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NASA Playing With Unreal Engine For Virtual World

CmdrTaco posted about 8 years ago | from the practicing-martian-genocide dept.

116

An anonymous reader writes "Daniel Laughlin, Project Manager for NASA's Learning Technologies Office spoke at the International Space Flight Museum in SecondLife and said that they are using the Unreal 3 Engine to create a synthetic world for training. The mission? The moon by 2020, and Mars by 2035. He said, 'We are combining the efforts of a commercial game developer, two universities and two NASA mission directorates into the project. If we can't check off all three boxes at the end, then we'll have done a poor job.'"

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Cool (3, Funny)

_the_bascule (740525) | about 8 years ago | (#16950602)

I always preferd the low-grav levels myself :)

Re:Cool (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16953452)

Low-Grav Instagib CTF on the Facing Worlds map = best game ever.

Re:Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16953666)

Low-Grav Instagib CTF on the Facing Worlds map = best game ever.
Heh, I thought I was the only one.

Re:Cool (4, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | about 8 years ago | (#16956036)

Just as long as they don't use the Doom 3 engine. We won't be able to find astronauts still brave enough to actually go on a real mission.

spacecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16950606)

So what sort of spacecraft are they going to put this Unreal engine onto? I hope it provides enough thrust to get us where we're going.

Re:spacecraft? (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16951910)

I'm just hoping they get all the units in the code straight, or Mars crashes.

KFG

Re:spacecraft? (2, Informative)

Pfhreak (662302) | about 8 years ago | (#16955992)

The Unreal Engine is merely a proof-of-concept device. It will be used to lay the R&D groundwork for the much more powerful Infinite Improbability Drive.

Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (3, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 8 years ago | (#16950618)

is to find a way to play video games at work. I'd be more inclined to believe it was work related if there really were gun toting zombies on the Moon.

Re:Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (2, Funny)

Lex-Man82 (994679) | about 8 years ago | (#16950776)

Hey man, there are gun toting zombies on the moon why else do you think we've never been back?

Re:Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16951164)

We've never been back because we don't have a defense against the Mooninites' Quad Laser.

No one can defeat the quad-laser! It is over now! The bullet is enormous, there is no escaping! Jumping...is useless!

Re:Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | about 8 years ago | (#16950992)

ah you never played doom. The weapon wielding zombies are on Mars.

The moon is full of aliens trying to destroy us.

Re:Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (2, Informative)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | about 8 years ago | (#16955258)

And you never played DOOM either apparently. The demons are on Phobos.

Re:Your mission should you decide to accept it.... (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 8 years ago | (#16955260)

Well that explains them ordering 1,000 copies of Doom 3 as "training material" for the Mars mission.

Sweet.. (5, Funny)

le0p (932717) | about 8 years ago | (#16950640)

* Armstrong decapitates Martian with the Shock Rifle * Armstrong decapitates Martian with the Shock Rifle ** DOUBLE KILL **

Re:Sweet.. (3, Funny)

Harry_Ballsak (942394) | about 8 years ago | (#16951742)

dam bunny hopper.

Re:Sweet.. (1)

camg188 (932324) | about 8 years ago | (#16953174)

decapitate? I think you mean -HEADSHOT!-.

Re:Sweet.. (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 8 years ago | (#16953870)

Armstrong decapitates Martian 7 more times. W... W... W... W... Wicked Sick!!!

Checking off boxes...? (-1, Troll)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#16950666)

The only check off box NASA needs to be concern about is converting measurements between different systems. There's a big difference between pounds and kilograms. If you jump off the virtual moon and go flying into orbit, you're know they didn't do the gravity calculation correctly.

Re:Checking off boxes...? (1)

drrck (959788) | about 8 years ago | (#16950764)

Also converting between nautical miles, and standard miles.

Re:Checking off boxes...? (1)

creimer (824291) | about 8 years ago | (#16950876)

I know there's speculation of water on the moon and Mars. But I didn't think there was enough for any type of water vehicle. Maybe that's part of the post-terraforming stage of the game? :)

Re:Checking off boxes...? (1)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | about 8 years ago | (#16955328)

You mean Martian nautical mile or Earth nautical mile.

No, nautical mile probably will not be used even when Mars is terraformed. Even if it is used, it will not be the same as the Earth's nautical mile.

