Extrasolar is a game -- but I hesitate to use that word because there are so many assumptions about what a “game” is supposed to be, and I can promise that Extrasolar is like nothing that you, or anyone else, has ever experienced.
On its surface, Extrasolar looks like a legitimate scientific expedition -- the first to send rovers to a planet beyond our solar system. When you apply to the program, you’re promised a chance to control one of the many rovers that the eXoplanetary Research Institute (XRI) has put down on the surface of an alien world.
You tell the rover where to go, and a few hours later, you get beautiful high-resolution photos taken from that destination. Here are some recent photos taken by active players:
The entire game is played over the Web. You direct your rover with an interactive map, tag your photos to help identify alien species, monitor incoming messages, and work together with the science team at XRI to complete various tasks. The story plays out through written messages, video messages, voicemails, photographs, documents, and a number of websites.
From the very beginning, nothing goes as expected. Promises are broken, unexpected characters befriend you, and you soon find yourself in the middle of a major conspiracy, desperately trying to uncover the truth behind what’s happening on the planet and back on Earth.
Who Should Play?
Extrasolar is a game for busy people who are looking for a cutting-edge interactive experience that doesn’t demand a lot of your time -- something that’s light years ahead of your typical Facebook game. Check in over your lunch break, find out what’s happened in the story, schedule a photo for your rover, and get back to your work day. Play at your own pace, whenever it’s convenient. The first season of content lasts 2-3 months for most players.
Oh, and did we mention that Extrasolar will be free? There will be extras that you can optionally pay for, but we’re committed to making all of the first season of content available for free!
The Technology Behind Extrasolar
The concept for Extrasolar was conceived by Rob Jagnow, who specialized in high-end computer graphics while getting his Ph.D. at MIT. It was Rob’s dream to bring beautiful imagery to the Web by pioneering new technology that enables high-quality rendering in the cloud.
What does that mean to you? As long as you have a Web connection and a modern browser (we recommend Chrome or Firefox), you can play Extrasolar on any computer with any operating system -- even if that computer isn’t powerful enough to play most other games.
The Science of Extrasolar
The world of Extrasolar may only exist in a computer, but we’ve gone to great lengths to build a world based on real scientific principles. The planet that you’ll be exploring has a 15.3-hour day with 2 moons, each with their own lunar cycle. The conditions on the planet are changing all the time, so no 2 players will ever have exactly the same photo.
The story takes place on a planet orbiting Epsilon Eridani, one of our sun’s nearest neighbors. Since the 1990s, scientists have known about a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting that star. In our fictional world, our scientists sent an expedition to that star system and, on the way, discovered several other planets, including our destination -- an Earth-sized planet in the star’s habitable zone with prime conditions for the existence of life.
When Can I Play?!
We’re currently in the last few months of development, targeting release in 2013. To be the first to know when we launch our public beta, you can visit the XRI homepage and, in the upper-right corner, sign up for XRI’s low-traffic mailing list.
But I Can’t Wait That Long!
And who can blame you? Don’t worry. If you want to get an early start on exploring the world of Extrasolar, we have a couple links to get you going.
Some amazing research is currently underway right now at The eXoplanetary Research Institute (XRI). Unfortunately, there’s always some crazy person who thinks that every project for the betterment of humanity must be be a conspiracy.
Extrasolar is a big game created by a surprisingly small team led by Rob Jagnow -- the developer behind the multi-award-winning puzzle game Cogs. Other contributors include Jonathan Le Plastrier, Brendan Mauro (Cogs), Ryan Williams (Second Life), Lucas Johnson (The Time Tribe) and other talented partners who have collectively breathed life into the game’s extensive universe.
We’re very proud of our creation and hope you’ll enjoy playing Extrasolar as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!
© Copyright 2013, Lazy 8 Studios