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Kerbal Space Program creator looks back on leaving it behind: ‘The hardest thing I’ve had to do in my whole life’

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Kerbal Space Program is now 10 years old, but the kerbals themselves—the little green astronauts who add so much charm to the intimidating space simulator—lived in the mind of creator Felipe Falanghe for a decade before he ever started making his dream game. As teenagers, Falanghe and his brother would turn fireworks into cardboard spaceships, strapping on fins and little bits and bobs to give them texture. “At some point we started strapping little tinfoil men that we would make to the little duct tape cockpits, and we called those guys kerbols,” he remembers.

I thought, if I’m lucky I’m going to get maybe six months to work on this… I fully expected that the project was going to be terminated very quickly.

Felipe Falanghe

Falanghe can’t remember where the name came from. It just came to them, and over time the pronunciation morphed. Kerbols became kerbals. Eventually he went to college for game design, moved to Mexico, and started working at Squad, a marketing agency that made interactive ad installations that were almost, but not quite, videogames.

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