Here lies the definition:
Nautical Mile is the a minute of arc along a meridian of the Earth. [wikipedia.org]

Oblig. (3, Funny)

Control Group (105494) | about 8 years ago | (#16950702)

And a good thing, too, or they'd be completely unprepared for the Skaarj - and that's only if they make it out of the prison ship!

Why UT3? (2, Interesting)

Lissajous (989738) | about 8 years ago | (#16950738)

It's $350K for heavens sake! Why not http://www.ogre3d.org/ [ogre3d.org] coupled with http://www.ode.org/ [ode.org] ? Surely combining those with 2 university departments where you'll no doubt find people already familiar with the source code would be a more sensible approach to developing serious games.
Sheesh. Money to burn.

Re:Why UT3? (2, Interesting)

Lissajous (989738) | about 8 years ago | (#16951004)

Oops - I take the $350K back (heh - I wish!)...no I didn't RTFA (c'mon...this *is* /. after all). They'll of course be using custom license http://www.unrealtechnology.com/html/licensing/ter ms.shtml [unrealtechnology.com] . But I still stand by the "why not FOSS?" question.
This is precisely the kind of project that could both benefit and benefit from the FOSS paradigm, especially considering the duration of the projects. Who knows what's going to happen to Epic over the next 20-odd years?
I know this is really just NASA wanting some kind of PR exercise, but the concerns of their launch technology (if you excuse the pun) not being available throughout the duration ought to have some sway over how they approach the project.

Re:Why UT3? (2, Informative)

TodMinuit (1026042) | about 8 years ago | (#16951096)

Unreal is a very good engine. Ogre and all the other open source engines are not. They want something that will get out of their way, so they can spend their valuable time on creating an application, not bringing a 3D engine up to speed.

Re:Why UT3? (2, Interesting)

Lissajous (989738) | about 8 years ago | (#16951314)

Unreal is a very good engine. Ogre and all the other open source engines are not.

That's a fairly sweeping statement. I guess ogre being not particularly good and needing bringing up to speed was why they were one of the Google Summer of Code participants?
You might want to, oh I don't know, actually find out about the OSS tech you slate before hitting the submit button.
I suggest http://www.ogre3d.org/index.php?option=com_content &task=view&id=394&Itemid=2 [ogre3d.org] would be a good place to start. Then if you still think that ogre isn't particularly good, why not grab a copy from SVN and back up your claims. Oh, and whilst you're there, fix what you think is wrong with it, and submit it. See - that's how OSS works. NASA wouldn't have to do a thing about it because there's highly informed people like you all around the world making it better for them!

Re:Why UT3? (1)

everphilski (877346) | about 8 years ago | (#16952720)

I guess ogre being not particularly good and needing bringing up to speed was why they were one of the Google Summer of Code participants?

Yes, exactly. And its a far cry for UT, lacking physics and other features. And even in rendering other open source packages like OpenSceneGraph are a lot better. (And are used at NASA on other projects). Remember, NASA is looking for results, now, not for a long development cycle...

Re:Why UT3? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#16953172)

I guess ogre being not particularly good and needing bringing up to speed was why they were one of the Google Summer of Code participants?

Uh, yeah. If it was good and up to speed, it wouldn't have needed to be a google summer of code participant. See, the summer of code was for writing code. Stop me if this isn't making sense, and I'll see if I can use smaller words.

Oh, and whilst you're there, fix what you think is wrong with it, and submit it. See - that's how OSS works.

I hate this fucking argument. Not everyone is a programmer. Build a bridge, and get over this fact. There's lots of valuable skills out there and programming is only one of them. If someone says that a program needs help, they're not automatically wrong if they aren't one.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

MORB (793798) | about 8 years ago | (#16952574)

Comparing Ogre and Unreal is comparing apples with oranges.

Ogre is only a rendering engine. Unreal is not only that, it include the necessary high level framework, scripting integration, and editing tools to make a game.

There is no open source equivalent of this stuff that I know of at the time. And all that high level and toolset stuff is hard to get right, even for most video game companies who often develop awful solutions for this stuff.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#16953262)

There is no open source equivalent of this stuff that I know of at the time.

Sauerbraten [sauerbraten.org]

Re:Why UT3? (1)

MORB (793798) | about 8 years ago | (#16953672)

Yes, I've seen this. Cube was already nifty and Sauerbraten is indeed very cool.

