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Surviving Mars [Steam, Official Site] is the new city-builder from Haemimont Games and Paradox that sees you build a colony in a harsh environment. It's not due for release until next year, so details have been light, but they're finally ready to talk about it some more.

In their first dev-diary, they've written about how it is very much a city-builder, but not quite a traditional one. This is because of environmental hazards, scarcity of materials, failing systems and lack of vital resources.

Unlike Tropico, which Haemimont Games previously worked on, they're going for a more sandbox approach instead of following some sort of campaign. This should give us freedom to experiment and keep coming back to it, which sounds nice. Considering they've teamed up with Paradox, I imagine it will be supported for quite some time after release.

On the topic of fun versus realism, they said this:

Surviving Mars was inspired by the old, idealistic sci-fi stories. You know the ones - from the time when the Galaxy was full of mystery and wonder, and humanity was striving to build a better future among the stars, instead of fighting its own inner demons. This lighthearted and somewhat nostalgic source of inspiration shines both in the game aesthetics and narrative.

We wanted to keep the science in the game plausible without diving into minutiae. Barring some purely fantastic elements that are best saved for a future dev diary, the scientific aspect in Surviving Mars is realistic, but the game is not thematically centered on science. It is about the dream of the first human settlement on another planet.

Also, they included this video. It seems it was uploaded in early October, but they've only just linked it as it's unlisted (so I'm pretty sure it's new to us):

For those that can't watch the video, they sum up their own thoughts about what the game is and will be. They also mention that they've studied real photographs of Mars to make the maps, which is awesome.

I'm seriously excited about this one, cautiously so though, as I don't want to end up too disappointed. I just hope they really take their time with it and create something great.

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TheRiddick 1 November 2017 at 11:15 pm UTC
PhiladelphusAnyone with a telescope can look at Mars by eye (as I've done, as an astronomer) and verify that it actually is that color. No conspiracy theories needed.

And if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.
Purple Library Guy 2 November 2017 at 3:57 am UTC
Kels
Patola
QuoteUnlike Tropico, which Haemimont Games previously worked on, they're going for a more sandbox approach instead of following some sort of campaign.

Oh, come on!!! I hate open-ended games like that, a Campaign is the way to go. I like to play games like if I was reading a book, follow along an interesting, captivating story, not arranging random pieces of loosely coupled fragments of tales here and there. I guess I'll have to buy Maia instead.

Oh, I missed that part. Personally, I'd rather have the choice between campaign and sandbox, given the choice.
So, given the choice, you'd like to be given the choice?
slaapliedje 2 November 2017 at 7:44 am UTC
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TheRiddick
PhiladelphusAnyone with a telescope can look at Mars by eye (as I've done, as an astronomer) and verify that it actually is that color. No conspiracy theories needed.

And if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.

Besides, from what I'd read it wasn't the ground really that was reddened, but the sky as well. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YXyFj3wFBTY/U9WVMrJT9sI/AAAAAAAAFGU/TIIXmyIQHno/s1600/Slide84.JPG

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/03/20/what-color-is-the-red-planet-really/
Philadelphus 2 November 2017 at 8:40 am UTC
TheRiddickAnd if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.
Which is over 70% correct. But that's a terrible comparison because Mars doesn't have A) vast bodies of liquid water, B) highly-visible and reflective clouds, or C) plant life, all of which make the Earth a vastly more complicated system to analyze.

slaapliedjeBesides, from what I'd read it wasn't the ground really that was reddened, but the sky as well. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YXyFj3wFBTY/U9WVMrJT9sI/AAAAAAAAFGU/TIIXmyIQHno/s1600/Slide84.JPG

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/03/20/what-color-is-the-red-planet-really/
That photo is flat-out wrong, as explained in the very article you linked, which explains it well: color balance is a pretty subjective thing. Does any digital camera actually reproduce colors as we actually see them? No. It just records photon counts on a CCD through different filters, which we process with software to try to get colors that roughly approximate what we see with our eyes. Process the resulting image and you can make it look however you like, which is what those "blue sky" images are: skewed with a white balance to make the scene look like it would on Earth to help geologists better identify geological features. The article itself points out that the first photo in it—of a reddish, ocher-ish Mars—is explicitly processed to be as close to "what a typical cell phone camera" would take from the same location.

