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NASA Moon PC Games (Games) Space Games

NASA Launches Moonbase Alpha 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-boldly-grind dept.
Several readers have sent word that today NASA launched Moonbase Alpha, an online game with single- and multi-player capability that "allows participants to step into the role of an exploration team member in a futuristic 3-D lunar settlement." The game is available now through Steam for free. Moonbase Alpha was built as a precursor to an upcoming NASA MMO called Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, and they hope it will be "a proof of concept to show how NASA content can be combined with a cutting-edge game engine to inspire, engage and educate students about agency technologies, job opportunities and the future of space exploration."
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NASA Launches Moonbase Alpha

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  • Moonbase Alpha BBS? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Moridineas (213502)

    Anyone remember Moonbase Alpha BBS -- 471-4547 -- (I doubt it as it would be a minuscule number of people)?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ron Harwood (136613)

      Um, all the world lives in one area code, do they? ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moridineas (213502)

        When you're a teenager typing in modem commands by hand to call local numbers, yes :-)

    • by Mascot (120795)

      No. But I do remember 205 895 0028. I couldn't remember precisely what it was, but a Google sorted that (NASA Spacelink). Can't believe I still remember that. Must be more than 15 years since I last dialed that number. And, international rates being what they were, I didn't use it all that often back then either.

    • by ddillman (267710)
      I remember one that went by that name, yes. And yes, I'm old.
  • In space... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:28PM (#32816818)

    Nobody can hear you troll.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tacarat (696339)
      Actually, this project is to find trolls and their online kin. Who better to send on long duration trips than those that already hate the sun, don't mind "alternative hygiene", live on processed foods and can shirk off a lack of real sex for years at a time?

      Oh shit. /. is next >.>
      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:35PM (#32816952) Journal

        Good God, you're absolutely right. Every geek and nerd in the verse is a perfect target to send on missions to space... We have to warn... Somebody... wait... whats bad about this?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by tacarat (696339)
          I don't want to risk sharing a ship with telephone sanitizers.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by tnk1 (899206)

            Don't worry, they don't want you dead. They need us to fix their computers so they can go on Facebook.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ring-eldest (866342)
        In all seriousness, I think the really far out there geeks (not your average, run of the mill slashdotter, but maybe close!) would make EXCELLENT space travelers. The only real downside is that after years of increasingly disturbing porn, a COMPLETE lack of social interaction (and this is coming from someone who once thought "dressing up" was putting on pants so the drive-through people won't freak out), and the subsequent lack of feedback about their behavior and thoughts, they'll leave a very rough impr
  • About 11 years too late. But at least we now know what the Mayan hype was all about. Say goodbye to the moon in 2012.

    Just in case... :-)

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:29PM (#32816834) Homepage Journal

    Only 11 years late... [imdb.com]

    Some cheats for players:
    1 Stay away from the nuclear waste dump.
    2 Don't shoot energy-absorbing being with a laser - just get them in a powered-down section and wait for them to run out of energy.
    3 Neutron reaction drives won't make you a lot of friends.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck (811747)

      That show is *nightmarishly bad*. In one episode, some alien planet sends probes that create an atmosphere (to keep the Alpha crew happy until they passed out of range so they didn't have Martin Landau and Barbara Bain descend up them). That's when I found out that *the windows on Moonbase Alpha were designed to be opened* so they could get a nice breeze. And that the intrepid space voyagers brought *bikinis* so they could frolic on the regolith.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by JockTroll (996521)

        "Black Sun" was kinda cool. And the Eagles are some of the greatest-looking fictional spaceships ever, even though from the vernier rockets layout it's never exactly clear how they can yaw or traslate on the X-axis.

      • That show is *nightmarishly bad*.

        Nah, it's all about perspective!

        I was five or six when that show was airing, and through the eyes of a little kid, it was the coolest and most astonishing sci-fi epic series EVER!

        (Special effects made everything look real, and since I was too young to know that adults weren't flawed, I also assumed that everything made sense but that I was just too young to get it. Everything seemed wonderful and exciting on the moon!)

