Yes, you can be an astronaut based on the south pole of the moon! How? With NASA Moonbase Alpha, the first installment in NASA’s massive, multiplayer online (MMO) game. NASA released the game on Valve’s Steam network.
In the game, NASA has returned to the moon, with Moonbase Alpha as a small, self-sufficient outpost and the players assuming the exciting role of an astronaut working to further human expansion and research.
Suddenly, a meteorite cripples life support, and players must repair and replace equipment to restore oxygen production to the settlement. Team coordination along with the proper use and allocation of available resources—including player-controlled robots, rovers, repair tools, etc.—are key to players’ overall success.
Developed in partnership with Virtual Heroes, Project Whitecard Inc., and Army Game Studio, Moonbase Alpha is part of NASA’s “Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond” MMO, a game that is not only fun but also inspires kids’ interest in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math.
We at Fuentek are particularly pleased with this game launch, because it is the culmination of a lot of hard work in developing the partnership as part of our work for the agency’s technology transfer program. When NASA began its search for partners in the gaming industry, Fuentek developed print and online materials to promote the partnership opportunity. We also provided pre-, during-, and post-event support for the April 2008 MMO Workshop, which included more than 130 attendees vying to participate in the project.
Fuentek’s efforts helped lead to a joint Space Act Agreement with the three partners. Additionally, Fuentek introduced Virtual Heroes, the lead company in the partnership, to NASA. (Check out Local Tech Wire’s Q&A with Jerry Heneghan of Virtual Heroes about the new game’s challenges, technology and why he believes players will enjoy the 3-D expedition on the Moon.)
Download Moonbase Alpha for free and start your adventure today!
–By Laura A. Schoppe