Extrasolar Postmortem

It's with a heavy heart that I announce that the sun will set on Epsilon Prime for the last time on December 1, 2018. It's been an incredible journey and I want to thank everyone who shared this adventure with us.

Extrasolar has run continuously since its launch in Feburary, 2014. But this highly experimental new "game" has never been profitable. It currently cost about $900/month to run, not including the cost of the time it takes to keep everything working smoothly.

Rethinking Educational Game Design

Educational games suck. There, I said it. There are of course a few good exceptions, but when I asked friends to name some top educational games, the answers that came back tended to be games like Oregon Trail (1971), Rocky's Boots (1982), and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego (1985). With all the advancements in game design and hardware technology, have we really not made anything better in the last 29 years?

Don't worry. We all died of dysentery.

Indie Game Budgets: The Gory Details

A few people have pointed out that we decided not to post a detailed budget breakdown for our Kickstarter campaign. We made this decision in part because we believe that the extensive free demo gives ample evidence that we know what we’re doing. But there’s another reason why we didn't post it -- indie game budgets aren't really straightforward and there can be a ton of hidden, bloated, or arbitrary costs. Allow me to illustrate with a brutally honest look into the ledgers of Lazy 8 Studios. To really understand all the ups and downs, let’s peer back a few years back in our studio history.

Extrasolar Developer's Blog: Topo Map Generation

I love maps. To those who know me, this probably isn't a surprise. My parents were both cave surveyors and I grew up with a compass and clinometer in my hand. I've spent many weekends doing orienteering and adventure racing.

Maps are a huge part of Extrasolar, but so far, players haven't needed to know precise elevations. When we started to realize that this data will be more essential in the upcoming seasons, I was excited to take on the task of turning our digital height map data into useful topo maps.

See Jane Study Exobiology: A New Approach to Role Models in Games

If you've been playing Extrasolar, then you've already met Jane Van Susteren -- the lead exobiologist at the Exoplanetary Research Institute who assigns you missions and educates you about the science of alien biology. What you may not realize is that Jane Van Susteren is a real person -- a professional botanist from California.