New patch and general observations

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DaveyJ576
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New patch and general observations

Post by DaveyJ576 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:01 pm

I have been playing for about 2 months now and I am really enjoying this sim. I played the original BARIS many years ago and although I liked it, it suffered from numerous flaws, most due to the limited computer capacity of the time. BASPM corrects many of these issues, and I eagerly look forward to new patches and upgrades.

Observations (in no particular order):

1. I like the concept of hiring "Tiger" teams to help solve problems. It gives the Flight Director (me) options and decision points during the mission, which was lacking before. However it seems that with the implementation of this feature, the missions have a greater chance of failure! I also think that the teams are too expensive. In reality, Mission Control would only have brought in extra teams during certain very limited scenarios (i.e. Apollo 13). During a launch/ascent or reentry incident there simply would not have been enough time to bring in a team and consult on the problem. Several other users have suggested an "abort" button and I agree that this should be one of several option offered to the FD. These should be (depending on the phase of flight) abort, immediate return to Earth, hire a Tiger team, and downgrading to a simpler mission. Downgrading would only be available if a simpler mission profile existed. For instance, on a Mercury suborbital flight there isn't a simpler option. But on an Apollo lunar orbital mission you could downgrade to a circumlunar flyby.

For this option to be implemented, the Flight Director needs to have more info as to exactly what the problem is. In BARIS, you were told what the problem was (i.e. the astronaut is sick, problem with the guidance computer, etc.). With this info, the FD can make a decision as to what to do. The FD not having any input as to how the mission goes once it is launched is the single biggest distraction to gameplay in this simulation.

2. I think there is an occasional bug that pops up during mission failures. I ran a Mercury orbital mission where the hardware R&D was over 90% for both the booster and the spacecraft, the astronaut and mission control team had high category ratings, but the mission failed 5 times in a row. I then reloaded it a sixth time and skipped to the conclusion and it succeeded. The way I see it, in this scenario the mission should succeed 9 out of 10 times! A similar situation once turned up during a Gemini mission. Now, I reloaded the saved game and replayed the scenario in part to see what would happen as a means of testing this situation. BARIS was notorious for being too hard so I was interested to see what would happen. I will admit that I do not fully understand the programming of how the chances are calculated, but the sim seems to get stuck in a "failure loop" way too often.

3. Animation nitpick: Mercury splashdowns depict the spacecraft floating on it's side. The Mercury spacecraft floated upright because there was an emergency escape hatch at the top of the spacecraft that had to be out of the water if the astronaut was to use it. Gemini was the only American spacecraft that floated on its side.

4. If you are running into licensing issues in using actual astronaut names and images, at least allow me to manually edit the names and the images so that I can add an element of history to the sim. Another user mentioned that the new personnel images do not accurately reflect what military and civilian test pilots and engineers looked like at the time and I completely agree. It just doesn't look right! Either change the images to reflect the 1960's, or give me the option of editing them myself.

5. Give us the option of trying out some of the proposed hardware that was actually not used in the historical timeline. Using the Nova rocket to launch a direct ascent spacecraft directly to the moon would be quite cool. The joint launch option from BARIS seems to have almost completely disappeared. Put it back in so that we have an EOR option of going to the moon in addition to direct ascent. Also, you should have a joint option for LEO Lunar Module tests using two Saturn 1B's (one for the CSM and one for the LM).

6. Why did you put in the Saturn C3-B rocket when it has the exact same lifting capacity of the Saturn 1B? Although interesting, it seems a little redundant. The Saturn 1 is a welcome addition, but it isn't capable of lifting the Apollo CSM! In reality, it was planned to fly several LEO test flights of the Block 1 CSM on Saturn 1 rockets.

7. The Jupiter-C and the Redstone version used for Mercury where very similar rockets, the only real difference being the upper stages for the Jupiter-C. If a player makes the decision to R&D the Jupiter-C, then the Redstone should be approximately 80-85% fully R&D when you open the program.

8. Lunar probes should be a pre-requisite for manned lunar flights, because in real life they were! BARIS modeled this by having each lunar probe give you a percentage of the lunar surface that had been mapped or reconned, with the goal of mapping as much of the lunar surface as possible before launching manned landing missions. The Ranger missions gave us valuable close up photos of the surface, and Surveyor tested landing strategies and technologies and gave us detailed info on the composition of the lunar soil. If any of these missions are skipped in the game, you should suffer a penalty on the manned landing missions.

I suggest the following:

For each Pioneer flyby you get a 1% increase in lunar mapping percentage.
For each Pioneer orbiter - 3% increase
For each Ranger mission - 6% increase.
For each Lunar Orbiter - 25% increase.
For each Surveyor - 20% increase.
For each Manned circumlunar or orbital flight - 50%.
Ultimate minimum mapping percentage should be 80%

You should also get a bump up in reliability for the TLI and trans-lunar coast phases each time you successfully fly one. Pioneer flybys or orbiters should be a pre-requisite for manned circumlunar or orbital flights and Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, and Surveyor missions should be pre-reqs for manned landings. Failure to conduct any of these missions or failure to get to 80% mapping would result in a safety penalty of at least 10% on any manned landing step beyond LEO.

9. I am not convinced that the R&D percentage increase is working properly. In particular, I have been granted an increase in R&D due to a favorable event. However, the percentage on the individual programs does not seem to increase at all. Bug? Perhaps I do not fully understand how this is modeled in the programming, but there just doesn't seem to be any discernible benefit from this random favorable event.

10. Two audio nitpicks: The word "fire" is used during the launch sequence on several rockets. "Ignition" is a proper replacement. On the funny side, the recording of the word "fire" sounds like he is saying "fire?", as if he is unsure it actually happened! LOL Secondly, on several Atlas launches I can hear the commentator mention that the Titan II vehicle is good to go. Wrong rocket!

This sounds like a lot, but in fact I really enjoy playing this sim. Keep it up and this will become awesome!

Thanks!

Nacho84
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Re: New patch and general observations

Post by Nacho84 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:59 pm

Hello Dave,

Apologies for the late reply. Saw this thread a couple of weeks ago, but I was busy with the iOS release so I couldn't write a reply.

A few comments about some of your points:

3) Hadn't noticed that detail about the Mercury splashdowns before! Well spotted... live and learn :)

4) We're planning to open up the game for modding in a future patch. I did a test a couple of weeks ago and yes, loading custom pictures is doable. I didn't manage to fit it for the upcoming update (1.4.0), but it will certainly by added in the future.

5) There's a Gemini EOR option in Space Program Manager, which features the Langley Light Lander.

6) The numbers for the Saturn C-3B have been fixed. You'll see them in the patch we'll be releasing in a few days.

9) The favourable event boosts the RD results. Though notice that, since the RD results are not linear (you get a lot of progress when you are in the lowest reliability level and then it becomes harder and harder to improve as the hardware gets better), it might be hard to see the extra boost from the random event.

Glad you like the game and thanks for taking the time to write such detailed feedback! Apologies if I cannot reply to all your points one by one, but rest assured I read everything.

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

Polar Motion
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