This project is solving the Asteroid Prospector challenge. Description
Space Rocks! was developed to teach players about the physical properties of asteroids as well as the technological steps necessary to exploit them. In the game, the player mines asteroids for in-game resources, which are used to research new technologies and infrastructure. The goal is that through the gameplay itself, the player will come to an intuitive understanding of both the asteroids in our solar system as well as technologies and planned missions necessary to mine them.
Every aspect of the game is informed by real data and expert analysis. Each asteroid presented to the user is an actual asteroid, and the physical characteristics of the asteroids inform the gameplay. The mineral composition determines what technologies will be necessary to mine them, the distance to earth and delta-v determine the fuel necessary to reach them, and the size and rotational period are presented to the user in a fun visual style. The data for each asteroid comes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Small Bodies Database, and has been enhanced by the publicly available Asterank library which has estimated the exploitable minerals and value of asteroids in the JPL SBDB.
As much as possible, the path of the player through the game follows the actual path humanity will take as we try to exploit asteroids. The technologies the player learns about and unlocks include actual planned telescopes, which allow the player to find more asteroids and easily identify their physical characteristics, as well as more speculative technologies that have been informed by consultation with experts. The player will first mine asteroids for water, before metals and fuel, and eventually build space-based refueling stations and manufacturing.
The technical skills necessary to play the game are minimized, so that it can be suitable for as many ages as possible. It does not rely upon fast reflexes, but rather the player learning about what classes of asteroids exist in our solar system and a comprehension of the technologies we could develop to reach and utilize them. It is a browser based game with minimal system requirements so that it can reach as many people as possible. Our goal is for people of all ages around the world to play the game, and in doing so view the wealth of knowledge humanity has collected on asteroids and the exciting possibilities they present us.
After winning the New York hackathon we have talked with asteroid experts at NASA, including Jason Kessler and Rob Landis, to get a better understanding of the true challenges that face asteroid exploration missions. The existing game mechanics - with NASA missions and the research tree - allows us to easily build these insights into the gameplay.
License: GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPL-3.0)
Source Code/Project URL: https://github.com/jonroberts/nasa2014
The Live Game! - http://www.spacerocksgame.org/
Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6XNjvSagYU