Virtual worlds, Games and Interactive Fiction

A campfire chat with Graham Stanley, Osna, Vance, Jeff Lebow, Karelia, Lynn, Kalyan and others took place on EduNation today, Sunday, July 24. Great insight into games shared by everyone. We learnt about the popularity of MineCraft, the new starter edition of World of Warcraft having become free until level 20 and Graham shared a great notecard with a list of quests in Second Life.

We heard that Mystery Island of late Chris Surridge, who passed away in May this year, is being continued by a trust.  He presented at the Virtual Round Table conference before and we are all very shocked about his sudden death. Here is a video remembering Chris.

We heard of Karelia’s young  students and how she uses a projector in class and invites native speakers to interact with the those who can not enter Second Life because of being under age. She related how her students repond to a different identity even as simple as a mask.

We also enjoyed her new language quiz game lots, here is more about Lindenwood Square.

It was a very informative discussion and I highly recommend watching the recording. Don’t miss to watch it to the end as – and this took place after everybody else left – as Karelia and Graham started a battle of the mighty ones in the sandbox in EduNation. I believe the dinosaur got his tail badly burnt at first and then deep frozen. We laughed our heads off.

A full recording is available here.

Recording: http://lancelot.adobeconnect.com/p900pgm3vx8/

A fabulous notecard about Quests in Second Life

Quests in Second Life – Revised  July 2011
WHAT ARE QUESTS?
One way of thinking is that a quest is a simple game where you have a number of tasks to accomplish.
WHAT QUESTS ARE THERE IN SL?
There are many quests in Second Life.  Some are run as special events for specific time periods. Others are available on a more-or-less permanent basis.
Below you’ll find a list of some of the quests in Second Life .
These are not for language learning, but are simply for fun.
They can, however, be used with language learners.
They also offer some interesting ways of  using Second Life , and which could be used as models for ways of designing your own quests for language learners if you wish to do so.
LANGUAGE LEARNING QUESTS
On the British Council Isle, there are a number of LLQs (Language Leaning Quests) that were originally written with teenage students in mind (when the Teen Grid in SL existed) . We are currently reviewing our presence in Second Life, but for now, these quests are still available. The best place to start to explore them is in the Teaching Centre, which will give you an overview of what you can expect:
If you want to try one out, I recommend starting with:-
* Merlin Quest
* Shakespeare Quest
* Robin Hood Quest
Learn more about LLQs by reading Joe Pereira’s MA Dissertation: http://theswanstation.com/downloads/index.html
Please let me know if you know of or come across any other quests and I will  update this list, which will be made available in the Teaching Centre on the British Council Isle.
Thanks,
Baldric Commons,
July 2011
Dedication:This is dedicated to the life and work of Christopher Flow (SL) / Christoher Surridge (RL) who did so much to promote innovative game-based learning in Second Life. His Devil’s IslandMystery  project was one of a kind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j63IE3PHnT4) and has inspired many of us. Christopher passed away earlier this year. His work and influence now continues with the ChrisSurridge Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/groups/165470196846821).
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Fungus Snail Trail Quest
A quest  that uses a HUD and based on the following story:
A small society of people once inhabited the island of Fungus. For years they lead simple, yet rewarding lives on the rich purple grasslands under the shade of giant mushrooms.
As the years went on more and more of the younger generations, unsatisfied by the quiet pace of life Fungus had to offer, left for other shores.
Now all that remains are empty homes, and a mystery.
Why is the ecosystem of Fungus suddenly failing?
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Dark Dharma’s haunted manor
There are nine tarot bags to be found inside the manor – how many can you find?
A point-and-click interactive horror adventure. I will say no more – it’s best experienced yourself.
Read about other haunted houses here: http://effie-emmons.blogspot.com/2008/10/haunted-houses.html
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Pot Healer Adventure
One of the first quests in Second Life and still going strong.