However, as far as I could tell, while editing the scenery is easy and flexible, adding new kind of entities can't be just done with some scripting and editing some properties.

But this is very cool indeed. With some development, that thing could have the potential to put second life to shame.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 years ago | (#16953836)

However, as far as I could tell, while editing the scenery is easy and flexible, adding new kind of entities can't be just done with some scripting and editing some properties.

Given that it can be done in-game, my guess is that a talented programmer could add this functionality pretty quickly.

But this is very cool indeed. With some development, that thing could have the potential to put second life to shame.

Absolutely. All Sauerbraten needs is server access level control (so you can limit who can build where) and portals that connect you to other servers. The servers must have limited client functionality so they can see if other servers are up or not, and they can control the state of doors over portals (or force fields, or whatever entities) so that you can pass through them or not based on the state of the remote server they link to.

This would allow us to build a second life-like system that was based on storing data on the users' servers - like Stephenson's Metaverse.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 8 years ago | (#16953716)

I love Ogre3D, I use it myself for small game projects, but I don't think you could compare it to the Unreal 3 Engine. NASA would have to spend over $350k just to bring the Ogre3D engine upto spec with the Unreal engine, so why not just buy the Unreal engine and save a lot of time and money by not reinventing the wheel.

Ogre3D is mainly a graphics engine (Ogre stands for Object-Oriented Graphics Rendering Engine), where as the Unreal Engine is a complete game engine with graphics, AI, networking code, physics, sound, etc..

Take a look at the list of Unreal Engine features [unrealtechnology.com] and a look at the Ogre3D Engine features [ogre3d.org] .

Re:Why UT3? (1)

hughk (248126) | about 8 years ago | (#16954550)

Ah but the cute thing is that any 'improvements' made by NASA would go back into the open code base. Note the suggestion earlier was to use the ODE for physics. Yes, it would be 'bitty' with serveral FOSS products to replace one commercial engine, but look at what it would give back to the community.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 8 years ago | (#16955590)

I am well aware of using ODE with Ogre3D, it's still pretty buggy at this point (I use them both). Why would NASA want to enter the software developement business? They want a tool so they can get a job done, they don't want/need the additional task of building the tool aswell. Do you really think they want to spend several months or years bug testing and adding features to Ogre + ODE when they can just purchase an already feature-complete engine? They have better things to do with their time than work on a graphics engine.

Re:Why UT3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16955948)

UE3 licensees get full source access. So it doesn't matter what happens to Epic in 20 years. NASA will still have the technology they originally licensed.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

Speare (84249) | about 8 years ago | (#16951204)

This is ancient news, really.

I was developing another product back in 2001, and we evaluated the Unreal kit back then. As a part of our evaluation, we were shown an ISS model which had been developed with NASA cooperation for some projects they were pursuing back then. Since that time, geeks like Shuttleworth and Ansari have been to the real ISS, and soon Simonyi too. The world of software has changed in radical ways in a very few years.

Re:Why UT3? (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 8 years ago | (#16951928)

While Ogre3D looks fairly good it's very possible it doesn't have the power and flexibility of the Unreal Engine. And more importantly, the licensing of that engine is certainly going to include extensive support. Imagine some NASA developer being forced to browse Ogre3D forums and being called a noob for asking questions.

NASA wants the engine to enabler, not to become an obstacle they themselves have to fix every time they encounter a shortcoming. This is not to put down engines like Ogre3D at all. But if they have the money to spend, why not spend it on a system that is robust and is well-supported.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

Yremogtnom (774179) | about 8 years ago | (#16953466)

My guess would be that they've got experience using the Unreal Engine. I don't have a link, but it seems like I've read that NASA's been using this engine for several years already.

Re:Why UT3? (1)

Yremogtnom (774179) | about 8 years ago | (#16953514)

Found the link! See the Unrealty site [unrealty.net] .

This would be a fun project (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16950770)

This is a project that should be open sourced. I bet there are alot of folks that would love to work on something like this.

Re:This would be a fun project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16951184)

Sorry, but you can't license a technology and then turn around and open source it.

Re:This would be a fun project (2, Insightful)

kilgortrout (674919) | about 8 years ago | (#16951674)

Especially since our tax dollars are paying for all this.

Re:This would be a fun project (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 years ago | (#16952182)

This is a project that should be open sourced. I bet there are alot of folks that would love to work on something like this.

