least missions to moon

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (SPM) Road to the Moon is the ultimate game of space exploration.

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KyleS
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least missions to moon

Post by KyleS » Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:25 am

Always we look for shortcuts to our destinations. One I've found as the Soviet player is rather than starting with Sputnik and its rocket, start with Korabol and its Vostok rocket. Korabol is just a Vostok you put a dog in, so it lets you fulfil the satellite achievement and at the same time the uncrewed capsule achievement and thus have a rocket and craft ready for manned flight. If you're lucky and don't have a lot of failures, you will even be able to put a man in orbit in the first term, in 1958, though this requires careful balancing of funds, you can't expand the set or launch centre early; but at worst you can do it when you get the review and more funds at the start of 1959, and launch earlier than the historical 1961 - 2nd term.

Of course the game itself imposes some limitations on us, for example at the start you can't open up a manned lunar landing programme, or Mars flyby, etc. The minimum steps to "unlock" are,

1. orbital satellite
2. lunar probe
3. manned lunar landing

But you'd have massive penalties from unfulfilled goals. So if you just did the missions to avoid the unfulfilled goals and having any malus at all, it would for the Soviets LK-700 Direct Ascent method mean,

earth orbital satellite – ANY
lunar probe – ANY
Uncrewed suborbital flight test – LK-700
Uncrewed orbital flight test – LK-700
Man in space / crewed suborbital – ANY
Man in orbit – ANY
Crewed orbital flight – LK-700
extended duration level I – ANY
uncrewed lunar flyby test – LK-700
Manned lunar orbital flight – ANY
Spacewalk – ANY
Manned lunar landing – LK-700

By "any" I mean the goal can be achieved with several different craft, but some steps have to be done with the LK-700 as well. For example, you can't do all your crewed missions with Soyuz and then launch the LK-700 for the first time and head straight to a Moon landing. There is obviously some overlap, for example you could in principle have your first man in space go up on an LK-700. But you'd never do it the same time Gagarin went up, you'd have to spend the first term just saving money to open the programmes, and then of course have no accomplishments to boost the budget in further terms. So where it says "ANY" you'd want some other programme like Voshkod.

My thoughts are,
Korabl-Sputnik 2 / Vostok rocket
Vostok uncrewed orbital
Vostok crewed orbital
Vostok crewed orbital duration I
Luna 3 lunar flyby
LK-700 uncrewed orbital
LK-700 crewed orbital & spacewalk (Kretchet)
LK-700 uncrewed lunar flyby
LK-700 circumlunar flight
LK-700 lunar orbital flight
LK-700 lunar landing

Thus the entire space programme could in principle be accomplished with 11 missions, 6 of them manned. You would need also the Vostok and UR-700 human-rated rockets, but would need a 3rd rocket of some kind for the Luna 3 lunar flyby. A Proton-KD is also human-rated, which would have the advantage of minimising the sets needed.

You could do all this with 3 cosmonauts (if none die or quit) and 12 scientists - 4 for human-rated rockets, 4 for capsules, and 4 for probes and later spacesuits.

In practice there'd be long periods of doing nothing and just watching the reliability numbers creep up, it would probably be as quick to have a Voshkod or Soyuz manned programme to bridge between Vostok and LK-700. But the above is I think the minimum.

Thoughts?

KyleS
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by KyleS » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:52 pm

Just tried this.

Korabl-Sputnik 2 / Vostok rocket
Vostok uncrewed orbital
Vostok crewed orbital
Vostok crewed orbital duration I
Luna 3 lunar flyby 
LK-700 uncrewed suborbital*
LK-700 uncrewed orbital
LK-700 crewed orbital
LK-700 crewed orbital & spacewalk (Kretchet)
LK-700 uncrewed lunar flyby
LK-700 circumlunar flight
LK-700 uncrewed lunar orbital flight
LK-700 crewed lunar orbital
LK-700 lunar landing
*this was not needed to avoid a malus, however the UR-700 reliability had by 1965.3 crawled up to 72% and I was tired of waiting, so decided to risk a launch to boost it more quickly.

In detail,

Soviet campaign, normal difficulty
1955-1956 expanded MC lvl0 to lvl+2, Set 1+1, Naut Centre 0+1, VAB 0+1
opened Korabl-Sputnik 2, Vostok (HR)
fired set x5, hired set x8, nauts x3, MC x10
I fired the set guys so I could hire the cheapest. Likewise the others I just chose the cheapest. When running the minimum number of programmes many of your staff will spend most of their time in training anyway, so it doesn't matter if they start crap.

