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An Early Look at the NASA MMO

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the looking-for-more-to-raid-the-moon dept.

NASA 208

Big Download is running an article with details and screenshots from the MMO under development by NASA. The game makes use of Unreal Engine 3, and it's titled Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond. A demo is planned for later this year, and in 2010 they expect "the first episodic installment of the game" to come out. Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes, described it thus: "This game is going to be a fresh look at the future circa about 2035. ... The core of the gameplay is going to be people building up their characters and as you move forward, you will have more options unlock with new places to go, new equipment to use and new things to do. We are not so much focused on interstellar flight and all that entails... the gameplay is actually about being in a habitat on a planetary surface and doing things like mining Helium-3 for fuel, operating a hydroponics facility to grow plants and create oxygen and operating robots and vehicles."

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A game? (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955519)

What's up with everybody using my money to make games these days. It's the latest fad in government agencies or what?

Re:A game? (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955539)

I think it is an outreach thing, which for part of the Government amounts to advertising. Basically they are marketing themselves to future voters.

Maybe there is a lesson in this for other advertisers. Will there be a "Coca Cola" and "Tesla" MMOs in the future?

Re:A game? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955995)

I may be cynical but after playing spacestationsim which proclaimed on the cover to be made in collaboration with NASA I am convinced that this will suck just as much.

That was one awful game. I mean the interface was one of the worst I've ever seen.
Good idea but I could see it had been designed by a committee which had no members who knew how to make a game playable.

Re:A game? (2, Funny)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956903)

Shhhhhhh!!!

I was planing on pitching 'Kingdom of the Colonel: Quest for the 11 Herbs and Spices' to KFC.

Re:A game? (3, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26957051)

It's pitch black. You are likely to be seasoned by a Grue ...

Re:A game? (3, Interesting)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955541)

Your share of the game's development budget will be measured in cents, unless you're rich. What's wrong with inspiring a generation of kids for that little money? I'd imagine many intelligent people went into aerospace after Apollo and so made our lives better far in excess of what was spent.

Re:A game? (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955579)

So what's next, Dept of Agriculture getting in on the game with SimFarmer? It's wrong because there are very few ways for the government to spend taxpayers' money that is justifiable and sorry but this isn't one of them. It's wrong to the game companies too who now face a competitor with huge guaranteed budget obtained by force, and no expectation of profit, in fact who probably will be giving the game out for free.

Re:A game? (2, Interesting)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955679)

In Soviet Russia, government pays you!

Re:A game? (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956269)

pays you a visit TO THE GULAG!!!!!8!

Re:A game? (1)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955693)

The problem is that it doesn't seem to do anything. Anyone who would play the game would jump at a chance to be an astronaut (along with a ton who wouldn't play). And if they're looking for people interested in less glamorous jobs, showing them how fantastic being an astronaut would be is entirely the wrong response.

Re:A game? (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955831)

As someone who watched Armstrong step on the moon live on TV way out in the back-blocks of Australia I disagree. Every kid on the planet already knows "how fantastic being an astronaut would be", the aim here is to take that interest and redirect it to teach science. It may well flop but it's not taxpayer money so NASA have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Re:A game? (5, Funny)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956795)

Except neil armstrong would not step onto the moon and then start spamming the chat channels with "HOW I MINE FOR FISH? HOW I MINE FOR FISH?"

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956959)

Exactly my thoughts: they made an excellent game for training purposes. I see a much grander scheme here, simply because it is dubbed "MMO." It is either one of two cases:

1) They wanted to give back to the community for support, but developing a "commercial" version of their training software simply because it was so much fun in training.
2) They are going to aggregate the behavior data of the users for future decision in colonization.

        It isn't too much of a stretch to imagine this MMO "game" is simply for entertainment purposes, especially coming out of a place such as NASA.

Re:A game? (3, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956079)

Dunno, there are plenty of support staff in Houston who are fired up to the core for life, and I think that part of that fervor comes from exposure to "the astronaut experience" even if they don't get to go into space themselves.