Sure - they'd love to work on it. The question is, can they actually bring anything useful to the table? Designing a simulator/trainer with reasonable fidelity is a very different thing from designing a game.

Re:This would be a fun project (2, Interesting)

megavlad (864517) | about 8 years ago | (#16952548)

Damn, I missed this oportunity. NASA could have really helped me out. I've been working on a Open Sourced game platform for a few years now, and I was schedule to release a 0.1.0-alpha by the beginning of next month (december). But I have had so manny setbacks (do to the everyday life) that it'll probably be at mid-January.

A few years ago I was talking to an awesome developer that I knew. We were talking about Linux. He made a statement that really stuck to me. He said "I love Linux. It's such a great platform for developers, and some day for every day users. But they're missing something that to me is important -- games. I really don't like to be rebooting and switching OSes just to play a simple game. This is specially anoying at work. I like Linux, but until they get their act together with the game situation, I'm sticking with Windows". I though damn, if the Open Source community doesn't find a way to bring the programmers that like Linux but also like their games, we're missing out on alot of available intelligentsia

And then it hit me. BOOM! "Hey buddy, you're part of the community, too. Don't just be a freeloader, do your part". I also realized that the best way to accomplish this is not to pull any punches, or to do things half-assed. We would have to go for a head shot.

I personally think the way to do this is to go beyond developing a framework, like what Ogre3d is, and instead develop an entire environment, similar to what the Unreal Engine is. Computing power always catches up, but if we design hard-to-use tools, few of us will us them. Don't get me wrong, Ogre3d is good at what it does, but I don't want to spend a week to load a mesh. They key is to have the proper balance of ease of use and power. Games are such enourmous beasts, for the most part, that I believe we have to lean on the side of 'ease of use' so that people can attempt bolder projects and know that the software is doing its best at helping them. Current Open Sourced game toolkits are too difficult to use by teams of less than 5 developers -- that isn't going to work.

I think what we need is a 4 point strategy:

I) A nice Virtual Machine that can be retargeted to different architectures and roles. The one I currenly have is running on Linux, but we, of course could retarget it to FreeBSD; Windows; Mac; as plugins in browsers, Like Flash; on portable devices; etc.

II) Game development is too big for us to continue to use the same tools that we've designed for system programming. The key is to make a language that is designed 100% for game developement. Period. PHP does well because it has one well defined job. The language I have is still missing alot of the constructs we are used to, such as switch statements, but it's definetly shaping up nice.

III) Of course, a compiler that turns that nice language into an equally impresive bytecode. The current compiler I have is still a toddler, so it falls sometimes when it tries to run -- but with enough nurturing I'm sure it will develop into a nice specimen.

IV) And the last, but certainly not least: Community support for addon libraries. 5,000,000 programmers are better than 100 -- with a simple way create native C/C++ classes for the language that allows the virtual machine to do anything the developers want the issue of not having a feasible game platform for Linux and the Open Source Community becomes a non-issue.


I hope developers participate in this project when i release it so that we don't miss oportunities like this NASA thing in the future. vl@d $:

Re:This would be a fun project (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | about 8 years ago | (#16952580)

yes, because we all know nobody would then use that to have a free (beer) unreal engine...

9.8 m/s/s (3, Funny)

gadzook33 (740455) | about 8 years ago | (#16950782)

Too bad the gravity gun will suck.

Politics. (0, Flamebait)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 8 years ago | (#16950800)

The mission? The moon by 2020, and Mars by 2035....


Won't those project either bog down in a Democrat controlled congress or get axed completely if the Dems get a President in next time?

Re:Politics. (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | about 8 years ago | (#16950892)

Ok, since you bring up "politics": I wonder if the United States would have spent the money we've sunk into invading Iraq on a Mars mission how close we'd be to astronauts on the Red Planet?

Re:Politics. (1)

hughk (248126) | about 8 years ago | (#16955116)

Forget Mars, we could be well on our way to Jupiter. According to this [nationalpriorities.org] we are talking about a little under $350 billion or so. This will be much more before a successful exit.

Virtual Heroes (1)

Seriousgameschic (1030710) | about 8 years ago | (#16950928)

Go check out the developer's web site

http://www.virtualheroes.com/ [virtualheroes.com]

There is a USA Today News release talking about this very thing.