1958.2 Korabl-Sputnik R83 C87 (reliability of rocket and capsule at time of launch)
1958.1 Vostok 1 crewed suborbital R93 C91
1959.1 Vostok 2 crewed orbital R98 C96l opened Luna 3; expanded VAB; hired set x4 (probes)
1959.2 Vostok 3 crewed orbital duration I Failed – launch
1959.3 Vostok 4 crewed orbital duration I R95 C97
1960.4 Ilya Andropov killed in accident; hired nauts x4; opened LK-700 earth orbit
1961.2 hired MC x3
1962.2 expanded VAB
1962.4 Luna 3 lunar flyby Failed – TLI
1963.2 opened UR-700
1963.4 Luna 3-2 lunar flyby R78 P87
1965.3 LK-700 1 uncrewed suborbital [TT x1] R72 C82 (ie a Tiger Team was used to help improve success chances)
1965.4 LK-700 2 uncrewed orbital [TT x1] R79 C87
1966.1 LK-700 3 crewed orbital [TT x2] R86 C93
1966.2 LK-700 4 crewed orbital spacewalk R93 C96 S71
1966.3 LK-700 5 uncrewed lunar flyby R95 C98
1966.4 LK-700 6 crewed lunar flyby R97 C98
1967.1 LK-700 7 uncrewed lunar orbital R98 C99
1967.2 LK-700 8 crewed lunar orbital R99 C99
1967.3 LK-700 9 lunar landing
The game was completed with sets 12 (set centre lvl 2), nauts 6 (+1 deceased) (naut centre lvl 1) and MCs 13 (MC lvl 2) and VAB3.

I feel that if you inserted Voshkod or Soyuz in between Vostok and LK-700 you'd get the same result, a landing about 1967-68. Doing more missions would take more time, but the reliability carryover from rockets and capsules would speed up the LK-700. And if you wanted you could take risks, I probably could have got away with skipping 1-2, maybe even 3 of the LK-700 missions as -5% when your reliability is 90+% is no big deal, especially since the money you saved on missions you could spend on Tiger Teams.

Politically this could never happen this way, since nobody could fly no manned missions for 6 years and still expect to get funding and support for a lunar landing, you'd need a mission every year or two to keep interest up. Though this could represent, "Well, we have put a man in space, point demonstrated..." (5 years pass) "Hey look, capitalist imperialist dogs are putting men in space, let's go to the Moon!"

decourcy2
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by decourcy2 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:41 pm

I am just starting this, Slitherine/Matrix have NO idea how to advertise, they need to fire everyone and hire Paradox people to learn how to run a business.

Anyway, rant aside, I just started, handily won as the US on normal so played Soviets on hard.
I was crushed due to lack of money, horribly. I had used the X15 to good effect with NASA so thought I could do the same with the soviets! Ha! It is a dead end waste of time for the Soviets.

So I started again as the Soviets, hard, kept not reaching the prestige needed and my funding dried up. As an aside I am an old BARIS player, newbs were thrown under the bus with this game as you can see NOTHING about a mission until you open it, costing money.

Then I started as the USA again, hard, ran X15, the two explorers, and then the biosatellite. That was a mistake, hard to launch (failed once), expensive, and worth few points.
Then Mercury sub orbital and orbital, crewed and uncrewed.
Gemini and Ranger 4 opened. Did various Gemini missions including EVA, not sure if I needed this as I did direct ascent.
Also did lunar orbiter and lunar impactor as the text suggested these were 'valuable stepping stones on the road to the moon'. They do not seem to be worth the time/money.
Opened Gemini DA Earth test, then Saturn V, then Gemini DA.
Did two DA tests then DA uncrewed orbiter, DA crewed orbiter then landed. 1971.3 .... embarrassing! Soviets won in 1969.3 but I kept playing to see if I could reach the moon.

Even though I did not reach the max goal for 67-70 period I was awash in money for the end game. Couldn't spend it. I did a second uncrewed orbital with the Gemini capsule when the Saturn V was at 63% just to raise the Saturn faster than a few percent a turn, threw cash at Tiger teams when the inevitable errors occurred.
The only goal I reached was 1959, after that I was always short. Biosatellite was a white elephant.

I guess I had hoped the game needed secondary missions but it seems the key is just do absolute minimum list of missions. I am interested in multi player but I love the space program not min maxing and am afraid I will lose to someone in 1965 who ran 5 missions the whole game.

decourcy2
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by decourcy2 » Sun May 01, 2016 8:41 pm

Okay, played again Soviets, normal.
Ah sweet cash.

Did 3 Sputnik/Sputnik 2 missions.
Did Vostock(?) one man capsule, unmanned sub and orbital, manned sub and orbital.
That was all easy to develop.

then I did two Luna missions, the flyby probe and the impactor. I did the second because I was dreaming of doing Mars/Venus probes that never happened.

