This project is solving the Bootstrapping of Space Industry challenge.
We’ve conceived a game where players must manage their funds to colonize the Moon.
Value of the Game
We want to help people answer the question: Why haven’t we colonized space yet? This game aims to teach players the costs involved in space exploration and colonization and the importance of research, by having them manage a space program.
Platform & Development
To maximize accessibility, the application could be developed with web technologies. It can run in a classroom environment without having to install software or register for accounts. It can easily be turned into a mobile app with Phonegap, or a desktop application using TideSDK. A server side component could rank participants or record data about player's preferences, which could provide information to future space policy. We have included a small demo of how this might work.
The object of the game is to colonize the Moon by 2030 using as little money as possible. The goal is reached by building a Greenhouse.
To begin the game you are instructed on your mission which is to build a lunar base capable of sending humans to and allowing the settlement to be self sustaining.
In order to achieve this you must construct the 3 habitation modules:
- Life Support
There are also 3 industry modules able to be built:
- Mining Platform
- Power Facility
A central hub must first be built upon first landing in order to construct any other buildings.
Each one has various technologies that must be researched first and certain amounts of resources in order to be built.
The resources in the game are the following:
The resource of money is unlimited(to 999 trillion), however the aim of the game is to reduce your costs as much as possible. Money can be used to purchase resources, research and receive deliveries from earth.
This is used to construct structures and robots. Metal can be gained by either purchasing some and shipping it from Earth or mining it on the moon yourself.
This is used to run structures and robots. In order to construct a new building you must have enough energy capacity available to run the new module. Energy can be gain by either purchasing some and shipping it from Earth or generating it on the moon.
These are needed to construct buildings and mine resources. Robots can be gained by either shipping them from Earth or constructing them on earth. They have a lifespan of 5 years before needing replacing.
Users of the game will be able to gain more information from each of the game elements, an example of this would be within the tech tree. Users can select to look up more information and this will contain an external link to current or future work being done with that technology.
A core idea is to compare current spending by user against monetary milestones in the real world, this will be done in a fun way with the aim of at first making the user laugh then make them think. An example would be when the user hits $16,014,000,000 the game can announce “congratulations! you just blew NASA entire budget for the year”
Possible Future Features
Our concept is largely open-ended. Some possible features and improvements:
- Change the costs of research and items to reflect real-world costs. Reduce these costs over time to model research that occurs outside of a specific space program.
- Include planned projects and references to them, such as the ATHLETE lunar rover or the Ares V launch vehicle.
- In a classroom situation, allow the teacher to set the game parameters at the start. Some parameters might be the allowed time to play, a limited budget or limited technologies, or the goal can be changed.
- Make the game about companies trying to mine the moon. Participants compete and trade with each other to be the most profitable company.
- Add colonization of other planets. Once a player has established their moon settlement, they can continue to Mars, Mercury or Jovian moons, with the difficulty and costs increased accordingly.
- Include random events, like solar radiation stopping all production for a turn, funding cuts, asteroid impacts or failed launches.
- The development of teaching resources that provide use of the game in a classroom environment, examples of this could be a research project based on one of the elements of the tech tree or lessons on money management/resource management strategies.
- Editable content features/packages for developers or teachers that allow content to be manipulated/edited and provide customised tailoring by users to the game.
- Locally developed space industry technologies in users region may be integrated into the game to increase awareness of that region's role in space programs.
- When research area has completed spin off technologies are listed that have benefited the economy and can return revenue to the user budget.
- The game elements if constructed in the correct way could provide invaluable information to the space industry. A kernel of a concept could be using it as a fiscal simulator, with multiple users finding better ways of spending money in game or doing things in a particular order could generate data which reveals a trend with real world benefits to fiscal and investment decision making around space industry.
Additional mini games:
Moon lander - where players can try to land their craft and the mass will vary depending on the order placed from Earth. Users receive a bonus or penalty in resources depending on the success or failure of their landing. Should reflect the realistic physics and craft capabilities.
Micro meteor defender – players can use a defence projectile to try and shoot down/deflect micro meteors from hitting key components of the base. Users receive a bonus or penalty to buildings depending on the success or failure of their landing. Should reflect realistic dangers to moon colony and capabilities to protect habitation.
Rover Explorer – guide a rover in a set area to explore moon and possible resources, use heat map/magnetic flux maps to locate resources before fuel reserves run out. Users receive a bonus or penalty to research depending on their success or failures. Should reflect realistic mapping info and resource deposits actually available to moon dweller
Mining/Digger – Mining robot that can dig below surface for resources, when resource found brought back to surface base, objective is to collect as many resources before fuel runs out. Users receive a bonus or penalty to robots depending on their success or failures. Should reflect real mineral deposits available to moon and provide useful information about that resource.
Links for Images Used:
Project InformationLicense: MIT License
Source Code/Project URL: http://damien-hackadl.github.io/moon-settler/index.html
ResourcesDesign Mockup - https://www.fluidui.com/editor/live/preview/p_1McvVlMlpyvfTff5NQbzAZbhyR5Buax2.1366501785238
Source repository - https://github.com/damien-hackadl/moon-settler
Moon Settler Brief Document - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P0X10A12-3_lv_P5x-a9CAZtcUEPs0RT0fm4xFj5syM/edit?usp=sharing
Research project outline for schools - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B70zjpNXTL3XdW5leWhzdEZTM3c/edit?usp=sharing
Rocket, rover and milestones - general carrying capcity and monetry info - https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B70zjpNXTL3XblRISGNIRUFNT3M/edit?usp=sharing