Buzz Aldrin's footprint on the moon.
Will your foot print be joining Buzz Aldrin's on the moon?

Mission Statement

Today's entertainment for tomorrow's economy.

We begin from the premise that what we do today defines what is possible tomorrow. We are working under the following goals and assumptions:

Our first offering is a social networking game that is easy to start, engaging on a daily basis and grows more complex the deeper into the game the user explores.

We present: LunaFarmer.com.

Lunafarmer.com

Building on the long and rich tradition of people playing games together, Luna Farmer looks to combine the best of the current state of social media games with multi-user universes and simulation modeling. Luna Farmer begins as a simple and straight forward game environment. Users can choose to stay at that level or explore deeper and deeper into the complexity of the technology and economics of running a farm on the moon. The end state of the game is to have created a simulated universe with all the infrastructure required to build and support human civilization on the moon.

The Lunar Rover as the ultimate four wheel drive vehicle.
Will the Lunar Rover become the ultimate four-wheeler?

Entry level game

You are a tenant farmer. On the moon. You live and work in the caves which comprise the complex called Luna City. Your day job is to tend a farm owned by the Luna City Authority. You have bills to pay. You sell your crop at the Luna City Marketplace, owned and operated by the Luna City Authority. You barely get by, but with hard work, luck and a little help from your friends, you are able to put a little aside each month.

Your day job consists of planting and harvesting crops which you sell at the Luna City Marketplace. At the marketplace, you purchase what you need for the next crop. Also at the marketplace, are tools that make your day job a little easier. You can also make improvements to the cave you are leasing, which is owned by the Luna City Authority. Just be sure to read the fine print!

Deeper into the game

The current crop of social media games have only scratched the surface of the richness available in virual worlds and role playing games and the complexity and stimulation available from strategy and simulation games. We begin with and leaving in place a game the basic player can continue to enjoy by simply buying and selling through the marketplace and make incremental progress towards a nice homey cave. However, we believe take many players want more. So we are adding, community, simulation and strategy levels.

Marketplace and economic simulator

Sure, we can build a game where seed stock always costs the same, the market always buys your produce for the same price, the price of gasoline is stable and the bank's interest rates are always five percent. But what's the fun in that? Pricing will be based on supply and demand using a marketplace simulator that also considers what is happening in the commodities market, random shocks to the system and externalities.

Additionally, as the community level of the game develops, advanced players will have the opportunity to form partnerships such as a corporation or a co-operative allowing them to pool resources and share risks. As these partnerships are launched they become a part of the simulation.

Government simulator

There will be a government simulator layer that begins as the "Luna City Authority" which takes the form of a colonial governor system that is primarily concerned with profits. How this evolves over time will depend on inputs from the player community. How the community resolves basic issues such as insfrastructure, police, defense, education, basic and applied research and health care will impact both the marketplace and the community's ability to respond the random shocks to the system.

Science and technology development

While there will be technology for sale at the Luna City Marketplace. The day to day player will find new things there to spend credits on. Additionally, there will be a strategy level where time and credits are spent on basic and applied research and technical development. Patents and technology "developed" by players can be put on the marketplace opening new revenue streams for players.

In order to develop the technology yourself, you will need to understand something about the science and/or technology behind the the item you want to build or buy. This will probably take the form of quizzes with answer available with a little web research and reading.

Random shocks to the system

On a regular schedule with a built in random variance, we will introduce what we are calling random shocks to the system. These are game changing events for advanced players and will affect the market for basic players. These events will ranges from introducing aliens and pirates to the contents of today's headlines.

Community Building

While called social networking games, what is currently on the market earns that name as a result of the technological environment where people are playing the game (e.g., Facebook.com) rather than the levels of levels of interaction between players. LunaFarmer.com changes this in three ways: community play, reaction to the random shocks to the system, and articipating in the development of the virtual world.

