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NASA Wants its MMO Created for Free

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the get-what-you-pay-for dept.

Space 217

fyc writes "It seems that the educational MMORPG NASA's proposing will no longer have a budget of $3 million. Instead, any prospective development partner is being asked to create and maintain the MMORPG for free under a 'non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement'. It won't be a one-sided agreement, though. From NASA's RFP: 'In exchange for a collaborator's investment to create and manage a NASA-based MMO game for fun and to enhance STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], NASA will consider negotiating brand placement, limited exclusivity and other opportunities.'"

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Great plan -- I should try that. (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149228)

I should try getting some other company to write and maintain a game of my design for me at their expense, with the excuse that they can advertise themselves in it. I bet that'll work so well!

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (0, Redundant)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149248)

No. It won't.

But they could do that on their own. (4, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149350)

To really lure them in, you have to CONSIDER allowing them that.

From TFRFP:

NASA will consider negotiating brand placement, limited exclusivity and other opportunities.
Emphasis added.

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (2, Funny)

N1ck0 (803359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149584)

Of course it needs to be developed for free...not too many people are going to pay to play it.

$0 cost + a few dozen monthly subscriptions = enough money to pay for the crack smoked while thinking of a NASA MMO.

If it's anything like working with real NASA... (4, Funny)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150748)

... it should be a super-awesome game!!!

You'll start off with exciting missions like applying for visitor badges and credentials, and escorting your foreign colleagues to the bathroom every time.

If completed successfully, you'll gain entry to exciting office buildings and drab, windowless conference rooms where you can see powerpoint presentations and plot secret strategies to gain research funding and evade red tape.

Woohoo! I can't wait to play this one!

Re:If it's anything like working with real NASA... (2, Funny)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150836)

<quote>... it should be a super-awesome game!!!

You'll start off with exciting missions like applying for visitor badges and credentials, and escorting your foreign colleagues to the bathroom every time.

If completed successfully, you'll gain entry to exciting office buildings and drab, windowless conference rooms where you can see powerpoint presentations and plot secret strategies to gain research funding and evade red tape.

Woohoo! I can't wait to play this one!</quote>

I hope they have a janitor class I can play. A Forsaken janitor yeahhh that'd be the shit...

is it better to farm motes or mop floors in an MMO?

Re:If it's anything like working with real NASA... (1)

Deekin_Scalesinger (755062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150858)

*note to self - new /. form renders HTML poorly, even after clicking preview...*

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (0, Redundant)

WNight (23683) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149690)

I think they're saying limited exclusivity on placement of Nasa's brand.

So you could have the only Nasa-approved MMO, fighting authentic space orcs.

Still, they seem to overvalue their name/logo just a little bit.

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (0, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150160)

Well, NASA has a pretty good brand name and strong advertising possibilities (via careful organisation of their satellites to spell out the URL). You may have an Evangelion unit at your disposal, but the fact that it needs to be connected to a power cable kind of limits your sphere of influence.

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (2, Insightful)

gmezero (4448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150668)

Well, in reality this might not be a bad idea for a small studio to get some high-profile placement for their work.

For instance NOAA is using the Sculptie Earth model created by TFPSoft in Second Life as a basis for some of their Earth presentations but all they could afford to provide in return was a logo drop... While it's certainly nice to get paid, sometimes getting some visibility for you company has it's own value.

Now in this case I would like to hope that the "NASA will consider negotiating brand placement, limited exclusivity and other opportunities" notice is there simply to help constrain the discussion up front and not something that will be used to screw a developer out of any recognition for their work. As I'm sure unfettered we'd see "The Sprint in Space MMO, with PVP combat around Uranus... beotch!" game.

On second thought... Doh!

Re:Great plan -- I should try that. (1)

gmezero (4448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150712)

Extra doh, that was supposed to be Sprite... which makes more since with the beotch. Damn'it! Yet again I've been lulled into lazy type-o's by the spellchecker.

Preview of the Game (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149266)

I happen to have very rare output from the upcoming game that I've personally been working on for Nasa. Let's just say we found a way to keep this MMORPG low budget and, in fact, make money off of it without costing NASA or you, the consumer, anything!