Re:A game? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955729)

a competitor with huge guaranteed budget obtained by force, and no expectation of profit

Translation: the game will suck.

Re:A game? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955737)

Why is it wrong? It promotes education in the sciences; it's a way to get kids interested in something else besides the Power Rangers or whatever it is kids watch these days, something that might make this world a better place for a change.

Education matters, you know, and getting kids to set their sights on things like these keeps getting harder. Specially in times like these, that are so harsh on people's dreams.

From TFA:

...the ultimate goal of his team is to inspire generations of future space explorers...and encourage game players to pursue careers on science, math and engineering careers.

As an aside, don't worry about the gaming companies. Free, government-sponsored competition [americasarmy.com] doesn't seem to have stopped production of FPS games.

Off-topic: my captcha is "rectums"

Re:A game? (3, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955743)

The game is actually being developed by Virtual Heroes and from what I understand is being offered as a educational tool for 9th graders and they are encouraged to use development tools to build content for the game themselves.

If this isn't a good investment for our country - not sure what is - especially if its an educational game that is fun to play.

Dept of Agriculture should do the same thing - to help younger generations get interested in working on and developing technology in the field of agriculture. If it works - I'd be for it - America needs more good farmers and people working in that field.

Re:A game? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955767)

Looking through the article and the NASA press release linked therein, NASA seems to be treating this as an educational tool:

The NASA Learning Technologies (LT) project supports the development of projects that deliver NASA content through innovative applications of technologies to enhance education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Research and development are at the core of the LT mission. LT seeks to enhance formal and informal education in STEM fields with the goal of increasing the number of students in those fields of study and is currently investigating the development of a NASA-based massively multiplayer online educational game (MMO).

Now, I don't know about you, but I can see a lot of worse things to spend some money on than getting people interested in science.

Re:A game? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956023)

Now, I don't know about you, but I can see a lot of worse things to spend some money on than getting people interested in science.

Yeah, but I can think of a lot of better things to spend money on, too.

Re:A game? (1, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956191)

Yet, you didn't mention one thing..

Re:A game? (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26957031)

thats right...let the free market decide. You nor I should be telling others how to spend *their* money.

Re:A game? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955785)

Dept Agriculture might do OK, but NASA will flop. It won't be monotonous enough.

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955917)

"Huge guaranteed budget"? From what I remember of previous Slashdot articles on this "game", NASA wanted it to be made for more-or-less nothing.

Re:A game? (2, Interesting)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955925)

Yeah, such companies are really into such sims. Wait...they are more willing to crunch out dysopian shooters than any real life sim. Where is my copter sim? Where is living city sim? Ahhh right, they are hard to do, expensive, and doesn't pay back so well as dump shooters.

Actually SimFarmer would make huge sense for small kids to learn about how food gets to the supermarket.

Re:A game? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956201)

What are you talking about we had both sim city and sim copter which allowed you to import your city from sim city.

Re:A game? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956075)

In the early 1900s "Uncle Sam Wants You" was a big promotional push by the armed forces, competing with all kinds of other industries for recruits and using any and all popular media of the time.

Is this really any different?

Re:A game? (4, Informative)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956205)

Actually, Maxis already created a game called SimFarm which more or less simulated all the activities of a farm, i remember playing it way back in the day, but i'm sure if some government agency made one, it would be far different... or would it? Anywho, here is the wiki link to the description, and if im not mistaken, you may even be able to downlaod a freeware version of the game as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimFarm [wikipedia.org]

Re:A game? (2, Funny)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956231)

In the Government version of SimFarm, you don't even get out of the chair at your PC. The whole Sim involves filing for subsidies, and email exchanges with USDA clerks. There is a section with a simulation of a tractor, but you just go out there once in a spell and blow the dust off it before returning to your desktop to answer another query from the subsidy payout clerk at USDA.

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956787)

Yes, my favorite of all the Sim games. Always hated it when the pigs and cows escaped.

