Both Cun­ning­ham’s team at Blackbird and Dr Nor­ris’s team at NASA JPL had to work on Project Ea­gle in be­tween their other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Since Blackbird worked on the project en­tirely for free, it was squeezed into evenings and week­ends, around the stu­dio’s more con­ven­tional de­vel­op­ment tasks. NASA, nat­u­rally, was sim­i­larly em­broiled in its core mis­sion through­out the process. “When they’re not talk­ing to us, they’re giv­ing in­struc­tions to the Mars Cu­rios­ity rover – th­ese were the ac­tual engi­neers work­ing on stuff, and it was re­ally fun,” Cun­ning­ham says. “We’d be brag­ging about how we just had an­other Skype call with NASA, while at NASA, they had a ma­chine with a mon­i­tor set up in the mid­dle of the room at JPL Ops with the game up and run­ning. It was pretty cool.”

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