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Space Program Manager at Historicon

 
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Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 2:59:47 PM   
Iain McNeil


Posts: 1972
Joined: 10/26/2004
From: London
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Hi guys,

here is a transcript of my presentation of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager at Historicon with illustrations. Enjoy and please feel free to comment and ask questions!

Historicon - July 18th, Fredesricksberg 2pm

Hi guys, today I want to focus on one upcoming game that we are particularly excited about. Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is our highly anticipated space management sim for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, in development at Polar Motion.
Having Buzz involved has been a wonderful opportunity for us as he is a wealth of information on anything related to space exploration and his enthusiasm and energy for the subject is still obvious. Now I’d like to show you the intro movie for the game.

Watch the Space Program Manager Intro Movie on YouTube

Buzz also had a few words to share with everyone about the game.

Watch Buzz discussing Space Program Manager on YouTube

Space Program Manager is such an enormous game we have had to split it in to 3 episodes to get it to a manageable size for us and the player! The Road to the moon is the first episode and ends at the moon landings. Episode 2 takes things forwards and culminates in the international space station. Episode 3 takes us on in to the future and is the Mission to Mars.

The game puts you in charge of the GSA, the Global Space Agency, formed in 1955 as a joint international organization to explore space. We wanted to allow the player to explore all of the technologies and missions available, but not restrict them to just US or Soviet missions. Creating the GSA allowed us to do this and we have included missions from all the major agencies including ESA and JAXA. Let’s start off by investigating the Space Complex.

Watch a time lapse of your space complex developing on YouTube



Your Space Complex is where you control your space program. You will recruit personnel, research technologies, build rockets and launch them. You will develop from a small complex in to a global space program. There are 8 building complexes with up to 4 levels of upgrade and you’ll see these upgrades visually as you develop. Upgrades allow more staff, more missions to be in progress contiguously and allow more advanced programs. You must choose wisely when to upgrade as the larger structure have significant maintenance costs so the player must balance their budgets to succeed.

• The astronaut centre is where you recruit and train your astronauts
• The Public Affairs Office (renamed from Gov Relations) is where you’ll manage your funding and PR
• The Headquarters is where you open new programs and set high level goals.
• Mission control is where you manage your flight controllers.
• The Museum shows historic data on launches, badges and lists every historic news item by turn.
• The observatory gives lots of stats and information about the solar system.
• The SET centre is where you manage your R&D personnel - Scientist, Engineers and Technicians.
• The Vehicle Assembly Building is where you put together the components and assign mission personnel.


Programs

The missions are grouped together in to programs and program categories. In the Road to the moon there are 12 program categories containing 35 programs which have 50 mission configurations. Planets with available missions will be displayed and as you progress more options will open up. We are at the start of the game and looking at Earth.




Currently the Earth orbiting Research Satellites and Space Planes are the only categories that are unlocked. As we acquire badges new programs will become available.




We are looking at the Earth Orbiting research satellite category. It contains 5 different programs ranging from basic earth satellites in group A to more advanced satellites in group B. In general programs will be listed with the simplest ones at the top.




We can see the Scientific Research Satellites A Program only has one mission configuration but others such as the Mercury Program have multiple configurations.




On the mission configuration screen you can R&D the mission components, schedule missions and find out more about the mission, the real history behind it, what your advisors think and what badges you’ll be awarded for successfully completing it.




R&D is a critical part of the game and each component in the mission must be researched. Components can be shared between missions so once you have improved the reliability of your Jupiter C rockets, any mission configurations using them will benefit. This screen also shows how many times each component has been used and if it succeeded or failed.  




R&D is performed by your SET personnel, Scientists Engineers and Technicians.




Personnel must be recruited from the pool of staff applying to join your GSA. SET are rated in 5 areas – rockets, human rated rockets, space probes, crewed spacecraft and EVA(Spacesuits). They also have an ability to learn, age, cost per turn and can be sent for advanced training. Their stats will develop over time and as they get old they may retire and leave the agency. You need to assign the right staff to the right tasks for best results.




Each mission is made up of a number of steps. The player can view each step and this lists the components involved and their reliability. This lets the player understand and plan which is the most essential component for any mission and plan their R&D accordingly.





