By Casey Donnellan
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#BlueMarble, an educational game that teaches players about the concept of habitable zones or "Goldilocks zones". In order to support life, a planet can't be too close to a star, nor can it be too far; it needs to be just right.
In #BlueMarble, players you can adjust the factors like the distance from our planet to the sun and the brightness of the star we orbit, then observe the effects on average global temperature using a real climate model. For example, if you were to replace our sun with the nearby star Sirius, you might find the weather to be uncomfortable at 705°F (374°C). However, if you were to also change the position of the Earth such that it orbited at the same distance as Jupiter, this would bring the average global temperature down to a relatively comfortable 51°F (10.5°C).
As you experiment with different combinations, you can observe visual changes to the surface of the Earth as it shifts from a frozen ball of ice to a desert wasteland and everything in between. When you discover new potentially habitable combinations, you also unlock educational facts about stars featured in the game, including how to find some of them in the night sky.
#BlueMarble began as an entry in the SXSW Austin Education Game Jam, organized by Skillpoint Alliance and Globaloria. The game's title refers to a photograph of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts en route to the moon approximately 28,000 miles away. From this distance, Earth was the size and had the appearance of a tiny, blue marble.
• Teaches players about habitable zones
• Uses a real climate model to determine Earth's average temperature
• Scorch or freeze Earth as you attempt to discover new habitable combinations
• Unlock cool facts about nearby stars
Q: May I use Celsius units instead of Fahrenheit?
A: Yes! Upon launch the game attempts to determine your preferred units. You can also change units at any time from the in-game settings menu.
About Tekton Industries, LLC
Tekton is an ancient Greek term for artisan or craftsman, used particularly for carpenters. These were skilled laborers who strove to elevate their trade to an art-form. At Tekton Industries, we work with pixels and code instead of wood and nails, but our purpose remains the same. Tekton Industries is the brainchild of Casey Donnellan, who previously worked on the well-received mobile game Age of Booty: Tactics and id Software's upcoming DOOM reboot. In addition to running Tekton Industries, Casey is also lead programmer on Rooster Teeth's upcoming game, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. Casey holds a master's degree from SMU Guildhall.
This educational game puts '3-star rating' in a whole new context! A sleek presentation and poignant music set the scene for some knob-twiddling science as we seek to make Earth habitable at varying distances from different stars, given different levels of emissivity of the earth (how much energy it reflects back into space instead of retaining). Your reward is unlocking actual stars -- not the yellow ones from Angry Birds, but the shining ones like Betelgeuse.
A welcome addition for future versions would be more unlocks, a mode where further variables to determine life are made available (eg presence of water). The science might be woolier on those points, so perhaps a 'soft science' mode is needed to extend the game!
Looking forward to seeing future updates and future games.
Not a space enthusiast....Till now
Very sharp, beautiful and educational app. It did what ANY top notch teaching app or educator would hope to accomplish....It instilled a passion in me to know more!!! A+++
This little game was a lot more enjoyable than I had anticipated... I learned a lot from it and the music was just beautiful~