Re:Politics. (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 8 years ago | (#16950954)

Uh oh. Time to don the asbestos suits. (o:

I agree, though; The project is ambitious, and without the proper funding I'm not sure that it will happen. The Democratic party tends to spend more on socialism^H^H^H programs. We'll see, though. I think that everyone can see that R&D in the space program has created enormous benefits for everybody. Hopefully NASA will get the funding it needs and more.

Re:Politics. (1)

x3nos (773066) | about 8 years ago | (#16951320)

I think that everyone can see that R&D in the space program has created enormous benefits for everybody.
Like tempurpedic space foam matresses!

Re:Politics. (1)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 8 years ago | (#16951748)

Exactly. It has created a business for someone; That helps the economy. Other helpful technologies include the microwave, advances in ceramics, long distance communications, and specialized plastics. All of that technology eventually comes to the general public. Space program is costly but well worth the money.

Re:Politics. (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 years ago | (#16954478)

That is a specious argument. The question is, would the same money have yielded even better results spent elsewhere? Perhaps on projects like the Darpa desert race grand challenge, or even on more socialstic things like college scholarships or pre-K programs?

Don't get me wrong, I think spending money on space, for space, is justifiable. But not because, hey, there's a 0.01% chance that it will result in an improved vaccum cleaner or a tasty breakfast beverage.

Re:Politics. (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | about 8 years ago | (#16951812)

Don't forget velcro and space ice cream! Mmmmm, space ice cream

Re:Politics. (1)

powerlord (28156) | about 8 years ago | (#16951868)

The problem in the past is the same as any other industry ... the lack of competition.

The U.S. *did* great in the space race against the Soviet Union. Then they started working on the shuttle (and the space station to compete with MIR), then in the early 90s the Soviet Union imploded.

Suddenly there was only a token competitor (nothing against the Russian space program, but the Russian people had other more pressing domestic concerns).

Now we're seeing the rise of a Chinese and Indian space program, and the U.S. is starting to pick up pace again. "Surprise"

Access to Mars (and the asteroid belt), would provide a ridiculous supply of raw materials, and a possible future home (depending on colonization and terra-forming).

With luck this will be the "Space Race 2.0" which seems like a good thing for everyone.

Re:Politics. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | about 8 years ago | (#16952060)

>he Democratic party tends to spend more on socialism^H^H^H programs.

Right, I can't get enough of this free healthcare and free education here in the states! Oh wait. For reference the money spent in Iraq could have funded a manned Mars mission. Maybe two. You can thank the republicans for that.

Sure,the moon program was started by Eisenhower but it was JFK who paid for it, pushed it, and made it happen. He was a democrat.

Re:Politics. (1)

antirelic (1030688) | about 8 years ago | (#16951048)

Hopefully. NASA is washed up, tied up in red tape to the point where we need to rely on the space agency of a former communist country to do all the real work in space exploration. Perhaps the emergence of private sector investors can lead the way in space exploration / space transit. Let NASA do what NASA has become known for, and thats scientific research, not space travel (perhaps it once was, but anyone needing to put anything into space knows its cheaper to do it from Russia/Kyrzig). NASA like all government agencies go from doing one thing well (which it is designed for) to only spending money well and doing everything else in a piss poor fashion.

Re:Politics. (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 8 years ago | (#16951076)

considering that it was a republican who stopped the apollo missions early I don't think so.

The Democrats took us into space(Kennedy, Johnson). Republicans took us out of it(Nixon).

Re:Politics. (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 8 years ago | (#16952294)

Bullshit. The Democrats got us into a pointless boondoggle space race that collapsed under its own weight. if we had done thingsa in a properly paced manner, Martin Landau really could have been working on the moon in 1999.

And it was the hard work of thousands of dedicated technical people that took us into space, not some cocksucking politicians.

I really wish all Party loyalists would just die already.

Re:Politics. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16951308)

I would expect it to be using better and cheaper software with no lies associated with it. Prior it would simply have been killed in NASA. Later, KBR would show up with a virtual world system to sell the DOD for 10 million, with an additional 20-100 million support contract that would be fully funded.

Re:Politics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16952192)

I would expect it to be using better and cheaper software with no lies associated with it.

What are you? Two years old?

No, I'm not defending Republicans. Just astonished that anyone with a functioning neuron still thinks the Dems are any better.