Scheduling Missions
Once you have planned the mission and R&D’d the components it is time to put theory in to practice and schedule a mission. When scheduling a mission you have to construct the components and assign the flight controllers and if it is a manned mission, assign the astronauts.




Here we see the flight control assignment for a simple X-15 space plan launch – currently it has 4 slots but we are planning to reduce to 1 or 2 as it is effectively a tutorial mission and we want to keep things manageable for new players. Flight controllers are rated in 5 areas, propulsion, guidance, spacecraft systems, crew systems and mission operations.




Each step of the mission requires different parts of the flight control team and each makes use of different skills. Recruiting and assigning the best personnel is an important part of a player’s success. There is also a Flight Director who oversees the launch and he requires a mix of skills and affects all mission steps.

Later in the game, complex missions like the Apollo moon landings will require as many as 12 flight controllers and a flight director, and even a CAPCOM (Capsule Communication - an astronaut in the mission control team to communicate with the astronauts on the mission). Astronauts are rated in 5 areas - Leadership, Piloting, EVA, Science and Fitness


Launching Missions
The most exciting part of the game is obviously that moment when you give the “Go” for launch. Let’s take a look.

Watch the mission launch movie on YouTube

If your mission is successful you’ll receive prestige, the components will become more reliable and you’ll achieve mission badges which unlock later missions or make them easier. If a component fails then it can be disastrous. A minor systems failure could mean some goals fail to be achieved and less prestige is earned. A serious failure likely means the mission is lost with all personnel and equipment on board which is a major setback in component reliability, prestige and personnel so judging when it is safe enough to launch is a tricky business.


Alternative Missions

You’ll be able to launch both historic spacecraft such as Sputnik, Gemini and Apollo XI, but also many missions that never even left the drawing board. There is extensive background information for each program and mission. The in game historian provides facts about the real missions and their success or failure.




With the help of Dr Aldrin we’ve also designed many what-if missions that never occurred, but which could have happened if not for a small decision that took things in a different direction and could have changed our whole history of space flight.




The game contains literally thousands of renders of spacecraft and their components, all researched in extreme detail based on historical documents from the archives. Dr Aldrin has personally reviewed many of the renders and pointed out inaccuracies to ensure the game is as realistic as possible and his knowledge of the Gemini and Apollo missions is unparalleled.




These are just a tiny sample of the many images of what-if scenarios such as alternative Gemini mission configurations and the direct moon ascent.  


Game Modes

There are 2 ways to play Space Program Manager – in Sandbox mode and in Campaign mode. In Campaign mode you’ll be set a number of short and long term goals. Your short term goals are set and reviewed every 4 years. Long term goals are set and reviewed every 20 years. Short term goals can be a variety of things such as earning a specific mission badge to attaining a reliability % on a specific component, earning an amount of prestige or banking a certain amount of money.

Long term goals will tend to be linked to achieving a specific “flagship” mission badge. Every 4 years your performance on your short term goals is reviewed. Achieving goals is rewarded by prestige and failure results in lost prestige.
Your prestige affects your funding so the higher your prestige the higher your funding. Long term goals are much more serious – if you fail your long term goal you will be fired from your job as Director of the GSA and it is game over.

You must decide which short term goals to complete and which to ignore as some may not be compatible with your long term goal or you may feel you can earn more prestige by completing other missions.
These long term goals will dramatically change the way the game plays each time and ensure the player explores the entire tech tree and no one route to victory emerges as the way to win.

Layered on top of this we have a random event system which throws bad weather, R&D success and failure, brain-drain with loss of personnel to other industries, star recruits, economic booms and depressions and much more in to the mix to really add replay value. Players will also be able to compare their prestige scores and see who performed best.

While we think the goals are great for gameplay we know some people prefer to play at their own pace and for this reason we have a Sandbox mode. This plays exactly the same as the Campaign mode but without the short term and long term goals and is an ideal way to learn the game.

