This jam is now over. It ran from 2016-09-02 04:00:00 to 2016-09-12 08:15:00. View 73 entries

Or, Where is everybody?

The numbers are staggering; even in a place with little light pollution, when we star-gaze we are looking at only about 2500 stars, or a hundred-millionth of the stars in our galaxy, mostly within 1000 light-years of Earth. There are 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and roughly as many other galaxies in the observable universe. Although measurement is imprecise, there are likely 10^22 to 10^24 total stars in our universe. With the conservative assumption that possible life requires a sun-like star (estimated, at the low end, at 5% of total stars), that leaves us with 500 billion billion sun-like stars.

Of course, there is a debate about what percentage of such stars could foster Earth-like planets (with similar temperature conditions, and liquid water). The commonly accepted answer is at least 1-in-6. This means that roughly 1% of the sun-like stars in the Universe could have Earth-like planets orbiting them.

Assuming the mediocrity principle, the Earth (and its development of intelligent life) is not highly unusual. But even with a conservative estimate that 1% of our Earth-likes develop life, and .5% of that life achieves observable technological civilization, that would mean roughly 5 million billion civilizations in our observable universe. Even shrunk to our immediate neighborhood- the Milky Way Galaxy- there should be 50,000 communicating or traveling civilizations within it's 100,000 light year diameter.

So, where is everybody? This contradiction is known as the Fermi Paradox. A number of answers have been proposed:

  • Extraterrestrial life is rare or non-existent
  • No other intelligent species have arisen
  • Intelligent alien species lack advanced technology
  • It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself
  • It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others
  • Periodic extinction by natural events
  • Inflation hypothesis and the youngness argument
  • Intelligent civilizations are too far apart in space or time
  • It is too expensive to spread physically throughout the galaxy
  • Human beings have not existed long enough
  • Humans are not listening properly
  • Civilizations broadcast detectable radio signals only for a brief period of time
  • They tend to isolate themselves
  • They are too alien
  • Everyone is listening, no one is transmitting
  • Earth is deliberately not contacted
  • Earth is purposely isolated (planetarium hypothesis)
  • It is dangerous to communicate
  • They are here undetected
  • They are here unacknowledged

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The Fermi Paradox Jam (#fermijam) is an invitation to make something (anything!) inspired by this problem. In addition to games, we welcome digital work, music, star charts, prose, comics, or things more alien. The jam will run from midnight September 2nd to midnight September 12th, 2016.

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API reference materials:

Image credit: Max Ernst and NASA

Games submitted(73)

All submissions
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Browser playable (28)
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Windows (39)
OSX (26)
Linux (18)
Android (1)

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short free stargazing game about breaking-up and alien life
Simulation
Scan the heavens for intelligent life.
Simulation
Navigate the stars with your partner
Adventure
A short made for the Fermi Jam
Other
Seek out another Earth in a seemingly endless and dead universe.
Simulation
Explore a baroque starship at humanity's end - you are the last witness to the games of the rich
Other
alien forest generator
A space exploration experiment where you are driven to find alien transmitions
Adventure
Play in browser
The mad man watches, waits and never lets his prey go free.
Other
alien civilization extinction simulator
Play in browser
A Fast Paced Galaxy Civilization Simulator for #FermiJam
Simulation
Play in browser
Trace paths through tangled constellations
Puzzle
"WHEREBY THEY LIE IN WAIT." ||| (collab with notgodzilla!)
Other
Play in browser
Bravely defend humanity from the threat of alien intelligence.
Other
Play in browser
a guide to the fixed stars and their people
Play in browser
an aural journey for #fermijam 2016
Explore a deserted place far from Earth.​
Simulation
Play in browser
it's just us out here
Other
Play in browser
All the aliens have been hanging out in outer space, together, WITHOUT US.
Adventure
Other
Play in browser
An experimental, randomly generated, galaxy viewer.
Simulation
Play in browser
Space exploration within the limitations of relativity
Simulation
click click clickclickclickclick...
Other
An experiment in evolving RNNs
Play in browser
YOU ARE EARTH'S LISTENER
Simulation
Play in browser
A manual for contacting other life forms.
A short exploration game about searching a habitable planet
Adventure
Play in browser
A short game about the difficulty of finding extrasolar life.
#fermijam submission
Other
Play in browser
▒█░█░▓██▓▓▒▓░▓█▓░░▒▓▒███░
Other
Explore, harvest, and fight through randomly generated galaxies in search for alien life.
Action
Play in browser
You are the AI controlling humanity's messenger probe. Where do you go?
Simulation
Play in browser
help us
Puzzle
Play in browser
A lone earth exohistorian venturing out in space, seeking to comprehend dead alien civilizations
Adventure
Play in browser
Disguise aliens so they don't arouse humanity's suspicions.
Puzzle
"Where are They? Maybe we are alone in the galaxy after all" -- Enrico Fermi
Play in browser
A conversation with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the prophet.
Other
A small Fermi Paradox-inspired game.
Other
Watch a world's story unfold in about five mintues
Other
A game about SETI and rock gardens.
Play in browser
Point-and-click, reading and walking simulator for about 10-minutes.
Adventure
Scan for a call from the stars
7.3 million twitter users
Play in browser
Experimental extrasolar soundscape
As the first space faring aliens in the galaxy, you must destroy new civilizations that threaten our superiority.
Strategy
A hard sci-fi novella made for the Fermi Paradox Jam
Listen close and you might hear...someone must be sending messages somewhere in the universe.
Simulation
a music and poetry toy
Other
looking for life
Other
a twitter bot for generating realistic spiral galaxies - @deepfieldsurvey
A man looks for extraterrestrial life.
a short twine story for a lonely universe
Play in browser
Play in browser
an abstract alien landscape generator
Simulation
Watch a galaxy of life try to communicate
May the best way to survive be to never meet your killer ?
Play in browser
Idle clicker about a pilot stranded on an unexplored planet.
Other
Play in browser
grab your 3D glasses
Simulation
Play in browser
Prota is on a journey to find intelligent life in the universe
Pointless thing in space.
Other
A game of planetary management and inter-office sabotage. (#fermijam entry)
Adventure
Play in browser
Relax and watch a probe search for life.
Simulation
Play in browser
A short novella on a possible answer to the Fermi Paradox
Two Twitter bots search for each other across the expanse of #space
are we alone?
spaaaceee
Other
https://twitter.com/fermipasteladox : A procedurally-generated universe exploring itself for signs of life.