Re:A game? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956359)

Yeah, but some of us have been waiting for another SimFarm. If I have to use your tax dollars to get it, I'm willing to let you make that sacrifice for me.

Re:A game? (1)

meyekul (1204876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956375)

I remember a game way back when I was in grade school (late 80s) on the Apple IIc which taught some agricultural concepts. Things like crop rotation, plowing patterns, etc. I don't remember what it was called, or that it was all that fun or educational at the time, but it must have some effect if I still remember to plow your fields against the slope of your hill 20 years later.

Re:A game? (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956689)

http://www.simtractor.com/ [simtractor.com]
The funniest thing I've read in a long while was a post from a guy complaining bitterly that a bug in Simtractor caused him to lose a whole season worth of beats.

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955545)

The MMORPG is being done by a company called Virtual Heroes using NASA assets.

Did you even read TFA?

Re:A game? (4, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955659)

Mars Rovers were in fact a secret plane to create a massive FPS arena. The next batch will be able to fire rockets. The 40 mins lag is a bitch however.
Seriously, the rovers did no serious science (yes I saw the article about drops, they see a drop they are unsure of what it is. Genius) and were just PR toys. All real science was made from orbit where satellites did stuff like map the entire planet for underground stocks of water (and found plenty)

Re:A game? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955701)

the rovers did no serious science

Oh really? [nasa.gov]

Re:A game? (1, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956017)

YA, RLY

From your link, its missions were :

* Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars

An immobile probe that would have dug 5 meters under the surface would have had a far better chance to find living organisms (it could have reached water layers) than something that stays on the surface and scratches the rocks.

* Characterize the Climate of Mars

"Dude it's cloudy today". On the other hand, there are orbital observations that give a far better and deeper understanding of Mars' climate and weather.

* Characterize the Geology of Mars

That's the "scratching a rock" phase. From orbit we got a geological map of Mars and even of its underground, to some extent. The knowledge we have from the area where the rovers landed is probably only marginally better than what we scanned from orbit.

* Prepare for Human Exploration

How so ? Localizing water, minerals and so on was not made very efficiently by this rover team. It didn't build anything of use for explorers and I fail to see what new information it brought that the Viking probes didn't give us already.

Re:A game? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956147)

Just got your first telescope? If you want to give NASA lessons how to study Mars they might need you.

Re:A game? (2, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956819)

Your speculation is rampant.

"I can't imagine much science was done, not that I've investigated AT ALL, and I must be right."

Welcome to Slashdot, where you are the king of kings.

YA, RLY

From your link, its missions were :

* Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars

An immobile probe that would have dug 5 meters under the surface would have had a far better chance to find living organisms (it could have reached water layers) than something that stays on the surface and scratches the rocks.

* Characterize the Climate of Mars

"Dude it's cloudy today". On the other hand, there are orbital observations that give a far better and deeper understanding of Mars' climate and weather.

* Characterize the Geology of Mars

That's the "scratching a rock" phase. From orbit we got a geological map of Mars and even of its underground, to some extent. The knowledge we have from the area where the rovers landed is probably only marginally better than what we scanned from orbit.

* Prepare for Human Exploration

How so ? Localizing water, minerals and so on was not made very efficiently by this rover team. It didn't build anything of use for explorers and I fail to see what new information it brought that the Viking probes didn't give us already.

Re:A game? (4, Insightful)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956927)

The pictures from the orbiter are great, but pictures alone can't give you a complete view of anything, especially not when exploring a foreign planet. The orbiter can't give you a chance to interact with the environment. Maybe the rovers didn't find everything we hoped they would, but there's no way to be sure until you go down there and check it out.

Honestly, I don't understand why people are so afraid to spend money on science projects. If there's one place/field where the status quo shouldn't be good enough, it's science. Of all groups, I would hope Slashdot gets that.

People have lost sight of what science really is. Take the Mythbusters for example... A lot of people say things like "it's not real science." Well that's just plain wrong. Science is about exploring, forming theories, and disproving them through experimentation. (Oblig xkcd [xkcd.com] )

And of course, when the experiment doesn't work the way you want it to, you make something explode. The rovers have built-in planet-buster nukes, right?

