KyleS wrote:I wouldn't force things, eg making Mercury a prerequisite for Gemini. It's not that it was physically impossible to make a 2-man capsule before a 1-man one had flown, it's just that it was a lot easier. Historically the Russians tried to skip steps, eg in developing the N-1 before having really properly developed less sophisticated rockets. So you can skip steps, you're just making things harder - the shortcut rarely is actually shorter. But if you're lucky and/or your scientists are really good, it might just work!
I don't like the idea of forcing players to do certain things either, but some things do need to be done in a certain order.
I agree that it would have been physically possible to construct a two man capsule in 1961 but there are other technology
issues that would have prevented it's launch. Transistors for example were still primitive in relative terms and electronics was
still fairly unreliable. Just look at what was around in the 1970s to see that and the Integrated Circuit was introduced then.
The weight alone probably would have prevented a launch as American (German) Rocket Science was still learning to build
big rockets. Thousands of Atlases and Titans failed before they were considered reliable enough to take a man. A man rated
Atlas failed only 8 weeks before John Glenn's Orbital flight.
The Russians did indeed skip steps but their Boosters were much more reliable and had a much greater lifting capability
because they deliberately over engineered then to begin with due to the Russians being behind in materials technology.
The Russians still use basically the same design today to launch as they did back in the 1960s.
When Korolev got to Peenemunde after the USA looted it there was very little usable hardware left to "steal", but of what was left
Korolev himself already had more advanced designs. He just couldn't build them because he didn't know how to make the exotic alloys
needed to make them work. What Korolev did get however was the German Technicians who taught him about the metallurgy and
such like. These are the type of problems I am referring to - the problems with technology were still there, they were just more
advanced problems that stopped things from happening.
The Russians were not as urgent in their Space Program initially either as Khrushchev was more interested in shorter term goals in the area,
ie. "Do something amazing for May Day Parade Sergei!" One of the other things that held them back was also Korolev's desire to stay in power
in regards to the Program they did have, and so he rejected and held back better designs from the other Design Bureau . One of the major
reasons the N1 failed was it's complexity. Instead of designing a good BIG engine like the USA did for the Saturns, they made the N1 using LOTS
of smaller engines. Individually those smaller engines were very sound, but in this case more is not always better.
When Korolev died, one of his legacies was to leave behind a mess that took a while to fix and the Russians went from in front in many areas to
KyleS wrote:So I would suggest instead:
1) make the pace of R&D improvement a bit slower (increase the Difficulty rating) for historically later programmes, combined with
2) make the Reliability carryover between programmes greater, and
3) make the Reliability carryover between capsules/probes visible to the player as it is for Rockets/Man-rated Rockets
For example, Gemini could be opened straight away at 0%, or if you've got Mercury to 90% it'd start at 50%. But the player has to know this, thus the third point.
I think BARIS and the board game by Fritz Bonner "Liftoff"on which it was based handled this reasonably well. And I fully agree that this should be done, and is to an
extent. It is a matter of getting it more balanced to work properly.
One point I have raised that is too late to be changed in BASPM but may be looked at in BASPM 2 is that I basically pay for the Atlas and Titan Rocket three separate
times depending on what I want/need. Historically the main difference between the different models was the upper stage configuration and a slight modernisation
of basic hardware. For example the Agena Stage was used on Atlas and Titan, but in the game the difference is a whole new Rocket for each that I have to Research!
I have spoken to Ignaccio about designing BASPM 2 in such a way as to develop these upper stage boosters and strap ons and add them to a basic Rocket as required.
I don't know where the CPU player gets the money to do things, for example in my games I've seen them do two manned launches a season in 1960-62, which implies 20 or so MC guys. But I don't know how the game treats the non-player side, whether it goes through all the same stuff as us, or there's just some random chart in there governing the steps they achieve, unrelated to the game mechanics players have to deal with. It's one the reasons I said in this thread
that we should see all the launches of the opposing player, at least the ones that don't fizzle out during countdown or launch. If a rocket makes it into orbit, the whole world will know about it, even if they don't know all the details.
I also have spoken about this on another thread(s). I like the idea of a "Spy Agency" where you Pay for real information and the Media may or may not be correct.
This is what happened in BARIS and I think Liftoff did it too but it is a while since I played Liftoff. It also was fairly realistic during the Cold War.
This is an interesting discussion anyhow.