Soviets need to be better balanced?

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jack44465
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Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by jack44465 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:13 pm

i feel as though the soviets are a bit overpowered at the beginning. they opened all of the sputnik programs then opened the space plane and vostok like immediately and im just sitting here with the Juno booster and explorer program open..

Drewpan
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Re: Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by Drewpan » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:32 am

Hi,

Wait until you play the Soviets and the USA successfully launches a Manned Apollo Sub-orbital in 1961!

This part of the game is definitely unbalanced at this time and NEEDS work. While I am comfortable with
the other player taking an historical track to make the game fair, I would prefer a more predictive or
reactive AI player. By this I mean that if the Human skipped Mercury then the AI would Open Voshkod to
keep up. Or the AI might skip Vostok and develop PKA instead then go to Voshkod. This would also help
prevent the Human taking advantage of a purely historical AI.

Thoughts from Ignaccio?

Cheers!

Andrew (Drewpan)

KyleS
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Re: Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by KyleS » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:45 am

I've played the version 0.8.5 game as Soviets 6 times now, 3 on Normal where I won all 3 times and the US was nowhere near landing on the Moon (I keep doing landings for another 2 years waiting and they never manage more than a lunar flyby) and 3 on Hard where I won twice, once by at least 2 years, the other time by a season, the 3rd time I lost I was just really unlucky where I had craft with 90+% reliability and got catastrophic missions twice in a row. I've not tried it on Buzz Hard yet.

They can open a lot of programmes, question is can they afford enough staff and launches to get them up successfully. Like they can start with Apollo, but then how many launches can they do with it, let's be realistic. It's a race, if you sprint at the start you'll tank out early and the people who paced themselves will outrun you.

Drewpan
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Re: Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by Drewpan » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:46 pm

Hi,
KyleS wrote:I've played the version 0.8.5 game as Soviets 6 times now, 3 on Normal where I won all 3 times and the US was nowhere near landing on the Moon (I keep doing landings for another 2 years waiting and they never manage more than a lunar flyby) and 3 on Hard where I won twice, once by at least 2 years, the other time by a season, the 3rd time I lost I was just really unlucky where I had craft with 90+% reliability and got catastrophic missions twice in a row. I've not tried it on Buzz Hard yet.

They can open a lot of programmes, question is can they afford enough staff and launches to get them up successfully. Like they can start with Apollo, but then how many launches can they do with it, let's be realistic. It's a race, if you sprint at the start you'll tank out early and the people who paced themselves will outrun you.
My problem is firstly, where do they get the money to open all of these programs? Remember you need a level 3 VAB to purchase the Saturn V Booster and
you also need a high Admin to get the number of Projects open high enough to get the other projects. Not to mention the cost to OPEN the projects.

Secondly, I actually had the USA SUCCESSFULLY launch a Manned Apollo Sub-orbital flight in 1961. I didn't finish that game since the
newer update came out, but the implication in the newer version was that this was still happening. In 1961 I only had a Vostok that
was READY for a manned launch they beat me with technology that technically they COULDN'T have had. Also being that far ahead
implies that they would have achieved a Manned Lunar Landing by about 1964/5.

I agree that it is a race and that they should tank but in my gaming experience they aren't.

I think part of my issue stems from the fact that being able to open programs early may be a winning GAME strategy, but realistically
it was not technically possible. The Gemini Project HAD to be built on top of Mercury, otherwise NASA really would have
"Needed Another Seven Astronauts".

I think the solution may be to allow SOME missions to be done early or later, eg Manned Duration II,III & IV could be done by Gemini OR Apollo.
This gives the player flexibility on HOW they race because technology improves with use. Also there needs to be Technology Lockout until
some Goals are achieved as in Mercury is not available unless X-15 and Orbital Satellite is completed (which is a bit harsh and forcing I know).
Maybe preventing Gemini from being opened until a successful Mercury Unmanned Sub-orbital is achieved might be the answer.

I am actually working along these lines with Ignaccio at the moment. My Goal in this game is to get a good playable game that is well balanced,
roughly historical but gives the player options, and challenging. If I can help achieve that I will be happy.

Cheers!

Andrew (Drewpan)

KyleS
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Re: Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by KyleS » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:28 am

I wouldn't force things, eg making Mercury a prerequisite for Gemini. It's not that it was physically impossible to make a 2-man capsule before a 1-man one had flown, it's just that it was a lot easier. Historically the Russians tried to skip steps, eg in developing the N-1 before having really properly developed less sophisticated rockets. So you can skip steps, you're just making things harder - the shortcut rarely is actually shorter. But if you're lucky and/or your scientists are really good, it might just work!

So I would suggest instead:

1) make the pace of R&D improvement a bit slower (increase the Difficulty rating) for historically later programmes, combined with
2) make the Reliability carryover between programmes greater, and
3) make the Reliability carryover between capsules/probes visible to the player as it is for Rockets/Man-rated Rockets

For example, Gemini could be opened straight away at 0%, or if you've got Mercury to 90% it'd start at 50%. But the player has to know this, thus the third point.

