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Space Shuttle 101» Forums » General

Subject: Time for an update! rss

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Dominic Mahon
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Having recently returned from a family holiday in Orlando and two fantastic visits to Kennedy Space Centre, I have had a resurgence of interest in all things to do with NASA and, particularly, the Space Shuttle program.

As a consequence I've dug out a bunch of old books, bought some new ones and have even bought this game off eBay - just waiting for it to arrive now.

Having looked through the (few) comments here and elsewhere on the web, it looks like it was probably a brave, new game back in 1978 but could be improved with some rules work and a bit of bringing up to date.

So, in honour of the inspirational 30 year Space Shuttle program, I have decided to upgrade the game and rename it "Space Shuttle 135" (after the 135 missions flown). I already have a ton of ideas written down, so watch this space... (assuming anyone ever visits this game forum again of course!)
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Dominic Mahon
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So, the original game has now arrived and I've had a chance to read through all the rules and check out the components. It's definitely showing its age, both in regard to the physical state of the game (not too bad at all but a few signs of being almost 40 years old...) but, more obviously, in regard to the kind of Missions foreseen by the designers in 1978.

However, I think it was a great basis for a game about the Shuttle Program and will work really well if updated.

I've already selected just over 60 real Shuttle Missions to convert for the game (several of which actually mirror the 1978 cards) and am working out the details of the mechanics to make it more varied than the original version.

I've also e-mailed a games company that may be linked to the original distributor, the "Ungame Company" and I'll see if they know anything about the author and/or copyright owner now.

More to follow...
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Dominic Mahon
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So, no reply from the 'Ungame' publishers Talicor as yet.

I'm working on the Missions, putting the details onto a Powerpoint (well the Mac version...) as that appears to me to be the easiest way to create something I can print out double-sided, landscape format, six to a sheet and cut up into cards. Got as far as Mission 19 of my planned 60 or so.

And the rules are developing nicely too, using a 3d6 mechanic I've been playing for years in GURPS (a role-playing game system if you're not familiar). I've bought some cheap bits from an art store so I can make a 'rough draft' of the game to test it out and tinker with the rules until I'm happy with it. then I can consider getting others to play-test it for me, assuming I can find people that would be interested... (Gentle hint - If you read this and are at all interested, please Geekmail me!!)

More updates to follow...
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Neal Sofge
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dom5 wrote:
It's definitely showing its age, both in regard to the physical state of the game (not too bad at all but a few signs of being almost 40 years old...) but, more obviously, in regard to the kind of Missions foreseen by the designers in 1978.

I think those missions were fed to the designers by Rockwell International, not formulated in-house. At the time NASA was selling the STS as providing such low-cost access to space that all sorts of previously-impractical mission concepts could fly. Here's a couple of useful reference documents:

Space Shuttle
https://history.nasa.gov/SP-407/sp407.htm
Good general overview, publish date contemporary with the game.

The Space Shuttle Decision
https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/ch6.htm
In-depth historical document, with lots of info on the trade-offs and design compromises made during the program's development; this chapter is all about economics and why people thought it would be so cheap.
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Dominic Mahon
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Thanks very much Neal, those are really useful links. I've got a couple of books that date back to the start of the Shuttle-flying era but not back to the design stage so that really helps me understand the context of the projected costings and missions.

Hopefully, my update to the game will bring out the way the Shuttle program moved on from the original vision and, despite a lot of challenges, achieved a huge amount during its thirty years.

I'll be very grateful for any thoughts you may have once I start uploading elements of the new game design for play-testing and review

Thanks for your interest.
 
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Neal Sofge
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To be honest, I've had my own redesign on the back burner for nearly five years. Maybe I'll just post it as-is, I'll clearly never find the time to finish it despite (or perhaps because of) my day job as a NASA contractor.

For card layout, I recommend you look at nanDECK, which is a free program specifically designed for that.
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Dominic Mahon
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sofge wrote:
To be honest, I've had my own redesign on the back burner for nearly five years. Maybe I'll just post it as-is, I'll clearly never find the time to finish it despite (or perhaps because of) my day job as a NASA contractor.


Wow, no wonder you've got lots of space exploration mini-badges! What do you do at NASA? I'd certainly love to see how you have redesigned the game with your experience of game design.

sofge wrote:
For card layout, I recommend you look at nanDECK, which is a free program specifically designed for that.


Thanks again Neal, I'll check that out, appreciate your advice
 
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Neal Sofge
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I work in the Astrophysics Science Division, home of Astronomy Picture of the Day: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

As for the redesign, I'll see if I can dig it up this week.
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Dominic Mahon
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Whoa! There are some seriously cool photos there Neal, I could easily spend days looking through the archives Must be a fantastic place to work.

If you get a chance to post your redesign, I'd be really grateful. As a newcomer to designing (or redesigning) games, I would love to know what approach someone with experience has taken.
 
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Julian Simms
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Hi there, any updates? Been looking at loads of games to update and convert potentially for a few schools related projects and this one sounds amazing!
 
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