Each turn a news report will give important information about R&D progress on each component, new staff, staff training, mission launches and various other pieces of useful info. This info is stored and players can review the news for the entire game. While this might not sound very exciting it allows player to use the news history as a way to write AAR’s. Writing AAR’s is very popular with our community and this is an ideal game for it, so we wanted to provide tools to the player to help them.


Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Office is where you manage relationships with stakeholders and public.


You’ll be able to run advertising campaigns to temporarily boost your prestige, or to improve the quality and quantity of the recruits applying to work at your agency. You’ll also be able to review the historic funding levels, and expenditure. In campaign mode it will also list your short term and long term goals.

The public affairs office will evolve in episodes 2 & 3 to add more commercial activities such as launching and deployment of commercial satellites, manufacturing in micro-gravity for the private sector, space tourism, etc.


Early Access Program

We are pleased to announce we are launching an early access program that lets eager players pick up the game for just $19.99 compared to the usual price of $29.99 and more importantly help shape the way things develop.
The early access program will be launching for PC and Mac in September this year. We expect there to be a period of 2-3 months before we have the full final launch on PC, Mac, iOS and Android.



We are offering 3 tiers in the early access program
○ Mercury Tier - $19.99 for the digital version of the beta supplied immediately and updated throughout, private beta forum access to report issues and discuss the game with the dev team and other early adopters and your name in the beta tester credits
○ Gemini Tier - $34.99 includes everything in the Mercury Tier plus a boxed copy of the game at final release (usually $44.99) which includes a personalised disk with your name and serial number plus a full colour manual/art book with a collection of gorgeous renders for the game.
○ Apollo Tier - $99.99 includes everything in the Gemini Tier plus your name and photo in the game as one of the SET personnel, a flight controller or an astronaut and the game sound track in MP3 format. Instead of a beta tester credit you will be listed as a contributor. This option will not be available post release.

That brings me to the end of the presentation and I’d like to open the floor to any questions.

< Message edited by Iain McNeil -- 7/24/2013 2:34:45 PM >


_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com
Post #: 1
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 3:18:11 PM   
Neilster


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From: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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This seems like a cool game, but shouldn't the people look like they are from 1955?

Cheers, Neilster

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 2
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 5:22:09 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster

This seems like a cool game, but shouldn't the people look like they are from 1955?

Cheers, Neilster



Glad you liked the game! Don't worry about the pictures, those are just placeholders that will get replaced in the final version.

Cheers,


_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Neilster)
Post #: 3
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:06:46 PM   
Swedewolf


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I thought this game gonna be good but this is over my high expectations. I love to ponder and tinker in my games and this will fit me as a glove.
2 questions
1. The lowest tier buy, is that all or do you have to pay more later to get the full game?

2. I was hoping for the oportunity to hopfully beta up until september, but as I read this I guess thats not the case. When can we prebuy the tiers offered?

(in reply to Neilster)
Post #: 4
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:13:22 PM   
Iain McNeil


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From: London
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The lowest tier is the full downloadable game yes, no additional costs (except maybe VAT when you buy depending on your country of residence), you get the full game on release. It will be available in September - assuming all goes to plan!

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to Swedewolf)
Post #: 5
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:17:21 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
Status: online
Glad you liked it Swedewolf

quote:

ORIGINAL: Swedewolf
2 questions
1. The lowest tier buy, is that all or do you have to pay more later to get the full game?


To add on top what Iain said: if you go for the lowest tier you will get all the beta updates and the digital version of part 1 of the game (i.e., from zero to the Moon landings) once it gets released.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Swedewolf
2. I was hoping for the oportunity to hopfully beta up until september, but as I read this I guess thats not the case. When can we prebuy the tiers offered?


Yes, apologies for this. Content creation is taking us a while and we're a very small team. Also, we don't want to release a rough product (even for the early adopters), so we set a September date in order to be safe. I also want to take the time to clear up the source code as well in order to be able to try things more quickly during the beta process without being slowed down by bugs.

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Swedewolf)
Post #: 6
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:18:13 PM   
Swedewolf


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Thanx. So no no buy before, ok. Steam or separate gameplay?

Oh absolutly forgot. How was the ordience? Chearing, clapping or silent?

