Making it Real
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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!
Vice President, Joe Got Game