Multi-User Dungeon - MUD1 Version 1E

* NASA's Super Happy MUD *
* It's Edutainment! *

Origin of version: Sat Sep 15 10:00:50 2007

Welcome! By what name shall I call you?

>> Buzz

Hello, Buzz!

Cape Canaveral Launch Pad.
You stand in your Converse (tm) Brand [converse.com] space suit on the Launch Pad, before you is a towering shuttle with the huge Coca-Cola (tm) [coca-cola.com] logo on the side of it. A crowd watches in anticipation and enjoys the T-Mobile (tm) [t-mobile.com] cameras broadcasting the cabin and crew live to their cell phones.
[Exits: shuttle, bathroom]

>> bathroom

Bathroom Adjacent to Launch Pad.
You rush into the bathroom and rip off your helmet to deposit your stomach contents in the toilet. Luckily you have Rolaids (tm) [brands2liveby.com] antacid in your Converse (tm) Brand [converse.com] space suit. You pop a few pills into your mouth ... ahh much better, Rolaids spells relief.
[Exits: door]

>> door

Cape Canaveral Launch Pad.
You stumble out of the restroom and back on to the launch pad. Oh no, a congressman spots you! "Hey, why if it isn't Buzz!" he says as he moves in for a photo op!
[A Congressman] is at [quite a few]
Your pierce *** MASSACRES *** A Congressman!
A Congressman's pound scratches you.
Your pierce *** MASSACRES *** A Congressman!
Your pierce DISEMBOWELS A Congressman!
[A Congressman] is at [big nasty]
You stop using A diamond-tipped dagger.
You wield a legendary greatsword.
A Congressman sees your attempt to trip him in time to avoid your foot.
[A Congressman] is at [big nasty]

Your fiery slash *** DEMOLISHES *** A Congressman!
[A Congressman] is at [pretty hurt]
A Congressman sees your attempt to trip him in time to avoid your foot.
Your flaming slash *** DEVASTATES *** A Congressman!
[A Congressman] is at [pretty hurt]
Your burning slash *** OBLITERATES *** A Congressman!
You trip A Congressman, sending him sprawling to the ground!

Your flaming slash *** OBLITERATES *** A Congressman!
A Congressman is mortally wounded, and will die soon if not aided.
[A Congressman] is at [dying]

You trip A Congressman, knocking him unconscious. A Congressman is mortally wounded, and will die soon if not aided.
[A Congressman] is at [dying]

You trip A Congressman, knocking him unconscious.
A Comgressman is mortally wounded, and will die soon if not aided.
Your burning slash *** DEMOLISHES *** A Congressman!
The Congressman's body becomes limp and the politician drops to the ground DEAD!!

You receive 212000 experience out of 280012 total. [neutral]
[Exits: shuttle, bathroom]

>> shuttle

You stagger into the elevator paid for by Playboy Magazine [playboy.com] and begin your assent to the cabin. The slow motion walking thingy starts to happen as you cross the bridge ... Before you enter the cabin, you hug the Doritos (tm) [doritos.com] "Who Wants to Meet an Astronaut" Sweepstakes winner and step inside. You turn on your Sony Brand headset [sony.com] that sounds like a dream and prepare for blastoff ...
That's all we have so far. I think you can see just how exciting this game is going to be.

Re:Preview of the Game (4, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149754)

You have forgotten a very important outcome:

> Go north
You have been eaten by a grue.

Hello, Astronaut! (1)

kaptain80 (1147495) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150260)

You have forgotten a very important outcome:

> Go north
You have been eaten by a grue.
> hello astronaut
Nothing happens here.

Seriously.. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150010)

I love you so much right now.

Re:Preview of the Game (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150632)

In the distance you hear the thundering roar of a Finger of Death.

Persona deleted.
Play again? [Y | N]

Re:Preview of the Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23151098)

*gasp* I see traces of SWR codebase here...!

It'd be a perfect fit!

HAHAHAHAHAHA (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149290)

Yeah, that'll work.

