NASA will create Mars in virtual reality on Unreal Engine 4

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will create a video game based on the Unreal Engine 4 game engine from Epic Games. The game will be called the Mars 2030 Experience. Its distinguishing feature will be support for virtual reality in the Oculus Rift helmets and others.

    NASA is seriously working on landing a man on Mars and returning the crew to Earth. The date in the thirties of this century is considered. The program itself is experiencing a variety of problems: the launch of the super-heavy SLS rocket with the Orion ship has not yet been implemented, the design of the ship-station for the flight has not been developed. In fact, there is no intelligible program; haphazard research is underway with a reserve for the future. At least so says the US Congress, which allocates money.

    The task itself requires colossal efforts: it is necessary to create a ship for long months of flight to the red planet, an apparatus for landing on Mars and taking off from its surface, as well as a system for launching such cargoes into the Earth’s orbit. Existing space stations are associated with a constant supply of resources and equipment, which the Martian ship cannot afford. You need to understand how to safely land several tons of a ship with people on Mars. Finally, the media needed to launch all systems from Earth will be huge. This and much more remains to be created if we want the human foot to set foot on Mars.

    However, work is underway. Including NASA, you need to enlist the support of ordinary people. And this is really important. Today, almost anyone firsthand familiar with the history of space exploration will be able to name the first person on the moon. But just a year after the landing in 1969, the Americans lost interest in space flights. In 1970, a survey showed that 70% of Philadelphians could not name the author of the legendary words about a step for humanity. Other telephone polls revealed even deeper ignorance. Landing on the moon turned out to be an instrument of the race with the USSR, and after reaching the goal, the public quickly lost interest in space exploration. To land on Mars, completely different money is needed - according to some estimates, about half a trillion dollars. Therefore, it is so important to infect as many people as possible with the idea of ​​flying to another planet.

    NASA is learning many ways to get its message across. Like some other US government agencies, the space agency is resorting to video games. This is logical. If the flight really takes place in the thirties, then the future conquerors of Mars are still young - they are anywhere in the education system: from kindergarten to the last classes of the school.

    There were not very successful attempts igrostroy. For example, this is Starlite: Astronaut Rescue , which received negative reviews. There were some good ones. In 2010, NASA, in collaboration with a number of organizations, released the Moonbase Alpha game , based on the Unreal Engine 3. The development was supported by Army Game Studio, which in the past created America's Army shooter.. Moonbase Alpha aimed to create a realistic simulation of the elimination of an accident in a colony on a natural satellite of the Earth. The resulting game received mixed reviews, even if this was smoothed out by the free product. The Moonbase Alpha players remembered the built-in version of the Fonix DECtalk voice synthesizer, which was customarily used for other purposes and simply to spam .

    The new Mars 2030 Experience game will be created by experts from NASA, the Space Systems Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fusion Media, and developers from the now-dissolved Irrational Games studio. The goal is to create a cross-platform game that will support virtual reality in a variety of helmets. Among these, there are the main ones already existing: Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. There are also plans to reach the not yet released: Sony PlayStation VR and HTC Vive. Including the game will be available on Android and iPhone, it will stream to Twitch. Cross-platform will help the Unreal Engine 4.

    Development is already underway. For example, already on the first day, it was possible to collect project data from the Mars telescope satellite of HiRISE University of Arizona and launch a group of tester players for a walk on Mars. The Unreal Engine blog post focuses on engine technologies that developers highly praised: it is cross-platform with a wide range of target systems of different performance and the speed of the game world creation process.

    In general, little is known about the Mars 2030 Experience, there are not even large screenshots. It is indicated that the plot will consist of several mini-missions both in residential blocks and on the very surface of Mars. More details about the game will be available at the South by Southwest 2016 festival, which will be held from March 11 to 20 of this year.

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