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NASA Space Entertainment Games

Information Requested for NASA-Based MMORPG 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-games-are-developed-in-a-vacuum dept.
Teancum writes "By now, most people are aware of the U.S. Army's video game, America's Army. It turns out that NASA has submitted a Request for Information for what would be a NASA-themed MMORPG of its own. The deadline for the proposals is February 15th. NASA's plans focus on education. 'A NASA-based MMO built on a game engine that includes powerful physics capabilities could support accurate in-game experimentation and research. It should simulate real NASA engineering and science missions in a medium that is comfortable and familiar to the majority of students in the United States today.' This certainly doesn't deserve to get thrown onto the traditional dust heap of educational proposals for a half-baked game that nobody will actually play."
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Information Requested for NASA-Based MMORPG

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  • by Pvt. Cthulhu (990218) on Friday January 18, 2008 @01:51AM (#22090120)
    this of course will result in the Koreans being the first on Mars.
  • by User 956 (568564)
    It turns out that NASA has submitted a Request for Information for what would be a NASA-themed MMORPG of its own.

    Red-shift is the new purple.
  • I want my avatar to be the director of NASA and propose budgets that get shot down by congress!
    • Re:Oh good! (Score:4, Funny)

      by node 3 (115640) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:36AM (#22090312)
      Easy enough: F-U-N-D-S
    • Hello Congress, I wish to request funding for new computers- We have noticed that several of your recent missioned have ended in failure. Yes well, calculations tend to take a long time with a 5mhz processor. Actually, most people were just doing them out by hand. Well if you can do them by hand why do you need new computers. Funding denied. ... Then could we atleast get some money for new pencils and erasers? Ummm, no.
  • I think NASA is greatly overestimating the appeal of this. I mean, how would your average gamer "pwn n00bs?" Beat them to Mars? Meh, I'd play it though.
    • think of the research possibilities! NASA gets servers chock full of people dogfighting in space and uses the number crunching to further our understanding of spaceflight. the average user's bug report could effect how real spacecraft are designed!
    • by SpacePunk (17960)
      The funding will probably get cut, and the game will end up being a web based flash thing playable only by robots.
  • ...chain gun on my Lunar Rover or will that be a quested item?
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:06AM (#22090186) Homepage Journal
    and I'm a rocket buff. Compare this to, say, Arianespace [videocorner.tv] who manage to put together an educational and entertaining presentation for every launch and show it intermixed with live footage and reporting of every launch, and in two different languages.

  • How realistic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnuman99 (746007) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:08AM (#22090194)
    How realistic do they want the simulations? So realistic that the technology becomes classified?

    Anyway, the basic of what NASA is known for is space and rocketry missions. So for STEM (Science/Tech/Eng/Math), this covers most of this. I do not know how they will cover engineering - designing rocket engines? Heat shield tests? Vehicle-debris impact simulation?? The incredible-machine-like workshops?

    Math is the most hopeless area to try to stimulate. Since they want to gear this towards regular school (high school and younger) students, not PhD math students, all they can hope for is arithmetic. Sure, they can have "difficult problems" like "solve linear system of equations", but that is not what higher level math is about. Math is about logic and nothing else. Not arithmetic.

    I wish them luck. They should really think *hard* about what they want from something like this. The American Army (AA) game is a relatively simple shooter with emphasis on some "formal" training and more realistic combat (which is less fun, BTW). The NASA game may be ok only if it targets people already interested in science and allows these people to interact with each other. If the game is dumbed down to the "regular student" level, they'll end up with no one there. The geeks will think the game sucks as it provides not enough challenge and the others will think it is just some stupid "educational" game.

    NASA, design it for geeks first please, and maybe you'll get what you want in the end.
    • Re:How realistic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:08AM (#22090426)
      Honestly, there are plenty of "educational" things they could stick in this game other than actually simulating what a rocket scientist does.

      If you think about it, most Americans don't really understand space science. They don't understand the basic theory, they don't understand the pragmatic limitations, and (perhaps most importantly) they don't necessarily see the long-term benefits of advanced scientific research. Maybe setting up the game as more of a high-level Sim type game would work.

