Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space

Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space

Infobox VG
title = Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space

developer = Strategic Visions
publisher = Interplay Entertainment
released = collapsible list|title=March 11 vgy|1993
Floppy disk: March 11 vgy|1993 ["Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" README file.] cite press release|title=ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO AS INTERPLAY LAUNCHES 'BUZZ ALDRIN'S RACE INTO SPACE'|publisher=Interplay Entertainment, PR Newswire|date=1993-04-29|accessdate=2008-08-20]

CD-ROM: vgy|1994 [cite journal|last=Atkin|first=Denny|date=February, 1994|title=Three from Interplay|journal=COMPUTE!|publisher=Small System Services|location=city-state|Greensboro|North Carolina|issue=161|pages=96|url=|issn=0194-357X|oclc=5391833]

genre = Turn-based strategy
modes = Single player, Multiplayer
platforms = MS-DOS
requirements = Floppy disk: IBM PC compatible, 286 12MHz, 640K RAM, MS-DOS 3.1, VGA/MCGA
CD-ROM: IBM PC compatible, 386SX, 4MB RAM, 2.6MB EMS, VGAcite web|url=|title=Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space|publisher=Interplay Entertainment|accessdate=2008-08-20|archiveurl=|archivedate=1996-11-07]

"Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space", frequently abbreviated "BARIS", is a vgy|1993 space simulation and strategy game for MS-DOS. The player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or head of the Soviet space program with the ultimate goal of being the first side to conduct a successful manned moon landing.cite journal|last=May|first=Scott|date=October 1993|title=Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space|journal=COMPUTE!|publisher=Small System Services|location=city-state|Greensboro|North Carolina|volume=15|issue=10|page=88|issn=0194-357X|oclc=5391833|url=] [cite book|last=Bronner|first=Fritz|title=The Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space Companion|publisher=McGraw-Hill|location=city-state|Berkeley|California|year=1993|isbn=0078819385|ref=bronner_1993|page=194] It was developed by Strategic Visions and published by Interplay Entertainment as a computer version of "LIFTOFF!", a 1989 board game developed by Fritz Bronner.cite journal|last=Varney|first=Allen|authorlink=Allen Varney|date=2005-10-04|title=The Buzz is Gone|journal=The Escapist|issue=13|url=|accessdate=2008-08-27|ref=varney_2005|page=2] "BARIS" was re-released in 1994 on CD-ROM, incorporating the earlier updates to the floppy disk version, a few new updates, improved video of the mission launches, [cite journal|date=November 1994|title=Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space|journal=Home Computing & Entertainment|publisher=Plesman Publications|location=city-state|Willowdale|Ontario|page=67|issn=1205-6723|oclc=36688157] [cite news|title=Archival video clips lift Buzz's rating|last=Perkins|first=Lee|date=1994-09-01|work=The Age|publisher=Francis Cooke|page=22|accessdate=2008-08-15] and new multiplayer modes. [cite news|title=Everything New is Old Again|last=Oldenburg|first=Don|coauthors=Rob Pegoraro|date=1994-09-28|work=The Washington Post|publisher=The Washington Post Co.|page=R27|accessdate=2008-08-20]

The developers worked to maintain historical accuracy, including all the actual major space hardware and several alternative proposals that were considered at the time, but did make some compromises and simplifications in the name of game balance and avoiding complexity.cite book|last=Bronner|first=Fritz|title=Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space (manual)|publisher=Interplay Entertainment|location=city-state|Irvine|California|year=1992|ref=manual|page=2] They also consulted Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who permitted his name be used for the game.Bronner 1993, p. 340]


"Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" has two sides, the United States and the Soviet Union, unlike "LIFTOFF!" which supported up to four. [Bronner 1993, p. 329] Each player controls a space center, which doubles as a navigational menu, and directs funding toward purchasing hardware, research and development, recruiting and training astronauts, and conducting launches.

While the ultimate goal of the game is to conduct a successful manned moon landing, it is necessary to complete several milestone achievements to ensure success.Bronner 1993, pp. 201-203] Historical milestones in the game range from launching a satellite, like Sputnik 1, to conducting a lunar orbital mission, like Apollo 8. Skipping a milestone results in a safety penalty to any mission depending on it. For example, skipping a manned lunar orbital mission would cause a safety penalty to all mission steps during a moon landing mission.Bronner 1993, pp. 265-266]

Play begins in spring of 1957 and proceeds with turns lasting six months each for up to 20 years to the end of 1977, or until the first player successfully conducts a manned moon landing. At the start of each turn, the game randomly chooses an "event card" to give the player, usually with a piece of historical information, and sometimes with positive or negative effects on the game. For example, the player may be informed that Operation Paperclip has increased the effect of research and development for that turn. [Bronner 1993, p. 283-284]


While developing "LIFTOFF!" with Task Force Games, Fritz Bronner had considered making a computer version, but did not find much interest within Task Force. [Bronner 1993, p. 335] As Task Force had not optioned the "LIFTOFF!" computer game when they were contractually able, Bronner decided to undertake the development independently. In November 1990 he met and recruited then 22-year-old Michael McCarty as programmer and formed Strategic Visions as a partnership and concluded that publishing would be too daunting a task. They initially decided to program for Amiga and released a videotape demo on that platform in June 1991. However, by September they concluded that the Amiga market was shrinking and decided to change platforms to IBM PC compatible. [Bronner 1993, pp. 337-338, 343]

