February 19, 2014 10:24 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago, I helped build a prototype of an original idea for a web game, and today it's out of beta and open to all! "What is it?" you ask. It's one of the very few games in which you are yourself and not playing a character. It is an experience you can have over the course of a month or so, a few minutes at a time. It increases your understanding of exobiology. It's exploring a new planet, one picture at a time.

This is the best picture I've taken so far (that I can share). There's also a trailer that is a little spoilery, so if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, just hop in and give it a try. It's free!
Role: prototype programmer
posted by breath (10 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by theodolite on February 20, 2014: XRI needs volunteers!

Oh hey, The Verge has written about Extrasolar already! It's like being in the big leagues.
posted by breath at 11:24 AM on February 19, 2014

I tried to sign up for this! As soon as my "application" goes through, I will let you know what I think. Good luck!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:33 PM on February 19, 2014

Wow, that's much better framing, thodolite! Awesome!
posted by breath at 10:31 PM on February 20, 2014

Not accepting players, apparently.
posted by scottymac at 11:18 PM on February 23, 2014

The not-accepting-players was a great touch! Added a fun layer of complexity from the beginning.

I'm stuck now, though... I'm supposed to look at a shiny thing in the distance, but I can't move and any time I do I get an error that I can only map out two photos in advance. Not quite sure what I've done wrong...
posted by mochapickle at 8:41 AM on February 24, 2014

mochapickle: I think that's slightly deliberate - the rover only goes so far (I couldn't drag it all the way over either) and you get more opportunities to map out more photos if you pay.
posted by divabat at 12:16 PM on February 24, 2014

divabat, thanks -- your comment inspired me to try something... i'd been playing on the same browser window since I started. I just tried logging out and logging back in again and all of a sudden I can take photos.
posted by mochapickle at 12:23 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nice work! I am into it, now a paying pioneer. This is great fun. Finally something that tears me away from my Kerbals for a few minutes.
posted by ulotrichous at 5:42 PM on February 27, 2014

OK, I ponied up for the $10 one, since I got tired of waiting for 4 hours only to find out that I missed some photo op or other.


1. 1 hour is a better working time - maybe 2 hours for free instead of 4?

2. I noticed that if you have a tag that is nested in another tag, that nested tag doesn't register.

3. I wish there was a way to cancel tags when they return "insufficient data" or "please get closer". Especially since there are multiple competing missions that all want something tagged or other and when I try to accommodate for all I end up missing one because of stuff like this. Or hell make tags unlimited, especially if you're already unlocking unlimited photo ops.

4. Speaking of competing missions: ARGH SLOW DOWN. It's hard to plan in advance when one new photo and completed mission sparks about 2-3 new missions that require you to stay ("take more photos of this one thing!") or change your planned route completely because they want you to search yet another area that isn't in the same direction as the rest of the mission spots. If I plan to leave before the new missions pop up I have to backtrack, losing time (the 4 hour wait would be especially aggravating in this instance).

5. The photo symbol on the map (the first thing that pops up when you plan a route on the map) is not terribly intuitive. I don't quite recall the orientation of the arrow - is it pointing towards your photo target? Away from? It seems to sit at a different area from where your rover actually ends up (resulting in a fair few "too far" photos).

Sorry, I'm coming off as whiny and entitled here. I am just really into this game but right now have trouble keeping up because missions keep popping up every five seconds and it's hard to plan.
posted by divabat at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2014

The game is quite difficult to me
posted by chimikos at 5:39 AM on March 4, 2014

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