Sorry guys, but that sort of thing only works when those creating the product are those directing the product.
Nobody likes working for free when they don't have control over what they're doing.

So, adds in space. The game? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149296)

Given what it costs to maintain let alone develop a MMORPG ($3 million would not have covered running it) the shear amount of "brand placement" required will be overwhelming.

Unless they're talking about branding outside of the game... the Pepsi shuttle?

Re:So, adds in space. The game? (5, Funny)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149504)

"Mr. President, Mr. President, the Russians painted the moon red"
"Where's the problem, just write Coca Cola on it"

Re:So, adds in space. The game? (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150672)

I would do it for free just so I could put my new company name "NASA Sucks" brand everywhere.

Profit? (2, Funny)

Skeet112 (1088203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149314)

Yes, I am so sure that the tens of thousands of game developers out there are going to go...

"Hey, lets make an MMO for NASA for free, while they profit in the millions of dollars off our hard work!"

Yes, I can just see the enthusiasm stemming from this.

Re:Profit? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150178)

Well, if you just had an existing MMORPG, and could easily modify it with little work, I could see this working out pretty well. Similar to all the FPS games that use the Quake or Unreal engine. Just take something that already works, add some new graphics, and voila, a new product.

Re:Profit? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150510)

Why not use EvE Online? MMORPG. Set in space. Source code "released" last week! Simple!

Maybe an opening for F/OSS? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149338)

Perhaps this is the sort of thing that RedHat or someone should get involved in. It'd make them look like the goodguys for helping out NASA and demonstrating their comittment to science and technology, as well as ensuring that we'll all be able to play the damned thing -- plus, the community could help out and make sure that it doesn't suck, either.

This sounds like a job for.... (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149542)

...Google!!

Seriously, I think that this is really something that Google could go for and succeed with.

Re:This sounds like a job for.... (2, Funny)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150214)

Yes, but why would google want to compete with themselves? Don't they have a space program yet?

Re:This sounds like a job for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23150552)

If Google did this, why would they just give it away to NASA? No thanks! They would NOT give it to a lumbering government agency with no expertise in this area. Especially when NASA have contributed nothing. Google owns the stuff they create and they can exploit it any way they wish without the permission and 'consideration' of career middle managers at NASA.

So are they offering naming rights? (5, Funny)

deadtree9 (772882) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149346)

Maybe we can expect a "Lucas Arts International Space Station" (commonly refered to as the Death Star)?

IMO (0, Troll)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149348)

If Google doesn't do this, for free, than they are Truly Evil©(tm).

get-what-you-pay-for dept.? (1)

Safiire Arrowny (596720) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149362)

Right, no one would ever make great software for no money.

Getting what you pay for in terms of software is an odd thing to hear from Slashdot.

Re:get-what-you-pay-for dept.? (2, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149420)

Right, no one would ever make great software for no money.

There's a big difference between "make(ing) great software for no money" and "making great software for no money that someone else will control."

NASA - "Need A Space Agency"

Re:get-what-you-pay-for dept.? (1)

exploder (196936) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150580)

And a big difference between that and "making great software for no money that someone else will control, while you pay for servers and bandwidth".

my terms (5, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149376)

If I write a game for them, I wanna go to the moon dammit!

Re:my terms (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149772)

On their budget, you would be lucky if they sprang for airfare to Houston.

Re:my terms (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150110)

If I write a game for them, I wanna go to the moon dammit!
They'll put you there... and when you get all the bugs fixed, they'll take you back home.

NASA Wants its MMO Created for Free (0, Redundant)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149382)

And I want a flying car! Where's my flying car?

Re: NASA Wants its MMO Created for Free (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149706)

I thought we were asking for ponies.

It's all about the tax breaks, (5, Interesting)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149386)

If I was EA I'd do it, work in some tax breaks with the government, do some endorsement deals with say pepsi, and probably still make enough profit to keep it running for years. I bet EA could find some devoper to make it for the 3 mil, and then the press that they would get from it would almost be worth the 3 mil alone. If they only ran add's for their own games they could make it back in a years time. Yes I know that everyone would expect this to be almost similar to WOW in scale, but I bet you could make it in flash, if you limit say 50 people to a perticular area. I think it's completely doable.