Re:Politics. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#16954500)

JFK was a Democrat and if it weren't for his speech we probably wouldn't have gotten on the moon in 1969.

great idea (1)

deviceb (958415) | about 8 years ago | (#16950882)

low grav w/ insta kills was fun! The engine is so fast and dead-on accurate compared to many others..
I am not sure on UT3.. but with the second engine in a mod like Red Orchestra you could see the limitations of it.
For instance... snipping across the map w/ full res up. The trees disappear on the horizon allowing you to shoot people through them. The dead guy thinks he was concealed behind some branches. /shrug
I assume the UT3 engine will take care of this ;)
In time, a virtual earth to run/fly/shop, look at mapping, etc. with this engine would be fun stuff.
..somebody get on that

Re:great idea (1)

CXI (46706) | about 8 years ago | (#16951460)

For instance... snipping across the map w/ full res up. The trees disappear on the horizon allowing you to shoot people through them. The dead guy thinks he was concealed behind some branches. /shrug
I assume the UT3 engine will take care of this ;)


Yes, on the moon and mars you will be unable to snipe through the trees. :P

Re:great idea (1)

deviceb (958415) | about 8 years ago | (#16952862)

and thats all that matters! If i can see your pixel move from the moon.. i gotcha!

Re:great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16954906)

deviceb didn't say "sniping"... he said "snipping".... I don't know if the scissors will be available in the UT3 engine.... ?

The ESA is way ahead of NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16950922)

They are using the DOA beach volleyball engine in their simulations. They will surely return to the moon before us.

The Unreal Engine? (1)

sucker_muts (776572) | about 8 years ago | (#16950930)

So what are our options for trickjumping, wallhacking, ... on the moon and mars?

Why unreal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16950946)

Who knows, maybe descent would be a better model? You never know if some Bush terrorists have beat us there.

Duke Nukem (3, Funny)

Virtual Karma (862416) | about 8 years ago | (#16950974)

The mission? The moon by 2020, and Mars by 2035.

By then they can start using Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Duke Nukem (1)

Crilen007 (922989) | about 8 years ago | (#16953936)

You have too much faith.

Re:Duke Nukem (1)

yosofun (933530) | about 8 years ago | (#16954058)

You seem to have missed the point of the "Forever" suffix in DNF. In the ideal world DNF would take forever to develop. So, if everything goes according to plan, DNF would come out the instant time ends, and...

Wrong engine (5, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | about 8 years ago | (#16950978)

For the Mars mission, I think the Doom 3 engine would have been better. Anyone else agree?

Re:Wrong engine (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 8 years ago | (#16951146)

Seems to be a "duhh" to me.

Re:Wrong engine (1)

2991ozognarah (1030732) | about 8 years ago | (#16951654)

I whole-heartily agree!

shiny 3d (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about 8 years ago | (#16950982)

wouldn't effort be better spent on getting the nitty gritty very detailed physics down first and dedicating the majority of processing power to that? for professional applications like what I can forsee nasa needing a nice overly pretty 3d engine would be the least of their concerns. if accuracy is really needed for rendering I just wouldn't trust most 3d hardware either.

if the simulator gets to the point it simulates the stress and forces on all hardware involved to some insanely small degree, thats awesome imho. If your doing that level of computation however, bah to graphics, secondary thought.

Safety memorandum (5, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | about 8 years ago | (#16951084)

Memorandum

To: Sim training participants
From: SIMCOM

A number of items have come to our attention regarding the simulation procedures for the upcoming moon landing, and clarification is required on a number of points:

1. Rocket jumping or use of stun grenades for propulsion will not be feasible, please stop requesting these items from the mission planners.
2. As you will be physically on the moon, there will be no "l4gging".
3. Please do not accuse fellow trainees of "hax". It has become a growing morale issue.
4. "Pwnage" is not an approved item in the radio communication guide for NASA missions. Please stick with standardized phrasing for clarity.
5. When on the moon, the action of "strafing" sideways will not be practical in the EVAsuits, so please take this into consideration. Also, there have been a number of collisions and falls in the hallways from sim trainees attempting to employ this walking method. The base physician has speculated that the unnatural gait is causing people to literally "trip over themselves", so please stop.
6. Two of the inflatable habitats have lost pressurization during tests because of inadvertent puncturing. Subsequent interviews have revealed that trainees were looking for "wall hacks" and accidentally damaging the structure. This could cause a significant safety problem during the mission, so please use care.