Did one Vostock space walk duration 1.
I then closed everything and opened Um, the two person LOK program and N1.
I was able to do the first few tests of the two person module with the Proton.

I was like 'Why bother with the stripped down 2 person module when I need the LOK for the landing anyway?'
That could have been a mistake though as it took about forever to R&D the module especially. Finally did a few flights around Earth in '66 including the lander tests, and
then in '67 it was unmanned lunar orbit which failed, unmanned lunar orbit, manned lunar orbit, landing on the moon successfully in 67.4 !

I am surprised how insanely difficult I find hard and how easy normal is in this game.

KyleS
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by KyleS » Mon May 02, 2016 12:14 am

It is not really clear in the game, but the Soviet spaceplane is more like a Buran/Space Shuttle than an X-15, for example the X-15 was not capable of achieving orbit. It's not like the one in BARIS that you could actually take to the Moon if you wanted to.

Logically, a lunar lander would be needed to avoid a malus for a manned landing - it's not until you know what kind of surface the place has that you can choose a good landing site.

After you've played for a bit you learn that the various rockets and capsules have carryover in their reliability. So if you have a good Vostok rocket, the Voshkod rocket will open at 75%, or something like that. I mean the N-1 - designed to take Russians to the Moon - its first stage had 30 engines, the Proton has 6, and Vostok had 1 (plus 4 boosters). It's just harder to make 30 engines work at once than 1, and if you have some experience running 6 then 30 will be easier than if you go straight from 1 to 30. The game though doesn't make it clear - "if you get this to X% then the that one will be Y%." But that's okay, historically the Soviets thought they could jump ahead to the N-1 and all 4 launch attempts failed, the Americans were more systematic and succeeded.

In the hard and buzz hard versions of the game, the side missions become more useful to boost prestige to get that budget. But really the reviews should be more often than every 4 years, as it stands really there are only 2 reviews that matter - 1958 and 1962, since if by 1966 you are scratching for cash then you won't be doing a Moon landing except by luck by the time of the next review in 1972. Reviewing annually would be more reasonable.

As well, the budget on individual items should be adjustable. If a programme "costs" $1,000, well that is the recommended amount. If you want to put in $1 and just barely keep it alive, or $2,000 and get faster results, you should be able to. Along with annual reviews, this would then factor in something else that happens with budgets in large organisations, government or military - if you don't spend all of your budget, you get less next time. I don't care if you just flew around the Moon and next season will land, if you have got $30 billion in the bank then Congress is not going to vote you an extra $5 billion next year.

The game should also have showed us all the launches the opponent was doing, not just mentioning their firsts, and should list their total prestige. Historically and in game play this is something that pushed each side to go harder and take risks. BARIS did this for us, I don't think this has got harder to do in the two decades since then.

I said from the start that the guts of the game - costs, reliability carryover, difficulty ratings and so on - should be in spreadsheets, to make modding easier. Because this is a game that screams out for modding, even if everyone agreed how it was written was perfect, well hey how about those vapourware parts 2 and 3, space station, Moon base, Mars landing, and further to Titan landings and the like?

Nacho84
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by Nacho84 » Mon May 02, 2016 10:14 am

KyleS wrote:I said from the start that the guts of the game - costs, reliability carryover, difficulty ratings and so on - should be in spreadsheets, to make modding easier.
Hello Kyle,

You can find the spreadsheet here. If you're interested in getting the internal tools we used during development in order to create your own mods, don't hesitate to drop me a private message and I'll send them to you.

Cheers,
Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

Polar Motion
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jgf1123
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by jgf1123 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:50 pm

Are the Goal Boosts listed in MsnCnfgs-I implemented in the game? I don't remember them when rummaging through the game files. Thanks.

Nacho84
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by Nacho84 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:16 pm

jgf1123 wrote:Are the Goal Boosts listed in MsnCnfgs-I implemented in the game? I don't remember them when rummaging through the game files. Thanks.
Hello! They are implemented, yes. But the code is disabled because the data files need to be filled with the correct values first. Unfortunately I don't have the time to do it, but if this is something you would be interested in, drop me a private message and we can sort something out.

Cheers,
Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

Polar Motion
Twitter

jgf1123
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by jgf1123 » Wed Oct 12, 2016 4:17 pm

FYI, I sent you a PM about a week ago.

Nacho84
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Re: least missions to moon

Post by Nacho84 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:34 pm

jgf1123 wrote:FYI, I sent you a PM about a week ago.
Yes, apologies for that! I've replied to your PM, let's continue the discussion via e-mail.

Cheers,
Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

Polar Motion
Twitter

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