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Oct. 29th, 2009

Collaborative Research With Second Life

My article, Integrating Second Life into an EFL Program in China: Research Collaboration across the Continents, focuses on collaborative research to find ways to integrate Second Life, a multi-user virtual environment, to English as a Foreign Language learning. English students from Georgia State University collaborated with Yantai University in China in order to complete this research. Collaboration was chosen partly because of shared interest between both groups. Also there was a need for EFL programs in china, and there has been large talk of using virtual worlds such as second life for connecting and collaborating.

Collaboration was facilitated many ways and much easier through a virtual world in which people from around the globe were able to meet and discuss. The researchers were able to use techniques such as 1-1 interviews, group discussions, virtual tours, and presentations easily and effectively through second life, promoting collaboration and connectivity between the groups. In order to perform successful collaborative research, researchers must be able to meet and accomplish their tasks efficiently and effectively. Virtual Worlds are successfully able to facilitate these needs.

Mendeley is an ingenious system allowing researchers to collaborate. Uploading the pdf was fairly straightforward, and reading pdfs that others had uploaded is quite convenient after adjusting a few settings. (Thank you Dr. Delwiche)

Oct. 5th, 2009

The Comparison

Dungeons and Dragons Online and FreeRealms are extremely different games. While at the core they are both MMORPGs, they vary in several different aspects. First off, FreeRealms is clearly targeting a younger and more casual gaming audience. This conclusion can be drawn from the heavily censored chat interface, the graphic styles, and the simplistic game mechanics. DDO also requires some entry behaviors. I find it extremely unlikely that anyone could pick up DDO as their first MMORPG. Whereas FreeRealms offers a great introductory experience for those new to the MMORPG world. DDO uses a very complex system based on the original pen and paper games, and requires players to have some knowledge of that system. FreeRealms requires no prior knowledge of games, or skills. It's easy to simply jump in and play.

While both games share the fantasy genre, DDO is a much more in depth version of the fantasy genre with several more races and in depth lands. FreeRealms created it's own version of fantasy with only 2 races and a completely made up world not based on any other fantasy writings or movies. FreeRealms also appeals to those with less computing power. It is run entirely through the browser and the hardware needed to run the game is very minimal. DDO is offered in both a low res, and high res version both requiring much more advanced machines than FreeRealms.

The game activities involved in both games are relatively similar, they both involve accomplishing tasks/quests in order to earn rewards. FreeRealms is a little more versatile in the fact that you can change your career at any point in time, although this allows for less character attachment. The two games use a similar user interface although DDO incorporates an action bar for your abilities. As stated before DDO graphically outperforms FreeRealms on every level. FreeRealms is cartoonish and simple, where as DDO has an in depth, realistic, and occasionally bloody graphical display.

While attempting to ask questions through the public area channels in FreeRealms there was not much of a response from other players. This could be due to lack of players, no one knowing answers, or players just not wanting to talk. I did manage to find another player and have a short conversation about their experience and plans for their character. One of the most interesting interactions was when someone invited me to a guild, promoted me to leader, and then quit the guild. I'm still pondering this situation. One largely annoying aspect of FreeRealms' chat system is the mass censorship. Even words that seemed to have no bad implications such as "people" were censored. I understand this is a game targeted at a younger audience, but the level of censorship was absolutely ridiculous.

Here are our group photos:

The Black©

Here's my Game Concept Paper, enjoy!


Game Concept PaperCollapse )

[2] Klein, J. (2009, June 15). Gaming Goes Broad. MediaWeek, 19(24), 18-18. Retrieved September 24, 2009, from Academic Search Complete database.

[3] Green, M., & McNeese, M. (2008, July). Factors That Predict Digital Game Play. Howard Journal of Communications, 19(3), 258-272. Retrieved September 25, 2009, doi:10.1080/10646170802218321

[4] http://www.zelda.com/universe/game/legendzelda/

[5] http://reviews.cnet.com/gamecube-games/the-legend-of-zelda/4505-9583_7-31481136.html


Sep. 16th, 2009

Frisbee Golf is a Sport

First of all I would like to address the title of this post. Frisbee Golf is most definitely a sport. It combines the aerial skills of frisbee, with the targeting of golf, into one sport. The same conditioning is involved in both sports, and the same if not more physical activity than golf. If you consider golf to be a sport, frisbee golf deserves that right too.  Anyway now that that has been taken care of on to the discussion.

It was a very interesting experience discovering all the different game mechanics involved in some of the most popular games. When investigating monopoly I was able to come up with six different core game mechanics. Given some may be more prominent than others, but each plays its role in the game and expands on the game experience. When playing the game you never really think in depth about what mechanics are involved, you simply know the way to win, and attempt to achieve that goal.

One thing I would like to add to Brathwaithe's list is the questing game mechanic. In role playing games often times one of the main objects of the game is questing to further your character's experience and improve stats, etc. While this could technically be grouped under collection, I believe it deserves a game mechanic all it's own. One key part about questing is the fact that within each quest different game mechanics are involved. For example you may receive a quest to kill x amount of creatures, or a quest to collect certain items for a potion. This allows role playing games the ability to tap into all different kinds of game mechanics and therefore attract an extremely large audience.

We are seeing an increase in games that include mini games of different game types. Companies want to attract large audiences so they provide several smaller games in one package with variable game mechanics. This serves to reach out to many different types of gamers as well as allow people to experience different game mechanics through one game. This new strategy can be highly advantageous to both companies who are making money and players who are now able to experience a variety of core game mechanics for the price of just one game.

I'm interested to see where new core mechanics that may be developed in the future will take us. With the invention of the motion controls by Nintendo and Microsoft and Sony close behind, there will be opportunities to include new game mechanics and new ways for players to enjoy the games. Who knows what will be next.