I don't know where the CPU player gets the money to do things, for example in my games I've seen them do two manned launches a season in 1960-62, which implies 20 or so MC guys. But I don't know how the game treats the non-player side, whether it goes through all the same stuff as us, or there's just some random chart in there governing the steps they achieve, unrelated to the game mechanics players have to deal with. It's one the reasons I said in this thread that we should see all the launches of the opposing player, at least the ones that don't fizzle out during countdown or launch. If a rocket makes it into orbit, the whole world will know about it, even if they don't know all the details.

Drewpan
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Re: Soviets need to be better balanced?

Post by Drewpan » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:02 am

Hi,
KyleS wrote:I wouldn't force things, eg making Mercury a prerequisite for Gemini. It's not that it was physically impossible to make a 2-man capsule before a 1-man one had flown, it's just that it was a lot easier. Historically the Russians tried to skip steps, eg in developing the N-1 before having really properly developed less sophisticated rockets. So you can skip steps, you're just making things harder - the shortcut rarely is actually shorter. But if you're lucky and/or your scientists are really good, it might just work!
I don't like the idea of forcing players to do certain things either, but some things do need to be done in a certain order.

I agree that it would have been physically possible to construct a two man capsule in 1961 but there are other technology
issues that would have prevented it's launch. Transistors for example were still primitive in relative terms and electronics was
still fairly unreliable. Just look at what was around in the 1970s to see that and the Integrated Circuit was introduced then.

The weight alone probably would have prevented a launch as American (German) Rocket Science was still learning to build
big rockets. Thousands of Atlases and Titans failed before they were considered reliable enough to take a man. A man rated
Atlas failed only 8 weeks before John Glenn's Orbital flight.

The Russians did indeed skip steps but their Boosters were much more reliable and had a much greater lifting capability
because they deliberately over engineered then to begin with due to the Russians being behind in materials technology.
The Russians still use basically the same design today to launch as they did back in the 1960s.

When Korolev got to Peenemunde after the USA looted it there was very little usable hardware left to "steal", but of what was left
Korolev himself already had more advanced designs. He just couldn't build them because he didn't know how to make the exotic alloys
needed to make them work. What Korolev did get however was the German Technicians who taught him about the metallurgy and
such like. These are the type of problems I am referring to - the problems with technology were still there, they were just more
advanced problems that stopped things from happening.

The Russians were not as urgent in their Space Program initially either as Khrushchev was more interested in shorter term goals in the area,
ie. "Do something amazing for May Day Parade Sergei!" One of the other things that held them back was also Korolev's desire to stay in power
in regards to the Program they did have, and so he rejected and held back better designs from the other Design Bureau . One of the major
reasons the N1 failed was it's complexity. Instead of designing a good BIG engine like the USA did for the Saturns, they made the N1 using LOTS
of smaller engines. Individually those smaller engines were very sound, but in this case more is not always better.

When Korolev died, one of his legacies was to leave behind a mess that took a while to fix and the Russians went from in front in many areas to
behind.

KyleS wrote:So I would suggest instead:

1) make the pace of R&D improvement a bit slower (increase the Difficulty rating) for historically later programmes, combined with
2) make the Reliability carryover between programmes greater, and
3) make the Reliability carryover between capsules/probes visible to the player as it is for Rockets/Man-rated Rockets

For example, Gemini could be opened straight away at 0%, or if you've got Mercury to 90% it'd start at 50%. But the player has to know this, thus the third point.
I think BARIS and the board game by Fritz Bonner "Liftoff"on which it was based handled this reasonably well. And I fully agree that this should be done, and is to an
extent. It is a matter of getting it more balanced to work properly.

One point I have raised that is too late to be changed in BASPM but may be looked at in BASPM 2 is that I basically pay for the Atlas and Titan Rocket three separate
times depending on what I want/need. Historically the main difference between the different models was the upper stage configuration and a slight modernisation
of basic hardware. For example the Agena Stage was used on Atlas and Titan, but in the game the difference is a whole new Rocket for each that I have to Research!
I have spoken to Ignaccio about designing BASPM 2 in such a way as to develop these upper stage boosters and strap ons and add them to a basic Rocket as required.
KyleS wrote:
I don't know where the CPU player gets the money to do things, for example in my games I've seen them do two manned launches a season in 1960-62, which implies 20 or so MC guys. But I don't know how the game treats the non-player side, whether it goes through all the same stuff as us, or there's just some random chart in there governing the steps they achieve, unrelated to the game mechanics players have to deal with. It's one the reasons I said in this thread that we should see all the launches of the opposing player, at least the ones that don't fizzle out during countdown or launch. If a rocket makes it into orbit, the whole world will know about it, even if they don't know all the details.
I also have spoken about this on another thread(s). I like the idea of a "Spy Agency" where you Pay for real information and the Media may or may not be correct.
This is what happened in BARIS and I think Liftoff did it too but it is a while since I played Liftoff. It also was fairly realistic during the Cold War.

This is an interesting discussion anyhow.

Cheers!

Andrew (Drewpan)

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