Project image
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$27,460
pledged of $700,000pledged of $700,000 goal
808
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 25 2013
Joseph YbarraBy Joseph Ybarra
First created
Joseph YbarraBy Joseph Ybarra
First created
$27,460
pledged of $700,000pledged of $700,000 goal
808
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Mar 25 2013

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Closing the Campaign

Posted by Joseph Ybarra (Creator)

We have decided to close our Kickstarter campaign for Shackleton Crater. Our passion for creating a game of lunar colonization has not been shared by sufficient people to realistically continue our Kickstarter campaign, so we are reluctantly ending our current efforts. We wish to thank everyone who contributed to our project. We also thank all of the visitors to our Kickstarter page for showing interest in our proposal. 

As part of the feedback we received from everyone we realize that additional gameplay and game details are needed to effectively communicate our product. Our dream of creating Shackleton Crater has not diminished, so we plan to continue our development efforts to provide this detail. Additionally we plan to pursue other opportunities to develop and publish our game. We’ll stay in touch with everyone as our plans solidify. 

Once again, our thanks to everyone. 

Joe Ybarra

Stage Two at a Glance

Posted by Joseph Ybarra (Creator)

Howdy folks! Jo Shindler here to tell you more about the game play of Shackleton Crater. If you've been following these updates or reading our website you know about stage one already, as well as our strategy for why we are building the game this way. Although early colonization efforts will be mainly focused on becoming self-sustaining, second stage colonies will be able to shift their attention to growth. This growth is extremely expensive to undertake but represents the second step of progress for any lunar colony. This is why self sustenance is important for lunar colonies. 

As an example, building a factory on the Moon is cost-prohibitive if you have to ship all your materials in from Earth. It's in every colonist's best interest to meet their own needs - although the type of colony you build determines very much how you develop your growth. In the world of Shackleton Crater, there are four types of colonies, each corresponding with the four core resources. These colony types are classifications of convenience as opposed to choice - players are free to focus their colony's efforts as they see fit, or build more than one!

  • Industrial - these practical colonies focus on generating material. Industrial colonies are good because you can easily expand your colony while shipping valuable resources back to Earth. 
  • Research - these useful colonies focus on observation of and experimentation with the Moon. Research colonies are good because you can easily discover new technologies that reduce the cost of lunar living. 
  • Support - these strategic colonies focus on generating heaps of power for other colonies. Support colonies are good because you can enable (or disable) the progress of humanity on the Moon. 
  • Habitation - these essential colonies focus on generating life support. Habitation colonies are good because they allow you to add more colonists to the Moon, improving all aspects of the colonization effort. 
As players move from stage one to stage two they will likely find themselves gravitating to one of these four colony archetypes. Focusing your efforts to maximize a particular resource is a good strategy in Shackleton Crater as having surplus resources allows you to engage in trade with other players. We also intend to reward specialization through various mechanical effects, such as improving the rate of resource generation a building provides through upgrades. The net (and intended) effect of the system will be that your stage one colony will start to expand its role after obtaining self-sufficiency and begin to participate in a lunar market that encourages you to do great things on the moon. Do you build one thousand acres of solar panels to fuel the construction of mass habitation or develop new drilling systems to send valuable resources back to Earth? Do you trade life support generated in your lunar greenhouses for scientific data discovered by a neighbor in a crater? 

In our next update, I'll talk more about how your decisions in stage two affect the lunar terrain, as well as how the stage one elements affect your progress. Until next time!

Josef Shindler
Vice President, Joe Got Game

Building a native Moon base

Posted by Joseph Ybarra (Creator)

Howdy y'all! This is Jo Shindler writing again and I have a scientific scenario for you all to think about! We really enjoyed thinking this one through and I want to get your feedback on the subject.

One of the biggest draws to Shackleton Crater for me is the seriousness with which we are writing the game's story. Although we are rooting Shackleton Crater in as much contemporary science as we can, there is some science we have to creatively solve. This became especially apparent when we started brainstorming on the second stage of play - how does one actually begin a construction project on the Moon without shipping material from Earth?

