Neil deGrasse Tyson is creating a ‘Space Odyssey’ video game that’s scientifically accurate – Business Insider


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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is making a video game about
space exploration.

Or trying to, anyway — the
Kickstarter for the project
went live on June 13 and runs
through July 29. At the time of writing, they’ve raised $43,240
of the $314,159 goal (get it?).

The game, called “Space Odyssey,” would “allow players to
travel through the cosmos to scientifically accurate planets,
moons and exoplanets based in real science,” according to a press
release emailed to Business Insider. Tyson and co-creators’ basic
concept seems to be a captivating interactive experience
that still follows scientific principles.

“I have no patience for people who say, ‘I don’t want the laws of
physics to constrain me,'” Tyson
said while discussing the game
at the video game E3
convention in Los Angeles this week.

“Space Odyssey”

On the Kickstarter page, the team behind the game promises a long
list of potential activities: “Develop planets, colonize worlds,
nurture species, mine elements, build robots, and discover unique
life-forms as you coordinate with others in an intense game of
real-time strategy.”


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Players would supposedly begin by exploring Proxima B, the
closest known exoplanet to our own solar system, just over 4
light years away (there are
real-life plans to try to send mini-spacecraft
there). After
exploring the surface of that planet and learning how the
science-based physics systems work (with Tyson as your guide),
players would be ready to start the main event. Beginning
at a space station, they’d create and terraform a home
planet and system, taking into account real aspects of biology
and chemistry. That system can include be colonies and outposts —
and you can play solo or with friends.

Players would also need to protect their systems from
threats, including environmental disaster, space objects, climate
change, disease, and the changes brought about by evolution and
whatever else may happen to a planet.

Luckily, a digital assistant with Tyson’s soothing voice would
guide you through all of this.

Players would also be able to design a spacecraft to explore
galaxies created by friends or “prominent scientists and
fictional world-builders like Tyson, Bill Nye, George R.R.
Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Peter Beagle,” according to the
Kickstarter.


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Plus, there would be bonus virtual reality
(VR) missions.

The company behind the game is called Space Media Ventures. The
team includes producers who have worked in games, movies, and VR;
the comics creator behind “Wolverine”; and artists who have
worked on games like “God of War 3.”

Tyson’s role seems to be largely inspiration and helping ensure
that the game stays true to real science.

Mark Murphy, partner and creative director at Space Media
Ventures, tells Business Insider that Tyson “is always teaching
and supporting creative thinking. He has exciting ideas for
exploration, challenges and missions. He is a terrific
collaborator and an immense scientific resource. He and his team
of Star Talk All-Stars place us at a tremendous advantage in
creating exciting and engaging gameplay.”

An ambitious undertaking

“Space Odyssey” seems to involve building activity similar to
“Minecraft,” space colonization akin to that in 
“Civilization: Beyond Earth,” elements of exploration like “No
Man’s Sky,” and echoes of
Elon Musk’s favorite
rocket-building simulator, “Kerbal Space
Program.” Plus a whole lot of real (and really cool) science.

That’s ambitious, especially since the anticipated launch date of
“Space Odyssey” is January 2019.


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With all that to design, the Kickstarter funding
seems unlikely to be sufficient for the project. But a
secondary purpose of the Kickstarter may be to
encourage community members to interact with and and
influence the game.

“[W]e do have other funding sources for the game; those sources
are not contingent on the crowdfund. For us this is a committed
community build, we want the people who will be playing our game
to have the opportunity to engage while the build is underway,”
Murphy told Business Insider. “We are committed to providing
an enhanced physics experience which we call experiential physics
that will elevate game play regarding modding, mapping and
building and expressed action. I think it’s fair to say our
budget exceeds our community raise goal.”

It’s hard to say whether everything will really come
together by January 2019, but whenever the game gets released,
we’re excited to play — and learn while doing so.

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