      So you want a framework for a game? How about a Space Race. Players form guild-like Research Groups, all vying for achievements. The Groups would be striving for various achievements, like building a space telescope, landing a person on the Moon, mapping out the surface of Saturn, etc. To succeed in any of these tasks requires a lot of research (which takes in-game time and money), but you are rewarded in several ways. First off, you gain Prestige when you do something headline-worthy, especially if you're the first Group to manage it, but the Prestige is only instrumental - it earns you more funds and qualified manpower (because kids who saw your Moon Landing grow up and study astronomy), which you re-invest into new research.

      The real goal of the game, though, is unlocking Knowledge, which you do in all sorts of ways. Some achievements (Hubble) might give you not very much Prestige, but they'll continue to accrue Knowledge over time. Others (space shuttle stuff) might give you a good boost in Prestige when your Group needs it, but aren't a great investment long-term because they don't give as much Knowledge. And as the Knowledge rolls in, players start to see the consequences. Ten game-years after your telescope launch, for example, you might get a note about how medical researchers have adopted your optics research to revolutionize heart surgery (based on a true story, I think).

      I think it could definitely work as a high-level game like this; the question is how in-depth you can get. Would it make sense to have players in the Group actually playing as Aerospace Engineers, Electronics Experts, Optics Researchers, Physicists, etc.? Maybe they could manage it through a sort of abstracted skill-based minigame system: for example, the Physicist plays his minigame for as long as he wants, racking up Physics Research points (which the Group leader is responsible for funneling into the various projects the Group is running) but costing his Group money by the minute. That way, Groups could have managed budgets and so on without forcing players to play a certain number of hours every day. (The hot-shot "Physicist" players would be the ones who really excel at that minigame, so they have the best ratio of Research earned to time played.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Teancum (67324)
        I thought of not only trying to simulate the manned spaceflight missions for something like this, but also unmanned missions such as allowing players to send "probes" to various planets, moons, and asteroids.

        You would have to contend with a budget, payload mass, various instruments that you may or may not be able to afford, computer architectures (we all know that there is more computing power in a PS/3 than a typical NASA probe.... show the kids why), ability to "program" the probe both before and "in flig
      • "most Americans don't really understand space science. "

        Yep.

        When you click the "External Viewpoint" button, you'd better get total silence. Millions of people have raged at Hollywood because fake explosions sell tickets.

      • Sounds a lot like Buzz Aldrin's Race into Space: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_Aldrin's_Race_into_Space [wikipedia.org]

        One of my favorite childhood games.
        • by Glsai (840331)
          And I know it's a bit older, but there used to be a great C64 game where you had to design your space station, hire astronauts, schedule shuttle launches to get your space station into orbit, actually build it and land your shuttle. If this MMORPG was anywhere near as fun as that game was when I was a kid, I could see it taking up a lot of my gaming time. I wish I could find that old C64 game and emulate it, but I can't remember the name or find it anywhere.
      • The first post on this article summary was hilarious. Zerg Rush FTW! Great, now I don't have to defend myself in making the comparison to Blizzard here. With that out of the way, here's my biggest fear for this project: WoW is such a big success because of the sense of satisfaction it gives you. There's so much to do, and everytime you [levlup, earn a new epic item, kill a boss, buy a new mount, hit 70, advance your professions] you feel really good. You feel you're making progress.

        But think of how y

    • Re:How realistic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sporkme (983186) * on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:32AM (#22090506) Homepage
      Slow down there, space cowboy...

      Your points are absolutely valid in your context, but I think we are dangerously placing the cart before our collective ass.

      Just like the military, NASA has experienced declining general interest. This is not a SETI-esque venture to solve the great mysteries of space travel, nor is it some kind of "Last Starfighter" quest for an Alex Rogan [imdb.com]. It is a valid, overdue tossing of kerosene onto a thirsty and faltering flame; a genuine attempt to generate interest among young people regarding space exploration, and we both can support something like that.

