Europa Shows Off Insane Moon Driving, Contemplation

By Nathan Grayson on December 6th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

For some reason, I predict that our generation will see a record number of expulsions from astronaut school.

I don’t actually own any radars, but if I did, I’m pretty sure one of them would be going haywire right now in Europa‘s general direction. I mean, it’s sending off so many rapturously joyous signals. Moon signals. First, it billed itself as somewhat akin to Fallout 3, but – much as I exude passionate (and potentially deadly) affection radiation for Bethesda’s re-invention of Black Isle’s opus – I’m actually really happy to see Europa taking on an identity all its own. The setting, especially, seems to really be moving it in new directions – which is something that I suppose tends to happen when gravity’s not in the equation. Case in point: cars. Watch one tumble off mountains in a distinctly Just-Cause-2-like fashion after the break. And then shift gears entirely to take a long, atmosphere-rich gaze at Jupiter.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I really do appreciate it when exploration/story-based games make movement a complete joy, though. It can mean the difference between a series of high points stitched together by agonizingly tedious lows and a glorious triumph of moment-to-moment goodness. Also, I might have an entire file folder dedicated to screenshots of me driving off mountains in Just Cause 2. So maybe I’m a bit biased on this one.

And now, Jupiter.

Admittedly, the music – which does not belong to Quick Fingers – added a lot to that one, but I’m still impressed by how much effort is clearly going into such a small aspect of the game. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind replicating that video sans-time-lapse – just taking it all in for myself. But maybe that’s just my space obsession talking.

Regardless, Europa’s looking extremely enticing – which is doubly impressive given that it’s the work of just one person. It remains to be seen whether that lends cohesion to a project of this scope or riddles it with holes that a single human being can’t quite muster the time to fill in, but – either way – this one’s well worth keeping an eye on.

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46 Comments »

  1. blackguard says:

    M35 Mako simulator.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Just wait till the Buzzkillingtons kill this off the same way they killed the Mako. :/

      And I agree with Bakamono and EPICTHEFAIL – the Mako was a great loss. ME was a game where you could travel vast expanses of the galaxy and plonk down on planets whenever you want. Sure, they were a bit barren, but they gave a feel of the world being expansive. Without it, ME2 just became a corridor shooter.

      • yogibbear says:

        Yarp. I agree. The Mako was awesome and part of the many reasons why ME1 is always better than 2 & 3.

      • Prime says:

        Agree 100%. Exploring in the Mako was what sold me on the first Mass Effect game. Up until then I’d been fairly impressed but not gripped.

        And then they let me loose on an alien world with the Mako. My god. Getting rid of those sections in the sequel was cruel and unusual punishment, one I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive them for.

      • Feferuco says:

        I explored every planet thoroughly with the Mako but it had really lousy driving and the geography seemed like they got whatever first came out of a random planet generator without checking if it was any good. Like many things in ME it was a good idea done badly.

        • The Random One says:

          Precisely! I hated the Mako, but I hated the execution, not the concept. Also how you land on a nominally deserted planet and it just so happens that there is a pirate base and a crashed spaceship and an ancient beacon all within like two kilometers of your landing point.

          I like how they explained away the fact that your two-ton tank handles like it’s made of cardboard (its weight is decreased by a Mass Effect thingamajig, so it handles like that because it does weight like a cardboard tank).

          • Lev Astov says:

            Such a thing would probably be more like 15 tons, but yeah, they cheated that a bit. I’m okay with that and I loved every minute of driving it.

      • Premium User Badge particlese says:

        Yes!! I kept waiting for the video above to have a clip of the buggy climbing up a cliff, but no dice. Still, the nostalgia is strong with this one.

        …I wish Bioware still sold those t-shirts…
        (Basically this, but not from Zazzle.)

      • Urthman says:

        Traveling to different solar systems, reading descriptions of planets, then landing on them and driving around was my favorite part of Mass Effect — maybe the only part that I definitely enjoyed. Haven’t bothered with ME2 or ME3.

      • fco says:

        which is why in ME2 i installed the monument in front of the mako

    • nimzy says:

      I was going to say “does anyone remember the Moon level from Blast Corps?” But that works too, definitely.

      • Koshinator says:

        Indeed I do… love that game – played it to death (If you were wondering.. when you (finally) got all platinum medals for everything, your final rank was “You can stop playing now”)
        But looking at Europa… it makes me wonder where our sci-fi version of Just Cause 2 is… set on a low grav terraformed moon…. I’m drooling about that thought right now….

  2. Text_Fish says:

    Reminds me of when Morrowind first came out and I could spend aaaages star gazing.

    I must be spoilt by technology these days as I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that the little yellow moon didn’t cast a shadow on Jupiter.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      You know the game is looking good when your only complaint is that Io doesn`t cast a shadow.

    • ZeroSeven says:

      Our moon only casts a shadow on earth during an eclipse, and those aren’t that frequent. So expecting a shadow to be cast on jupiter, everytime that moon passes is perhaps a little too much to ask for.

    • Premium User Badge particlese says:

      Indeed! Morrowind was so amazing, and it was just content to be so without trying to shove *epic* in your face all the time. While Skyrim does this a fair amount, its skies are still highly watchable.

      That stargazing video also reminded me of the movie Moon. Another piece of entertainment that is just content to be amazing.

      This game is now on my own imaginary radar. Thanks, Nathan!