When you first arrive, you are given a notecard which gives information about the “mysterious quest game”, which starts off with a shipwreck and then takes you on a journey to a nearby village as you try to discover the mystery of the broken healing pots. Your progress through the game is controlled by a special notebook – an ingenious device which effectively keep track of the stage you are at, so you can pick up from where you left off whenever you leave and come back.
With secret rooms, monuments, puzzles, etc., this is an engaging Second Life game that can take months to get through, and is funded by donations.
There is a good account of the pot healer adventure here:
http://slnatalia.blogspot.com/2007/01/day-106-shipwrecked.html
…and  more about it here…
http://slgames.wordpress.com/2007/04/21/the-pot-healer-adventure-numbakulla-island-project/
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Virtual Morocco is a great build dedicated to the exploration of Moroccan culture with so much to explore, and which includes a treasure hunt quest, with photographic clues hidden around the sim.
Read more about the project here:
http://sl.nmc.org/2006/12/14/immersion-in-virtual-morocco/
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NOT AVAILABLE IN SL NOW
Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5ZVdoF3lQQ
This quest is a Second Life version of a “surreal dance fantasy” film drawing on books by Dr. Richard James Allen , and “a place…for …meditation, reflection, exploration, discussion and contemplation.”  Intriguing, it is a great example of how to deliver information and stimulate creativity, and it is full of thoughtful texts that you discover as you explore the area.
The premise: “When a woman named Thursday finds out she is going to be reincarnated as Tuesday, her attempt to cheat the cycle of reincarnation unleashes a terrible beauty that leaves the other days of the week in turmoil.”
(http://www.secondlifeinsider.com/2007/10/18/thursdays-fictions/)
A video walkthrough is available here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMnseuxcCmA
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NOT AVAILABLE IN SL NOW
Sentinel
IBM Codestation was an island offering resources for Second Life scripters and developers.
in 2008 they launched a quest called Sentinel
Read more about it here:
http://slgames.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/ibm-codestation-sentinel-20/
The quest involved collecting 4 parts of a robot avatar (arms, body, legs, head) by visiting places and solving puzzles. There are four stages and acccompanying videos and ‘black boxes’ to collect and open, which display clues to the whereabouts of the missing robot parts.
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Virtual Hallucinations is more of a simulation than a quest, but is interesting as one of the first educational spaces in Second Life, which was set up by UC Davis to “educate people about the mental illness schizophrenia.”
“The clinic building is based on the hallucinations of two specific people with schizophrenia. They were interviewed in detail and gave feedback on early designs for the hallucinations. While the hallucinations are not glamorous, they fairly accurately reproduce these patients’ experiences.  You should get a sense of just how intrusive the voices of schizophrenia really are.”
The space also comes with a warning:
“Some people find the virtual hallucinations experience disturbing, particularly the voices. If you find it bothersome, just walk to the end of the clinic and click the “Stop Voices” button.”
“If you have a history of mental illness, particularly a psychotic disorder, you should not tour this facility. “
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NOT AVAILABLE IN SL NOW
Secondquest was a timed quest (controlled by a wearable ticket) – a lot of the clues are found by  reading passages and then answering 7 questions.
Introduction:
~~ Sparrow’s Brigadoon ~~Adapted by Dreams Lightcloud
“This is the tale of Sparrow, the golden throated Goddess.  She had been born to a magical village.  And, she was named for the migrating songbirds of her lands.   Her songs could cast a spell that no human could resist.  Her songs were so full of love that they melted the winter’s snow away.  She was like a breath of fresh air and the sun on a gloomy day.”
“One day two explorers, Vincent and Zion, got lost in the nearby forest of Katmiria.  After traveling in circles for many hours, they heard voices in the distance.  This made the forest seem even more forboding.  Then, to their surprise, they  saw a village come hazily into view.  They felt a twinge of fear in their bones, as they knew that this village had not been there a few hours ago.”
“Cautiously, they followed the path down to the village.  A village square come into view, it is called Darkholme Square, in Brigadoon.  As they came closer they saw that there was a faire taking place.”
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More quests can be found here:
http://secondlife.com/destinations/adventure


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