Catastrophic missions

Moderators: Nacho84, N_Molson

Post Reply
KyleS
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:40 am

Catastrophic missions

Post by KyleS » Mon May 19, 2014 6:23 am

These need to have a greater reliability penalisation. Currently I'm playing through the NASA sandbox and using Gemini, which has been deadly, it's killed 8 astronauts on 4 separate missions.

I launch with Gemini reliability 90+%, and when they get killed I only lose 1-3% reliability. Thus I can try the same mission again in the next season. Historically, even when the cause was simple and known immediately, 'naut deaths led to a fairly thorough reassessment of everything on the offending piece of hardware.

For example, Apollo I deaths to Apollo 7 flight was 1967.1 to 1968.4. Soyuz 1 deaths to Soyuz 3 flight was 1967.2 to 1968.4. about the same. Soyuz 11 to was 1971.2 to 1973.3. Challenger and Columbia disasters were about the same sorts of periods. These 5-7 seasons indicate a 10-20% loss of reliability assuming the "player" started it at 90% and wanted to get it back up around there.

Perhaps any time there are 'naut deaths, the reliability penalisation could be multiplied by 5-10.

kokubokan25
SPM Contributor
SPM Contributor
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:01 pm

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by kokubokan25 » Mon May 19, 2014 5:47 pm

+1 with this remark. I think the penalization would be around 10-20% in catastrophic failures.

BTW, IMHO, it's excessive greater the number of failures in this game. With safety 90% or more, it's usual a failure (with luck only a minor glitch). Normal would be a failure each 10 missions but this is not the case, 1 failure each 2/3 missions it's observed.

KyleS
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:40 am

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by KyleS » Mon May 19, 2014 11:45 pm

That's simply a result of statistics, basically the more times you roll the dice the more likely you are to fail.

If there are two steps to a process each with a 90% success rate, the chances of both steps succeeding are 0.9 x 0.9 = 0.81. That is, the chance of something failing is 19%.

Many of the missions have 10 steps or more. 0.9^10 = about 0.35, ie there is a 65% chance of at least one failure.

The 'nauts and Mission Control staff skills act as a "saving throw" to try to stop this failure from happening, and so this changes the probabilities of a catastrophic mission. Historically missions rarely proceeded flawlessly, they had problems, fixed them and pressed on. I think overall the failed mission rate is probably about right when you factor in that in this game we're flying many fewer missions than were flown historically, eg there were seventeen Mercury test flights before they even did a manned suborbital. In the game all those escape tower firings and monkey test flights are abstracted somewhat into the startup and maintenance cost of each programme. It's not like your 1-4 scientist/technicians are just sitting around in the lab with sketchbooks, they're test-firing engines and putting monkeys in altitude chambers and launching a rocket they only expect to go to 50,000 feet, deliberatlely burning up a capsule on re-entry and that sort of thing.

So this stuff is abstracted and the player only worries about the glory shots, the game only deals directly with the missions someone will write a book about twenty years later. Given that, the overall failure rate is about right, I think.

I would just say that the price of programmes and missions needs to come down. I mean, up till 1963 in the US there were the X-15 flights, the Explorer satellites, the Pegasus micrometeroid satellite, lunar flyby probes, probes to Venus and Mars, the Echo communications satellites, several Mercury flights, the start of the Gemini and Apollo programmes, and so on. There's simply no way a player could afford all that in this game.

Really we need less prestige per mission, but a more generous budget.

kokubokan25
SPM Contributor
SPM Contributor
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:01 pm

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by kokubokan25 » Tue May 20, 2014 6:19 am

Yes, the multiple dice along a mission is the cause the REAL % was below. May be this problem can be fixed with more good random dice by CM personnel or re-rolls.

The money continues being a great problem in the game. I'm now making testings changing the initial budget and the seasonal budget.
With 40000 $ initial and double seasonal in each period continue with money shortages when play the second and more decissive period, 1959-1962. If you play with the "vanilla" game seems impossible to accomplish a historical path, one or two failures and all its over.

