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NASA’s Planning its Own Version of World of Warcraft

Article written: 18 Jan , 2008
Updated: 26 Dec , 2015
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Level 23 shuttle pilot LFG pst. If you play an online role-playing game, you understood that. If you don’t, but you really like space exploration, you might soon enough. In a recent request for information, NASA announced that it’s looking for help in the development of a NASA-inspired massively multiplayer role playing game.

The request for information from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was published to NASA’s Acquisition Internet Service on January 16th, 2007.

Here’s their goal:

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. A NASA-based MMO could provide opportunities for students to investigate STEM (note: STEM means science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career paths while participating in engaging game-play. Through a NASA-based MMO, students will gain insight into a wide range of exciting career opportunities and be encouraged to make educational choices that lead them into STEM fields of study and eventually the STEM careers needed to fulfill NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration. Learning Technologies is seeking input on how to accomplish those goals.

In this request for information, NASA is hoping that various game companies can provide information on how they think a NASA-based educational game could be designed, how it would support education efforts, connect to missions, and help publicize space exploration careers.

Oh, and how it might actually be fun. It’s that last part that’s going to be the challenge.

If you’ve ever played a massively multiplayer online game, there’s an awful lot of… killing. There’s also a certain degree of independence that might be hard to place over top of NASA’s governmental structure. And I’d be interested to see how they deal with the scientific reality of spaceflight. You can’t just hop the next rocket to the Moon whenever you like; there are mission plans, years of training, government intervention, greedy contractors and all that paperwork.

If some team can come up with an idea that will make for a compelling game. To be both challenging and entertaining, and yet respect the engineering and scientific reality that currently exists in human spaceflight, I’ll be impressed.

Better yet, I’ll play. I’ll put that level 67 orc warrior on hold, and switch to an astronaut – maybe a Canadian mission specialist.

The closing date is February 15, 2008.

Thanks to NASA Watch for catching this.

Original Source: NASA MMO Site


3 Responses

  1. Oatmeel says

    Interesting.

  2. Raul says

    Shouldn’t Starcraft be used for comparison.

    “Battlecruiser operational”.

  3. Talven81 says

    A similar single-player version is already available, open-source, freely downloadable, and certain individuals are working on network mods. It’s called Orbiter – Space Fligth Simulator, a widely known and well resepcted simulation system. I have been using it for years, it has many plugins and works quite well. I’m in the process of flying to mars myself with little to no training. : ) http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/

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