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The Game Made From NASA Satellite Data

Soulskill posted 1 year,21 days | from the game-worlds-as-actual-worlds dept.

Mars 32

An anonymous reader writes "Kickstarter's helped start all sorts of indie games, but few as unusual as Lacuna Passage, an adventure game set on Mars with a vast open world that's been painstakingly recreated from NASA satellite data. You're able to explore twenty five square miles of the Red Planet in all its barren glory as you attempt to solve the mystery of the first, vanished, manned mission to mars. A new piece today on the making of the game — which is being made by an elementary school teacher and a team of a dozen volunteers — looks at how it came about, and why their quest for authenticity led to even urine analysis being included in the gameplay."

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Game from NSA data? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691489)

Am I the only one who read this as: "The Game Made From NSA Satellite Data"?

This game was about to get interesting!

Re:Game from NSA data? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691943)

LOL! Because no one has made that joke recently!

Who would have ever thought?! Confusing NSA and NASA.

Re:Game from NSA data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44694331)

That was my first thought too. I reread when the summary started talking of Mars. Since when do they spy on the Martians????

Just goes to show that you see what you expect to see. That, and some late nights....

Re:Game from NSA data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44694979)

"and why their quest for authenticity led to even urine analysis being included in the gameplay."

Aaaand we're back with to NSA again.

No vegetation (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691605)

It's funny: we know the shape of the surface of Mars with better accuracy than that of Earth.

Re:No vegetation (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | 1 year,21 days | (#44691685)

It's funny: we know the shape of the surface of Mars with better accuracy than that of Earth.

In many ways the surface of Mars is easier to map. The is so much less surface detail, on top of the planet being slightly smaller. Earth also has annoying things that include water covered areas, forest and other sort of vegetation.

This game could be interesting and the notion of using the Wii U controller could be interesting, though a compromise could be to make the desktop version work with a tablet PC, though I imagine that would make it more complicated?

Re:No vegetation (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | 1 year,21 days | (#44691813)

Actually Mars is considerably smaller - a bit under 1/3 the diameter and a bit over 1/3 the surface gravity. The entire surface of Mars is roughly comparable in area to the landmass on Earth. And Earth's surface is mostly water.

Also if you want to get technical the detail is the same at one Plank-meter resolution. Earth just has a lot more vegetation masking the surface.

Re:No vegetation (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | 1 year,21 days | (#44693573)

You greatly understate the size of Mars.

Equatorial radius of Earth: 6,378.1 km. Equatorial radius of Mars: 3396.2 km, or about 53% of the radius of Earth.

Re:No vegetation (1)

Aonghus142000 (908581) | 1 year,21 days | (#44693991)

Sorry, you need to go back to HS Geometry. The surface area of a sphere is 4Pi*r^2. For the earth, this works out to ~ 511.2 m km^2. For mars it works out to 144.9 km^2. 35% or approximately 1/3 the size of earth.

Re:No vegetation (2)

GumphMaster (772693) | 1 year,21 days | (#44694197)

Sure, after you go back to grade school English comprehension. The post reads:

a bit under 1/3 the diameter .... of Earth

The diameter of Mars is 53% of the diameter of Earth, plainly much larger than the 33% poster thinks. I made no comment on the surface area claim, which is more-or-less correct.

Re:No vegetation (1)

Immerman (2627577) | 1 year,20 days | (#44699581)

Dang, and I even looked up the radii for that post since I couldn't remember for sure if it was 1/2 or 1/3. Google, why must you feed me error-laden pages?!?

or oceans (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691703)

We have radar that can penetrate vegetation to create topological maps of the land, but the oceans are still largely aqua incognita

Urine analysis??? (5, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | 1 year,21 days | (#44691671)

Which part of the computer do they expect us to pee into?

Re:Urine analysis??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691687)

They're just taking the piss

Re:Urine analysis??? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,21 days | (#44695005)

Which part of the computer do they expect us to pee into?

