Mars Odyssey is a VR simulation experience that takes place on the surface of Mars. The players will have a full scale interaction with the NASA Lander and Rover. It’s an outbound learning experience about the history and geography of the red planet. The concept of the game is to repair the equipment, Lander, and Rover on Mars’s surface. The setting of a landscape exploration is pretty realistic as it uses the actual data collected by NASA, including terrains and height map of the planet’s surface. The same model of the actual rover sent to Mars was also used in the game. As the game progresses, the player can explore the covered regions of each Rover. The game play continues on the mission of the player to start the repair of the Viking 2 Lander by attaching the fallen components using a portable welder. The second mission teaches you to transfer the Pathfinder to a safer location away from the sand storm and bring it back to the base station. In the third mission, you are to repair the Opportunity solar panels from all the dust to produce power and function. The last mission is to revitalize the Curiosity rover. The rover is as big as a compact sized car but it has the least amount of repairs to be done among all rovers. The point of transition in the game is the story telling feature in every mission. The player will have all the information one the components installed by NASA and the background history of each rover, and then the player can move on to the next mission.
This travel exploration offers an immersive story telling experience for the users. The game has excellent visuals, clear audio, and great narration. It’s a fast paced game with only 20 minutes playing time. The VR experience is single player only. It requires a room scale play area for a standing position of the players. It also has a run through tutorial of the basic game mechanics. The game has gotten many positive reviews from the users, especially in regards to the educational program it provides.
The Mars Odyssey VR experience was developed and published by Steel Wool Studios, an Oakland-based company who pioneered from Pixar and animation technology. The company has an ongoing expansion to develop more narrative-driven VR experiences in partnership with HTC on the Vive platform.
Today, the integration of VR in different fields outside of gaming provide an immersive learning experience to users as seen in Mars Odyssey. VR technology has tremendous depth that can be applied to various industries and The Mars Odyssey VR experience goes to show that point. This type of experience is something that can be shown in educational fields and schools. The Mars Odyssey is available for the HTC Vive at the Steam store. Get a taste of what Mars might be like!