Re:A game? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956491)

Like the GP, you miss the political component entirely.

PR stunts on this kind of stuff are important. If you ask the general public to give you a billion bucks for science, you better have something to show for it. Now the actual science, that isn't very show-worthy. But a remote-controlled car driving around on the surface of a foreign planet and sending home vacation pictures - that is something that John Doe can relate to.

It's like Vietnam, Iraq or whatever you have - the actual cruelty of war is never in the news. But one poor child suffering after a stray bomb wiped out its family - that is front-page stuff. That's how it is on this planet, with this race, in this society. Like it or not.

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956521)

I'm with the "nots"!

Re:A game? (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955683)

Yes, your government are spending fractions of pennies of the taxes you pay them to try and get your countries children excited about science and space exploration.

What a bunch of bastards.

Re:A game? (1)

balthan (130165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956297)

your government are spending fractions of pennies

Besides, what's the big deal about trillion dollar deficit anyway?

Conclusion mat... (2, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955713)

What evidence do you have that this is your money?

The article gives a hint with the words "subscription based", three clicks and I managed to find the RFP [nasa.gov] , a quick skim gives the following quote: "Funding to design, develop, and deploy the MMO should be included in the proposer's business plan."

Apologies for interupting everyone's political flame fest, please continue...

Re:Conclusion mat... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955777)

What evidence do you have that this is your money?

Hmm, well not much to be honest. The summary said "the MMO under development by NASA", so it seems clear enough, but then summaries are often wrong here. TFA doesn't mention who pays for the development at all. I'd be surprised if there is no NASA money going towards it though and if this will be a normal commercial game since the article does mention that NASA Learning Technologies is involved.

Re:Conclusion mat... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955853)

Yep, NASA Learning Technologies will have had to (at a minimum) pay people to review and pick the winning tender. I'm not a US taxpayer so I will leave it to others to judge if that's a waste of their money.

Re:Conclusion mat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955897)

Depends how much they licensed the use of their IP for I guess.

Re:A game? (3, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955859)

What's up with everybody using my money to make games these days.

If it was your money, it would be in your pocket and yours to spend, wouldn't it?

Tax is the contribution of the citizens towards the cost of running the state. The state in return provides certain services, roads, schools, military and a number of other things. Only a very minute part of your tax is spent on this sort of light entertainment - although I think this may be more in the category of edutainment, which is not a bad idea; too many people in America have no idea about astronomy and space technology, and a game like this might bring them a little bit closer to reality - and who knows, maybe even inspire some to learn more.

Re:A game? (3, Insightful)

balthan (130165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956411)

Only a very minute part of your tax is spent on this sort of light entertainment

By this agency, on this project. When you start adding up the hundreds of projects from dozens of agencies, it doesn't seem so minute. And when you factor in our short-term trillion dollar deficit and the long-term budgetary crisis that will happen in the next couple decades, maybe a space MMO isn't such a great use of taxpayer dollars right now.

Re:A game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956049)

you shouldn't worry as long as they make more money off it than you put into it

Re:A game? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956069)

It is called Public Relations. I assume they hope to it will increase interest. Increased interest will most likely mean increased funding.

Re:A game? (5, Insightful)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956177)

You know, I obsessively played a game called Starflight [wikipedia.org] when I was 11 or 12. That game was a springboard for a lifelong interest in space and astronomy. It also inspired a few years of bedroom programing [outerspacecrew.net] in an attempt to recreate it. It was pretty unique in that it was fairly hard-sci-fi with lots of accurate terms and ideas.

Don't underestimate what capturing the imagination of a child can do for their adult life. We need better science education in this country.

When I think of NASA.. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955521)

Wwen I think of NASA, I think of Massively Multiplayer Online Games.

Re:When I think of NASA.. (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955599)

Houston -- we have a problem.

And when I think of NASA... (3, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955605)

I think of zero-g frolics, optionally involving aliens. If they make their MMO right, we can look forward to some interesting add-in modules...

