For the Gamers Out There: Moonbase Alpha

Article written: 7 Jul , 2010
Updated: 20 Jan , 2016
by
Video

Since I can’t even master Mario Kart, I’ll probably stay clear of NASA’s new online game, Moonbase Alpha, out of fear of crashing the Moon rovers and destroying the lunar colony. But for those of your that enjoy video games, NASA has teamed up with Virtual Heroes to create this new game. Here’s the blurb:

In ‘Moonbase Alpha’, players will step into the role of an exploration team member and will be immersed in a futuristic 3D lunar settlement. Their mission is to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a nearby meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment. Available resources include an interactive command center, a lunar rover, mobile robotic repair units and a fully stocked equipment shed.

This ‘First Person Explorer’ serious game includes both a single player capability and LAN or internet multiplayer gameplay for up to six active players on a team. Selectable maps will be available for specific player numbers (e.g., 2 player map, 4 player map, etc.). Each of these maps is represented and tracked individually within the game’s leader boards.

Here is where you can download the game.

Here is more info about the game and why NASA developed it.

So, why is NASA spending the time and money on things like online games? Well, one way to look at it is that the space agency is trying to be current, fun and engaging. NASA says, “The game is a proof of concept to show how NASA content can be combined with a cutting edge game engine to inspire, engage and educate students about agency technologies, job opportunities and the future of space exploration.”

Moonbase Alpha is rated “E” for everyone.

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10 Responses

  1. TerryG says

    Needs the Windows operating system (tried Linux once and never went back as there’s plenty of open source astronomy software). If you’re visiting the NASA website, there is also a newish feedback page called How Can Florida’s Space Coast Region Promote Economic Growth and Sustainability as it adapts to changes in America’s space program? for your consideration. It’s moderated so everybody is on their best behaviour.

  2. Olaf says

    TerryG you can always run it in VMWare.

  3. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    It might be advised to create a game whereby you get llunar missions through Congress. As I see it America’s manned space program is entering a terminal phase.

    The only prospect for any economically viable or sustainable manned presence in space in the near future is with solar power satellites. It still might be a thin hope. However, if space solar energy intrastructure is built up it might require astronaut maintenance.

    LC

  4. Ringman says

    I can’t wait to play this!!!! Even though I’ll have to run it in VMWare or parallels or something because I have a Mac.

  5. TerryG says

    Olaf and Ringman,
    Sounds good. Please share your method or post a howto url if you find one and get the time. Will challenge you to a game if you do.

  6. Member
    Aqua says

    Tele-robotics primer anyone? Got VR 3D goggles?

  7. Paul Eaton-Jones says

    I have a Mac at home too. Boo-hoo. Unfortunately it won’t download to my steam-driven Windows pc at work eitiher.

  8. Olaf says

    @TerryG
    VMWare runs your Windows on your Linux or Linux on your Windows machine. It is actually running parallel so splitting the cpu power and memory between both running applications.

    The tricky thing is to find an VMWare image of
    Windows XP. This is commercial software so you should have a legal version or install Windows XP in the VMWare player.

    I know that VMWare runs on Linux and Windows. I do not see Mac.

    http://www.vmware.com/

  9. TerryG says

    Cheers, Olaf. I’ve now got Windows running on my Linux box in VMplayer 3.1 (although I’ll have to tune it as it’s running like a small pink farm animal you don’t normally see airborne). I should have remembered the Linux box has multiple boot partitions including Windows anyway (D’oh!) Thanks a lot and see you at the NASA games.

  10. Lenard Lindstrom says

    “Available resources include an interactive command center, a lunar rover, …”. Rover? I want an eagle.

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