Category Archives: games

branching out into the first world

Residents of Second Life® are buzzing about Linden Research’s recent forays into other platforms with two new products, Patterns and Creatorverse. At a recent VWER meeting, a number of fears were expressed about Linden moving further away from education, if that could be possible in some eyes. But frankly, their past moves kind of set education free to plot its own course, and drove a lot of exploration into open source platforms, and plenty of educators have remained in Second Life. If educators are feeling abandoned, I optimistically think it’s a storm we will weather. So what are the new Linden products all about?

Patterns looks a lot like what I’ve seen of Minecraft, but more colorful, and it only operates on the Steam gaming service, which I can’t run at school. I’m not really interested in having it, but would like to hear what other gamers think of it. Follow the link to see a video of the game. Obviously, Linden is using its building tools expertise to move in this direction of a building game, and the experience might help them advance the current SL tools.

Creatorverse is an iPad app, or it will be soon, we are told.* The video shows it to be a drawing canvas, with the nice added attraction of being able to add physics to any objects you create–so balls can roll, for example. If you are familiar with the iPad app Crayon Physics, where you have to draw the right shape with the right physics to complete a task, Creatorverse is similar, but there is no task. As the ad says, it’s more of a “sandbox.”

*Well, I had signed up to be informed when Creatorverse was ready, but they did not inform me. Found it on my own today and have tried it. It’s interesting, but I need to work on my skills in designing things that actually work. It’ll happen, and I can see this being a good educational app for kids and adults.

All in all, these products seem to build on what Linden Research already knows, and I hope it means they aren’t abandoning any one product for another.

another dirge for virtual worlds

“So, my sense is that actually the gap is about organizing the learning content into a sort of LMS/CMS that can then drive more of a social game experience around a learning domain.”

'virtual world architecture' photo (c) 2009, rafeejewell - license: recommend this thought-provoking article about the progress in virtual worlds for education and whether it has been keeping up with our needs or can: iED Summit Europe 2011: Get Beyond Virtual Worlds

The article is full of resource links to back up the writer’s experience, and the conversation continues nicely into the comments section–don’t miss that part.

Himoff makes a lot of valid points about virtual worlds, expressing the sense we all have that progress is too slow and falling behind interest in traditional social media. He even questions whether the avatar is a distraction, and I was sorry to hear that. Is the investment really too steep for virtual worlds to ever find more than a quirky niche in higher education? Can gaming save virtual worlds for us? I think that’s the next challenge.

cinematic video games

'cinema' photo (c) 2010, jim mcfarland - license: why video games are becoming more cinematic: And then wonder what’s wrong with the typical virtual world experience, or at least ask if a more sophisticated interface would increase our use of and heighten our experience in virtual worlds.