Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager Semi-Lifts Off

By Alec Meer on October 30th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

will we be waiting lightyears for Buzz to be finished?

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.

__________________

« | »

, , .

38 Comments »

    • distantlurker says:

      I thought this *was* race to mars as they passed greenlight yesterday.

      I take it that Slitherine are just being really mean and Early-Accessing-Up right now to bury coverage of RTMars?

      Harsh.

      • AbigailBuccaneer says:

        A Race-To-Space-race? Delightful!

      • Iain at Slitherine says:

        Believe it or not we have better things to do than monitor a greenlight campaign for other developers games :)

        The release date for Space Program Manager has been set for months and announced weeks ago as you can see in the discussions about the countdown to release on our forums.

        http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=1168

        Don’t not let the facts spoil a good conspiracy theory though :)

        • Surlywombat says:

          Actually, the burning question on everyone’s mind of not whether there was a conspiracy, but why it’s not called “Buzz Aldrin’s SPACEFACE”.

        • distantlurker says:

          Duly noted, my most sincere apologies to you and your team and the best of luck with your game.

          /tiphat

        • The Random One says:

          I’d make a joke about Buzz Aldrin and conspiracies, but I don’t want to get punched.

        • cptgone says:

          Slitherine “have better things to do” – like, count your money? point and laugh at the gamers who cannot afford your extortionate prices? expand your near-monopoly in strategy games? bury even more games in your gated community?

    • Nats says:

      Race to Mars presently looks pants, they are miles away from having anywhere near a game yet, and they are just about to go Early Access on Steam – yet another Steam purchase you ‘might’ be able to play in 3 years time. I would avoid it for a few years yet, its not even an alpha stage game. This BASPM game though is playable now (albeit rather simple as it stands in its present Early Access format) and is good fun. They are just adding two new Race to the Moon campaigns to the base game to satisfy user feedback, which is nice to see.

  1. Harlander says:

    Woah, woah, WOAH. You do NOT want to go to space in an alpha, unfinished, early access rocket.

    Why not? It worked* in Kerbal Space Program…

    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.

    This won’t be the first space race simulator Buzz has allowed his name be put to, though presumably there won’t be so much cold war fervour around the new one

    *for given values of “work” including but not limited to “explode”

  2. SilentDawn says:

    So basically it’s KSP, only without the fun of actually flying to space.

    • flat says:

      Or the fun of not actually getting into space.

    • Iain at Slitherine says:

      It is not really anything like Kerbal. It is a simulation of the entire Space Program, recruiting scientists engineers, flight controllers and astronauts, training them, researching components, opening programs, managing budgets, launching missions, achieving goals etc. It is very much a sim, whereas Kerbal is more of a physics system where you bolt things together and see the results, which while very entertaining is a completely different game.

      • LimEJET says:

        So it’s basically what KSP is going to become.

        • Nats says:

          If it ever gets there, but KSP is more of a hands on space game with aspects of economy and research, but not really based on anything historical – I think the sandbox will always be the most fun way to play Kerbal especially when resources are added. But this is a Space Program management game where you can relive the actual moon missions.

      • TaylanK says:

        So you’re saying it’s kinda like Jagged Alliance where you train the astronauts for an orbital shootout like in Call of Duty: Ghosts.

        (j/k – I love a good management sim)

      • UmmonTL says:

        Will it stay in the current reality or will there be some futuristic elements like missions/stations further out in the solar system or even in deep space?

        • Iain at Slitherine says:

          Episode one takes you up to the moon. Episode 2 takes you to the International Space Station. Episode 3 takes you to the future and Mars. There are what if missions throughout and designs that never left the drawing board.

  3. Don Reba says:

    Pretty amazing, how sparse good realistic space-exploration-related entertainment was for so long, and how now we get two great space movies in the same year (Gravity and Europa Report) and a whole bunch of games.

    • vivlo says:

      That’s the tides of human’s interest towards Space, or of human’s faith into technology, or of human’s need ot technologically impress in an era where some ideological models are concurrenced ; tides going back and forth.