        Oh, but it was a dark, dark day when I hunted down a couple of episodes of the program an

        • by LurkerXXX (667952)

          You just described exactly my experience watching Johnny Sako and his Flying Robot. Killing fond childhood memories is not a good thing.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        And that the intrepid space voyagers brought *bikinis* so they could frolic on the regolith.

        To be fair, while the opening windows in the moonbase were one of the silliest things I've seen in an SF show, they wore bikinis a lot in the other episodes in the tanning salon place.

        And considering that the whole premise of the show was absurd, complaining about minor issues like opening windows seems a bit over the top :).

      • by Ecuador (740021)

        Ok, the show kinda sucks if you are not under 15 (fortunately I was at the time), but what about that opening theme? A classic over-the-top pompous orchestral score switching to the funkiest 70's beat! And actually that part which is the only aspect I really appreciate now, I did not really "get" as a kid...

      • by pipingguy (566974) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:35PM (#32818528) Homepage
        But UFO (also by Gerry Anderson) was great! Supposedly there's a movie on the way [forbiddenplanet.com].
    • by Adambomb (118938) *

      Personally I'm waiting for the sequel.

      Astronaut II: LEO, Whiteboards, and congressional subcommittees

      • by tnk1 (899206) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:06PM (#32818236)

        And the instances will be just like playing WoW with shitty pick-up groups.

        Astronaut [party] Okay guys, I'm going up. You ready to make sure my mission is a success?
        Congressman [party] I got all the money you need.
        Contractor [party] All systems go! We got your back.
        Administrator [party] You are cleared for take off.

        Astronaut launches STS-135.
        Astronaut is now 2 km above launch site.
        *Astronaut is attacked by Faulty O-Ring (elite)*
        Astronaut [party] oshitoshitoshit
        Contractor disconnects from the server.
        Administrator casts Blame the Contractor. Administrator teleports out.
        Congressman casts Hookers and Blow. Congressman teleports out.
        Astronaut takes 2389358954390354-e35 damage.
        Astronaut dies.

        Contractor reconnects.
        Contractor [party] Guys? What'd I miss?
        Congressman [party] Uhh yeah, I gotta go. Getting a blow job.
        Astronaut [party] Fucking DIE.
        Administrator [guild] We don't talk that way in the NASA guild.
        Astronaut has been kicked from NASA.

        The End.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      What bugs me is that Hollywood has been doing mostly remakes of anything for the last two decades or so and nobody thought of doing a Space: 1999 movie and launch it worldwide on September 13, 1999.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:31PM (#32816874)

    8 second lag is pretty bad, but this can be viewed as a precursor to jobs of the future where basement dwellers driver loaders on the moon.

  • let's hope they keep a better eye on the nuclear waste dump this time :-)

    or at least stock up on supplies (and better actors).

  • Please... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rshol (746340) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:33PM (#32816904)

    Is this how screwed up NASA is, reduced to releasing video games as opposed to sending people into space?

    • Re:Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:37PM (#32816978) Journal

      On the other hand, the Military gets tons of Cash and they have NEVER [americasarmy.com] released a video game.

    • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:40PM (#32817038)

      Is this how screwed up NASA is, reduced to releasing video games as opposed to sending people into space?

      It's a master recruitment plan. See, kids think they're playing a game but in reality, they're being trained and the best of the best of the best will rise until one day, via their "game" they're doing actual exploration without realizing it. I hear they're planning a military version of this too.

      Code name: ENDER

      • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:44PM (#32817102) Journal

        (kicks you in the nuts)

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Is this how screwed up NASA is, reduced to releasing video games as opposed to sending people into space?

        It's a master recruitment plan. See, kids think they're playing a game but in reality, they're being trained and the best of the best of the best will rise until one day, via their "game" they're doing actual exploration without realizing it. I hear they're planning a military version of this too.

        Remember, don't use the Death Blossom except as a last resort!

    • by Virak (897071)

      Convincing the public that space is cool! and exciting! so they can continue to get enough funding to at least barely get by has always been an important part of NASA. See also: all those pretty pictures they release.

