The proposed Space Operations Learning Center (SOLC) Facebook module, initially code-named “Spaceville,” is intended to be an educational online game utilizing the latest social networking technology to reach a broad audience base and inspire young audiences to be interested in math, science, and engineering.
Spaceville will be a Facebook application/ game with the goal of combining learning with a fun game and social environment. The mission of the game is to build a scientific outpost on the Moon or Mars and expand the colony. Game activities include collecting resources, trading resources, completing simple science experiments, and building architectures such as laboratories, habitats, greenhouses, machine shops, etc. The player is awarded with points and achievement levels. The player’s ability increases as his/her points and levels increase. A player can interact with other players using multiplayer Facebook functionality. As a result, a player can discover unexpected treasures through scientific missions, engineering, and working with others.
The player creates his/her own avatar with his/her selection of its unique appearance, and names the character. The player controls the avatar to perform activities such as collecting oxygen molecules or building a habitat. From observations of other successful social online games such as Farmville and Restaurant City, a common element of these games is having eye-catching and cartoonish characters, and interesting animations for all activities. This will create a fun, educational, and rewarding environment.
The player needs to accumulate points in order to be awarded special items needed for advancing to higher levels. Trophies will be awarded to the player when certain goals are reached or tasks are completed. In order to acquire some special items needed for advancement in the game, the player will need to visit his/her neighboring towns to discover the items. This is the social aspect of the game that requires the player to go out of his/her own establishment to explore what is in the neighborhood. Spaceville will take advantage of Facebook’s successful architecture to inspire a new audience of scientists and engineers for the future.
This work was done by Ben Lui and Barbara Milner of Goddard Space Flight Center, Dan Binebrink of SGT Inc., and Heng Kuok of Sigma Space Corp. GSC-16214-1