Mission Control: NanoMech

NanoMech IconGame released on Steam in Early Access for Mac and PC!
Update December 2014: Mission Control: NanoMech has been accepted on Steam® in the Early Access program. Early Access enables developers to publish a game before it is finalized and include community feedback into final designs and refinements. A website has been setup at NanoMechGame.com including links to Technical Support.

Update July 2014: NanoMech has been Serious Play Certified by the Serious Play Conference. Serious Play Certification is designed to offer customer assurance that a Serious Game offers a high standard of performance, having passed a rigorous examination by an advisory panel of experts.

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Mission Control: NanoMech is a video game set late in the 21st century and puts players in a high-tech base on the surface of Mars, where they step into the role of a rover pilot delivering supplies. The player finds that the factory’s master computer has rebelled against its software upgrade and has taken control of the facility. What begins as a routine cargo delivery mission becomes a race to save the human colonists and future of Mars exploration itself. Together with two robot companions, the player must learn about nanotechnology in order to upgrade their suit, solve problems, and save the day.

As the game progresses, the player is helped by scientists hiding inside the factory that leave clues and information that helps the player understand and use the nanomaterials in optimal ways. With a little creativity, the player is able to craft their own solutions to problems they encounter in the factory and can begin to fashion new devices to make their spacesuit stronger, faster, and more durable than ever before. Presented with puzzle challenges, the player must race against the clock to keep their robotic team members functioning while searching for more raw materials and the hidden scientists in order to get strong enough to confront the rogue computer directly.

Mission Control: NanoMech is a single player game set on Mars that has been designed to engage and teach about nano science, future space technologies and STEM concepts. Throughout the game, the player is given scaffolding in the form of dialogue from the friendly robots that let them know how they are doing and what they could be doing better. This feedback assists the player in understanding what nanotech is and how it can be used to make electronics, materials, and devices stronger and more powerful. The technologies players upgrade in the game are based on future NASA and other space technologies.

Mission Control: NanoMech’s design is based on authentic nanoscience and space technologies. It can be played at home for fun, or used in an informal learning setting such as an afterschool or summer camp program. An Educator’s Guide will be released soon that provides guidance on use of the game in these settings. The game has been extensively tested with proven learning gains (e.g., gains in understanding of nanostructures and their uses). Over several gameplay tests and content tests, the game was favorably reviewed by middle and high school age players.

This game was developed in collaboration with NASA, and funded in part by National Science Foundation Grant #0823411.

Upon final release, Mission Control: NanoMech will be available for both Apple iPad, Macintosh and Windows computers.

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