      It's sort of a "hook em' while they're young" deal, and the casualty-to-mission rating of NASA is nothing like that of the Army. The excitement factor of NASA pales in comparison to that of the Army. Hopefully, this game lands where these demand curves intersect.

      Last Starfighter kicks ass!
      • by spirality (188417)
        That may be the strategy, but this is a total misuse of tax payer money. The government has no business developing video games. Not to mention appropriating for this purpose is blatantly unconstitutional.
        • How is it unconstitutional?

          1) interpret it as a military expenditure, the constitution allows the federal government to spend money toward the national defense.

          2) The research effects the economy, whether or not it's more beneficial leaving it in the hands of the tax payers than is a matter of debate(Research is a market failure that we try to fix with patents, but even they don't provide enough incentive for very long-term research). This research effects multiple states, and so we then can justify it

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      As long as I can give really satisfying eWedgies to the nerds who 'play' this, I'll be happy.
    • by Rei (128717)
      Perhaps I'm just a huge geek, but I find Celestia [shatters.net] fun. And I've never tried Orbiter [ucl.ac.uk], but it looks neat as well.

      I think there's a good bit of potential for a NASA game. I'll be interested in seeing what they come up with.
    • by ksheff (2406)

      the NASA experience: a guy sitting at a desk drinking coffee, working on his computer for a while, reading, and bullshitting with co-workers about the game last weekend & where to go to eat for lunch.

      Yep. that will sell like hotcakes.
  • by Myself (57572) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:10AM (#22090208) Journal
    Anyone remember this gem [lemon64.com] of a game [the-underdogs.info]? I played it for the C64 but the PC screenshots [mobygames.com] bear a pretty close resemblance.
    • by Skreech (131543)
      Ah, as a matter of fact, I do. That was a while ago, I think I played around with that when I was about 7. Thanks for reminding me! I can't remember the gameplay but I instantly recognize those screenshots.
    • I'm actually more partial to this one [lemon64.com].

      Seriously, this game [mobygames.com] still is one of the deepest, most engrossing games I've ever played. =) Especially fun when you're trying to out-compete an opponent's station. This game cries for a modern remake. =)
    • by TrevorB (57780)
      I pull that out and play it on emulator every few years. I could never get one of the damned biology missions to work.

      I played the IBM CGA graphics version. I've tried getting the C64 version on my GP2X, but it seems glitchy.
  • I don't know what I should credit for my tastes in games but I am leaning towards boredom. I use to love playing UT2K4 or World of Warcraft, but after playing games since I was 12 I tend to play games now that make me think. If I don't want to think, I play popcap games. I picked Gnome as my desktop because it ships with chess. After reading this though, it gives me hope that a real game is finally going to be created.
  • MMO or MMORPG? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Erpo (237853) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:13AM (#22090218)
    Persistent immersive synthetic environments in the form of massive multiplayer online gaming and social virtual worlds, initially popularized as gaming and social settings, are now finding growing interest as education and training venues. There is increasing recognition that these synthetic environments can serve as powerful "hands-on" tools for teaching a range of complex subjects, including STEM-based instruction. Virtual worlds with scientifically accurate simulations could permit learners to tinker with chemical reactions in living cells, practice operating and repairing expensive equipment, and experience microgravity - making it easier to grasp complex concepts and quickly transfer this understanding to practical problems.

    Notice that it refers to MMOs and not necessarily MMORPGs which, IMHO, is the most common kind of MMO. The two primary activities in MMORPGs are questing and grinding, and I don't think those activities lend themselves to accomplishing the goals NASA has set out.

