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NASA Space Entertainment Games

An Early Look at the NASA MMO 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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An Early Look at the NASA MMO

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  • Good or Bad... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2009 @05:42AM (#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.

  • Re:A game? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @06:17AM (#26955701) Homepage Journal

    the rovers did no serious science

    Oh really? []

  • Conclusion mat... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @06:20AM (#26955713) Journal
    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 [], 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...
  • by pejyel ( 1275304 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @08:06AM (#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 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:A game? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SGDarkKnight ( 253157 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @08:44AM (#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. []

  • by ghostlibrary ( 450718 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @12:18PM (#26958233) Homepage Journal

    Don't worry-- the NASA MMO deal is that the developer has to spend their own money. All NASA provides is basically licensing rights to use NASA images, the name, etc (in return for some oversight on the project). In fact, that was the big controversy last year during the NASA MMO pitches, that NASA wasn't pitching in money but expected the developers to fund it under NASA term's but with the developer's dime. That's why they ended up getting far fewer pitches then originally attended their big meeting.

    So for good or bad, it's the developer's dime and the developer's dough. The developer, by playing by NASA's rules, gets access to neat NASA images and docs, but that's the only cost to you, the taxpayer. If it works, the developer gets lots of revenue and NASA gets good PR. If it fails, the taxpayer doesn't lose anything. I hope the game works out!

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents