By Alec Meer on October 30th, 2013 at 10:00 am.
Woah, woah, WOAH. You do NOT want to go to space in an alpha, unfinished, early access rocket. That’s just asking for trouble. Things were tricky enough in Apollo 13 as they were – imagine if they set off in a craft they knew was full of bugs and had a missing door and just the word PLACEHOLDER in yellow paint where the oxygen recycler was supposed to be. Perhaps Buzz Aldrin’s willingness to jump the gun, as demonstrated by the Space Program Manager game which bears his name making its way to the divisive Steam Early Access today, is why he wasn’t allowed to be the first man on the moon. Smart thinking, NASA.
The Slitherine-published, Polar Motion-developed is available at a selection of prices, all the way up to a $100 version that ensures “your name and photo in the game as one of the SET personnel, a flight controller or an astronaut.” That stuff’s all the rage now, that sort of strange electronic pseudo-fame for a price.
Standard access is $20, but I’m afraid I’m not currently in a position to tell you how unfinished and/or ropey the current version of the game feels in practice. The current contents, and what is absent, are listed here in depth however. The fact it’ll only run at 1024×768 for now ensures I’m keeping away until a later build, but if you have an ancient monitor or like blurry images you’re laughing.
The concept of the game’s appealing though -essentially it’s Theme NASA, or NASA Manager 2014, only it has options to diverge from current and likely future history. F’rinstance, “instead of sending men to the Moon using the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) approach used by Project Apollo in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you will be able to rewrite history and use either the alternative Earth Orbit Rendezvous (EOR) or Direct Ascent schemes”, while missions to Mars are also planned for future updates.
Apparently it’s being developed in consultation with Buzz Aldrin, though whether he’s actually involved with the science and tech aspects or is just shouting ‘HOW DID YOU MAKE THE ROCKETS SMALL ENOUGH TO LIVE INSIDE YOUR COMPUTER?’ is unknown at the time of going to press.