NASA invites gamers to Moonbase Alpha

The way things are going, NASA sending a man back to the Moon doesn’t look too likely, at least in the near term. The space agency still wants to give folks at home a taste of lunar exploration, though, and it’s released a free game based on that concept. You can grab it right now on Steam.

Dubbed Moonbase Alpha (in what I’m assuming is a reference to Space: 1999), the game has sharp-looking Unreal Engine 3 graphics and rendered versions of actual NASA prototypes:

Moonbase Alpha purportedly offers "20 minutes of play set on a hypothetical lunar outpost." That might not sound like much considering the game’s a 1.1GB download, but NASA did get the America’s Army folks to develop it. Besides, Moonbase Alpha probably emulates actual space exploration more accurately than, say, Mass Effect. Is it any fun? We’ll leave that verdict up to you.

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    • Waco
    • 9 years ago

    I downloaded this yesterday…can’t say it’s all that enveloping. The text to speech feature is by far the best part of it. 😛

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    So is the ultimate goal here to set off an explosion in the farside atomic waste dump, causing the moon to leave the solar system (at apparently superluminal speeds that nevertehless always inexplicably slow briefly to make it possible to have weekly interactions with passing planets using chemical-rocket shuttles), thereby setting the stage for a sequel?

    Or is this actually a simulation that avoids cartoon physics, thus ensuring that the endgame explosion will shatter the moon with terrestrial consequences both good (oooh, a pretty ring) and bad (almost no tides, infalling debris).

    Or is it one of those “games” that fails to end in an all-consuming explosion at all?

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    I thought it was ok. It gives a small sense of what to expect when trying to accomplish stuff out there. We are used to running or sprinting in our FPS to get places faster… nah! not this one.

    It took me minutes to carry the solar panel to the generators. My teammates yelled, using the hilarious text to voice speech: “USE THE DAMN ROVER”

    • Farting Bob
    • 9 years ago

    Why has this turned into a right wing anti-obama thread?

    • d0g_p00p
    • 9 years ago

    Looks like the most boring game ever

      • 5150
      • 9 years ago

      You obviously have never played E.T. for the Atari 2600.

        • clhensle
        • 9 years ago

        You obviously have never played Space Shuttle for the Atari 2600 (semi-relevant).

          • 5150
          • 9 years ago

          I was going to say “You’ve obviously never played Pong!” but Pong is actually better than these two.

    • Pongo
    • 9 years ago

    Haha, we got 40 minutes of play out of it after we figured out it had a hilarious text to speech feature and a drivable lunar rover.

    Moonbase: Text to speech adventure.

    Also, getting multi-player to work required us to find one guy’s actual IP. The game was displaying everyone’s local IP for some reason.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 9 years ago

    This game is actually kind of fun, if simplistic.

    The teamwork aspect works pretty well.

    • Grigory
    • 9 years ago

    Didn’t the current US administration cancel all projects that would let Americans go back to the moon in favor of goals not related to space exploration? (Hint: NASA now stands for National Allah Self-confidence Administration)

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    soo…you just wander the moon?

    When do you get to shoot something?

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      When you leave the film set after the 20 minutes of acting.

      • poisonrain
      • 9 years ago

      When you fire up Shattered Horizon 🙂

    • RealPjotr
    • 9 years ago

    “Space: 1999” was titled “Månbas Alpha” in Sweden, so no doubt there. 🙂

    I tried the game, but it’s almost impossible for me to play because I cannot reverse the Y-axis on the mouse. I can’t find such a setting in the game!?

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      Try and see how you would go about setting it in other unreal 3 engine games using config files or however that engine stores its settings. The same method could very well work for this game as well.

        • RealPjotr
        • 9 years ago

        If I have to find files on the HD somewhere deep in my Steam directories… forget it. Game got 10 hard to manuever minutes from me.

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