Sep. 14th, 2009

One Word... Wii

The Wii is a truly unbelievable game console. It is on the cutting edge of new technologies, and with Nintendo's alternate approach to the gaming market by marketing to non-hardcore gamers, the Wii is a best seller in the console world. The Wii has several great innovations that attract people too it, as well as continuing potential throughout the future. Through the the revolutionary control system, and many peripherals available, the Wii provides game developers with new options that previously were unavailable.

First and foremost, the revolutionary Wii mote is the center of attention. It allows for accurate motion control as well as the ability to connect peripherals for additional controls and the ability to be used as a classic controller. This is the reason the Wii is what it is today. The first peripheral released was the nun-chuck which allowed for further motion control as well as adding on an analog stick for character movement. Other peripherals include the wii wheel, balance board, zapper and several third party peripherals. These all have been used in many different ways to improve the user experience.

The Wii still has a large amount of potential. Take for example a peripheral that is able to discern body movement side to side and front to back. This would then be able to provide a complete experience of playing tennis when combined with the wii mote. This peripheral could also be used in other games to allow for character movement with out requiring the use of the nun chuck. This could be implemented even better with some sort of treadmill system that would allow for movement while playing in a limited space such as a dorm room or apartment. Furthermore much like Wii fit attempts to do, it would allow the user to exercise while playing video games and staying entertained.

The Wii has a large potential, with possibilities for many different types of interactive game play depending on the peripherals in use. It allows game developers to push the bounds of traditional game play, and markets the video game to entirely new segments of people.

Sep. 8th, 2009

This always seems to be last minute... I wonder why

As you will come to find out, my blog postings will always seem to be last minute... I guess I end up telling myself, oh it's just a blog post, it can wait and then going off to do something else. Well I guess I better get on with the post:

I spent the first part of my research with kotaku.com, this site covers all different types of games and game related news. This site presents the information easily and understandably for almost anyone to be able to capably read. It lays all of it's articles out in a time sorted list and also features a search bar that allows for easy searching of the many articles available. When searching for articles all that is needed is one word and a variety of options appear enabling the user to almost always discover what they were looking for. The site has featured several articles about both DDO and FreeRealms detailing beta's, rumors, and release dates. One thing I do find lacking is reviews of games, I believe that would add a lot to the site. They also address the issue of region locking and transnational play in several posts throughout the site. The only advertising in site is the affiliates bar at the bottom of the page linking to other sites that affiliate with Kotaku.

The Escapist is a gaming magazine that seems much like Kotaku. The site seems a little more complicated and slightly cluttered in appearance. The search feature is similar to that of Kotaku's and I received generally relevant results with a variety of different articles. I also found similar articles to Kotaku talking about DDO and FreeRealms mentioning features, release date, prices, etc. There is no prominent advertising save the advertisements for The Escapist shirts, and memorabillia. It also has several Kotaku like articles on the subjects of region locking and transnational play. One thing I enjoyed more about the escapist is the fact that they offer game reviews allowing you to get a better feel for a game.

I finally went to Terra Nova and found a different scene. This blog is a collaboration of researchers studying virtual worlds and video games. I was very disappointed in the features offered by the blog. There was no search function making it difficult to find specific articles one is interested in. A useful feature is a listing of virtual worlds so you can sort posts by the virtual world they are about. I was unable to find posts covering DDO it may just be that this game is so new that they have not researched it yet, or simply have not posted about their research yet. There was a single post that I found covering FreeRealms' release, but other than that not much information on FreeRealms. There is no advertising in sight which is a plus. However I did not find any posts on region locking or transnational play.

Well that's been my take on a few of these sites, can't wait to see what everyone else thought.


Sep. 1st, 2009

New Year, New Class, Here's the Intro.

     My name is Ryan, I'm 19 years old from Plano, TX a suburb of Dallas, TX. I've spent all my life in Plano, TX but have traveled most of the United States. I have 3 sisters, all of whom are older than me. One of my sisters is married and I have a 4 year old nephew and a 7 month old niece.

     I like to do a lot of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing etc. I also enjoy playing video games and relaxing inside watching tv and movies, or reading books. I'm a particular fan of science fiction from writer R. A. Salvatore, and my favorite television show is by far Battlestar Galactica. I'm pretty much a nerd, I play games on my PC (Steam ID: DragonR) as well as on Wii and Xbox 360 (GamerTag: DragonR). Some of my favorite music includes Weird Al, and a lot of rock both classic and new including Journey, Bon Jovi, Avenged Sevenfold, and The Offspring.

     I'm planning on majoring in Business Administration with a possible second major in Computer Science or Communications. When I was 15 I got my first job at a business called WhirlyBall. WhirlyBall is pretty much a cross between bumpercars, basketball, and lacrosse and is a ton of fun. You drive around in a bumper car with a scoop and try to hit a circle in the middle of a backboard with a whifle ball. It's a 5 v 5 team game. From this job a Friend and I decided we would want to open up our own WhirlyBall business so that's why I'm planning on a business major. If you want to learn more about WhirlyBall check out www.whirlyball.org

If there's anything else you want to know, just leave a comment

Apr. 28th, 2009

Letting the Prims Roll

Well we have been currently working with the online community Second Life, which is an interesting social tool. I hesitate to call it a game, but there are certain aspects that are reminiscent of RPGs. The thing that is most attractive about Second Life is the creation abilities each person is able to use. Our assignment was to create something in Second Life, so I jumped right in and created a bowling lane. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Apr. 23rd, 2009

Will You Start the Flame War?

Here is a rather entertaining video Marisa showed me the other day. Thought anyone actually reading this blog would enjoy it.


Apr. 22nd, 2009

Colbert is amazing

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