Finally, the practice of attaching large "sig" images to all internal e-mails has become disruptive. The use of animated gifs with flashing text and, in some unfortunate cases, nudity, has become both a workplace harassment hazard as well as a visual distraction. Please use the standard signature generator to create a plain text sig with your contact information.

Regards,

SIMCOM
Office of simulation

Is the metric of success wrong? (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about 8 years ago | (#16951088)

I'm not sure I understand this correctly; from the quote (in the article which I DID read) it seems like the metric of success is who they are including. Shouldn't the metric of success for a simulator be how well they are training the astronauts or, for an educational learning tool, how well they are introducing concepts to their students?

Please don't tell me that this project is mainly driven by the desire to include as many different organizations together. This sounds like trying to have the space shuttle being built in as many congressional districts as possible to spread the pork around.

Massive Waste Of Taxpay Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16951176)

If you want to make a 'bumpy shiny' Doom 3 era massively normal mapped low poly bald space marine game - like Gears of War, I guess UE3 is appropriate. Outdated graphics tech for anyone except those who get off on seeing lots of bright lights on metal.

This project is either:

1. Wasting money on technology they don't need where massively lower cost or free alternatives are widely available

2. Wasting money on the wrong company's tech. There are graphics companies that specialize in these types of projects that can provide custom tech that matches what they are trying to accomplish with the goals of this project for much less money.

Definitely sounds like there is a pc game fanboy in a decision making position where he shouldn't be. Someone needs to be fired over this waste of taxpayer funds.

Re:Massive Waste Of Taxpay Money (1)

Tei (520358) | about 8 years ago | (#16951356)

2. Wasting money on the wrong company's tech. There are graphics companies that specialize in these types of projects that can provide custom tech that matches what they are trying to accomplish with the goals of this project for much less money.

I mostly agree with you. But show us one of these, that use normal hardware, is multiuser (multiplayer?), as sound, and has good tools to create content. Yea,that, give us urls.

Yes, of course, and I'm playing solitaire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16951180)

I'm investigating the use of solitaire in network monitoring and systems development and programming. I think that putting the red seven on the black eight is equivalent to calling a procedure from a library with parameters seven and eight.
Winning a game of draw-tree is equivalent to completing a sub-project. ...That's what I've been telling my boss & cow orkers anyway...

Simulation? (2, Funny)

Hodr (219920) | about 8 years ago | (#16951206)

No I didn't read the article, but judging from the blurb I can assume they plan to be able to fake another moon landing using the Unreal Engine by 2020, and a further Mars landing by 2035? Amazing.

Doom 3 engine... (1)

stubear (130454) | about 8 years ago | (#16951436)

Wouldn't the Doom 3 engine be more fitting or are they saving that for the Mars mission training scenarios?

They should have used the GPL'd Quake 1 engine (1)

PsyQo (1020321) | about 8 years ago | (#16951826)

They should have used the GPL'd Quake 1 engine, the testcase is already there: Ziggurat Vertigo

The last words... (1)

TransEurope (889206) | about 8 years ago | (#16951838)

... of an astronaut after his two fellows died in the exploding return-vehicle: "Double Kill!" After another look on his oxygen indicator: "Multi Kill!"

Second Life is a BAD example of Virtual world. (1, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | about 8 years ago | (#16951924)

SL is a virtual world, but it's a pretty crappy example of the tech.

This is getting as annoying as my mom constantly referring to herself as 'surfing the blogs' and for pretty much the same reasons.

Note to article writers: referring to Second Life as some sort of euphemism for Virtual World does a huge disservice to the many, many shared-world 3d engines that are out there, as well simply convincing everyone that you don't know anything about it.

Second Life is an absolutely horrific application of virtual world concepts, novel only in the universality of rights it gives its participants. The graphics are atrocious (1990 would like its polygons back, please), performance is sub-abysmal (is it normal that when I see more than 4 people on my screen, my fps drops to 3?), and efficiencies are nonexistent (I recall one of the Linden Labs guy referring to it running on 000's of servers...which, if true, suggests that they're running no more than about 1 server per 10 players online at a time).

