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Mars NASA Games

The Game Made From NASA Satellite Data 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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The Game Made From NASA Satellite Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    This game was about to get interesting!

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @07:24PM (#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.

        • 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.

          • 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.
            • 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.

          • 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?!?

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @07:03PM (#44691671)

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

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @07:09PM (#44691717) Homepage Journal

    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?

    • by Anonymous Coward

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

      • Re:Oxygen levels? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Dereck1701 ( 1922824 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @10:17PM (#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

        • by Anonymous Coward

          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.

  • 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.

  • by virgnarus ( 1949790 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @09:15PM (#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.
  • 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; []
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

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