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Space Science

Minecraft Creator Announces Space Sandbox Game Mars Effect 117

An anonymous reader writes "Notch posted the official page of Mars Effect today, saying through Twitter, 'it's a completely different game! Our takes place in space, and focuses on characters, and lets you land on planets!!' He gives more detailed on the new website, noting the game will be based around hard science fiction (think Star Trek sci-fi) and puts characters in control of a character rather than just a ship. Similar to Minecraft, it will be a free-roaming game, but with a full economic system, different planets, customizable ships, space battles against AI, and other features. There will also be an in-game, 16-bit computer. Notch also took the chance to poke fun at Mass Effect, noting it will have 'A game ending that makes sense.'"
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Minecraft Creator Announces Space Sandbox Game Mars Effect

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  • Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Saturday March 31, 2012 @06:14PM (#39536923)

    © April 1 2012 Mojang

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

      by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @06:21PM (#39536969) Homepage

      © April 1 2012 Mojang

      Yep. I was believing it until this: "hard science fiction (think Star Trek sci-fi)". Very hard indeed.

      • Damn it. I was going to complain about the hard SF / Star Trek thing myself, and it only takes two posts to realise I'm an idiot. (Mind you, knowing the way Notch works, even if this is a gag it'll probably end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
      • Fuck you and April 1st and Notch. Why doesnt he change his name to tool?

      • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

        by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @03:07AM (#39539125)
        According to wiki,

        Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both

        Mass effect was pretty much the closest thing to "hard sci fi" I've encountered in a video game. A google search for "hard sci fi videogames" came up with two yahoo questions asking if there were any, mass effect was mentioned in both as the closest examples of it, so I'm not alone in that opinion. There was a scientific explanation in the codex (text that got added under a menu nearly every time you encountered something new in the game) that was surprisingly detailed. You could just play the game and ignore the explanations, but in case you were wondering why your guns overheated but never ran out of ammo in ME1, there was a detailed explanation you could pull up.

        At the same time, they are very similar to star-trek. I would call it more like star-trek than "Rendezvous with Rama" by Artur C. Clarke (which wikipedia mentions as an example of hard sci fi).

        I'm sure calling mass effect hard sci fi would annoy some slashdotters, but with an interactive media, there's different challenges. Perhaps "star trek level" is as hard sci-fi as anyone has figured out how to make a game and still call it a game, rather than an interactive science lesson.

        • I agree, Mass Effect 1 was actually decently hard sci-fi. And then it went flacid with the sequels. They figured stuff didn't need any explanation, and you know this RPG stuff is for pansies. Let's just shoot ALIENS!!!

        • by Teancum ( 67324 )

          About the only other game I can think of that would be somewhat close to "hard science fiction" that I can think of is SpaceChem, as you need to use a modified periodic table in order to complete the challenges... and the "back story" sort of reads like a poorly written science fiction novel. However that game gets so close to an interactive science lesson that some real-world brick and mortar schools have even the audacity to include the game in their curriculum.

          I suppose that if you think molecular level

        • Mass effect was pretty much the closest thing to "hard sci fi" I've encountered in a video game. A google search for "hard sci fi videogames" came up with two yahoo questions asking if there were any, mass effect was mentioned in both as the closest examples of it, so I'm not alone in that opinion. There was a scientific explanation in the codex (text that got added under a menu nearly every time you encountered something new in the game) that was surprisingly detailed. You could just play the game and igno

          • Oh, I forgot this: Mass Effect Explains Everything [imgur.com].
          • Having explanations for how things work which do not require handwavium (e.g. "element zero") or magic (e.g. "biotics") and which follow the known laws of physics makes scifi "hard".

            Are you sure that's the actual, commonly accepted standard for what qualifies as hard sci-fi, or are you just saying you personally don't consider it hard sci fi if any fictional technology is featured? The wiki page goes on to say "Neither term is part of a rigorous taxonomy—instead they are approximate ways of characterizing stories that reviewers and commentators have found useful" so I'm not sure why element zero would necessarily move mass effect from hard science.

    • Way to go to spoil the fun on the first post.

    • After several weeks of trying to come up with a good name for the game, we finally decided not to learn from previous experiences and pick a name that's already kind of in use by a huge existing franchise.

      After playing around with names like "Elight", "Wind Commander", and "Steve Online", we finally settled on the very catchy name "Mars Effect".

      It is an April Fools joke.

      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

        I hope the joke is just the name and the stuff announced today, not the whole space game. After all Notch did announce a "firefly-style" space game some weeks ago.

  • Please?
    Thank you.

  • Posted at "2012-04-01 0:14". First April fools day joke! Keep them coming, always nice to see if you get fooled this year
    • Re:April (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning.netzero@net> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @07:35PM (#39537423) Homepage Journal

      The name may be a joke, but the game isn't. Notch has been doing some development work including creating a virtual machine that he claims to have on his development system running 4000 instances of that VM simultaneously with only 50% of his development machine CPU bandwidth in use. Some details about the VM can be found here:

      http://notch.tumblr.com/post/20056289891/start-classified-transmission [tumblr.com]
      (note the date... not April 1st)

      He has been talking about this game for over a month, and a couple of days ago he tweeted out to his "fans" to give some name suggestions.

