Virtual Game Jam concept

Using virtual worlds for education
Graham Mills
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Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Graham Mills » Mon May 18, 2015 10:09 pm

May interest folks here -- cross-posted with permission from Ann Cudworth (original post on opensim-edu)

From: Education [education-bounces@list.opensim-edu.org] on behalf of Ann C
[anncproj@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 May 2015 18:20
To: Opensim Educators Mailing List
Subject: [opensim-edu] Considering the possibility of a Virtual World Game
Jam

HI all-
Last January I participated in the Global Game Jam here in NYC, and prior to
that, I attended "Practice", a game design conference hosted by the NYU Game
Center. At Practice, when they asked us to participate with questions
directed to the entire group, I asked "How can we get people to build more
games in virtual worlds?" I meant all kinds of games, not just serious
games or simulations. One of the people in attendace at this conference was
Holly Gramazio (http://www.hollygramazio.net/). I was very impressed by her
game designing, and could see many of them being done in a virtual
world- for example-
http://www2.open.ac.uk/openlearn/philos ... d-sea.html

Well this morning as I was editing the game designing chapter of my new book
about extending virtual world design into game-based environments, I
thought- why don't we have a virtual world game jam? It would be so much
fun, and a challenge to be creative in the virtual space. Is anyone
interested in doing this? Maybe sometime in mid 2016?

I wrote this section for chapter 4 this morning:
4.5 Playtesting the Prototype and Game Jamming for Game Design Development

Eventually, you will have to let people outside your development group come
and play with your shiny new game, and sometimes that breaks it. Contrary
to how you may feel about this, that is a good thing, and what playtesting
is supposed to do. It's amazing how quickly a playtester can find the
weaknesses of your game, find a way to circumvent your planned flow and
pounce on a problem. If you apply your design judo properly, you can use
the momentum of that discovery to drive the team development cycle around
again, throw the problem on its back and vanquish it. You can plan for
design development through playtesting in the following ways:

. Connect with social groups in the virtual world that are interested
in design and gaming, and set up an evening of playtesting

. Connect with the members of online sites like http://www.boardgamegeek.com,
and sponsor a playtesting event

. Make a game design project part of the class you are teaching about
virtual environments and have the students playtest all games that develop
4.5.1 Design Development and the Game Jam Approach

If you look around, Game Jams are happening everywhere, for every kind of
game and game platform. Essentially a Game Jam is like a musical jam
session. Many kinds of game developers, designers and programmers come
together for a weekend or an evening, to connect creatively while they
design a game together. Sometimes there is a topic or theme they have to
acknowledge in the design or experience of the game, and sometimes they are
collaborating to stretch the limits of a specific gaming platform, or game
engine.
4.5.2 The Real Game Jam Experience

In reality, a face to face Game Jam, like the Global Game Jam (
http://globalgamejam.org/ ), is highly challenging and often inspiring.
You are going to meet strangers and create a game with them, possibly over a
weekend. In January 2015, I met Ben, Edward and David, at the NYU Global
Game Jam, and we made a board game called "On the Edge of Space" that was
nominated for the best design category,

(
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/nominate ... am-cudwort
h).
It was exhilarating, exhausting and ultimately we bonded as game
aficionados.
4.5.3 Holding a Virtual Game Jam

It is quite possible to have a game jam in the virtual space. If you have a
big OpenSim grid, you can parcel out the land to participants. Here is a
list of things you should prepare as you organize your first virtual game
jam.

*Space to Work*

If you have a big OpenSim grid, you can parcel out the land to
participants. If you do not, participants can build their games offsite,
and bring them in at the end of the Game Jam to a region you provide for
display of all the entries.

*Advisory Group*

Find a group of experienced game designers who are interested in providing
advice and guidance as you plan the event.

*Tools and Resources*

Mesh models, basic terrains, and simple scripts that people can use to build
a game with are some of the tools and resources you may want to provide.

*Advertising*

Look for sponsors, and online groups who may want to be involved by
contributing tools and resources in exchange for advertising at the event
and on the website

*Coaches, Helpers, Judges and Special Guests*

These are special folks you need to line up to help the game creators with
scripting and/or building, virtual world access, as well as serve as judges
in the final competition.

*Online Infrastructure and Wiki*

Set up space for people to make games on your virtual land. Set up a Wiki
to countdown to the event, and post results on.

*Scheduling and Planning*

Set up a calendar for everyone to follow, and decide on a timetable for the
6-12 months leading up to the event. Set up a daily schedule for the event
that ensures that the contestants do get some rest and breaks for meals.

*Awards and Prizes*

Decide on categories for the judges, so they can pick the best entries in an
organized way. Give them some standards to judge by. Have content to award
to the winners in each category.

