Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mars game review - Red Faction

Red Faction logo
Red Faction (2001) is a classic first-person shooter (FPS) game. It's one of the first 3D computer games set on Mars and despite its old age - still the greatest. No wonder there were made several sequels in the form of computer games and even a TV movie.

Red Faction depicts a miner revolution against oppressive corporation conducting some nasty biological experiments in a Martian colony in 2075. The most innovative feature of this game is its Geo-Mod engine which allows to create fully destructible game world.


Red Faction starts with the game's protagonist (you) Parker arriving at Martian mining colony with hopes of starting a new life away from his parents. Earth’s minerals are being depleted and humanity needs more and more of them. The Ultor Corporation runs the mining and research operations on Mars and is promising for potential fortune seekers high income and new horizons on a fresh planet. But the reality turns out to be not as bright - living conditions for the miners are poor, the guards are brutal and a deadly disease "The Plague" is spreading among the workers. Rumors are it is purposedly made by Ultor's scientists.

Where false promises meets discontent a rebellion is born
Parker is ending his routine mining shift when a daily strife between the miners and the guards spark an armed rebellion. Turns out the growing discontent of Ultor's rule has created an underground resistance force called "Red Faction", which now finally takes real action against the oppressors. Parker joins the rebellion and together with other miners is starting to fight his way out of mines with the helpful radio-guidance of Red Faction's leader Eos and Ultor's technician Hendrix. Parker is guided to join up with a group of miners who are about to steal a supply shuttle and escape the mining complex, but he arrives too late... luckily - the shuttle takes off and is immediately destroyed by Ultor's missiles.

It's now clear that escaping Mars won't be an easy task. Parker goes to Ultor's geothermal plant deep underground, sabotages it and through underwater tunnel enters the administrative complex of Ultor. There he kidnaps a high-ranking Ultor administrator, Gryphon, who turns out to be a Red Faction sympathizer willing to share his knowledge of Ultor's secrets to Red Faction. The man behind "The Plague" is Ultor's head scientist Dr. Capek who has been experimenting with nanotechnology and "The Plague" is a side-effect of injections at the miners' annual medical checkup. Parker tracks down Capek in his underground laboratory and with the help of Eos finishes him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Video: NASA's Journey to Mars

NASA Journey to Mars
In recent months NASA has released some exciting videos visualizing its "Journey to Mars". What is more important - they represent a conceptual shift from Apollo's style approach [every expedition to it's own location] to a more longsighted approach - every expedition to the same one location. At the workshop in October, 2015 NASA officials revealed that "human exploration of Mars is not planned as a single mission, but a series of three to five expeditions, each with a crew of four to six, lasting about 500 Martian days each. All would land in the same exploration zone, or EZ. The plan includes the construction of a surface field station to be located in the center of the exploration." It means that NASA's "Journey to Mars" mission concept has become more friendly to a goal of a permanent human colony on Mars.

NASA's base on Mars after a few decades:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Astronauts on Phobos by Ron Miller

Picture of the Day 12/2/16 - Astronauts on Phobos by sci-fi illustrator and writer Ron Miller. More of his Mars art here.

Astronauts on Phobos by Ron Miller

Wednesday, February 3, 2016