    So, how are they going to make this fun?
    • I think a traditional MMO structure would be a waste of money (which, as I understand it, NASA isn't normally accused of compared to most other government agencies.) Perhaps a co-operative physics based game on something like the PS3 Home or 360 Live networks would be better vfm. A Little Big Planet for scientists, if you will.
    • by linzeal (197905)
      I actually gave a presentation on a mmorpg NASA game at a class I had in college last year. The class was run by professors from the Oregon space initiative which is sponsored by NASA. I wonder if they passed the information along. I should dig out my work on it and submit it as a proposal.
    • by Minwee (522556)
      I think you may have seen a little bit too much World of Warcraft and not nearly enough of, say, A Tale In The Desert [atitd.com]. Online RPGs aren't just about killing thousands of orcs and then stacking up their bodies and building a little fort out of them. Sometimes you can, you know, actually interact with other people in a non-hacking-and-slashing way.
    • Notice that it refers to MMOs and not necessarily MMORPGs which, IMHO, is the most common kind of MMO. The two primary activities in MMORPGs are questing and grinding, and I don't think those activities lend themselves to accomplishing the goals NASA has set out.

      So, how are they going to make this fun?

      That's a tough question - because a great deal of what NASA does bears much greater resemblence to questing and grinding than it does to any other aspect of gameplay.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      Notice that it refers to MMOs and not necessarily MMORPGs which, IMHO, is the most common kind of MMO. The two primary activities in MMORPGs are questing and grinding, and I don't think those activities lend themselves to accomplishing the goals NASA has set out.


      You could pick up "Lobying" as a profession, and grind Congress for reputation.
  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:13AM (#22090220) Homepage Journal
    >> a NASA-themed MMORPG of its own.

    What's it going to be called, My Space?
  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:14AM (#22090224)
    They should talk to the guy from Orbiter [orbitersim.com]. It is absolutely incredible what this man has achieved. His (free!) space flight simulator not only does a great job with the physics involved (yes, orbital rendezvous' are really tricky), but also looks incredibly good on screen.
    • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Friday January 18, 2008 @07:59AM (#22091486) Homepage Journal
      If you dig through the documentation, it seems as though the lead administrator behind this request is very much aware of Orbiter. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if the Orbiter dev team (there certainly is more than just one person who has been involved with writing that game, but like most FOSS projects one or two leaders really stand out) is on the "fast track" to getting the winning bid... if they decide to step forward.

      All that NASA is looking for right now is a 5 page treatment of different ideas they can use for developing such a game, and suggestions like the one you just made is precisely what NASA is looking for. Even if you don't necessarily even desire to be involved in writing a game like this, presenting a whole bunch of excellent ideas that can be used by others who are willing to take it further can only be beneficial.

      I certainly hope that by posting here on slashdot, that the potential talent pool can be substantially increased and give some excellent suggestions. Unfortunately, by posting here on slashdot it is also going to give a whole pile of trollish submissions as well, so I hope I haven't killed this poor NASA admin with a mountain of ideas.
      • by skeeto (1138903)

        but like most FOSS projects one or two leaders really stand out

        Unfortunately, Orbiter is not "FOSS".

  • I wonder what the encounters will be like? What kinds of character classes will I be able to roll?

    kek
  • Eve-online? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:30AM (#22090288)
    Are they thinking of something like Eve-Online but more "realistic"? That'd be awesome.
    • by Saikik (1018772)
      More realistic how? EVE is already a market simulator. Hopefully it won't be a mouse driven game but more something like the old wing commander games.
    • Hopefully Eve Online + Orbiter - Several Thousand Years. As an Orbiter and Frontier Elite fan, I find this very interesting. I look forward to seeing what NASA cooks up.
    • Ever since I tried Eve, I've wanted a similar game but set in our solar system with most events still happening around earth and maybe 50-100 years from now.

      Also, it would be cool if it had an unlimited research system, so that it was player based research that allowed access to new, more distant places.
    • by ferat (971)
      That, or "A Tale in the Desert", but in space
  • by xPsi (851544) * on Friday January 18, 2008 @02:37AM (#22090322)
    Guild discussion before a major raid as the team prepares to set their lander down on Titan:

    Player1: 32.33--repeating of course--percentage of survival.
    Player 2: That's a lot better than we usually do.
    Player 3: Ok. Take'er down steady. Contact in 3, 2, ---
    Leroy: All right chums, let's do this with English Units! LEEROOOOY JENKINS!
    <lander strafes across the surface of Titan in a violent tumbling explosion, missing the landing zone by 62.137 km, killing everyone on the team>
    Player 1: Goddammit, Leeroy!
    Player 2: Leeroy, why do you do this shit?
    Leroy: It's not my fault. <awkward pause> At least I've got chicken.
  • The thing NASA does best is PR. Of which they do too much. Their PR budget should be cut back, and NASA's funding for non-flight projects should be shifted to NSF.