    • Re:Please... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:42PM (#32817074)
      Well, they've got a lot of experience producing computer animation of craft they never actually build and missions which they never actually launch. So this is just a natural extension.
    • Re:Please... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:53PM (#32817244)
      I think this is as close to doing any space work as NASA will come in the future. No one wants to spend money on Space Exploration. Both parties talk about it but wont fund it. We're through in space, the private companies will do earth orbit and maybe Japan or China will go to Mars. The US will make video games.
      • by Flentil (765056)
        You mean no American politicians want to spend money on the space program. Personally, I'd like to see our military and NASA budgets switched. I would have said the same thing 30 years ago, and had it been done, we'd have anti-gravity and flying cars by now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      Pretty much. But doesn't that reflect society as a whole? People flock to movies about space (Avatar has already grossed a billion bucks) but I don't see any interest in real-life space exploration outside a few buffs.

      • Only NASA could take one of the most challenging and hazardous jobs in existence and make it come across as boring and frivolous. NASA needs to hire some good PR people.
      • by the gnat (153162)

        People flock to movies about space (Avatar has already grossed a billion bucks) but I don't see any interest in real-life space exploration outside a few buffs.

        Keep in mind that while Avatar was unusually well-thought-out for a science fiction movie, interstellar travel is not even close to "real-life", so this doesn't really prove anything.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Keep in mind that while Avatar was unusually well-thought-out for a science fiction movie, interstellar travel is not even close to "real-life", so this doesn't really prove anything.

          Avatar was ridiculous on multiple levels, and we could build interstellar craft [wikipedia.org] right now if we wanted. However I suggest that we try to colonize this solar system first; Mars and Venus could probably be transformed into near-earthlike conditions, and Moon and other dead rocks too small to hold an atmosphere could support bubb

  • What, did we go through a time warp? Wasn't there a Moonbase Alpha back in 1999?

    And, didn't the moon vacate the premises shortly thereafter?

  • DAMMIT!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:44PM (#32817100)
    My level 19 Rocketeer had fourteen Pristine Moonrock's, I had the fifteenth IN SIGHT, when a level 43 Cosmonaut ganked me and looted everything off my corpse. I took me ten hours of grinding Selenites to get that epic Oxygen Tank of Capacity.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does anyone remember a time when NASA astronauts actually WENT to the Moon?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Chaymus (697182)
      Queue the tinfoil hats saying "Never."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I was born in 1977, so no, I don't remember a time when Astronauts ever went to the moon.

      We gave up on space exploration in 1972.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by IANAAC (692242)

      Yes. July 20, 1969 absolutely RUINED by 9th birthday party. I still have a black and white picture that my grandpa took of the black and white TV set broadcasting it, complete with a Nixon inset in the upper left corner of the screen.

  • by Snarkalicious (1589343) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:51PM (#32817206)

    I can only imagine that the excitement curve for the game will be the same as any other MMO or living on an actual moon base.

    Day 1: Woo! I'm on the server/moon!
    Day 2: Wow! I can do like, 6 different things. Sweet!
    Day 12: OH SWEET JESUS WHY CAN'T I ESCAPE THIS EYE-STABBING BOREDOM!!!!!

    • Day 12: OH SWEET JESUS WHY CAN'T I ESCAPE THIS EYE-STABBING BOREDOM!!!!!

      Day 1095: Snarkalicious clone dies and is replaced by another clone.

  • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:55PM (#32817268) Homepage

    Greetings Friend Citizen!

    It is the future, and you are a proud citizen of Moonbase Alpha, a moonbase run by a benevolent Computer.

    All is foreseen. All is right and just. All is good and pure. All because of The Computer.

    The Computer is Your Friend!

    Welcome to Moonbase Alpha. The Computer is Your Friend!

  • Steam (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:58PM (#32817304)
    Can you get it from NASA directly? I don't allow steam on any of my machines.
    • Re:Steam (Score:5, Funny)

      by camperdave (969942) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:45PM (#32817988) Journal
      Neither do I. Condensation wreaks havoc with the circuitry. It also encourages mould growth. Also, I go through enough trouble keeping things cool. Why would I want steam anywhere near my machines? The closest steam should get is the stuff rising from my nice hot coffee.
  • No f'in way!