< Message edited by Swedewolf -- 7/22/2013 6:19:28 PM >

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:20:23 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Swedewolf

Thanx. So no no buy before, ok. Steam or separate gameplay?


No buy before as far as I know. But don't worry, as we'll announce the date in the forums a few days earlier. The game won't be available on Steam for the moment.

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Swedewolf)
Post #: 8
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:25:18 PM   
Swedewolf


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Thanx Nacho84. As Im an Oldtimer Ive been missing the paper manual. Back in the day I was able to still imerse myself in the game even after back breaking overtime playing and you could rest your back and read a comprehensive manual. So I im will sure aim for atleast tier2. and no apologies needed, better late than not ready as I use to say when I coded back in the early nineties.
cheers

ps. Steam in all honor but Im glad you not gonna use it as I want to play my game even as internet fails. ds.

< Message edited by Swedewolf -- 7/22/2013 6:26:43 PM >

(in reply to Swedewolf)
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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 6:44:12 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Bournemouth, UK
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Swedewolf
Oh absolutly forgot. How was the ordience? Chearing, clapping or silent?


Well, I didn't go to Historicon myself, but the guys told me that the game was really well received. They really liked the trailer, which is not online yet but I'm sure Iain will upload it very soon!

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Swedewolf)
Post #: 10
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 7:40:44 PM   
Blind Sniper


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Hello, first compliments for the presentation it is very well done
Surely I will be a buyer.

Second, maybe I don't understand how it works, if I want (or I would like) to be a betatester do I have to pay the beta version?
No player selection or such but it is enough to buy the early access programm, am I right?


< Message edited by Blind Sniper -- 7/22/2013 7:41:37 PM >


_____________________________

Advanced Squad Leader; Grand Tactical Series; Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager; War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition


(in reply to Nacho84)
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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/22/2013 7:54:44 PM   
Nacho84

 

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Hello Blind Sniper,


quote:

ORIGINAL: Blind Sniper

Hello, first compliments for the presentation it is very well done
Surely I will be a buyer.



Thank you! Glad you liked it

quote:

ORIGINAL: Blind Sniper

Second, maybe I don't understand how it works, if I want (or I would like) to be a betatester do I have to pay the beta version?
No player selection or such but it is enough to buy the early access programm, am I right?



You got it right, yes. By buying any of the three tiers of the early access program you immediately get a download link for the beta version along with access to a private forum.

During the beta process you will be allowed to try all the updates and, once the game gets released, you'll get a download link for the final version (and the boxed copy if you went for either the Gemini or Apollo tiers).

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I say "final version", I always mean part I or "Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager: Road to the Moon".

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Blind Sniper)
Post #: 12
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 12:10:06 AM   
Ranger33

 

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Wow, wasn't sure what to expect from this game but that all looks very impressive. Will almost certainly be getting my $20. The stuff about Aldrin's input on all sorts of realistic "what if" missions being put into the game is very cool.

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 13
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 1:53:11 AM   
Fintilgin

 

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How exactly do the 'episodes' work? Are they three completely seperate games? Can you import your save from the last game and keep on playing from where you left off? Do they install into each other as some sort of 'content packs' creating a single 'mega' game?

(in reply to Ranger33)
Post #: 14
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 2:07:47 AM   
VPaulus

 

Posts: 1333
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From: Portugal
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nacho84

Yes, the episodes will integrate into each other. Originally, I was planning to release a single game, but the amount of content to create is staggering, so we decided about a year ago that we were going to divide in three parts in order to make it more manageable for us.

(in reply to Nacho84)
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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 2:35:13 AM   
jjknap

 

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So excited!

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 2:41:59 AM   
n01487477


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Only one real concern - and I know that future iterations of the software are planned for a US V USSR space race but will the game be competitive based just on time and budget? If so, I am worried that it will be nothing more than an interactive encylopaedia of whatif's ...

In all respect to the Dev's - Is it a game? ie. Is it fun and has competitive notions beyond just budgetary / time constraints?

_____________________________

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 10:59:11 AM   
Iain McNeil


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If you read the details above notice the short and long term goals in Campaign mode and are about your personal career. Fail to achieve your goals and you can get booted out.