  • Anyone thought of contacting Martin Schweiger over his Orbiter Simulator?

    http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/orbit.html [ucl.ac.uk]

    I would **LOVE** to see the ideas implemented in his simulator (real Newtonian physics, Multi Function Display orbital computers, Interplanetary transfer orbits, great physics engine) implenented in a MMO environment.
    • by pragma_x (644215)

      great physics engine


      That should be *the* primary feature of this MMO. Forget graphics, gameplay or anything else. The physics engine should be solid enough that this becomes more than just a playground. Something like a highly capable sandbox for newtonian physics that could allow budding aerospace engineers to block out everything from mission plans to designing basic spacecraft for other players to use.
  • My favourite part is the realistic simulator of being in the control room while astronauts are on their sleep cycle. It's like you're really there!

    Five stars, will definitely play again.

    - RG>
  • First thought: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xx01dk (191137) on Friday January 18, 2008 @03:44AM (#22090542)
    Ooh, neat! A space-science-based MMO! I can party with other astronauts and take quests like growing tomatoes in space or repairing that busted solar cell array! "Watch out for those meteors! Oh no, I've aggroed too much cosmic radiation! Do I have enough oxygen to survive an extended spacewalk?"

    But then I thought about it. I'm a huge supporter of shutting down the shuttle program--IMHO, it jumped the shark a long time ago. My taxes could be much better spent on newer and more innovative space programs or even could be better spent here on earth. Who needs NASA anyhow? It's a DINOSAUR. A relic of the space race and the cold war. Let Richard Branson and the private sector innovate the "next stage". Let capitalism fund the new space race; they will do it better and cheaper than any bloated, corrupt, and inept government agency ever could.

    BUT THEN... I thought about my childhood; I remembered how important the space missions seemed at the time, how important they were to our national identity. We had the Space Shuttle, and We we doing Important Things. In Space. I thought about it again. I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor in Mrs. Bartlett's class when I watched the Challenger crew "slip the surly bonds". I thought about the congressional hearings and the first time I learned what an o-ring was. I remember hearing that perhaps Christa Mcauliffe and the other crew members might have been alive during their inexorable plunge back to the ocean and how horrible that must have been. I remember seeing the reconstructed orbiter in that hangar on the news.

    Since then I have followed the goings on at NASA with a somewhat skewed perception. I though it was cool how they were able to land that craft on that asteroid, and I smugly laughed at how much longer those Mars rovers have lasted down there than anyone had expected (yeah I know the engineers purposely underestimated the lifespans). I also recall with sadness the Columbia, but how we would not let that deter us. I've viewed every flight since with skepticism, but still. Space is The Future, and we're still there. I often wonder when the next mission to the moon will occur and who will undertake it. I'm a fan of science fiction, and the space program is sci-fi turned reality.

    So. Perhaps the thought of a NASA-based video game, let alone an MMO, brought back the thought of my innocent childhood, back when NASA meant The Space Shuttle, and I had a three-foot-long paper model of Columbia hanging in my bedroom. How awesome would it be to explore our near-Earth environment, or maybe even the solar system without repercussion? No Challenger disaster, no Columbia breakup; no launch-pad fires and no explosions. Let me take the wheel, don that space suit, and explore the cosmos right here from my comfy chair. Let me fly through Google Sky in a realistic simulator, and let me turn over rocks on Mars; I want to go ice-fishing on Europa.

    Yeah, I'd buy into that. Ooh, neat!

