Noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson mentioned at ComiCon 2016 that he is thinking of teaming up with experts to develop a space exploration game based on real science and he wasn't joking around.
As of June 13, a Kickstarter campaign to fund a scientifically accurate space exploration game for PC called Space Odyssey was launched, and it seems it's exactly the game Tyson was speaking about, if the campaign name "Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents: Space Odyssey — The Video Game" is anything to go by.
Some people may shy away from the game, especially since gameplay will "confine" them to actual science, but Space Odyssey already seems exciting enough that even educators would love to have students try their hands at it.
'Space Odyssey' Kickstarter Campaign
The Space Odyssey team launched the Kickstarter campaign with a modest $314,159 funding goal. The funds earned from Kickstarter will not go into actual game development, but there are actually two reasons for the set funding goal.
The first reason is that the money will mostly go to incorporating game, map, and build modifications communicated by beta testers who could actively communicate feedback about the initial build. The final build will get its funding elsewhere.
The second reason is Pi.
'Space Odyssey' Video Game
The actual Space Odyssey game will have every player's inner geeks squealing because distinguished scientists also appear to guide players in the game.
According to the game description, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, astrophysicist Charles Liu, astronomer Amy Mainzer, and former NASA astronaut Mike Massino will manifest in the game to provide players with important information needed to complete their missions.
Each player will start out aboard Infinity Command in the not-so-distant future. The initial task is to explore the universe as part of humanity's galactic expansion and, since this is based on real science, players would begin by exploring the Milky Way's nearest exoplanet neighbor, Proxima B.
Players will also get the chance to explore fictional galaxies created by Bill Nye, George R.R. Martin, and Neil Gaiman, among other notable names.
The developers plan to enable virtual reality headset support, but it is only a bonus for the game since VR is not really needed to play and enjoy it. The game will initially be available for PC but the Space Odyssey team is looking into bringing it into mobile platforms.
Players would also apply their real-world knowledge in biology, chemistry, engineering, and geo-science in the game since everything is based on real science; however, players don't really need to have a deep understanding of the scientific concepts to begin playing.
"Although players will have guidance, the key to learning in Space Odyssey is to 'learn by doing'", the team explained.
In short, there is real educational value in the game since it further expands scientific knowledge. It will be a game that parents won't mind allowing their kids to immerse in and, since the team plans to allow players to share spaces, it could also be a good learning and bonding experience for the family.
Just in case anyone is wondering about the game's legitimacy because of Tyson's silence, the team explained that the astrophysicist was adamant about not using his celebrity status to advertise any product, even if it is the game he is co-creating.
Watch the introductory video from the Kickstarter campaign page.