  3. Bakamono says:

    I must say, this looks positively impressive, I believe myself to be one of the vast majority that actually liked driving around in the Mako in the original Mass Effect, and this only seems to improve upon that (I can only hope this vehicle will be equally indestructible, or I’ll be blowing up a vast multitude of them).
    As to the Jupiter timelapse, that looks amazing, though I wasn’t aware Europa is tidally locked, if not (and this was just a staged occurrence to demonstrate the Jupiter weather) I’m hoping for spectacular Jupiter-rises!
    *Edit: Wikipedia tells me Europa IS tidally locked, so no Jupiter-rise *sadface*

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      Yep, the Mako is just about the only thing absent from the later games that I am actually sad about (no, the Hammerhead does not count). Of course, the lack of jump jets does detract a bit, but I suppose hard sci-fi needs to maintain a veneer of realism at least.
      I think most of my time in the game will be spent driving, staring at Jupiter, or driving while staring at Jupiter. Or bowling with build bots and the buggy.

  4. Darth_Pingu says:

    Omigod omigod. Reminds me of Battlezone, actually.
    Please, Battlezone this game for me.

  5. Gnoupi says:

    It looks fun, but somehow I don’t see a whole lot of difference in the gravity between this demo, and a lot of open world games with driving.

    Which tells more about those games than this one.

  6. Hunchback says:

    Space (the Universe) shocks me, fascinates me and makes me sad at the same time.

    I am not religious in any way, i hate religion, so there’s nothing religious in the way space puzzles me with it’s absurd size, forces and secrets. Every time i think about i get a little bit sad because i think humankind will die away long before we manage to explore or even simply understand the tiniest fraction of all that.
    It’s sad that a species that is intelligent (can learn) and is curious will probably kill itself by stupidity rather than prosper and explore the world…

    /rant off

    • Lord Beefcake WeeWee says:

      Gentlemen , I present to you a glimpse of the UNIVERSE !

    • Low Life says:

      I wish our advancements in technology allow ordinary people to get into space (not space space, but Richard Garriott style) in my lifetime. I want to see Earth from up there. And maybe cry a little.

  7. Mimir says:

    How is there fire on an airless moon?

    • MrMud says:

      Europas atmosphere is primarily oxygen but its so thin that it could probably not burn.

      • Text_Fish says:

        Looks like it’s coming from a shipwreck, which could be leaking oxygen?

  8. lordcooper says:

    Very pretty, but I have the unfortunate impression that the character in the second video may be masturbating.

  9. The Smilingknight says:

    Who cares about surface of Europe? All we want there is to punch through the ice and send a nuclear sub into hundreds of kilometers deep Europes oceans.

    Second – being alone on the boring surface and flying around in the buggy is silly and will get insanely boring quickly. – It already is.

    Also, you know where you can stick bethesda re-invention.

    Jupiter would seem much, much bigger on the sky of Europe.

    I thought those rocky mountains at first but apparently it is ice… so he narrowly avoids that one…
    Also, there are no mountains on Europe – though ice cracks could look vaguely like mountains – if you were looking from their bottoms. hah.

    • GernauMorat says:

      There there, have a nice cup of tea an you’ll feel better.

    • ColOfNature says:

      Jupiter, seen from the Alps.. Which are mountains on Europe. It’s very small.

    • Premium User Badge bracknellexile says:

      “Jupiter would seem much, much bigger on the sky of Europe.”

      As ColOfNature pointed out it’s very small from Europe but let’s for the moment, assume you mean Europa.

      Jupiter’s about 143,000 km across and Europa has an orbital radius of approx. 671,000 km. Some simple maths tells me that Jupiter would be appear to be just over 12 degrees across from the surface of Europa which looks, to me, pretty much the size it is in the video.

  10. sharkh20 says:

    That thing sure has some good traction for a low gravity environment.

  11. YogSo says:

    ALL THESE WORLDS
    ARE YOURS EXCEPT
    EUROPA
    ATTEMPT NO
    LANDING THERE

    • Prime says:

      It’s okay, relax. 3001 established that they’re just big computers that can be taken out with computer viruses. Apparently the big mysterious bads have never heard of Norton. It’s fine. Europa beach holiday, anyone?

      • Lord Beefcake WeeWee says:

        They must be kicking themselves when they found out their antivirus registration expired.
        Seriously though, 3001 could have been better. :-(

        • Prime says:

          It was terrible. So bad I stopped reading Clarke right there. After that, it was small wonder they started pairing him off with every other SF writer around; he’d clearly lost it.

    • The Random One says:

      This will be posted every time this game is mentioned, won’t it?

      ALL THESE MEMES
      ARE YOURS EXCEPT
      WARFACE
      DO NOT
      GO THERE

  12. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I get sad every time I remember I will never actually do anything like that. Sit on a moon and watch Jupiter.

    Curse you, science fiction, for making me want something that I was never ever going to have.

  13. Premium User Badge LTK says:

    Well, that’s certainly an unconventional approach to being removed from your fellow humans by an impossibly vast stretch of space on an icy cold moon with only a humongous, eternally turbulent gas giant for company. Doing flips in a buggy!

    Also, was it just me or did it look like Europa was standing still in that timelapse? You wouldn’t expect to see all the other moons moving a perfect circle around Jupiter if the moon you’re on was also moving.

  14. Victuz says:

    Is it just me or does the first video have some unexpected spoilers at 2:15?
    It looked to me like a piramid of some sort. Than again it might be just my imagination >_>