    • Iain at Slitherine says:

      This type of complex and detailed simulation takes a lot of time to research. R&D started in 2007 as a part time project for the lead developer and has grown in to a significant team and large project over the last 12 months. I think we’re quite lucky with the timing as there is definitely a surge in interest in Space though we can hardly claim that was our plan 6 years ago!

  4. razgon says:

    There is also Take on Mars, but that focuses more on the technical aspects of vehicles and rovers so far.

  5. TC-27 says:

    Ian at Slitherine – If you can deliver anything like the fun I got from playing BARIS back in the day (and still sometimes in DOSBOX these days) take my money….infact just done for £20 its worth a punt.

    Are any of the mission steps animated or is it all picture stills?

    PS I also love KSP but they are cleary complimentary types of game even if they are on the same theme.

    • harcalion says:

      There is a modern port of BARIS available, so no need for DOSBOX. The developers released the source code and all the game content. I have downloaded it several times, only need time to get into it :). Right now the name is only “Race into Space” in order to avoid name rights suits from Buzz Aldrin et al.

    • Iain at Slitherine says:

      If you join the Early Access Program its only $19.99/£13.99 which is $10 off the final price at release and you get to play it now and you get to help guide the future development.

  6. Ultarim says:

    I may be wrong, but I don’t know why Steam is even mentionned, since it’s Early Access, but it has nothing to do with Steam.

  7. Mr. Bottomhat says:

    The Space Program Manager genré was perfected 1998 by Levande Böcker’s Rymdjakten.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCesC52Y1CE

  8. Megadyptes says:

    1024×768 resolution, stupid price, a fucking retarded company that habitually overprices their games and argues like a bunch of retards when defending their stupid pricing policy. Think I’ll pass on this, the original Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space is probably a lot better anyway.

    • Megadyptes says:

      Oh and selling the game in three parts, which you have to pay for individually. I fucking hate Matrix/Slitherine and what they’re doing to the wargaming/niche strategy gaming market and I really pity the devs that sign up with them.

      • Iain at Slitherine says:

        I’m sorry you feel £13.99 is too much for a game that has been in development for 6 years and is going to be one of the best in its genre. The game is in 3 parts as it is so big. Part 1 is already 1.2 GB. I supposed we could have not mentioned parts 2 and 3 and announced them as sequels later, but wanted to be upfront.

        The feedback from the forums so far is hugely positive and its a completely new set of customers – almost all new users from their post counts.

      • Nats says:

        Its fair for the work they will be putting into the game. If you dont like Slitherine dont buy their stuff. Stick with Steam’s or Origins DRM systems. Personally I am trying to remove my reliance on Steam so I value these other developers whos till produce DRM free games. Apart from that Slitherine do some good niche games and obviously if you do niche games they have to be more expensive to recoup your outlay. Its just economic sense.

  9. Nats says:

    It is shaping up to be a great game, I just got the Early Access version. The first part goes up to the moon, second part probably the shuttle up to the ISS, and the third part up to Mars. Its a big game as well – most missions are covered including some unusual ones like the Gemini direct descent version for doing a lunar landing before Apollo. All the missions are well animated and exciting. You get to choose crew, personnel, research parts and assign the budget. Mix and match rockets/payloads are coming as are detailed failures and random events. The things I would like to see added are material purchase, parts construction, detailed crew training options (at the moment you just assign training and its automatic), more early spaceplane/training missions – that might boost astronaut training, and other benefits from doing missions (other than just providing prestige) such as training boosts, being able to jump ahead in certain missions, maybe opening up programs that were considered but not used in real life etc. Overall its a great game and it has a lot of potential. Its lovely to see a resurgence of space games after such a long time with none, rather than just endless FPS and RTS game clones. Thank goodness for the small developers. Now all we need to see is a resurgence in the semi-complex flight sim market that has been long dead, and used to be a mainstay of PC gaming in the 90s.

  10. dublish says:

    Nobody cares about people who stayed in the CM, Michael. Get your own game.

  11. Iain at Slitherine says:

    That’s not strictly true is it, but why bother letting the facts spoil a good argument :)

    Here is what you get as part of the Early Access Program and what is included and what not:

    http://www.slitherine.com/BA_SPM_EarlyAccess

    All of the changes are to come for free as part of the EAP. This is info is linked to from the product page, the announcement and the forums.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>