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 1:17:02 PM   
czert2

 

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since this game is multisage, it will be posible to import saves from moon stage to iss stage with all history data ?
basicaly, it allow you to have better/worse start compared to basic new game.

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Post #: 19
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/23/2013 1:26:00 PM   
Iain McNeil


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From: London
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Yes absolutely - the episodes will bolt together in to 1 huge game. I don't think we'll make them stand alone unless there is a big demand for it. Most people want to play from the beginning rather than start part way through the tech tree.

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to czert2)
Post #: 20
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 7:27:12 AM   
jjknap

 

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Are we going to see the movies added today?

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 2:35:22 PM   
Iain McNeil


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From: London
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Check the top post - 4 movies added including the awesome intro video and the interview with Buzz!

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

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Post #: 22
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 5:00:20 PM   
Swedewolf


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Im amazed how beutyfull it is. Im used to have a choice between dept or graphic amazing game choice when Im selecting games to buy. But to have it in the same game, I say, finally. :o)
The music score is Oscar quality in the intro movie. Cant wait for it arrive. Good job all. And shout out to you dr Aldrin. My childhood hero is involved my special interest, game of space exploration. Better than christmas hehe.

ps. I found the forth video and ofcource same high quality on the music score. Just so you know, I wasnt critisized the second films music.

< Message edited by Swedewolf -- 7/24/2013 5:05:41 PM >

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RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 6:51:20 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Swedewolf

Im amazed how beutyfull it is. Im used to have a choice between dept or graphic amazing game choice when Im selecting games to buy. But to have it in the same game, I say, finally. :o)
The music score is Oscar quality in the intro movie. Cant wait for it arrive. Good job all. And shout out to you dr Aldrin. My childhood hero is involved my special interest, game of space exploration. Better than christmas hehe.

ps. I found the forth video and ofcource same high quality on the music score. Just so you know, I wasnt critisized the second films music.


Thank you, we're really glad you liked them! Lots of effort went into that intro trailer

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Swedewolf)
Post #: 24
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 7:13:12 PM   
BigRIJoe

 

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Tell me more about the early access program please

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 25
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 8:11:39 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
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Hello BigRIJoe,

Welcome to the forums.

quote:

ORIGINAL: BigRIJoe

Tell me more about the early access program please


Sure, do you have any specific questions?

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to BigRIJoe)
Post #: 26
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 9:04:13 PM   
Sergeiev

 

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Will there be R-7 launchers ? I see Sputnik launched with a Jupiter C, it's a bit weird. Will there be other launchers than US ones ?

Either way it's going to be a day one purchase for me but having just US rockets would be a big let down. And i don't mention Korolev instead of von Braun.

(in reply to Nacho84)
Post #: 27
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 9:16:05 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
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From: Bournemouth, UK
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Hello Sergeiev,

Welcome to the forums.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sergeiev

Will there be R-7 launchers ? I see Sputnik launched with a Jupiter C, it's a bit weird. Will there be other launchers than US ones ?

Either way it's going to be a day one purchase for me but having just US rockets would be a big let down. And i don't mention Korolev instead of von Braun.


We'll probably replace the Jupiter-C by an R-7 in the final version, yes. Most of the rockets are American, but we have some from other countries as well.

Cheers,




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Sergeiev)
Post #: 28
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 9:38:23 PM   
Sergeiev

 

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Thank you for your quick reply Nacho84.

A Proton i see, nice. :)

Will we be stuck with von Braun or can we hire let's say... Korolev ?

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 29
RE: Space Program Manager at Historicon - 7/24/2013 10:25:08 PM   
Nacho84

 

Posts: 609
Joined: 2/7/2013
From: Bournemouth, UK
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sergeiev

Thank you for your quick reply Nacho84.

A Proton i see, nice. :)

Will we be stuck with von Braun or can we hire let's say... Korolev ?


von Braun is an advisor. You don't hire him, it comes for free

But yes, maybe we can include Korolev as well and give the player the option to choose an advisor at the beginning of the game. What do you think?

Cheers,

_____________________________

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

www.polar-motion.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PolarMotion

(in reply to Sergeiev)
Post #: 30
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