by Alphaville Herald on 20/04/08 at 11:22 am
RFP asks developers to create a game for fun
by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk
Friday, NASA released an RFP seeking a partner to help create a massively multiplayer online game to help teach science and engineering. The project has been seen as an exciting opportunity since it was initially announced in 2007 – a promised $3 million budget could have something to do that. The level of interest was such that rumors of over a hundred responses to an RFI issued in January of this year seem credible.
But joy in the metaverse development community was short-lived, after it was clear that NASA’s MMO development partner is expected to create and maintain the MMO for free – or to use NASA’s language a “non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement (defined as one with no exchange of funds)”.
Of course, the development partner will get something from the experience – as the RFP points out, “In exchange for a collaborator’s investment to create and manage a NASA-based MMO game for fun and to enhance STEM, NASA will consider negotiating brand placement, limited exclusivity and other opportunities”.
This would suggest that the ideal development partner will be able to pay employees not with dollars, but with fun.
As one source put it, “NASA is not putting any money into this project at all. They will be graciously granting the rights to demand certain conditions be met by whom ever they choose, and yet will be providing no money. None for development, none for support. What ever happened to that $3 million we read about a year ago?!?”
We have to wonder – if there is no money changing hands – does NASA even need an RFP? Since this is all about having free fun, perhaps NASA should let anyone participate – the more the merrier!