Re:It's all about the tax breaks, (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150670)

Not many tax breaks end up being good enough to pay for the entire investment. Usually all it does is reduce your taxable income by $X, not reduce your taxes by $X. So it might reduce their taxes by Y% of X, maybe it's 5% or 25%.

Re:It's all about the tax breaks, (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150828)

Careful or else EA will just buy up NASA in a hostile takeover! After that you can expect yearly space missions which are different from each other only in that they will have progressively higher numbers after their name.

Re:It's all about the tax breaks, (1)

naer_dinsul (784040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150982)

Which of course is totally different from the Mercury and Apollo missions...

duh (1)

escay (923320) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149392)

no wonder the budget was cut. an MMO to enhance STEM, what were they thinking? give me an MMO where you can explore extra-sloar systems, travel to other planets and setup civilizations instead. that ould create the space awareness that NASA wants and get some buyers lining up.

Where's the budget go? (5, Insightful)

CommandoCody (1154955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149394)

It's pretty simple. NASA used to have the money for the MMO, but last week a tank in Baghdad needed a reload.

Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149410)

It's encouraging to see NASA's PR budget cut. NASA does way too much PR, and too much non-space stuff. All of NASA's non-space research should be moved to the National Science Foundation.

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149560)

Right, because the NSF's bureaucracy is so much better, plus all of NSF university based reviewers are great of awarding funding to industry based research.
Having worked with funding from both institutions in both private and academic settings, I can't think of a worse idea.

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (0)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149610)

Yeah. Sure is encouraging to see their PR budget cut.

Just interested... what's your source on that?

Oh, and your suggestion about all their non-space research being moved to another agency? I suggest NACA... I hear they've got quite the history. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (2, Insightful)

pant (814786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149948)

NASA's budget shouldn't be cut, it should be increased. Some call it a waste of money, I say it is a drop in the bucket compared to entitlements and military spending.

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150050)

I say it's a waste compared to stimulating private space exploration.

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150542)

We are still working on stimulating private fire department services. After all, the temperatures are nothing compared to the heat of reentry into Earth atmosphere and the payoff for individuals investing to have this service is much more immediate than that for building a space elevator.

Re:Looks like NASA's PR budget was cut (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150258)

I just submitted my resume to NASA , you insensitive clod!

When next we tune in to an episode of... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149424)

....Orcs in Spaaaaaace....

Pigs in Space (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149510)

Not even pigs in space [youtube.com] , since there isn't much pork on this pork-barrel.

In other words ... "When pigs fly!"

Attention Ladies: (5, Funny)

JoshOOOWAH (849135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149492)

I'm now offering the opportunity to fulfill my every sexual desire. This is a non-paying position with no benefits, but I'm willing to negotiate on allowing you to take charity from friends and/or family of mine who feel bad for you.

Re:Attention Ladies: (2, Funny)

booch (4157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149972)

I'm now offering the opportunity to fulfill my every sexual desire. This is a non-paying position with no benefits...
No benefits? You must be really bad in bed.

Re:Attention Ladies: (1)

kkiller (945601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150250)

wow, i've seen press internships that are less generous.

Re:Attention Ladies: (2, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150936)

I'm now offering the opportunity to fulfill my every sexual desire. This is a non-paying position with no benefits, but I'm willing to negotiate on allowing you to take charity from friends and/or family of mine who feel bad for you.


You may have been moded funny but you would be surprised how many people get responses to similar offers...

And the main sponsor of this software... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149502)

TANG

Dear NASA: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149524)



Happy 420

P.S.: Fuck Bush

Stroking rights (2, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149530)

What sort of analogy could this turn into?

Hi, I really want to jerk off, but I don't have the energy or willpower to jerk myself off. So, I'll let YOU jerk me off, and in return I'll let you tattoo your name on my dick for everyone else to see.