      Almost everything on the "Mars Effect" website is pretty much a compilation of everything he has said about this game in terms of interviews, tweets, blog entries, and casual comments over a pint of beer in terms of his vision for the next big project he wants to be working on.

      The game itself is very real, it is just that the name is something I strongly suspect and was something I noticed immediately after its name was announced. With Notch though, me might be saying "damn the torpedoes" and be willing to make everybody think it is a joke of a game too... if for nothing more than to get some fans off his back. Any time he makes reference to a website in his twitter feed, it often crashes to something like the Slashdot Effect in part because of how many people are following his tweets.

  • This sounded like such an awesome game idea until I saw:
    © April 1 2012 Mojang
    at the bottom of http://marseffect.net/ [marseffect.net]

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @06:23PM (#39536991) Homepage Journal

      Actually this has been in the works for a while, this isn't the first mention of such a game. I do not believe this is a slooF lirpA article.

      • by krakass ( 935403 )

        Yeah, looking through his tweets this goes back at least a couple days, so I'm hopeful this isn't an extremely elaborate joke.

        • In particular, he started spec'ing a 16-bit processor (listed as a feature of this game) some days ago on his tumblr and twitter pages (its data format, registers, instructions, a "Hello World" program...).

          If this is a 4/1 joke, it's a fairly elaborate and overengineered one. It's ok to me; I love overengineering. :)

      • While the game may be real, I highly doubt the title and logo are.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    April fools, guys.

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @06:41PM (#39537091)
    Shit April fools has started early, everyone ignore news sites for the next three days. If we are lucky congress won't use the confusion to rush any draconian bills through.
  • Since when has the technobabble of Star Trek been hard sci-fi?
  • Way to go on making a non-infringing logo! :)
  • How about formalizing a set of interfaces for the modding community so they won't see all their hard work go up in smoke every time you release an update? Its really hard to explain to the kidlets that the 'Ooh yay, kittycats!' Minecraft update they downloaded broke all the mods they had installed.
  • The 1st is in a few more hours.
  • Notch also took the chance to poke fun at Mass Effect, noting it will have 'A game ending that makes sense.'"

    Have you seen the end of Minecraft? This seems like the bigger poke to be had.

  • Ha! I got sucked in by this until I saw the comments about April Fools! Notch's fake game is similar to my Light Rising browser based mmorpg... http://lightrising.com/game/ [lightrising.com] I was inspired by Elite, Sundog, and the Ultima aeries of games, along with the browser mmo Shartak: http://shartak.com/ [shartak.com] I actually would really have enjoyed a Notch game like this, but oh well... I'm still hoping for the remake of Sundog!
  • After all, there were rumors about a space game by Notch before. So I think only the name is the April fools part, and later the game will be announced with its true name!

    I hope, at least, the game looks so great...

  • If it was real hehe. Good one Notch!
  • It's going to be named "Call of Doody Too". You can sign up for the beta on the 15th.

  • The real April Fools joke is that their "serious" projects are just as laughable.

    As much as I like Minecraft, I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of it, Mojang and Notch are one-hit wonders. It became all too painfully clear when they started rolling back their expectations of what Minecraft was supposed to be because they simply lacked the technical ability, resources, and motivation to accomplish their goals. Which of course didn't stop them from continuing to sell the game based on those promises

    • "I would have loved for this concept to have been executed by a competent developer." - like yourself maybe? The tools are free, you can start today.
      • So:

        - Uses Java to release a game on several platforms at once without having to recode
        - Makes tens of millions of dollars
        - Generates burgeoning community of modders and players
        - Wins several major gaming awards including a BAFTA
        - Labelled as incompetent by random Slashdotter

        Yeah, sounds like April Fools Day to me.

        (Incidentally, if you're on a 64-bit OS, get the 64-bit version of Java. Any stuttering there was vanished completely for me.)

        • No, the point is that it was a success for the wrong reasons, and therefore it won't carry on to his future endeavours. I wouldn't go as far as to predict they'll go bankrupt but you have to admit Minecraft is still ridiculously unpolished for a "gold" game - chunks appearing/disappearing out of nowhere, the entire render thread hanging when it needs to generate terrain, etc, etc.
          • What are the wrong reasons? Was it not a fun, enjoyable, worthwhile game? Regardless of ignorable bugs (and I really mean ignorable, unless you have a speed hack on it's hard to move so fast that chunks fail to appear) then it seems to me like it does exactly what it's supposed to.

            Having a couple of technical gripes about the game doesn't stop it being a good game.

      • I replied to the wrong comment. I need modding as "-1, Idiot".

  • ...at least by my calendar. April Fools!
  • Looks like he took some "inspiration" from a real game: http://kerbalspaceprogram.com/ [kerbalspaceprogram.com]
  • Why has no one given us "waist high walls" until now? This is definitely not a hoax. How long have we waited for walls high enough to protect us from small children while affording us an easy view?

This is an unauthorized cybernetic announcement.