- Aubrey's unfiltered notes on current and future Mars Explorer development can be perused here:
» Mars Explorer Development Notebook
Can I have a Mars Explorer logo to include in my Fan Video?
- Here You Are!
» Mars Explorer Media Kit
How do I:
Enjoy Maximum Performance?
Mars Explorer is specially designed to run great on a variety of hardware and software configurations, but you can help it run even better!
- Close other browser windows and running programs when playing - especially those that connect to the internet!
- Download a native version of Mars Explorer for your OS. The in-browser versions work great, but are slightly slower and less resilient against crashing.
- Run in Fullscreen mode (tap your "zero" keyboard key) while playing in your browser! This will ensure maximum performance, and will also let you utilize all of Mars Explorer's keyboard commands without triggering shortcuts in your browser.
- Fine tune your Quality. In the Game Settings panel while playing, Adjust the "Rendering Quality" to an optimum balance between graphical excellence and a nice, smooth number of Frames Per Second (FPS).
- Decrease your Resolution. The less pixels Mars Explorer has to draw to your screen, the faster it will run! Try dragging your browser window smaller or clicking the << button near the top of the "Game Settings" panel to see how it affects your FPS.
- Decrease your Visibility. On games where you don't need to see far, pulling the "Visibility" slider in the "Game Settings" panel left a bit should greatly speed up your game.
- Hide your GUI. Click the ">>" button in the lower right of Mars Explorer to turn off all the buttons and panels that are displayed in the game. On low end systems, this may speed up your framerate quite a bit!
- Cap your Framerate if necessary. If you experience your graphics card overheating or just need to conserve battery power, slide the "FPS Cap" slider in the "Game Settings" panel left a bit to limit your FPS and give your computer a much deserved break.
- Verify that you have the latest graphics card drivers, a decent amount of RAM, a couple gigs of free space on your harddrive, and a functional anti-spyware system if you run Windows. If you can't play other cutting edge 3D games, there's a good chance that Mars Explorer won't work all that great on your system either...
- Not be a noob?
Noobs are the players you meet who are selfish, rude, inconsiderate, unskillful, seem to have no concept of spelling or grammar, and are always bored - because the pleasure they derive from annoying others never quite seems to satisfy. Does this describe you? Don't worry - there is hope!
Please note that noobs are not all to be confused with newbies - as the latter are friendly, willing to learn, and busy developing their skills - while the former are diametrically opposite.
- If you think that being a noob is fun, you are missing out! Wait 'till you see how much more fun is is to be a respected member of the Mars Explorer community - and the world in general!
- Though this may seem counter intuitive, the first step towards attaining the esteemed position of non-noobishness is to work on your communication skills. Once you establish yourself in the habit of fluently articulating everything you enter into a computer, not only will everyone else respect you more - but you will also be forced to think before you speak - and best of all, you won't be automatically identified as a noob by others you come in contact with.
- Once you are communicating with ease, the only other skill you need to master is courtesy. When you begin treating others as fellow human beings with insightful ideas, valuable time, and intrinsic worth - instead of just objects to freeload from and annoy - you will no longer be a noob.
- Sounds easy, doesn't it? It is easy. All you need is dedication and will, and you already have both of these - Exercise them!
- In closing, imagine what you will be able to do with all the time you are no longer investing in pointless activities! Find something productive that you enjoy, and become the best that you can at it - whether it's rocketry, knitting sweaters, playing a musical instrument, entrepreneurial endeavours, or hacking.
- Have fun?
Mars is a great place to disport yourself - especially when you know how to have a wonderful time!
- Don't be a noob. As described above, it just isn't worth it! Take the time to learn how to be a better player - it will more than recompense any efforts you invest in it.
- Find a great server to play at. Server hosts (the person that pressed "Start Game »") have absolute, dictatorial authority in their server. They absolutely need this authority to keep the peace and ensure a great game for everyone! Don't insult them, argue with them, or rejoin dozens of times after they boot you. If you don't like how they are exercising their authority, start your own server - and others who agree with your policies can join!
- Set your physics with consideration. Just because everything moves faster, doesn't mean that players will have more fun. Setting everything at "max" may be amusing for a bit, but seriously - Fine tune your physics for the type of game you want to encourage.
- Take a screenshot?
- If you are on a Mac, you can save a screen shot to your desktop by pressing the "Shift, Apple, and 3" keys at the same time. You change this key combination to whatever you prefer by going to "Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts". F1 works great!
- On Windows machines, pressing the "Print Screen" button on your keyboard should copy a screenshot to your clipboard.
- Playing in fullscreen mode with your rendering quality set as high as possible will help take the best shots.
- Record a movie?
- If you are running Mac OS 10.6 or later - Open QuickTime, Select File > New Screen Recording, and you are ready to go!