--
Ann Cudworth | Virtual World Design Book <http://amzn.com/1466579617> |
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Serene Jewell » Tue May 26, 2015 3:43 am

I think this sounds like a really great idea, but I've never tried to make a game before.
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Graham Mills » Tue May 26, 2015 7:03 am

Ann is refining her ideas. Stay tuned.
Serene Jewell wrote:I think this sounds like a really great idea, but I've never tried to make a game before.
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Kevin McCabe 2 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:04 pm

I think part of the problem is the amount of time/money someone has to invest in a virtual world game only to reach a very small audience. This is probably why Reaction Grid moved to Unity 3D. As an economist I think in terms of opportunity cost (either market or personal). My guess is everything will change when we learn to create low cost opportunities for building games and other forms of interactive entertainment and learning in virtual worlds. Jams are part of the solution for sharing ideas and learning to build, but it would be much better if virtual worlds come with a lot more plug and play components for building and scripting as well as a way for the community to share (or buy and sell) components (either new or recombined plug and play works.)
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Dot Matrix » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:06 am

"Plug and play components" makes me think of the RezMela system: http://rezmela.com/
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Graham Mills » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:29 pm

Hard to disagree with Kevin's comments. A few people have education-related stuff on the Kitely Market. One useful activity is to make it more discoverable by adding appropriate search terms if they are not already in the product description, e.g. education. Obvious but easily forgotten. :oops:

As to the plug-and-play aspect, I'll give that some thought.

Perhaps worth mentioning, however, that there are a couple of folk on the opensim-edu list who are looking at developing a (seriously) minimalistic 3-D walkthrough web-based OpenSim viewer as proof-of-concept. That and/or the Outlook viewer have the potential to reduce complexity. It has to be said that Kitely could also do some work on group induction that would assist teachers.

Finally, many teachers develop for their own use/interest rather than abstracting aspects for a more general audience. For example, while Micrographia was developed with outreach in mind, I believe it also touches on historical topics that are pertinent to the UK National Curriculum.
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Kevin McCabe 2 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:29 pm

On plug and play I've been thinking of four things. (1) 'Smart Prims'. These would be prims that self configure and know how to link together. My analogy is http://littlebits.cc/. (2) 'HUD Builder', This would be a GUI for building a HUD and then providing instructions to an in-world script that would assemble the HUD. Can XML be converted to objects in-world? (3) 'SCRIPT States', this would be a GUI where users could build state machines and then insert code either using a code editor or something like Flash Scratch 2 LSL, http://redwood.colorado.edu/jkb/fs2lsl/. (4) 'Buildiverse'. this would be a space where virtual builders could share and remix Smart Prims, HUD designs, and SCRIPT states. My analogy here is thingiverse, https://www.thingiverse.com/, but I think this concept could be taken a lot further.
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Graham Mills » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:25 pm

Kevin McCabe 2 wrote:On plug and play I've been thinking of four things. (1) 'Smart Prims'. These would be prims that self configure and know how to link together. My analogy is http://littlebits.cc/. (2) 'HUD Builder', This would be a GUI for building a HUD and then providing instructions to an in-world script that would assemble the HUD. Can XML be converted to objects in-world? (3) 'SCRIPT States', this would be a GUI where users could build state machines and then insert code either using a code editor or something like Flash Scratch 2 LSL, http://redwood.colorado.edu/jkb/fs2lsl/. (4) 'Buildiverse'. this would be a space where virtual builders could share and remix Smart Prims, HUD designs, and SCRIPT states. My analogy here is thingiverse, https://www.thingiverse.com/, but I think this concept could be taken a lot further.
I like the littlebits.cc analogy but I think the average teacher needs to be shielded from scripting, i.e. more Script Me! http://www.3greeneggs.com/autoscript/ than MiceOnAbeam http://www.miceonabeam.com/demo-video-high-quality/ (which sounds a little like what you have in mind).
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Graham Mills » Mon Jun 22, 2015 12:15 pm

Dot Matrix wrote:"Plug and play components" makes me think of the RezMela system: http://rezmela.com/
I think something like RezMela would be useful though I would use a more direct approach rather than a map, i.e. use a touch-sensitive sim- or quadrant-wide baseboard textured with an outline of the build (e.g. sketched in live shared media or streetmap etc), the baseboard being capable of being moved or replicated at different heights to allow terraforming and building at multiple levels

The baseboard would be addressed via a movable skyplatform with a camera-control chair that gives the seated avatar a variety of views based simply on use of the cursor control keys

Objects would be sited via touch-generated placeholders (specifying height, orientation, object) or guides (linear, rectangular, circle/cylinder) or both, i.e. placeholders rezzed automatically at intervals along or around guides. Default guides would be available from a temporary grid overlay or could be created by specifying the shape and extent by clicking two positions on the grid

The placeholders would rez SmartObjects (from Collections) that can optionally generate subtly random combinations of textures/shapes/functionality (e.g. a row of different rather than identical shops). The SmartObject would align to the placeholder or guide or fill a particular linear guide or distribute around a cylindrical guide with optional degree of random positioning. SmartObjects are effectively holoscenes in an outer shell such that you can derender parts of the object to make changes to internal components

Built-in waymarkers for NPCs

Saving/retrieval of layouts via notecards

Ultimately, a forge for fabrication of SmartObjects (maybe from SmartPrims) as per Kevin's ideas, including an interface to marketplace/website/3D printing.

I suspect there's nothing especially novel in the above -- it's more an attempt to integrate facets of OpenSim that might otherwise take significant time to learn while at the same time giving rapid "gratification" to the builder.
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Re: Virtual Game Jam concept

Post by Serene Jewell » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:08 pm

Graham, I think you have outlined a system of modular parts, many of which are possible or nearly possible on opensim today. If you were to post your vision in front of the programmers and makers, say in the Opensim Virtual G+ group, some of them might get busy creating the missing bits and interfaces to glue it all together. Just a thought :-)

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities ... 2234467612
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