Let's start by addressing what we found to be the biggest issues:

  • Shipping material from Earth is prohibitively expensive both in terms of energy expenditure and materials moved. Not only does it take a lot of fuel to move a ship but anything you want to move that doesn't fit in the cargo hold will take multiple trips. 
  • Traditional construction techniques have limited application - our structures must be airtight, superbly insulated and strongly reinforced. 
  • You don't want a wide variety of specialized tools - redundancy in your kit means if something breaks it can be replaced more quickly. 

So what's our answer? 3D printers and solar furnaces. These devices will be essential to any future colonization effort on any planet away from home. Since the core of our stage two construction theory relies on the understanding of material science, we need to share with you a couple of words and engineering concepts. 

Let’s start with 3D printers. A 3D printer transforms a drawing into a three dimensional object by creating it layer by successive layer. Each layer is a thinly sliced, horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. 3D printing is kind of like making a multi-layer cake, with the baker laying down each layer one at a time until the entire cake is formed. 

The next thing we need to understand is “regolith”. Regolith is the blanket of soil, broken rocks, dust, and other tiny objects that cover some celestial bodies like the Earth and Moon. On Earth, the more common name for regolith is soil and our soil is created by the weathering of rocks and from other naturally occurring biological processes. On the Moon, since there is no weather, regolith is made up of the debris of asteroid or meteoroid impacts. It isn’t considered soil because the lunar surface does not have any organic material and thus no biological processes like here on Earth. Astronauts describe the lunar regolith as looking a lot like snow powder and found it to be made up of three materials that when combined in the proper way, make incredible building blocks. They are silicon dioxide glass, calcium and magnesium. Remember the picture of Neil Armstrong’s boot on the Moon? That image is created as being one of the best examples showing the fine soot-like regolith that covers the Moon. 

Using a solar furnace, workers would create building blocks or tiles with the Moon’s regolith through sintering. Sintering is the process of heating up powder and turning it into a solid. So the idea here is that you bake the lunar regolith into bricks which are then used to build everything. This work is already being done experimentally here on Earth and shows great promise. Sintered lunar regolith bricks and other building supports are all intended to be generic and uniform so they can be used to make nearly any necessary exterior structure. Furthermore, you only have two real pieces of gear you need to get started; the printer and the furnace. The buildings can then be assembled by robots or humans as your engineering is more or less done for you (since the pieces are generic). This thinking also tells me what I need to tell my concept artists - although, the first thing that comes to mind are igloos... 

Here's where the scenario unfolds: We need to figure out what size and/or quantity of lunar bricks are needed to sufficiently to insulate against heat and radiation. After we figure that out, we then need to figure out how to make the structures airtight. I have several material candidates for that process in mind but haven’t been able to narrow it down to which material is the most viable. One logical extension of our thinking is that you have other 3D printers making sheets of electronics, insulation and/or ablative material to layer on the lunar regolith bricks, with the bricks serving as both insulative mass and structural support. The problem is that the sheet materials are far more difficult to come by without shipping them in. 

This is where I want our community members, our Joes, to weigh in on what you know about advanced engineering and material science. How do you see us resolving these two issues? Even if you don’t know anything about engineering and material sciences, send us your guess. Send your ideas today to the team at science@joegotgame.com . We promise to consider everything and who knows; maybe you’ll solve one of the big questions. 

Thanks for reading and be sure to visit here again soon for our next update! 

Josef Shindler
Vice President, Joe Got Game

Making it Real

Posted by Joseph Ybarra (Creator)

Howdy! Jo Shindler here with the latest on how we are doing in the design of Shackleton Crater. I want to start though with a big “thank you”. The support we are receiving from those who have joined in our Kickstarter effort has really solidified our resolve. We want to make this game, and whether you just joined or have been with us from the beginning, every one of you is making a difference by contributing to a unique vision of the future of pioneering and exploration being made available by Shackleton Crater.

As we have mentioned before, our dream of Shackleton Crater is based on a solid foundation of scientific research. You've hopefully seen our stage 1 modules at this point. If not, CLICK HERE. They are based on actual NASA and other space agency images and designs. When we took those designs and starting thinking about how to use them we found some interesting facts.