Re:When I think of NASA.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955667)

i think of helicopters in darfur. fuckin copters are fuckin things up. fuck.

for post (1)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955523)

from da metaverse fool what! MMOOOOOO

Final Oblivion Mooncraft Fantasy! (0, Offtopic)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955567)

Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond will be a 'first-person-exploration' game that will also include traditional role-playing game (RPG) elements for both single-player and team-based space exploration, but with a realistic twist.

By "traditional RPG elements" they must mean goblins and wizards and the most absurd J-Pop characters creatively possible...how they plan this with a realistic twist is beyond me.

Sounds to me like Final Fantasy in Space. Can't wait. Elder Scrolls Moon Landing perhaps?

Way to see our government dollars and manpower hard at work!!

Re:Final Oblivion Mooncraft Fantasy! (5, Funny)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955703)

"Houston - we have a problem." "Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat."

Re:Final Oblivion Mooncraft Fantasy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955805)

A nod to bash?

Re:Final Oblivion Mooncraft Fantasy! (4, Informative)

pejyel (1275304) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956085)

Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond will be a 'first-person-exploration' game that will also include traditional role-playing game (RPG) elements for both single-player and team-based space exploration, but with a realistic twist.

By "traditional RPG elements" they must mean goblins and wizards and the most absurd J-Pop characters creatively possible...how they plan this with a realistic twist is beyond me.

Sounds to me like Final Fantasy in Space. Can't wait. Elder Scrolls Moon Landing perhaps?

Way to see our government dollars and manpower hard at work!!

No. Traditional RPG elements are inventories, permanent avatars, the ability to develop skills and fulfilling quests/objectives : applied to this game, I can think of building/buying new spaceships, satellites ; trying to get new fundings, taking photographs to make maps, exploring, etc...

Goblins, wizards, magic swords, hats and robes are classical heroic fantasy or D&D elements, not typically RPG.

Re:Final Oblivion Mooncraft Fantasy! (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956895)

Are they going to let us make excavations? Maybe we'll find a marker and the people in the colony will start going crazy. Then when we move the marker, some weird funky alien stuff starts invading the colony, and the people die, and then they come back to life and try to kill you.

Yeah, that sounds like an awesome plot they could wrap into a NASA MMO.

No really, I just want a Dead Space MMO.

bad move (1)

doktorstop (725614) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955575)

Isn't the goal of a space agency to promote scientific advance for space travel? If they are tryng to get additional funding, they'd better team up with someone serious, like Blizzard, who knows the market, player's expectations and... how to make a successful game.
If the goal is to increase common Joe's awareness that you need to recycle etc, a boring game won't do this either.
Waste of taxpayer's money in a field where NASA has no history, no experience and ... really not such an innovative idea for a gameplay!

Re:bad move (1)

RichM (754883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955597)

Wouldn't happen with Blizzard, they are too busy making Starcraft 2 and the next-gen WoW.

Re:bad move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956309)

Yea you don't want Tigole working on this, it would make the game more tedious than actually studying science/math and working for NASA, in real life.

Man, this is what I wanted Orbiter to be (4, Interesting)

sahonen (680948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955591)

Will it have realistic physics? And by realistic I don't mean video game realistic, but actual rocket science physics like Orbiter [orbitersim.com] has.

Re:Man, this is what I wanted Orbiter to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955765)

I would venture a no, based on:
 

the team promises that the gameplay will be exciting.

Exciting and real physics generally don't go hand in hand. Leaping off buildings, dogfights in space, standing watch for 8 hours straight or spending 2 hours to dock... If they have any clue what they're doing they won't include real physics.

Re:Man, this is what I wanted Orbiter to be (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955903)

Why not? They could make it like racing and flying simulators, where you have (usually) 3 stages...

