The career mode, available since version 0.22 is the next mode after the sandbox mode in the start game menu and is still in development. Currently it makes heavy use of the new Research and Development (R&D) center which features the tech tree.
To play career mode the player first builds a rocket in the VAB or the SPH with just a few available parts. Then optionally save the vehicle and launch it. While it is airborne, meaning a player's first rocket may not achieve space, do an item of research or just collect the crew report. Transmit the data back to the space center or save it until the vehicle is recovered after the flight. Repeating this process will gain the player points in science. Once the player has enough points for a specific area of research they can go to the R&D center to conduct the research. Completion of a branch of research on the Tech tree unlocks several parts related to that branch and the process starts again, with bigger and hopefully better rockets. Each step on a branch is referred to as a node and takes significantly more science points than the node before it. It is not necessary to research in a specific order, but several nodes require other nodes from one or more branches. See the Tech tree for the full list.
Possible future features
Money and Stock
- The Career mode will add limited money, with your parts costing the amount shown.
- Also, you have a limited amount of parts in stock. It has been said that if you land parts safely, they can be reused.
- It is planned that if you damage a part of KSC, repairing it will cost you money.
During a Development chat, one of the devs said that you have to "discover" things with a telescope or probe to find out information about it. For example, if you were going to Jool, and looked in Map View, it would look like a giant green sphere unless you had already sent a probe there with cameras (That will be added to the game in a further update) and scientific instruments.