Yes, it's true that Mars doesn't look quite as saturated red as those first Viking images did (which is what the left image in the linked photo is from). But that's entirely due to advances in digital photo color processing methods, not some shadowy coverup by NASA.
Kels 2 November 2017 at 2:46 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
KelsOh, I missed that part. Personally, I'd rather have the choice between campaign and sandbox, given the choice.
So, given the choice, you'd like to be given the choice?

Yes, that would be choice.
slaapliedje 2 November 2017 at 2:49 pm UTC
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Philadelphus
TheRiddickAnd if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.
Which is over 70% correct. But that's a terrible comparison because Mars doesn't have A) vast bodies of liquid water, B) highly-visible and reflective clouds, or C) plant life, all of which make the Earth a vastly more complicated system to analyze.

slaapliedjeBesides, from what I'd read it wasn't the ground really that was reddened, but the sky as well. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YXyFj3wFBTY/U9WVMrJT9sI/AAAAAAAAFGU/TIIXmyIQHno/s1600/Slide84.JPG

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/03/20/what-color-is-the-red-planet-really/
That photo is flat-out wrong, as explained in the very article you linked, which explains it well: color balance is a pretty subjective thing. Does any digital camera actually reproduce colors as we actually see them? No. It just records photon counts on a CCD through different filters, which we process with software to try to get colors that roughly approximate what we see with our eyes. Process the resulting image and you can make it look however you like, which is what those "blue sky" images are: skewed with a white balance to make the scene look like it would on Earth to help geologists better identify geological features. The article itself points out that the first photo in it—of a reddish, ocher-ish Mars—is explicitly processed to be as close to "what a typical cell phone camera" would take from the same location.

Yes, it's true that Mars doesn't look quite as saturated red as those first Viking images did (which is what the left image in the linked photo is from). But that's entirely due to advances in digital photo color processing methods, not some shadowy coverup by NASA.

Yeah, my point in linking that article is that pretty much none of the images we've seen really show what the surface of Mars looks like and are 'best guesses' by the imaging team, because (for some inexplicable reason) they don't just get a lens from Samsung or Nokia to get correct pictures
tuubi 2 November 2017 at 3:41 pm UTC
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slaapliedjeYeah, my point in linking that article is that pretty much none of the images we've seen really show what the surface of Mars looks like and are 'best guesses' by the imaging team, because (for some inexplicable reason) they don't just get a lens from Samsung or Nokia to get correct pictures
We don't know what it would look like to a naked eye yet, but we do know the "soil" is mostly hues of reddish brown due to its composition. Apparently there's a lot of fine, rusty, iron-rich dust in the thin atmosphere as well, and if that dust is red... I bet everything looks blue with invisible pink polka dots.

It's not the lens that's the problem anyway. It's trying to guess how to interpret the raw image data. Modern digital cameras use complicated algorithms based on reference images (often getting the white balance wrong anyway), but as we don't have any references from Mars, it's all guesswork.

EDIT: As MayeulC pointed out, I should think before I write.


Last edited by tuubi at 2 November 2017 at 6:46 pm UTC
MayeulC 2 November 2017 at 4:13 pm UTC
slaapliedje
Philadelphus
TheRiddickAnd if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.
Which is over 70% correct. But that's a terrible comparison because Mars doesn't have A) vast bodies of liquid water, B) highly-visible and reflective clouds, or C) plant life, all of which make the Earth a vastly more complicated system to analyze.

slaapliedjeBesides, from what I'd read it wasn't the ground really that was reddened, but the sky as well. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YXyFj3wFBTY/U9WVMrJT9sI/AAAAAAAAFGU/TIIXmyIQHno/s1600/Slide84.JPG

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/03/20/what-color-is-the-red-planet-really/
That photo is flat-out wrong, as explained in the very article you linked, which explains it well: color balance is a pretty subjective thing. Does any digital camera actually reproduce colors as we actually see them? No. It just records photon counts on a CCD through different filters, which we process with software to try to get colors that roughly approximate what we see with our eyes. Process the resulting image and you can make it look however you like, which is what those "blue sky" images are: skewed with a white balance to make the scene look like it would on Earth to help geologists better identify geological features. The article itself points out that the first photo in it—of a reddish, ocher-ish Mars—is explicitly processed to be as close to "what a typical cell phone camera" would take from the same location.

