XRI needs volunteers!
February 20, 2014 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Volunteer as a rover driver for Extrasolar, a crowdsourced citizen-science initiative sponsored by the Exoplanetary Research Institute. Help scientists classify the flora and fauna of Epsilon Eridani b! However, not everyone seems to be on board with the project.. [via mefi projects]

More information here. If you can't get in at first, be patient.
posted by theodolite (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The real-time planetary rover game that I've been waiting years for. Suddenly my email inbox is interesting again.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 1:45 PM on February 20, 2014

posted by zamboni at 1:53 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hey! I've been playing Extrasolar for a few months now, and it is great! It is perfect for people who don't really have time to play games (like me) because you can play for just a minute or so at a time, maybe 4 times a day, but still have an entertaining and interesting experience. I also like that its totally non-traditional gameplay.
posted by Joh at 2:36 PM on February 20, 2014

I just tried to sign in and got the sorry we're full email. Within a few minutes later I received this by email.

i don't trust the extrasolar program.
lots of history there.
let's just say i have good reason to look a little deeper.

i'm monitoring their database, so i know you were rejected.

i have access to their voicemails and messaging, but their intrusion detection system firewalled me out of the rover control application.
plus, there's no way i could apply with my own identity.
i need a clean account and ip address.
access that looks legitimate.

here's the deal.
i give you a backdoor account, get you a rover.
you become my eyes and ears on the inside.

i set up a backdoor link to get you rolling.
a dummy account with an aced entrance test and signed nda.

or don't.
there are piles of rejected applicants to choose from.
you have 24 hours.

sorry you can't reply to this.
gotta protect my anonymity.

_ _ ___ _
| | ___ __ _ _ _ __ | |_ _____ _( _ )/ |
| |/ / '__| | | | '_ \| __/ _ \ \/ / _ \| |
| <> < (_) | |
|_|\_\_| \__, | .__/ \__\___/_/\_\___/|_|
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 3:42 PM on February 20, 2014

Jumpin Jack Flash: “Within a few minutes later I received this by email.”
Where there's something you don't see every day. What could that message even really mean?
posted by ob1quixote at 3:54 PM on February 20, 2014

I'm barely into it and it's very cool. Nice find!
posted by mochapickle at 4:03 PM on February 20, 2014

I smell an ARG…!
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:16 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's Ender's Rover! Eventually you'll be tricked into crashing the rover into the alien World Trade Center, imagining that it's just a simulation so it doesn't matter!
posted by XMLicious at 6:52 PM on February 20, 2014

Ha ha. He creates the ansible. Then somebody answers.

Who are "they?"

Are they really them?

We could be in for it.
posted by mule98J at 7:03 PM on February 20, 2014

Is it possible to play this with just the planetary / space exploration part without the conspiracy part? It all looks good but I think of a six year old who love the first part but wouldn't understand the second.
posted by Bwithh at 7:16 PM on February 20, 2014

Seconded, DoctorFedora.
posted by JHarris at 9:26 PM on February 20, 2014

Hey Jumpin Jack, I got the same email... but don't be concerned, there are piles of rejected applicants to choose from.
posted by drhydro at 12:13 PM on February 21, 2014

This is a genius idea, I can't wait to see where it goes. I've sent my rover off on its first trip.

The shadows on Epsilon Prime do seem unnaturally sharp and black, but apart from that it's a very pretty place.
posted by lucidium at 12:35 PM on February 23, 2014

I am enjoying this immensely.
posted by rollbiz at 8:35 PM on February 23, 2014

Playing this now - it's interesting, though the 4-hour and 3-tag limit does dampen my enthusiasm somewhat. And the HUGE jump between the two tiers in pricing!

Maybe once I play it a bit more I can find a reason to pay for it, right now I might end up forgetting the game is there. I do LOVE ARGs (and so signed up for the conspiracy link) and it's rare that I'm able to participate in an ARG from the start, so I'm keen to see what happens.
posted by divabat at 12:15 PM on February 24, 2014

I've been playing for a week and I'm having a lot of fun, even with the 4 hour delay.

And the HUGE jump between the two tiers in pricing!

According to the FAQ (minor spoilers in there), the $25 level pre-pays for the next two "seasons" of content that haven't been developed yet. So it's a (for now theoretical) $2 discount vs. paying $9.50 for an upgrade during each season.
posted by muddgirl at 9:37 AM on February 27, 2014

I shelled out the 9.50 and am happily snapping panoramas and infrareds every hour to my heart's content.

In some ways, it still feels a bit beta -- the voice acting in a recorded message was unintentionally stilted, for example. Sometimes you receive triggers for areas you left three hours ago. Waiting an hour for snapshots is really kind of cool because it helps maintain the whole atmosphere of the communication lag to a distant plant, but on the other hand, there aren't enough rewards for going off-course and populating the map like you would in so many other games.

One thing I like: there's very little in the way of wikis and forums, so it's easy to play this unspoiled. It's almost impossible to be spoiled. I haven't had that kind of experience in a dozen years.
posted by mochapickle at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

So yeah, my point is it's definitely worth the 9.50 in terms of entertainment and novelty. I'm glad you posted this here, theodolite.
posted by mochapickle at 10:07 AM on February 27, 2014

Just came to check back and see who else might've been playing still...

I just finished the content for this first "season", and having paid the $9.50 to speed things up a bit I have to say it was worth every penny, janky acting and all. I've been having a blast.
posted by rollbiz at 9:21 PM on March 4, 2014

I'm enjoying it also, but haven't shelled out any money yet. Is anyone playing without using the "back door"?
posted by scottymac at 8:07 AM on March 5, 2014

I'm playing the free version too.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:20 PM on March 5, 2014

I'm still playing this on the free version. I actually like the four hour wait between turns. Just the right speed for me.
posted by Tsuga at 11:08 PM on March 5, 2014

I'm playing the free version, strongly debating upgrading. Just got my 5 plants done!
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2014

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