An announcement about the High Frontier space settlement simuator:

New Video Game Blends Science, Fun

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Oct. 27, 2014 – A small family business launched a KickStarter campaign today for a space settlement simulation game.  The game, called “High Frontier“,  allows the player to design their own free-floating orbital colony.  Players will then be able to go “inside” their colony, and manage the city in detail.

The game is being developed by Strout and Sons, a small company based in Fort Collins, Colorado (USA).  Joe Strout, the lead developer, has previously coauthored two scientific papers on real space settlement designs.  That experience is now being applied to the new video game, which features a custom physics engine to accurately simulate how large rotating bodies behave in space.  Other parts of the simulation cover energy balance and population dynamics.

“High Frontier is already the most accurate, detailed space colony simulator ever made,” Strout said in a statement Monday.  Work on the game has led to several relevant scientific insights, including the realization that inverted endcaps (like the bottom of a soda can) improve the stability of cylindrical space colonies, and recognition of the advantages of building early space colonies in low-Earth orbit.

“The idea of orbital space colonies has been around since the 1970s,” Strout explains, “but hasn’t received much attention in recent years. With High Frontier, we hope to change that.”

High Frontier has been following the incremental release model popularized by such games as Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program.  The team has released ten versions so far, completing the “design” and “build” phases of the game.  The third phase of the game, managing the colony, is still in progress; so far only an external view is available.  To support the internal city-management view, the company has launched a KickStarter campaign (www.kickstarter.com/projects/1045364912/high-frontier).  The team hopes to raise $10,000, which will be used primarily to fund custom artwork for the city simulation.

“We hope this game will help people realize the vast potential of the solar system,” Strout says.  “High Frontier is designed to both entertain and inspire.”

The KickStarter campaign continues until November 26.