Re:Stroking rights (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150690)

Your analogies intrigue me. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

COOL!!! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149536)

My logo plastered all over the Space Shuttle! yeah!

www.opensimulator.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149540)

www.opensimulator.org

I predict... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149570)

I predict they are going to get what they pay for.

$3M was already not a lot (2, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149650)

$3MM was already a relatively low number. Consider the recent statement by David Jones of RealTime Worlds (they of Crackdown) where he says he'd struggle to make a game under $50MM [gamesindustry.biz] .

Now, that's for a console AAA title with whiz-bang graphics, voice acting, etc. I'm sure the NASA MMO doesn't need to be on that level but I'm not sure the term "MMO" can properly be applied to anything with a $3MM budget, short of stuff like Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com] .

I mean there's plenty of MMOs that were made for something closer to free than $3MM (Omerta [barafranca.com] comes to mind) but I don't think when you hear "NASA" and "MMO" you envision a text adventure.

They should just develop things on SecondLife since the client exists already. I believe they've done that already, but I'm not sure what the extent of it is.

Re:$3M was already not a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23149866)

Perhaps they could get something going with Simutronics [play.net] /HeroEngine [heroengine.com] .

Re:$3M was already not a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23151236)

Someone once wanted me to write the first MMO like 10 years ago, the idea was great, but the $300 deposit just never seemed like enough.

Re:$3M was already not a lot (1)

ultramk (470198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23151254)

Well, I know it's not very popular, but A Tale in the Desert was essentially built and run by one guy with a microscopic budget. It was really fun, too, and very "different".

An ad on the side of the space shuttle? (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149686)

That might be worth $3 million.

Re:An ad on the side of the space shuttle? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150546)

I can just see it now, the "Marlboro" shuttle.

Re:An ad on the side of the space shuttle? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150962)

Come on - you go for a company like Malboro when there are _so_ much more apt sponsors of the shuttle. Trojan or Durex would, I'm sure, be able to come up with (no pun intended) some briiliantly innovative paint schemes for the next shuttle.

Pony (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149746)

I'd like someone to give me a free pony. It has to be brown with white spots and answer to the name, "Bart." If you do, I'll consider letting you put a brand on it somewhere unnoticeable. Thanks.

I'll do it! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149828)

All they have to do is agree to give me my advertising now. Delivery date on the MMO will be the day they land a man on Mars.

This is the opposite of the job i'm looking for! (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149834)

NASA,
I'm looking for a job where i don't have to do anything but get paid for it. With all the money you have saved on your game, perhaps you could employ me .

NASA vs America's Army (3, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149836)

So we can't spend $3 million on a game that might help foster scientific interest and education but we do spend tax dollars on a U.S. military recruiting and propaganda game?
I guess that makes sense given the administration.

Re:NASA vs America's Army (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149988)

I agree with your post, but just to counter point, NASA isn't a critical part of running our country, hell most of what nasa does could probably easily be taken over my the Air force, the Army howere is critical to pretty much our very existance. With recruitment rates at pretty much the lowest they've ever been the government does need a way to reach out to the younger generation that they need to make the armed forces run.

Re:NASA vs America's Army (2, Insightful)

dq5 studios (682179) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150360)

Yeah, just imagine what would happen to the world if we were no longer able to start fights with other countries.

Re:NASA vs America's Army (1)

Preacher X (545221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23151014)

This is off topic, but generally so was your post. Even if we have no military at all, there would still be wars, there would still be hate. Not to mention we are caught in a vicious cycle. If we were to dismantle our military or even just cut it back people out there would take that as a time to attack. It's a never ending cycle of brutality that will never cease.

Re:NASA vs America's Army (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150554)

Easily taken over? Absolutely. Haven't you seen the Air Force recruiting ads? "Not many people know that the air force has its own space program! And we have twice as many launches in a week as NASA in a month!"

No Awareness of Social Apathy (4, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149918)

Jesus.

Someone needs to get the morons at NASA a dose of reality. America's Army FPS game works because many people like to shoot imaginary people. During the game play, enticing players to "do this for real." is not rocket science.