Here’s an example: One of the early game tests was lighting. Since we are committed to making Shackleton Crater as realistic as possible, we have to be able to create Moon lighting. Since a picture's worth a thousand words, take a look at this:

(larger version at http://www.joegotgame.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/GameModeComparison.jpg)

Our research discovered two paradigms. The more realistic shadows are very striking and true to science, but you lose a lot of details in the high contrast environment of the Moon. Not only are the outpost modules themselves hidden in the shadows, you end up not being able to tell where the tiles are because of the darkness.

The logical fix is to lighten the shadows like we did in the second image, but as soon as you do that, some of the appeal of the moonscape is lost. Capturing the lunar mystique is essential to Shackleton Crater, so we added solar lamps to better light the outpost modules. That's one of the secret ingredients for good game design by the way; knowing how your system works and how to use what you have without changing the vision of the experience.

Before I go I'd like to invite all of you to write us at science@joegotgame.com (link disabled) with facts, thoughts and theories on how colonizing the moon might play out. We also welcome you to our forums where you can participate in open discussions with other space dreamers! Our vision of the future is a shared vision and the free flow of information between our community of users and us. Maybe you will suggest something that becomes an integral part of our simulation! 

 Until next time!

Josef Shindler
Vice President, Joe Got Game

Lunar Digs

Posted by Joseph Ybarra (Creator)
Howdy folks! Jo Shindler here. I wanted to talk to you all about our core modules in Shackleton Crater. The structures are a key point for both our game and real life colonies - it's not like you can just pitch a tent on the moon and call it good! Each structure needs to be carefully manufactured to withstand the vagarities of lunar living, which requires an advanced understanding of material science. Furthermore, each module has to be shipped from Earth in the beginning which means that there are significant engineering challenges to overcome. We are a game and so we don't have to make a completely realistic schematic for each of these structures but we want to open your minds and get you guys thinking about how we could make this work. Let me talk about the five primary structures we have planned for stage one.

This is our habitat module. This module contains living quarters for colonists (which increase your science generation) and are necessary for any and all human activity on the Moon. Furthermore, our vision for habitat modules includes recreation exercise components. Each habitat module you build on the moon will increase the number of colonists you can bring from Earth as well as improve the morale of existing colonists (since they have more room to live in). 

 This is our life support module. It is separate from the habitat because of it contains a variety of equipment to help sustain biological activity. This module is where food is grown, water is stored and resources are recycled. Atmosphere for other modules is also generated at this location. Each life support module you build will improve the generation and storage capacity for life support in your colony. 

 This is our materials module. In stage one, it is primarily a storage and processing unit. It contains a 3D printer and solar furnace which allows colonists to construct rudimentary building components and repair gear on-site. These modules get vastly more important in the later stage of the game where production of resources for various projects becomes critical, but in stage one these modules help expand and maintain the colony. 

 This is our science module. It contains a wide variety of gear and equipment for making and storing observational data. Without the gear contained in this module colonists are unable to analyze their findings on the Moon. This module allows colonists to refine their data (improving science generation) and perform experiments before it gets sent to Earth for analysis. You can also discover colony upgrades through this structure! 

 This is a solar panel array. In stage one solar power is the primary means of generating power on the Moon. In real life Shackleton Crater is known as a Peak of Eternal Light - that is, the rotation and orbit of the moon position it as such that it receives perpetual sunlight year round. This means that solar power (particularly without a pesky atmosphere to block energy) can function at all times. There's also plenty of space on the moon for solar panels, so expect to see ever-expanding fields of these panels as the game progresses! 

This is by no means a final list of our structures in Shackleton Crater. They represent the core ideas behind our game play - players will manipulate the four primary resources through these structures in order to progress in the game. Additional structures will also exist to modify and improve the generation of resources. We're also developing a technology tree system that allows us to 'focus' your structures to better support your strategic objectives - what if your materials module had an especially high power solar furnace that could gassify materials? Lunar regolith is about 40% oxygen, which is a valuable life support resource after all... 

Until next time! 

Josef Shindler
Vice President, Joe Got Game