Arcade
Semi-Pro
Simulation

Or sliders for various things like time-scale (60x, 30x, 10x, double, real), and physics accuracy, etc... if you can run multiple missions at the same time, then you could start off heading for Mars, then switch over to another mission, but have the ability to say run the Mars mission as a screensaver, so you can see how far it has gotten... could also run various experiments the same way, like growing food in 0-G, where pure simulation, and exact phsyics/biology could be really exciting (to some), and for those where it isnt, you skip it, or stuff just finishes instantly.

Re:Man, this is what I wanted Orbiter to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956125)

That link looks dead. Try this: http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/orbit.html [ucl.ac.uk] or just the wikipedia article...

Re:Man, this is what I wanted Orbiter to be (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956213)

Repeat this to yourself until you understand - it's a GAME. It's not real! It's not supposed to be real! It's entertainment, not a graduate-level physics homework exercise. If you want to spend your free time doing the calculus to figure out intercept vectors, then go right ahead with a pen & pencil. Heck, get a job in aerospace, it's pretty much the same thing. The rest of us want to fly around and shoot things with laser beams.

Good or Bad... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955593)

NASA needs some interest from the public, the whole country needs to inspire the young to think beyond the confines of their own assholes.

If this is one way to do it, then so be it.

To those of you who have no understanding of what NASA is worth, you really need to learn.
If you want to know what we can get from space exploration. Well, if we knew that, we wouldn't have to explore now would we...

So far NASA has given back a thousand fold to both the world and the USA.

Let's just list a few things NASA and space exploration have improved:
Electrical engineering, communications, weather forecasting, agriculture, navigation, metallurgy, synthetics, medicine, aeronautics.

Ok, I know that was a really really short list of the multitude of things that have benefited us that were heavily influenced by or came from the NASA research and experiments, but I only have a moment to post this and I have to go to an appointment.

2035? (3, Insightful)

blackirish (794322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955613)

If it's set circa 2035, why is there a space shuttle docked to the ISS in the screenshots? Shouldn't it be an Orion capsule?

Re:2035? (4, Funny)

GrpA (691294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955621)

2035, US budget cutbacks, shuttle still in use...

Sounds like they've brought in experts to make their new game seem plausible :)

GrpA

Re:2035? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955633)

Forget the shuttle, why is there an ISS?

In space... (1)

Ignacio (1465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955619)

...no one can hear you grind...

Clever, clever... (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955625)

Trying to capitalize on the runaway success of all those exciting first-person mining/farming simulators, are they?

Budget (1)

cyp43r (945301) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955627)

"It says here you spent more on your game than you know. Exploring space." "In our defense, it's a pretty good game."

This has FAIL written all over it. (1)

gigamonkey (973801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955699)

That is all.

NASA making an MMO?!?! (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955719)

Is that something they're spend their slice of the stimulus on?

Really, how do people take Keynesian economics seriously today?

2035?? (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955757)

This game is going to be a fresh look at the future circa about 2035

We're lucky if we get people beyond earth orbit again by then, let alone to Mars. The notion that we'll have Mars-based habitats (like those depicted in the game) is implausible. I think people just don't realize how ill-suited man is to space travel, how difficult and costly it is to keep people alive in space, and how costly it is to get mass up into orbit and beyond.

Manned interplanetary travel will happen eventually (if we don't kill ourselves first), but there's a lot of work to be done on propulsion, ecology, biology, material science, genetic engineering, and unmanned exploration first.

Re:2035?? (1)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956969)

Perhaps they just mean that the technology will be at that level. We can very nearly build much of the stuff in the pictures with our current level of technology. It's mostly just money and practicality that keeps us from doing it.

Grinding (4, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955803)

The first portion of the game will have you fighting Level 1 Obsolete Satellites, and it'll take about 70 of them to level the first few levels. You'll have missions to destroy tiny asteroids, maybe fix some GPS Satellites, or possibly collect a dozen 'Unique Space Debris' and bring them back to the Hubble Telescope.

But by the end of the game, there will be large 40-man Raids scouring the Martian valleys, fighting Dust Golems and Communist Colonists, the final boss of which will be the long-missing rogue Mutated Mars Rover.