- If you are running an older version os the Mac OS, You will need to use third party software such as Jing, Copernicus, or Screenflick.
- If you run Windows Jing or CamStudio should be just what you need
What are Dedicated Servers?When you "Host" a game in Mars Explorer, your computer is relaying thousands of messages between the computers of everyone that you are playing with to keep the game in "sync". The faster the host's internet connection, the more effeciently these messages get relayed - and the smoother the gameplay experience is for everyone! You can test your internet connection @ PingTest.net.
Dedicated servers are connected to fast internet connections, and host your game for you. You don't need to worry about them, If there is one available Mars Explorer will automatically find and use it when you start hosting a game.
What is the "Network Mode" Server Setting?Mars Explorer currently suffers from a debilitating bug in Unity's networking system which occasionally results in players that don't move and are labled as "Not Responding" or "No Connection" on other player's screens. Unity is working on a solution for this issue. In the mean time, the "Network Mode" setting provides a workaround.
- UDP mode offers the fastest, smoothest gameplay - but it is also the most succeptible to non-responding players. If anyone reports a player that says "nc" on their name badge to you, you should change the networking to a different mode and have the nc player switch vehicles to apply the setting. Note that players can be perfectly visible to you as the host, but still not visible to other players.
- RDC mode is slightly more reliable and a bit less smooth than UDP mode. It is provided mainly as a diagnostic tool.
- RPC mode is extremely reliable and slow - it checks to make sure that each message is received correctly. It should only be used if UDP mode is failing.
How Should I Configure My Router?Note: When utilizing a dedicated server (which is completely automatic), or if you have a public IP address and no firewall (you probably don't), everything should just work for you! If not, a lot of tricky stuff has to happen behind the scenes to enable you to play with others over the internet. Mars Explorer can set up much of this stuff automatically - but if you can't connect to other people's games, it probably means that you need to help it out a bit - read on.
- First of all, gain access to your router's control panel. Search the internet for your model of router, and you should find plenty of directions for this step and specifics for the following steps.
- Next, enable "DMZ" mode. This "demilitarizes" your router, instructing it to not block any internet traffic. Try restarting Mars Explorer, and everything should work! If you still can't connect to other's games, sorry - but it isn't a router problem, and is beyond the scope of this FAQ.
- Try enabling "UPNP". You don't want to leave your router in DMZ mode, because this hinders it from protecting you from harmful internet traffic. Disable DMZ mode, then check to see if UPNP mode is enabled. If it was disabled, try enabling it - then restart Mars Explorer and see if you can connect to other's games. UPNP (Universal Plug and Play) is a system that allows Mars Explorer to configure the port forwards that it needs automatically.
- And finally, set up port forwarding. If DMZ mode worked, but UPNP didn't solve your problems - add UDP port forwards for 2500 (Game), 23456 (Master Server), 50001 (NAT Facilitator), and 10735 (Network Tester). (Port Map might work for you if you run OS X). You should now be able to join the fun!
- Why the name "Mars Explorer"?
Mars Explorer has a rich heritage as a multiplayer mars exploration experience. It has now evolved beyond this - and it's successor - Syn3h, is in development.
Why aren't there destructive weapons - like bombs, landmines, rockets, and flamethrowers?
Mars Explorer isn't about destruction at all. The current lasers are not weapons ("a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage") - they are simply an extension to the basic gameplay model that increases Mars Explorer's strategic elements by allowing players to tag one another from a distance. Mars Explorer may receive more options for remotely tagging other players in the future, but they won't involve excessive violence.
- I want more vehicles / worlds / etc - and I want them right now!
Mars Explorer is developed by one person. He does it in his spare time, he does it for free, and he has lots of other projects that constantly demand his attention. Regardless of whether or not Aubrey is working on some neat new feature as you are reading this, be patient! If you are worried that the world may end if new updates aren't delivered regularly, perhaps it is yourself that you should be worried about :)
Why not take a break - and go on a real adventure in the real world, crack some codes with Altamatic, list your stuff for sale on Safarri, write a scholarly article about something that interests you and and post it to PlexPedia, or learn something you didn't know before on WikiPedia?
- Another player isn't being nice. What should I do?
- If you are the server's host, it is your job to evict rude player's from your game. Click the "Active Players" button, then click the "Evict" or "Ban" button next to the name of the offending player.
- If you are not the server's host - you can simply join another game, or host your own.
If you would like to report someone who is engaged in illegal activity to the proper authorities, follow these steps:
- Determine the player's IP address. If you are the game's host, you can simply open the "Active Player's" window, and copy all the information out of the box directly below their name.
- Determine the offending player's ISP by doing a whois lookup on their IP address using a tool like the ARIN Whois Search.
- You can then report them to their ISP, CyberTipline, and / or your local police department.