    NASA does NOT get to name ANY moonbase "Alpha" until we have Eagles. (Coolest space pickup trucks ever!)

    Or at least Shado Control and Interceptors. And I'll settle for a Doppleganger.
    Maybe I'm mixing up my Gerry Anderson...

  • It may be on Steam but don't get your hopes up if your computer doesn't run an operating system from Redmond...

    • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#32817456)

      It depends on the game Engine.

      I am currently downloading Mass-Effect 2 onto my Ubuntu system. Used Steam to download the demo. It worked. So I bought the game.

      Anything I am going to buy from Steam I am going to want to run the demo of first to check for compatibility. Silly thing is the Steam store only works from windows. I have a really old system that gets the job done. My main system is pure Linux.

      Getting way off track here but
      Steam+demo is the best way to sell the windows games into the Linux market. Try it first, then buy. It lets you know it will work.
      STO should work according to the Wine forums. The demo did not for me. So it's out.

    • by Torodung (31985)

      If it was BP instead of NASA, you could be sure there would be a tarball. ;^)

      I'm shocked, ,shocked that there's no DEB for Ubuntu, and I'm not even sure I'm using the old Casablanca joke there.

      I want my Linux version.

      --
      Toro

  • by kent_eh (543303) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:02PM (#32817364)
    Recommended System Requirements
    Win XP SP3 / Vista / Windows 7

    I wonder if it will run under WINE?
  • So can the two character classes are boring lab assistant or a whaler?

  • So... no invites for old-fart Martian tourists who lost their return ticket and just need to hitch a ride home?

  • I think this is a *great* idea, but I do not find it even remotely acceptable for government money to be spent on closed-source software, especially when that proprietary software requires me to purchase a proprietary operating system to run it on. It appears to have been developed by or in cooperation with some private company called "Virtual Heroes". We need to do something about this, and demand that all the source code be released...

  • I went to the link. Apparently you have to download a windows executable to make it work. How is that online? Seems like a client-server app to me.

    People still use Windows?
  • Survival on the Moon

    You and two of your crew are returning to the base ship on the sunlit side of the moon after carrying out a 72-hour exploration trip. Your small rocket craft has crash-landed about 300 kilometers from the base ship. You and the crew need to reach the base ship. In addition to your spacesuits, your crew was able to remove the following items from the rocket craft:

    4 packages of food concentrate
    20m nylon rope
    1 portable heating unit
    1 magnetic compass
    1 box of matc
  • Give people limited resources, emergency situations and see what they come up with as the best plans to solve it; or gave people the options to actually architect sites based on the best geographical features, design efficiency, possibility of using fossil water, etc.
  • "Installing AMD dual core optimizer" (from the game installation)

    Uh, game, I know you can't see that "Intel Inside" sticker, but still, I can save you some time...

    I generally like Steam, but I really miss the option of a custom install from pre-Steam games. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to sit and watch DirectX and the Microsoft redistributable unpack their entire installation, run, and of course immediately quit, discovering their target already up to date. And doesn't automatically dow

  • by TypoNAM (695420) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:59PM (#32818164)
    I find it funny that it says the game is "Valve Anti-Cheat enabled" on the Steam product page. So, what exactly are people doing to cheat in this moon base simulator game?

    Cause I just hate it when I'm bunny hopping along on the moon's surface and suddenly get head-shotted by some kid using an aimbot. ;)
  • by Snufu (1049644) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:15PM (#32818340)
    The first player to have his his project canceled wins.
  • That game is something I wish I had worked on. My wife and I built a garden simulator in the 1990s, in part because it was a step to a space simulator, because in space you would still have to grow your own food if you wanted to "live off the land". We even have one extra backdrop set in an O'Neill habitat. I talked with someone at NASA about related ideas a decade ago, but NASA seemed more conservative then in some ways (with most resources tied up in the shuttle). Given the NASA game was written with tax

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