You accidentally the whole verb! (1)

jamesmcm (1354379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955807)

"The game makes us of Unreal Engine 3..."

I think you accidentally the whole verb.

Re:You accidentally the whole verb! (1)

Ignacio (1465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955877)

The word you're looking for is "brok".

Every powerup is 10 billion dollars (0)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955857)

This sounds like some sort of a advertisement, and unfortunately, the game sounds pretty gay. People see this game, and they will immediately shut NASA down. Nothing turned me off to climate science more than the Science channel pseudo drama about the guys in a space station inventing some new energy source. IT was a TV show bad, that I was rooting for humanity to just end.

WHat? No PVP? (3, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955941)

How else are we supposed to keep the moon clear of moondust farmers?

Bots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26955945)

Will they allow bots? Just once i wish someone would make a MMO, which allowed all sorts of bots and autoplaying. How far will people take this? Could some of these become part of a mars rover or such? Just a thought...

Not another generic MMO (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26955965)

The core of the gameplay is going to be people building up their characters and as you move forward, you will have more options unlock with new places to go, new equipment to use and new things to do.

Wow, that doesn't sound generic at all. What exactly are people building their characters up towards? What are they moving forward to?

Please don't make this a generic grinding game that tries to solve Global Warming...

One of the story arcs that will take place over the course of the game's first year is the very real threat of global warming.

Oh crap...

"What do you do when someone is injured in space out on the surface of the moon?" asked Shariff. "One answer is a rover that can be used as an ambulance..."

One option, and this may sound callous, is to leave them. I'm fairly sure that the astronauts would sign waivers that acknowledge the risks of space travel and the costs of rescue missions are generally not feasible. Then again, that wouldn't work well for a plot in a game.

Re:Not another generic MMO (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956065)

Death in the game should involve the loss of your character. Forced hardcore server! Show them the real harshities of life in space.

Helium-3 for $$$ (5, Funny)

bluphysted (1340479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956013)

It won't take long for the Chinese Helium-3 farmers to ruin the economy.

Circa about? (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956109)

Does someone need to look up the term 'circa' ?

And 2035... Unless we get a SERIOUS move on, 2035 will be very, very little different than today: No manned spacecraft to the Moon or Mars at all.

2035, huh? (2, Insightful)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956153)

"This game is going to be a fresh look at the future circa about 2035"

So it will be a game about massive unemployment, widespread abject poverty, debt slavery and inescapable bleakness as the dreams of a thousand nerds are drowned forever in the Ocean of Feces, without even their precious interweb to keep them company since it will have long since ceased to exist due to economic depression forcing people out of it (can't justify paying ISP bills when you don't even have the money to put food on the table) and ISPs shutting down.

Yeah, it's going to be a simple game after all: flip burgers, all day, the only job available to geeks with no marketable skills in the new world.

Crowdsourcing (2, Interesting)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956171)

Could be an interesting social experiment. With all the "human factors" involved in both success and failure of a long term Mars mission,this could be an excellent playground to find the situations that provoke irrational behaviour and which are particularly hard to simulate.

So where's my BFG? (0, Offtopic)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956209)

'nuff said?

How long until. . . (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956353)

. . . someone figures out how to gank noobs by dropping asteroids onto their facilities. . . . And imagine the PVP options. . .

WHAT THE HELL EDITORS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956361)

Jesus the broken English is just ridiculous! I stopped reading after the first two sentences for fear it would make me stupid to continue. I'm glad you're keeping Slashdot traditions, such as not reading the article, alive but could you at *least* read the submission?!

ender...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956459)

am i the only one who read ender's game? obviously, the next step is remote-control astronauts run by 9th graders... "oops! restart..."

awesome.. (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956685)

i hope they have gnomes in it... i mean come on, mccain isn't busy anymore...

Humans on Mars in 2035? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26956815)

So it's a fantasy MMO then?

So... (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#26957003)

...I suppose there'll be a lot of people with ressurection-sickness running around. Imagine doing a corpse-run when your ship got hit halfway between Earth and Mars.
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