One of the last projects I worked on as a multimedia contractor at NASA was a space trivia game. We thought it would be fun to develop something a little more interactive than the features we were publishing on NASA.gov and a facebook game seemed like the perfect thing. We mocked up some designs and pitched it to our bosses who kinda shrugged. They didn’t say no, but they wanted to see it first before they made a final decision.
Over the next few months, we worked to develop a working prototype. It took a while before we got all the decision-makers in the same room at the same time. When they finally had a chance to play, they loved it! They gave their blessing and we went into full gear. I finished the graphic and animation work last August before I left for my current job. It’s taken a few months to finish up programming and finalize the questions. And now, Space Race Blast Off is ready for players!
When you first log in, you can choose an avatar that will represent you. We had an idea to allow everyone to customize their own look, but the programming proved to be too time consuming. We decided to just start with a generic bank of set characters. There’s a variety to choose from, but my favorite one is Automa, a robot I created for NASA’s 50th anniversary. Then you’re taken to the game lobby where you’ll be matched up with other players. If no one is online, you get to play a game by yourself.
The trivia questions cover a variety of fields, all science and NASA related. In a solo game, you must answer at least seven questions correctly to move on to the bonus round. In a multiplayer game, the player with the highest score gets to move on to the bonus round. If you answer your bonus round question correctly, you’ll get a badge. You can see your badge collection in the Awards section. Don’t feel too bad if you don’t make it to a bonus round. You can also purchase badges with points so every game you play counts, even if you lose.
Forbes did a nice write up of the game. This is NASA’s first facebook game and though I’m no longer working there, I’m pretty proud of the work. Give a try and share with your friends. And brush up on your astronauts. Seriously. There are a lot of astronaut related questions.