Now lets count the problems with applying this methodology to actual rocket science the way NASA proposes:
  1. Shooting is much more fun for a larger demographic than watching monitors in mission control during a "virtual mission."
  2. The demographic that would probably be most interested in participating in such activities (watching a virtual monitor during a virtual mission) generally doesn't like overt advertising.
  3. Alienating your target demographic so you don't have to pay for development is a plan on par with selling items at loss and making up for it in volume
  4. Any dev team that could do this probably already makes games, basically meaning that advertisements would largely be for the MMO's mindshare competition.
  5. Government Endorsed Product Advertising through NASA would be a PR nightmare even if everything else magically went off with best case scenario results.
  6. Ultimate failure because everybody would be pissed they couldn't all fly the space shuttle to Pluto for the best loot. Someone has to man Mission Control!
  7. Any Game sufficiently entertaining to capture and maintain an audience despite its built in advertising distractions would be so removed from the spirit of the goals that the whole project would be an exercise in mootness.


You want to raise funds for this? You would have a better time if you allowed SciFi and Video Game companies rent advertising space on your booster and fuel tanks like NASCAR.

Re:No Awareness of Social Apathy (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150736)

"Someone needs to get the morons at NASA a dose of reality. America's Army FPS game works because many people like to shoot imaginary people."

Grand Theft Shuttle?

Bush's State of Emergency Capitalism (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23149962)

I couldn't help but notice that Bush can spend $million of our money every 13 minutes or less [nationalpriorities.org] in Iraq, but expects NASA, our program that is most universally respected and admired around the world, to get free help in teaching our young people how to do it when they get their chance.

Re:Bush's State of Emergency Capitalism (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23150098)

Yes, but Bush keeps Teh Gayz from getting married, we have to preserve the sanctity of family!

NO PROBLEM, I'll make one! (1)

jpedlow (1154099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150006)

So you need a Space Based MMO? What a coincidence! I think I can tackle this problem! I just found source code to something just like it on Pirate Bay! I'll just call it EVE-online..Err, I mean NASA-Online. It'll be awesome, now all I need to do is get google-ads running ingame and I can finally get my infinium phantom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_Entertainment [wikipedia.org]

Pay in geek points (2, Insightful)

octal666 (668007) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150038)

Have they thougth about paying geeks in 'geek points'. How many programmers will work 4h a day of their free time for, say, ten years, to fly to the Moon?

Not a lot of confidence (1)

Dan Posluns (794424) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150052)

I guess it's a good thing that NASA exists in their own little bubble with a mission to focus on ways to achieve both the fantastic and the wildly improbable.

Speaking as a journeyman in the video game industry - both at the MMO and console level - I have some understanding of what kind of resources and development time it takes to both complete and ship a game of any quality. This does not instill a whole lot of confidence in me as far as NASA's ability to do much of anything else goes.

Dan.

Unsurprising. (5, Insightful)

Irvu (248207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150054)

As scary as this sounds I am not at all surprised. The recent line of NASA administrators have been appointees with a decidedly low-cost high-private-sector mindset. In the abstract "just get someone to do it for free in exchange for ads" this sounds like a good(ish) idea. Certainly one that would sell well at a boardroom full of political appointees lobbyists congresscritters, etc. In short anyone but scientists and educators. To some extent NASA's original announcement of an MMO sounded similar, the kind of thing that makes for a nifty slogan/donut fueled idea but not necessarily something that will play out well, especially for no money.

Given NASA's history with overspecified budgets, often carved up by Congress as a home for pork I fully expect this MMO to never see the light of day unless google or someone else does it. Not because it is entirely wrong or because NASA "can't get it right" but because they will not be allowed to.

As an indication of what I am talking about consider the space shuttle. NASA has been trying to replace the space shuttle for years, since well before the Challenger disaster. The project has been restarted multiple times with each time congress allocating some but not all of the money and then subsequent congresses shutting it down before it can be completed to "reallocate" the money.

Many of the same congresscritters who angrily grilled NASA over the Columbia disaster probably cut funding for the shuttle replacement at least once in their careers. But I doubt they even remember doing it.