To put it bluntly, I was a beta tester of the "Visual OS" ViOS that was never released. I cannot see anything in Second Life in 2006 that is superior to what ViOS was in the 1990s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ViOS [wikipedia.org] (and it's successor Croquet looks to do everything SL does, even better).

A brief glance at Wiki's MMOG list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_MMORPGs) lists 9 3D-based MMOGs just in the A's that all look substantially better and perform (AFAIK) substantially better than Second Life.

Settings their sights a bit low (1)

Malakusen (961638) | about 8 years ago | (#16952124)

Moon by 2020, Mars by 2035? Right. And in 1970 they were saying we'd be on mars now. NASA just wants to keep the money coming; if they do manage to even get back to the moon by 2020, they'll be staying at a Chinese or Brazilian base there. Maybe the Chinese will let us visit the Glorious People's Space Colony of Mars. If NASA wants to stay ahead, they've got to start running faster.

NASA World Wind integration? (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 8 years ago | (#16952172)

It would be great (read *great*) if they would integrate this new virtual world work with their existing NASA World Wind [nasa.gov] .

T0roll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16952576)

I burnt out. I [goat.cx]

And SL is waaay behind (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 8 years ago | (#16952606)

SL is still stuck with havok1. How is this cutting edge? There is havok3 already. When SL was nearing 1.9.9 everybody though - oh right, it's almost 2.0 with havok2. But now we have 1.13.0.

Particle Weapons (1)

Insane3DHeliMan (1017058) | about 8 years ago | (#16952774)

I wonder if NASA also has plans to make particle weapons to exterminate all of the gun wielding aliens on Mars.

I for one.. (1)

true_hacker (969330) | about 8 years ago | (#16952964)

Welcome our Game playing NASA overlords..

Mooseberry Rocket Fuel and a hull of Upsidasium (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 8 years ago | (#16953416)

All the better for preparing for the inevitable scrootch-gun battles with Gidney and Cloyd and their army of Monstrous Mechanical Metal-Munching Moon Mice.

Havok (1)

Grizpin (899482) | about 8 years ago | (#16953878)

I would think the Havok Engine (as used in HL2) would be a better choice. Unreal is more of a arcade engine. Maybe they added more physics in the new Unreal Engine?

Pro Gamers **ARE** NASA Astronauts (1)

yosofun (933530) | about 8 years ago | (#16954446)

It's the year 2040, and there are 2 billion college goons majoring in "Massively Multiuser Interactive Gameplaying (MMIG)." Ever since 2020, NASA has been actively recruiting the top pro-gamers as astronauts -- a new generation of space heroes. MMIG is a hot major, and the industry is totally in need of MMIG players...

In other news, since 2035, the Olympics have become purely virtual. No longer do athletes train their physical bodies, as we've all learned in 2025 that it's definitely mind over body. This proto-android controlled telepathically by a pro-gamer is simultaneously better at and impossible-to-beat-in all Olympic sports. Since then, all athletes (including boxers and sumo wrestlers) have converted to telepathically connecting to FightBots whose HP are directly proportional to the athlete's IQ.

War, also, has become less of a national tragedy. No longer do millions of soldiers dying causelessly. The world now has scrap-metal cemetaries and designated "dead-zones" for the billions of proto-droids whose existence have devolved in the name of human-decreed-entropy. Gamers who control these droids often get pissed their that their console quits working in the middle of a pointless war, and they engage their smaller robots in local brawls and gangwars.

Can you imagine this happening?

High Earth Orbit comments (1)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 8 years ago | (#16956118)

... are very interesting. A part of it [highearthorbit.com] [highearthorbit.com]: "The details are fairly light, but it seems as though NASA is building a VR game on space exploration (remember Microsoft's Space Simulator [planetmic.com] [planetmic.com], or the free and open-source Orbiter [ucl.ac.uk] [ucl.ac.uk]?). I wonder why NASA is rebuilding their own engine rather then picking up and using existing simulators (like Open-SESSAME [sf.net] [sf.net]) on top of the Unreal graphics/physics engine."

Much cheaper (1)

pseudorand (603231) | about 8 years ago | (#16956358)

That's a great idea. Using a 3D engine to generate fake pictures of Man landing on the moon should be much easier than the last time [demon.co.uk] when they actually filmed the whole thing on earth. Plus, when the uncooperative truth tellers stick evidence of the fake in the video, they can just regenerate it!
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