KyleS
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:40 am

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by KyleS » Wed May 21, 2014 6:33 am

It does seem that way, yes. With the current money there's simply no way to run as many programmes as were run historically. A single failure will set you back a couple of seasons, 2-3 failures will set you back years.

On the other hand, in the sandbox game at least, achieving the prestige targets is trivial, especially with random events adding so much prestige. My feeling is that maximum funding should only be achieved by a prestige level you'd get from the historical NASA pace of success, or something like it, eg first satellite 1957, first man in space 1961, first probe past/hit the moon 1961, etc.

So the prestige levels required should be more demanding, but the budgets more generous in the early game as you said,

Failing that, a more rapid pace of R&D improvement would achieve the same thing.

In the later game of 1968+, I've so much money that I can actually run Gemini Direct Ascent at the same time as Apollo, so even if one blows up completely I can just try the other.

Interestingly, I've tried a "shortest path possible" approach - orbital satellite, lunar flyby probe, lunar impact probe, lunar orbital probe, gemini, etc - and the lack of a headstart from previous programmes like Mercury leads to the roughly the same dates of landing, 1973-5 or so.

In the 1968-> game, it's

redcoat22
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:35 pm

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by redcoat22 » Wed May 21, 2014 2:40 pm

Agreed, prestige is easy and mid game cash is too low. As a player I want to run all of the rocket programs and secondary probe programs not required to get to the moon. It's impossible currently.

nico7550
SPM Contributor
SPM Contributor
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:23 am

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by nico7550 » Thu May 22, 2014 7:51 pm

Hi,

A lost of morale could be also a good idea, when Apollo 1 event occur, every one was touched in their mind regarding their job. A 5 to 10 points lost for 1-2 seasons...

:-)

Cheers

KyleS
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:40 am

Re: Catastrophic missions

Post by KyleS » Thu May 22, 2014 11:39 pm

As I understand it, the only in-game effect of Morale is that if it drops low, they might resign. Historically, how many people resigned after a failed or catastrophic mission? Maybe one or two if they were taking the blame, but those were in effect dismissals. Everyone else was less likely to quit their job - in fact, more people will quit their job after a big success than a big failure, they have better re-employment prospects!

In-game, "Morale" does not mean "how happy I am!" it means, "how happy am I with doing this job, would I be happier doing some other job?" So I don't think Morale should be dropped because of failures, catastrophic or otherwise.

If you want to simulate the "scapegoat" effect, you can have it that immediately after a failed mission where you lost Prestige, you can fire someone and regain some of the Prestige. This is realistic but nasty...

Now, if Morale were tied to the person's job performance, that's another matter. Imagine a bunch of SETs working on the Redstone, for example. They have an average skill of 60%, and an average Morale of 100%; their effective skill is 0.60 x 1.00 = 60%, great. Then the player reduces their pay, their Morale drops to 80%. They now have an effective skill of 0.80 x 0.80 = 64%. They're so busy complaining about their poor pay they become less effective at their jobs. Likewise, you could reason that if they have a failed mission or a catastrophic failure, they lose confidence and are so stressed about it all they become less effective at their jobs.

Thus, if Morale affected people's effective skills, then there could be a reason to have it reduced after failures - and increased after successes, especially big successes. So you could make Morale gain/loss proportional to Prestige. But if Morale never affects skills then there's no point in messing with it like this.

If Morale did affect skills, it'd need to be carefully balanced. Currently the game encourages us to do close to maximum R&D before launching missions, and take every possible step through the various goals. Someone playing this game won't be putting Gargarin into orbit in early 1961, for example - you're unlikely to have both Vostok and the rocket at 85-90%, more like 75% or so, and the penalisation for not doing the suborbital first makes some kind of failure very likely. So already the system encourages us to be risk-averse, which is not really ideal for a game based on an inherently risky thing - putting yourself on top of a ballistic missile! Making Morale affect skills, and Morale go up/down with successes/failures, if you're not careful nobody would land on the Moon before 1990.

It's all a balance...

Post Reply

Return to “Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager : Early Access Beta Forum”