Beginner Player Guides?

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

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Beginner Player Guides?

Post by tactfulgamer » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:39 pm

Man... I'm so late to this wonderful game.

Between this, Transport Tycoon & Airline Tycoon (All on my iPad) I'm enjoying the games and actually learning something from them. At the very least - stimulating my mind.

BASPM does take some hands on and NASA knowledge to enhance ones know how that ultimately influences the power moves you make.

Yes I've played the Tutorial, twice, going for round 3. Still lost.

Was hoping the forums would have a sticky with the title: Beginner's Guide. Either I'm missing the location or one doesn't exist? If there is not one - can anybody guide me to a indepth YouTube video or thread? (I've watched YouTube videos - but the ones I've run into are more lets plays than game mechanic breakdowns)

Thank you.

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Re: Beginner Player Guides?

Post by jgf1123 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:55 am

I learned a lot about the game by digging through XML files. I'll try to spare you the pain.

Minimum requirements: To unlock lunar manned missions, you must launch an Earth satellite. That will unlock Moon probes. A successful Moon probe will unlock manned lunar missions.

Timetable: I find following the NASA timetable for manned missions, plus or minus a year, is a rough guide for where I'm should be with my manned missions.

Money makes the world go 'round: You want to meet your prestige goals every four years in order to max out your budget for the next four years. If your budget is small, it's going to be even harder meeting prestige goals. Also, you lose the game if money goes negative. So, yeah, keep your budget high and don't expand too fast, too soon.

How fast is too fast? Go to the manned spacecraft you're working on at the moment and make as if to schedule one of the basic missions (one with just the manned spacecraft and human-rated rocket). The cost of the mission is the sum of the costs of the spacecraft and the rocket. If you're making at least that much per season, you're probably okay. We don't fly a mission every season, but we still have to pay for opening projects and upgrading buildings.

Hire and hire: You know that you only get to hire once for each department per year. I don't think this is written anywhere except in the files, but the quality of the recruits you get depends on the average morale of the department at the moment you click the Hire button. The higher the morale, the better the candidates, and the cutoffs are at 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, and 100%. What I usually do is raise morale to just above 90% right before I hire. Also, note that increasing pay by 1% increases morale by 1% but decreasing pay by 1% decreases morale by 3%, so be careful with pay cuts. Around 40% is when employees start quitting.

Things to know about each department:

SET: SET personnel raise the reliability of the component they are working on. The exact formula is complicated, but it boils down to:
  • Only the skill related to the component they are working on matters. Since 75 is 50% higher than 50, a skill of 75 produces 50% more gains than a skill of 50 for that season.
  • The 4 spots per component are ordered so that the one of the left contributes the most and the one of the right contributes the least, so you want to put your most skilled on the left and least skilled on the right. On some components, the left spot contributes 6(!) times that of the right spot. (For that matter, the right spot generally doesn't contribute that much, so don't feel guilty about not putting 4 SET on each component.)
You want SET personnel to specialize in one skill. They can specialize in two, so you can move them around depending on what needs are, but they are most effective when they are using their best skill. SET improve their skill very slowly, ~0.3 per season, but they can do it every season they are working on a component. I recommend giving them advanced training until the gains slow down, then they can gain that steady ~0.3 per season. You'll need a lot of SET to research components in a timely manner (while some are doing R&D, others can be training).

Astronauts: Astronauts fly on missions. Despite using the Leadership icon on the mission info screen, astronauts will use a variety of skills during missions. The three big ones are: Leadership, Piloting, and Fitness. As a rule of thumb, train the lowest one of those three skills and don't worry about Science or EVA until the Moon missions, and even then only do EVA once or twice. Leadership, Piloting, and Fitness are used that much more often. One exception: reserve one astronaut to be the CAPCOM for your crewed missions. That astronaut should only train Leadership, because that's the only skill that will ever be used.

You don't need too many astronauts; 14 is probably plenty. Going on a mission gives all of the astronaut's skills a boost, so you'll probably find the astronauts you hired early are always your best candidates, so you'll keep flying them and improving them.

Mission Control: Like SET, you'll want these personnel to specialize since they only use one skill at a time, and you want that to be their best skill. Look at the mission info to see how many of each skill you need for each mission. I will say that 1 Propulsion, 5 Trajectory, 3 Spacecraft Systems, 3 Crew & Equipment, 2 Mission Procedures, and 2 Commanders are enough for any mission in the game. Mission control personnel also gain a skill boost every time they participate in a mission.

Exponential curve: A lot of things in the game follow an exponential curve. For example, R&D starts fast and slows down the closer it gets to max R&D. The more complicated the component, the longer this curve is stretched out. Note that reliability will never reach max R&D simply through R&D; it just get closer and closer. However, successfully completing missions improves reliability up until it reaches max reliability. So when should you stop trying to R&D the component and launch the mission? I'm just going to give you the formula I use:

(max R&D - 0.35 * max reliability) / 0.65

If reliability is at least this high, it's likely that the component will exceed max R&D reliability after the first mission (though it's possible it will take more).

Advanced training is also an exponential curve. Personnel start with gains of 15+ or 20+ per three seasons but it slows down the closer they get to 98, which is the max for all skills for all personnel.

Hope that helps. If I think of anything else, I'll add it.
Last edited by jgf1123 on Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Beginner Player Guides?

Post by Nacho84 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:03 am

Hello tactfulgamer,

Happy to hear you're enjoying the game :) jgf1123's post sums the basic concepts really well! Also, in case you have missed it, take a look at the game manual.

You can also find interesting discussions in past posts from both this and the Steam forums. Last but not least, this guide made by a member of the Steam community provides a very detailed walkthrough of NASA campaign.

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

Polar Motion

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Re: Beginner Player Guides?

Post by tactfulgamer » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:15 am

Wow!! ^^^^^

I greatly appreciate you taking your time to type that out in clear and concise chunks. Very well edited. Truly, thank you. I'm going to copy & paste and add it to my iPhone notes so I may absorb it later when I have some downtime.

Regarding XML files, I play this game on my iPad - is there a way to access XML files via this format? You probably explained what XML files mean in your guide above, but since I merely glanced over you well typed info, I don't fully understand what are/is the XML files.

Just read your guide @jg1123 Damn, there's a lot I either missed in the tutorial (pay cuts, employees dying, hire once a year per dept) or it's not in the tutorial.

The employee dying and ranking up portion of the game reminds me of XCOM: Enemy Within. You don't customize and name your employees - but you rank them up via training, they become star members, then... eventually they die. XCOM(ish) to me on that front. Pretty cool in a abstract way. But wow so much to cover, I'm cool with it though - the history tidbits enlighten me and help create social conversational pieces I guess for me. So worth the investment of my time.

Thank you! By the way this game you created is a gem. I'm disappointed I missed its arrival. But man, whatever else you create that remotely resembles this game/genre or exceeds it - I'm buying! If you release anymore DLC for this game - I'm buying! Following you on Twitter. Will be paying close attention to see what's this other space agency game you're working on.

Just please - I agree with masses... add in mod support (for your new game) if able. And by all means go within and beyond our solar system.

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