    Cheers~
    • It will be my job in the guild to keep the grant money and government funding flowing. I will have to do this by buying off Congressmen with contracts that employ workers from their district/state, launching little unambitious missions that accomplish nothing but keep us in the public eye, and making grandiose promises about putting men on Mars that I never intend to deliver on. Of course, I'll have to work with "public relations" and "lobbyist" class characters too. Won't this be fun!
  • Klingons (Score:1, Funny)

    by Krneki (1192201)
    I'm going to pick the Klingons.
  • I hope this will not be scrapped by a sneering senior executive.
  • You can't do any worthwhile experiments in any modern physics engine. It's an approximate simulation of reality, not a actual recreation. All current physics engines are working on simulating real life as close as possible and use hacks to do so.

    I love the idea of a NASA MMO... But I don't think it's got -any- scientific use at all.
  • MMORPG version of Robot Wars game? Count me in!
  • WOOT! (Score:2, Funny)

    by PhearoX (1187921)
    One more shuttle disaster and I'll ding lvl 60!!!

    SWEET! I just looted a Nosecone of Negligence off A Disgruntled Engineer! ...I'm going to be coming up with these all day... Thanks /.
  • Imagine a space vehicle powered by thousands of Asian children, riding stationary bicycles for 10 cents a day.
  • ...and I'll start with 7 kills :-D /accidentally posted this first under anonymous coward, mods you may delete that post.
  • Umm... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Drakin020 (980931)
    People don't play Americas Army so they can learn about how our miltary works, and what it would be like.

    They play it because it's a free online FPS game that was well made.
    • by Ours (596171)
      "People don't play Americas Army so they can learn about how our miltary works"
      Not that I support a game used to recruit people in the army but played it once and for some reason I had to watch a medic training presentation in order to become spec ops or something. I actually read somewhere on the net that some guy helped save two people involved in a car accident using that training.
      It doesn't teach about the army but is more like a military training tool to teach you the basics and perhaps a little bit
      • by Drakin020 (980931)
        That is correct however the point I was trying to make was that kids don't download and install the game thinking. "Dude I really want to know how to apply a tournaqite." (Sorry for bad spelling)

        Yeah I remember watching that part of the game to. I found it interesting and somewhat educational, but that's not what was running through my mind when I was installing it.
  • Please... (Score:5, Funny)

    by FlopEJoe (784551) on Friday January 18, 2008 @10:41AM (#22092812)
    Please include green women who ask, "what is this human thing you call kissing." thx.
  • You drive cross country wearing astroDiapers so you can do the beat down on the skanky ho doin' your man.
  • This project was probably suggested by the NSA, and the trip to Mars will be in real time. Imagine all the technologically elite Chinese that will give themselves heart attacks trying to accomplish the 700 day trip to Mars by eating speed at the local internet cafe. That'll solve those covert data-mining issues they're having with them!
  • It is easy to see from earlier posts, that one can quickly drown in the very concept of a NASA based MMO or MMORPG. I think that I would start out with the goal of creating an online version of the Space Camp experience and build up from there doing things that you can't do in Space Camp due to physical limitations. So it wouldn't be exactly like some Second Life version of the life of an Astronaut or NASA engineer. It'd be more mission oriented with minigames meant to train and educate with an emphasis on
  • ...this could potentially be the most boring video game every created by the hand of man, killing the public perception of space flight even more so than it already is. Please spend some time getting it right, guys.
  • No, no, no, not First Person Shooter... Feet per second.

