Journey to Mars

Develop a game that simulates conditions in an off-Earth located permanent or temporary colony. The game could be a sandbox that offers the possibility to simulate various facilities that would support a reduced gravity environment far from earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. Users could be given power allowances, atmospheric conditions, and in situ resource options (using resources available on site for life support or other needs). The game could include a variety of scenarios including:

  • Arranging a GPS-like system on the Moon or Mars to support navigation for the human inhabitants. The simulation could allow the users to explore different solutions such as a constellation of satellites, a network of masts or other Earth based methods at the challenger’s discretion.
  • Players could build a habitat that could withstand the Lunar or Martian environment while also taking into consideration that its inhabitants need to have adequate power and supplies, be able to produce food, have locations sleep, live and work.
  • Build a Virtual Moon telescope. The simulation could allow the user to conduct a research mission using a telescope on site near their habitat. Explore what instruments make sense for the location of the telescope (and what the user wants to observe). Game players could explore settings such as exposure times or wavelengths to observe. Observations could vary based on the position of the telescope on the Moon or Mars, and the relative position in the sky of the pointed object. After each simulated capture, show an appropriately generated image reflecting the exposure and wavelength settings.

Gamification is the term used when someone wants to make a rather boring and tedious activity fun. It could be anything from learning negotiation techniques (Merchants) to exercising (Fitocracy) to learning a new language (Duolingo). Doing this not only encourages the completion of said tedious task but, if done correctly, will foster excitement and mastery of whatever the game has to teach.

With the idea of Gamification in mind, the aim of this project is to turn the intricacies of managing the first outpost on mars into a game to train whoever wants to venture to the martian landscape to know what to do to solve the challenges that may arise and go through the every day tedium that would be required to keep themselves, their team, and the outpost healthy.

You could have lectures on the technology that will be available on the mission and how to use it, what to look out for, how to care for it, even a hands on introduction to it. But, what you cannot do -- or rather, would be incredibly expensive to do -- is provide a stressful life or death scenario in which the success of the mission was dependent on the knowledge of what is available; something that would be an almost daily occurrence.

This game, Outpost: Mars will be a realistic simulation that will require the player to have a working knowledge of math, chemistry, electricity, agriculture, astronomy, geology, physics, biology, botany, medicine, surgery, robotics, mechanics, and the ability to operate, repair, and maintain everything critical to the mission that will be on the surface of mars.

Admittedly, that is a rather tall order for any single person, but the goal is with enough time anyone who plays the game will be able to have an intelligent conversation about most, if not all of these subjects, as well as understand the current technology that would be sent to mars if the mission were to leave the day they played.

Made inCleveland, OH USA
from the minds of
How they did it