In August 1991, Strategic Visions signed with Interplay Entertainment to publish the game, with a projected release of May 1992. By this time, Buzz Aldrin was on the project in an advisory role. It was also around this time that Bronner added the feature of astronaut/cosmonaut skills and morale, which previously made no impact on the performance of a mission.cite journal|author=Staff|date=January 1992|title=No More "Spam in a Can"|journal=Computer Gaming World|publisher=Golden Empire Publications|location=city-state|Anaheim|California|issue=90|pages=48, 50|issn=0744-6667|oclc=8482876|url=] Astronaut/cosmonaut skills were initially randomized at the start of each game.

Strategic Visions and Interplay showed a demo of "Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" at the 1992 Consumer Electronics Show in city-state|Las Vegas|Nevada, and also held a reception at Caesars Palace where Buzz Aldrin spoke about his experiences in the space program. [Bronner 1993, p. 344]

Software testing began in September 1992, which proved a daunting task: one tester calculated that with all mission types and hardware permutations factored in, there were over 12,000 possible missions. With failure modes factored in, this number increased to approximately 50 million possible mission outcomes.Bronner 1993, pp. 345-346]

In January 1993, the manual was the last major step delaying shipping. It took 2.5 weeks to design and another 6 weeks before it came back from the printers. "Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" was ready to be released. Production had lasted some 28 months.

The final floppy disk version had some 100 megabytes of photographs and animations cut due to space limitations, and the then-planned modem play was cut as well. Immediately upon completion of the floppy version, however, work began on the CD-ROM version. The CD-ROM version was produced by Interplay's Rusty Buchert, who also produced "Descent". [cite news|title=GAME FANS TAKE THE DESCENT|last=Brown|first=Lonnie|date=1995-04-29|work=The Ledger|publisher=The Ledger Pub. Co.|page=1C|accessdate=2008-09-04]


While Interplay and others [cite journal|last=May|first=Scott A.|date=August 1994|title=Games that are good for you|journal=COMPUTE!|publisher=Small System Services|location=city-state|Greensboro|North Carolina|volume=16|issue=8|pages=90|issn=0194-357X|oclc=5391833|url=|accessdate=2008-08-27] had billed the game upon its release as being appropriate for children as young as age 10, it drew criticism for being extremely difficult.cite news|title=Aldrin takes a tame walk into space|last=Black|first=Dorian|date=1993-06-01|work=The Age|page=32|accessdate=2008-08-24] cite news|title=Two new space programs inform while entertaining Interplay game is history lesson|last=Warner|first=Jack|date=1993-10-24|work=The Atlanta Journal and Constitution|page=P10|accessdate=2008-08-24] It was also criticized by "The Guardian" as being "rather lifeless". [cite news|title=GAMES REVIEWS|last=Minson|first=John|date=1993-06-10|work=The Guardian|page=17|accessdate=2008-08-24] This aside, the game was fairly well-received, gaining a 90/100 from "PC Gamer UK",cite web|url=|title=Buzz Aldrins Race Into Space|last=Butcher|first=Andy|work=PC Gamer UK|publisher=Future plc|accessdate=2008-08-20|archiveurl=|archivedate=2002-05-23] was a finalist for the "COMPUTE!" Choice Awards in 1993cite journal|last=Bixby|first=Robert|date=December 1993|title=Compute Choice Awards|journal=COMPUTE!|url=|publisher=Small System Services|location=city-state|Greensboro|North Carolina|volume=15|issue=12|page=8|issn=0194-357X|oclc=5391833] and has remained popular enough with fans to spawn an open-source version from the original developers at Strategic Visions in 2005. [cite web|url=|title=Race Into Space Project: Overview|publisher=Race Into Space Project|accessdate=2008-08-28] Varney 2005, p. 3]


reusable minishuttle, named for a fictional successor to the X-20 Dyna-Soar (the picture used is actually of the M2-F3 lifting body). [Bronner 1993, p. 138] ] While Strategic Visions worked to accurately simulate space launches and the act of running either space program, they made a number of simplifications for balancing as well as for the game to make sense. For example, four NASA launch facilities are condensed into one superfacility. [cite journal|last=Chien|first=Philip|coauthors=Denny Atkin|date=July 1994|title=Blast off!|journal=COMPUTE!|publisher=Small System Services|location=city-state|Greensboro|North Carolina|volume=16|issue=7|page=90|issn=0194-357X|oclc=5391833] More significant is the elimination of some minor rocket programs, such as Redstone, and the addition of docking capability to the Voskhod spacecraft. There is also a "basic" model in the game which equalizes various differences in hardware and budget between both sides. [Bronner 1993, p. 195] Despite this, "BARIS" still features most if not all of the major pieces of hardware and approaches to moon landing that were considered, including lunar orbit rendezvous, Earth orbit rendezvous and direct ascent.


External links

*moby game|id=/buzz-aldrins-race-into-space
* [ Race Into Space Project] , a free software edition of "BARIS"
* [ The Docking Module] , a "BARIS" fansite

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