Red Planet Farming at NASA

The 2019 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Games Production Grant has been awarded to Red Planet Farming!

Red Planet Farming is a strategy game that puts players in the shoes of the first Agricultural Director on Mars. Equipped with futuristic technology, players must grow enough food to feed and sustain a Martian colony—a task that pits them against dust storms, radiation, and other harsh climate conditions on Mars.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Games Production Grant is a yearly award that funds game development at the NYU Game Center in support of the Foundation’s mission of raising the public understanding of science, technology & economics. Students who are making games that portray science & technology with originality and insight are connected with scientists early in their development process. Over the course of the year, the students work with the scientists to integrate the subject matter and the games. After graduation, students can apply for a grant that gives one game resources to develop and launch the game to the public. Red Planet is the fourth game to receive the Games Production Grant. You can read about past winners here.

About the development process of Red Planet Farming, lead developer Nina Demirjian said, “I originally started developing Red Planet Farming as a simple farming game that just happened to take place on Mars. Over time, I realized that a lot of the technology that would be needed to grow crops on Mars actually created some cool mechanics for the game, so we started incorporating them.

Now we are trying to keep Red Planet Farming as scientifically accurate as possible without sacrificing the player’s interest in the gameplay. This balance is also really important to the Sloan Foundation’s mission, which has made working with them a perfect fit for us.

Overall, the opportunity to develop Red Planet Farming with Sloan has been a great learning experience for my team and I. It can be really challenging to combine gameplay with scientific accuracy. But at the end of the day, I’m really proud that we’re producing a game that will hopefully get people excited about sustaining life on Mars in the not-so-distant-future!”

Red Planet Farming has been in development since December 2018 and is on track for release in early 2020. You can follow their development on Twitter, or join their mailing list!

The Developers

Nina Demirjian recently graduated from New York University with a degree in Computer Science, and now works part-time as a developer at the American Museum of Natural History. She has been working on Red Planet Farming since January 2019.

Noah Lee is an undergraduate student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts studying game design and film & tv animation. Beyond school, there’s not much going on.

Sean Park is a recent graduate of the NYU Game Center who has always had an interest in utilizing games to explore strange bite sized scenarios. Recently, he has been having fun producing 2D art and animation.

Sean Porio is a student at NYU Steinhardt studying music technology and composition. He enjoys making electronics, sound design, and writing music for video games and animation.