No thanks. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150152)

Yea that's all I can see now... I get to level 60, and I'm supposed to get my flying "mount" but they push it to level 70 when they release afterburner to get through the atmosphere.

Nah, World of Warcraft is good enough for me. I'll just wear a space helmet while playing and it should amount to about the same thing.

Oh, Work for me for Free now (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150164)

Oh, work for me for free now, and sell advertising like Google.

Count me out.

Hey, why not? (1)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150402)

After all, it's how the government wants providers to provide health care, welfare, jobs, etc... Why not NASA information systems too? Simply sucker/guilt/coerce/manipulate folks into doing it for nothing.

The only bigger idiots will be the people that actually decide to do it.

And now, it's once again time for my favorite cliche catch phrase: "Ayn Rand, call your office."

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23150414)

What is NASA bringing to the party here? It sounds like thay want to claim credit for something they'll contribute nothing to. Furthermore, this has been done before and countless companies and individuals, why is it NASA's business to go copying commercial technology years after it's already been accomplished well?

Developer owns the end project (1)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150452)

Nowhere in the RFP does it indicate that NASA would retain rights to the MMORPG. This provides a developer the opportunity to produce a NASA branded product, for profit, without having to pay the US Gov't licensing fees, just a long as that developer makes some effort to make the game educational.

Note to NASA (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150506)

"Learning" games suck. No one will "play it". What they fail to realize is that MMO's are all about spawn camping, ganging up on the weaker noobs and stealing their stuff or at least destroying it, for the epic lulz.

America's Army works because you get to shoot other players. Period.

NASA wants to somehow create a multiplayer "game" that will teach you science??? Unless I can breed mutants on a space station by genetically altering their DNA using cosmic radiation and then unleash them on an unsuspecting Earth, I just don't want to play!

Re:Note to NASA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23150978)

Take those final fantasy games with chocobo breading, change a few things, et voila, the science of evolution!

Brand placement (1)

JohnConnor (587121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150820)

Read all about it on NASA's new web site: yahoo.com/freeweb/~mynasa

Another thought... (1)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150860)

Mind you, I think this is about the dumbest thing NASA could do, and I'm right to balk at it. Everyone else is right to balk at it -- NASA is expecting someone to devote at least $3 million in time and effort (and frankly, abuse) to their project for nothing. If NASA put a gun to your head and demanded $3 million, they'd be labelled a thief. If they can get $3 million out of you using a 'non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement', they're con men. If you fall for it, you're an idiot.

I'm expecting few arguments to the above. But consider the opposite -- there's hundreds if not thousands of "open source" and/or "free software" developers that basically have fallen for that same scenario, and day after day plug away on their own software on a daily basis -- for much lower-profile clientele, however: The thousands about thousands of users who demand feature after feature and then flame you if you don't deliver it two seconds later, or think you're a jerk for sticking to your own timeline and vision for your work, rather than theirs!

Granted, they choose to do so of their own free will, and that's fine. Stupid, but fine. At the heart of each, however is the expectation that you're providing something that ultimately you don't own or control (despite what the GPL says, lets face it, once you open source something and make that code freely distributable and modifiable (is that a word?), you no longer control it) in most if not all cases FOR NOTHING. Why is the situation evil and stupid if an entity comes right out and demands you to do some amount of work for them for no benefit for those doing the actual work, but if you choose to do it on your own, it's wise, revolutionary and noble?!Contradictions don't exist. One of the above must be the based on the wrong premise. From my perspective, it's the latter, and altruism is wrong whether you're forced to do it, or you choose to do it.

Thanks, Bush! (1)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23150972)

Jerk.

This could conceivably work (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23151076)

Only thing is, the creators wouldn't be able to make any money from it. However, it would probably be possible to construct a peer to peer MMO without requiring a huge investment, or a particularly fully featured initial release. What it would need though, is a good initial design so that it can be extended and improved to handle better processors and improvements to the physics simulation.

An astronaut is you! (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 6 years ago | (#23151114)

I thought the MMORPG was already up and running here [kingdomofloathing.com] .

Wait, wrong link...here it is. [resonant.org]
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