Yes, it's true that Mars doesn't look quite as saturated red as those first Viking images did (which is what the left image in the linked photo is from). But that's entirely due to advances in digital photo color processing methods, not some shadowy coverup by NASA.

Yeah, my point in linking that article is that pretty much none of the images we've seen really show what the surface of Mars looks like and are 'best guesses' by the imaging team, because (for some inexplicable reason) they don't just get a lens from Samsung or Nokia to get correct pictures
Uh? Curiosity for example has a calibration target for its pictures. I guess your post was ironic, but it's sometimes hard to tell.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16798.html
slaapliedje 3 November 2017 at 12:13 am UTC
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MayeulC
slaapliedje
Philadelphus
TheRiddickAnd if you look at Earth via a telescope you would think its blue and the surface is blue also.
Which is over 70% correct. But that's a terrible comparison because Mars doesn't have A) vast bodies of liquid water, B) highly-visible and reflective clouds, or C) plant life, all of which make the Earth a vastly more complicated system to analyze.

slaapliedjeBesides, from what I'd read it wasn't the ground really that was reddened, but the sky as well. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YXyFj3wFBTY/U9WVMrJT9sI/AAAAAAAAFGU/TIIXmyIQHno/s1600/Slide84.JPG

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2013/03/20/what-color-is-the-red-planet-really/
That photo is flat-out wrong, as explained in the very article you linked, which explains it well: color balance is a pretty subjective thing. Does any digital camera actually reproduce colors as we actually see them? No. It just records photon counts on a CCD through different filters, which we process with software to try to get colors that roughly approximate what we see with our eyes. Process the resulting image and you can make it look however you like, which is what those "blue sky" images are: skewed with a white balance to make the scene look like it would on Earth to help geologists better identify geological features. The article itself points out that the first photo in it—of a reddish, ocher-ish Mars—is explicitly processed to be as close to "what a typical cell phone camera" would take from the same location.

Yes, it's true that Mars doesn't look quite as saturated red as those first Viking images did (which is what the left image in the linked photo is from). But that's entirely due to advances in digital photo color processing methods, not some shadowy coverup by NASA.

Yeah, my point in linking that article is that pretty much none of the images we've seen really show what the surface of Mars looks like and are 'best guesses' by the imaging team, because (for some inexplicable reason) they don't just get a lens from Samsung or Nokia to get correct pictures
Uh? Curiosity for example has a calibration target for its pictures. I guess your post was ironic, but it's sometimes hard to tell.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16798.html

Yeah, that picture from Curiosity looks spot on with a nice comparison of the actual craft to balance out the colors. If you see that it's more of a brownish, mucked sky. Seriously just looks like Utah during an inversion. Ground isn't overly reddish. I think, much like Earth, there are the areas that are rich in iron rust, and there are areas that look more like any desert here on Earth. Either way, where's our tickets to Mars so we can see for ourselves!

On that note, I was trying to figure out how you'd even have 100 mile per hour winds... if there was too thin of an atmosphere to properly have winds? I'm pretty sure there are large dust storms on Mars, but are they more in the upper atmosphere? I recall the first pictures before we'd landed anything on there was always showing that it had nasty weather patterns, and giant dust filled hurricanes. But it seems all the rovers aren't seeing that, except for maybe some sand dunes on the edge of craters.
tuubi 3 November 2017 at 8:14 am UTC
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slaapliedjeOn that note, I was trying to figure out how you'd even have 100 mile per hour winds... if there was too thin of an atmosphere to properly have winds? I'm pretty sure there are large dust storms on Mars, but are they more in the upper atmosphere? I recall the first pictures before we'd landed anything on there was always showing that it had nasty weather patterns, and giant dust filled hurricanes. But it seems all the rovers aren't seeing that, except for maybe some sand dunes on the edge of craters.
You might find this interesting.

Spoiler: It's the first Google hit for "Mars storms".
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