Dark Side of the Jam: Make Space Games With NASA!

In this article: lots of references to science fiction. Also some video game stuff too, I guess.

This weekend (the 8th through 10th of March 2013, for all you time-addled space explorers out there), game developers across the planet (perhaps even the entire galaxy), will band together with the aid of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to make aerospace discovery cool again (like it was ever not cool). 

The Dark Side of the Jam is open to all, whether you’re a veteran developer, hobbyist, or student. Ideally your games will not only be great achievements in coding prowess, but will help capture the public’s interest in the real science and technology advancements being made in aerospace exploration.

The great thing about the Dark Side of the Jam is its inclusion. If you live in one of five high-density areas (Mountain View, CA; Concord, NH; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Seattle, WA; Sn Luis Obispo, CA), you can join other Jammers in the weekend-long event. Some locations even come with provided housing. Or, if you're alone in the deep recesses of space, you can participate via satellite location. 

NASA will be providing a large list of tools for the game-makers, including sound bytes of celestial bodies, texture models, and raw images of the surface of Mars. (Arguably the most attention-consuming tools that NASA is providing is called Extreme Planet Makeover, a simulation resource that allows users to build their own wildly variable planet environment.)

Game jam attendees typically have some experience with programming or producing digital art or other media used in game production (sound, music, etc.). While not required, some pre-existing knowledge of one or more of the above will definitely be helpful. But if you’ve never made a game before, have no fear! Game jams are a great place to learn a new skill.

If you've never made a game before, and you're looking to learn, and you think space is the coolest thing in the universe (har har), you can sign up to be a part of this radical game jam at http://www.darksidejam.com/.

Featured Columnist

HC Billings is an excellent gamer, acceptable writer, and laughable parkourist.

Published Aug. 11th 2017

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