit of seat-of-your-pants engineering [as Kerbal Space Program]," Falanghe said. "The scale of the models may be smaller, but the flight simulation is just as deep, and equally likely to end up in rapid, unplanned disassembly."