Community Play

As a basic or an advanced player there will be opportunities to work together towards common goals. For example players might work together to buy a solar power system that they can all share or starting a business (to sell the energy from the solar power system. In short pooling credits, resources or work will move the group of players through the game at an rate faster than an individual can accomplish.

Responses to the random shocks to the system

The scheduled random events are designed to changed the underlying assumptions of the simulation providing the opportunity for a communal response. For example, a "good alien" may wonder into the Solar System and trade with the Earth goverment with an advanced technology that changes prices for core products. Should the Lunar Authority implement price supports? Or provide funding for education and transition? Or let the market settle the dust? Players will get to discuss and influence the way the game evolves.

A second scenario may be "bad aliens" that attack Luna City. Are there defenses in place? Are the players willing to be "taxed" to provide for the common defense? What happens when the bad aliens come back?

As the game evolves, each instance of Luna City will develop into a unique simulated virtual world of the near future.

Building the virtual world

Beyond the responses to the random shocks to the system, there will be a companion community website, most likely in the form of a moderated forum. Discussions on the forum will be about the assumptions of the game, paths for development and about the underlying technology and simulations. Forum topics will be focuses on specific questions and lead to suggestions that will be forwaded to the product and development teams.

Participation in the forums will be a reward for high level advanced users.

Summary

Web 2.0 technologies enable layers of complexity in gaming and simulation that have yet to be explored. The current market is saturated with easy to use, friendly games with exciting or pleasing graphics. We want to change that by added complexity to the back end. LunaFarmer.com is a potential "market disruptor" with both high potential revenue and the potential to excite players about careers in science, technology and as entreprenuers.

Inspirations and Resources

Buzz Aldlrin stepping onto the moon.
Buzz Aldrin stepping onto the Moon.

The following is a very personal list of cultural influences that LunaFarmer.com stands upon. And so goes human history.

Heinlein, Robert A. The Man Who Sold the Moon. Chicago: Shasta, 1950.
Who gets humanity to the moon? An entreprenuer!
Verne, Jules. From the Earth to the Moon: Passage Direct in 97 Hours and 20 Minutes Newark Print & Publishing Co. 1869.
This is the story that started many people thinking about what it would take to Earth to the moon and back.
Heinlein, Robert A. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
The details about living a life in Luna City
Baen's Bar
One of the interesting online communities where talking about what might be is what it is all about.
Earth by David Brin
Other than his tendency for happy endings, David writes thought provoking novels about the world in the not too distance future. Earth is my favorite.
John Brunner
Another writer who speculated about the near future. His take on Future Shock changed what I wanted to do for a living.
The Toefflers
Future Shock changed the way I looked at technology and social change.
Arthur Clarke. 2001: A Space Odessey
Clarke is the author that helped me to understand the difference between science fiction and science fantasy. Neither has happened yet, but one is possible based on our current understanding of how reality works.
Gene Roddenbury
While is it true that the Star Trek universe is science fantasy, Roddenbury's vision opened the mainstream culture's mind to the possibility of a future that doesn't look like today.
Phillip K Dick. Do androids dream of electric sheep?
Dick's work painted a dark future. It stands as a stark reminder that things will not automatically work out for the best.
Kennedy and the folks who worked at NASA during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
In retrospect, I can't say that I agree with their vision. But for one brief shining moment, they had the entire world proud to be a human being.
Simcity
The first computer simulation as a game that I remember playing.
RailRoad Tycoon
Sid Myer went on to design and develop Civilization which is an even better simulation and strategy game. But RailRoad Tycoon was the first of it's kind.
Star Trek: The orginal game
I've often wondered how many trees died because of all the paper that was printed by the game on teletype terminals so that a generation of geeks could shoot Klingons with photon torpedoes.
Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Another future visionary, not for the radio show or the book or the role playing game version of the book (all of which are worthy of mention, but because he actually built the HHG2G long before Wikipedia. It is still a legacy app on the BBC's website.
The Wright Brothers
Yeah, only twelve seconds, but what a disrupter.
Robert H. Goddard
The man who made Jules Verne's dream a reality.Wikipedia entry.