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NASA asks developers to join the Dark Side of the Jam


No, NASA isn't starting an open-membership Pink Floyd tribute band, it's running an upcoming event for crafting educational games about space. Starting on Friday, developers will head into NASA's Ames Research Center to participate in the Dark Side of the Jam , a three-day challenge to "help capture the public's interest in the real science and technology advancements being made in aerospace exploration."

NASA says the twofold goal of the jam—which sadly missed an obvious Space Jam reference because of legal reasons—is to promote interest in the space program and teach players on the extraordinarily silly level of complexity needed to send an astronaut into the void. As a result, you probably won't see many fantastical depictions of space travel seen in, say, Star Citizen —think more along the lines of Kerbal Space Program and more sim-heavy approaches.

Games have been used by NASA before to increase awareness of the organization's scientific accomplishments. Moonbase Alpha , a lunar colony sim published by NASA in 2010, is perhaps its best-known effort before the Jam, though not entirely for educational reasons .

Dark Side of the Jam's official site hosts extra info on the event's goals and various assets for developers to use in their works, which conveniently double as pretty cool wallpapers.