    Is there ANY chance that this could become a simulator for Asteroid Defese? Role-play the intricacy, both physics and political of all that it will take, from threat determination to mitigation. Who pays for what? Who does what? Do we get to use nukes? Whose? Whose button? What if if fails, where do the people on the impact ellipse migrate to? "It will impact the Pacific. If we try to move it, we may fall short and it will land on India." US says "ok
  • I think it would be very cool to have a game like Sim City but rather you are creating a colony on the Moon or Mars. You start with nothing and have to build a colony that is at first dependant on a (relatively) small fixed budget from earth, and then slowly ween it off the earthlings, first through trade, and then later as you become large enough to support industrialized economy. The scope of the game would change much more than Sim City as you would start with as little as zero people, and then grow to t
  • by dghcasp (459766) on Friday January 18, 2008 @12:15PM (#22094406)

    nasagame: use probe messenger
    You are now online with Messenger

    nasagame (Messenger): where
    In slingshot maneuver.
    Time to Mercury: 1137 days.

    nasagame (Messenger): look
    I see stars, albeit not too clearly.

    nasagame (Messenger): exit
    Messenger is now offline

    nasagame: launch rocket
    It's too cloudy. And your next rocket launch isn't for 184 days.

    nasagame: build interplanetary probe
    You don't have Senate Approval to build more probes.
    Try going to a Senate Hearing

    nasagame: go to senate hearing
    You are now at a senate hearing.
    Senator Lieberschvine asks you to justify section 10.4.3.17.2 of your budget.

    nasagame (Senate Hearing): quit
    Are you sure you want to quit? There's not many jobs for people with Ph.D's in physics.
    Senator Lieberschvine is getting annoyed you haven't answered his question.

    nasagame (Senate Hearing): exit
    Senate rules forbid you from leaving until you address Senator Lieberschvine's question.
    Senator Lieverschvine is pounding on his table.

    nasagame (Senate Hearing): request bathroom break
    You are in the bathroom.

    nasagame (Senate Bathroom): climb through window
    You have left Senate Hearings.
    You have generated +150 Hate from Senator Lieberschine.

    nasagame: build interplanetary probe
    You don't have Senate Approval to build more probes.
    Try going to a Senate Hearing

    nasagame: status of voyager2
    Status: Processing "take picture" request you submitted 2 hours ago.
    Download status: 371 of 22154 bits received (0.0515 bits per second; 117 hours remaining)

    nasagame: watch TV
    Senator Lieberschine in on TV calling for your resignation.
    President Bush has announced a 40% cut to your current funding to help pay for the Iraq War.
    You see an ad for "Truck Driving School" and think it sounds appealing

    nasagame: down not across
    You have logged out.

  • Yet another game where I can get ganked by Chinese [wikipedia.org] budget farmers and their bots. [spacetoday.org]
  • Somehow I see A Tale in the Desert as a "reasonable" platform for the NASA game; collaborative effort, resources from the environment, public facilities, goals and accomplishments. Behind the scenes, they can work out such details as, "almost everyone makes their own small reactor instead of sharing one larger public one; reactors are only at 10% of capacity; 22% of a person's online time is spent sifting for Uranium; Copper is overused on connecting personal reactors to experiments and under-utilized in ot
  • I would definitely love to play a game that is based on realistic science. Playing the game could be a fun learning experience for many as well as entertaining just for the sake of playing.
  • MMORPGs require lots and lots of resources to develop. Since NASA has so much experience making successful multiplayer games I think you guys should jump right in and go for the gusto!

    Seriously though, this type of game is not cheap to make or to keep up and running. The vast majority of them fail miserably and become giant money pits. Try smaller games first. Like a game where the player 1. manipulates a satellite with the shuttles remote arm and

    2. a game where the player has to build a spacecraft to t

  • 1. How a NASA-based educational MMO should be designed.

    Think Big. NASA's MMO network should eventually have a worldwide support involving hundreds to thousands of NASA personnel who seed content into the system or supervise the system in various ways. It might entail tens of thousands of server nodes as well as extensively involve users machines for local processing. Naturally, some parts of the operation of the system might be outsourced, like to Amazon's or Sun's pay-as-you-go virtualized cloud computing
  • Soldiers in the army don't spend a majority of their time doing the sort of things they do in the game America's Army. That's ok. The game designers took the bits that would make a compelling game experience and used them.

    There are plenty of cool things NASA do, that could be turned into compelling game play.
    * design a new space ship or habitat (think sim city in space)
    * launch your ship, explore the solar system and see Saturn's rings up close (obviously you'd have a 'skip ahead in time'

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