From: Danville, IL
I must say that I was a dedicated player of Fritz Bronner's original BARIS back in the early nineties. I was very excited to see the remake was underway. I did not do the early access because the comments at the time were directed more towards making the game a sandbox and not about the space race. Glad to see that the cold war space race made it into the game as a critical element in the remake.
When I first started playing the SPM I thought it was not as good or engaging as the original BARIS. In some ways it will never be since the original mixed in footage from the original missions and quite frankly, that limits the ability to depict every possible hardware combination. I also miss the wonderful classical music and screensaver in the original as it was tastefully done. Also missed was the immersion caused by the fake news reports at the start of each turn as well as the nail biting details when there was a failure in a mission step.
I also did not see the benefit of some of the rocket options in the new version.
Now, after a month of gameplay, I can say that the graphics and animation for the various hardware combinations are very well done. I have found pretty much all of the rocket programs useful at one time or another. The only program that is a real duplication are the two Saturn programs. Even then, in some games I will choose one or the other as the animations for both are cool. While it doesn't make sense to use some of the rockets in the game when playing on "easy", the game is entirely different on "hard" (which is normal funds). Winning is not easy and often budgetary funds will drive you to the cheaper rocket programs. In those cases the logic of starting with Atlas since it can do most of what you need in the first decade doesn't really work. Not only is the start up costs much higher but when you do need to start flying the rocket the added expense of buying an Atlas for each launch could mean that you can't afford to fly some of the early missions as quickly as needed to build prestige. This puts you into a cycle of bill-lock where you can't afford to fly and as a result your budget is on the low end of the spectrum during the next budget cycle. This is hard to make up and often results in a loss. If you had bought the less expensive, less capable rockets, it is easier on the budget, you get to fly more, and as a result get more prestige which means bigger budgets in the next cycle. Even the Redstone is quite desirable on hard and works well. Seems to me that hard is the way the game was meant to be played.
On easy I can win playing either side. On hard, I have to think, plan, and be a little lucky. I have had 5 times where the Soviet computer AI beat me to the moon landing by only one or two turns. Seeing that, it really develops the desire to push in some areas, just like the original.
On the mission control panel, at first I thought that it was a bit of a waste....after playing a lot, I pay attention to which controller positions are being used for each phase of the mission. This is important to understand since success means allocating the best mix of controllers across the required slots, and you rarely have everyone trained up to max for every slot. This is very important if you are flying hardware that is still under 90% reliable or doing mission steps that have a penalty.
I do look forward to further enhancements to the game and hope that it sells well enough for part 2 to be done.
Note to Nacho84: On the Gemini EOR missions where you have the Gemini capsule and service module, the astronaut commander slot is showing "cosmonaut" instead of "commander". I also noticed that when I flew the mission where it said cosmonaut, post mission the icon box for the astronaut was not activiated so I could click on it to see how much experience they gained during the flight. Minor issue that you might want to correct for next patch.
Again, thanks for making the game. I am enjoying it a lot.