The PSU, obviously - you do know it stands for Piss Spectrography Unit?

Re:Urine analysis??? (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | 1 year,20 days | (#44696939)

The AGP slot

Oxygen levels? (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | 1 year,21 days | (#44691717)

I noticed that there was an oxygen meter and it got me wondering how good CO2 scrubbers have got in modern space-suits. Does anyone know how long oxygen will last in a space-suit, with the help of a CO2 scrubber, based on current space walks?

Re:Oxygen levels? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691991)

Should have asked about 10 years ago. Now days, this is the best reply you will get.


Re:Oxygen levels? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44692503)

The current EMU suit used on the ISS has a life support capacity of 8 hours, and includes a co2 scrubber.

Re:Oxygen levels? (3, Informative)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | 1 year,21 days | (#44692983)

"life support capacity of 8 hours"

In that neighborhood, I imagine that is only a suggested safety limit for a standard suit though as a couple astronauts took a 8 hour 56 minute spacewalk (Helms & Voss back in 2001). The next gen space suit (which would likely be used on possible Mars missions) though is supposed to have a life support duration of 150 hours

Re:Oxygen levels? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44693847)

Some numbers for older Russian suits (from G.L. Harris, The origins and technology of the advanced extravehicular space suit, 2001):
Orlan (1969): 5h
Orlan-D (1977): 5h
Orlan-DM (1985): 6h
Orlan-DMA (1988): 7h

I'm not sure if 150 hours is doable with an untethered suit. The suits are limited by all of battery life, cooling water (which is evaporated to space, but less might be required on Mars because of the atmosphere), O2 supply and CO2 scrubber capacity.

Real NASA Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44691929)

It's excellent to see the NASA data about the surface of Mars being used to model the terrain for a game. I'm personally a big fan of software that gamifies real data. NASA itself has "Eyes on the Solar System [] which is an open world flythrough of the solar system with accurate 3D models and telemetry for satellites, planets, moons asteroids and exoplanets.

Disclaimer: I work on the NASA software.

Re:Real NASA Data (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44692829)

That thing really sucks compared to Space Engine or even Celestia.

I have ... (1)

zawarski (1381571) | 1 year,21 days | (#44692251)

... never been to Maahzzz!

Supreme ruler... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | 1 year,21 days | (#44692457)

The Supreme Ruler series has used NASA maps of earth for like a decade.

Unfortunately it's still the same maps as they were using a decade ago, I've been trying to persuade the lead programmer to get higher res maps, but that creates system requirements issues.

Awesome idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44692549)

Which is why we created a Unreal Tournament mod using NASA Data over a decade ago.

Oculus Rift support (2)

virgnarus (1949790) | 1 year,21 days | (#44692641)

The best thing about the game is their dedication to implement good Oculus Rift support, which is perfect for a game like this. Too many games haphazardly slap Rift support onto them and it becomes a mess trying to deal with menus designed for monitors being displayed on the Rift and other things that makes the Rift experience real poor. These devs, however, realize the obstacles with Rift support and are willing to put the extra effort into making it worthwhile.

Other NASA related games (2)

feddas (1979736) | 1 year,21 days | (#44693199)

Haven't games been using NASA data for a while? Maybe not to the extent of this game, but I played one a while back that looked like it used quite a bit of NASA data; []

X-Plane did this YEARS ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44693377)

You used to be able to fly on mars with X-plane. Not 25 square miles...the whole f'n planet. This isn't anything new.

A bit late to the party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#44693715)

Lacuna Passage looks terrible when compared to Take on Mars, and that only has 10 guys working on it. I'm pretty sure that uses real Mars data.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,20 days | (#44697449)

Making a game based on the data from the SDSS (i.e. a universe's driving licence). The more data they get, the bigger your (our real) world. What I do not know is whether it would be legal. I suppose it's a matter of navigating in the ocean of open licences without drowning in order to find out (if only drowning was instantaneously and not after a few years...).

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