Category Archives: Gaming

Mr. Smith’s Game 2.0

Gee, that was fast wasn’t it? A whole new version complete with a new, huge level in what, minutes? Well, no it didn’t really happen that fast. I’ve had version 2 done for a while but this is its big Internet debut! In fact, some of my students found a few programming errors here and there so I’ve actually had to update it three times to version 2.03.

Without revealing too much, if you still have a save file from version 1.0 just copy that file into the 2.0 folder and you should be good to go. A few things have changed from 1.0 (like the bats have been replaced by owls), but nothing major (the bats are still included in the game…). Anyway, for those of you who don’t remember where you left off here’s a clue: go to the Trapper’s hut in the center of the forest. The next level starts there. Oh, and I’d stock up on some Bread and especially Antidotes while I was there…

Anyway, have fun! I certainly did in making it. This new area that’s now open to you is pretty big. You might want to make a map to help you navigate around. It can be a bit tricky. Oh, and there are a total of three ways “out” besides the exit. You’ll know what I mean.

Version 3 is already in the works. I already have my maps sketched out and plans made for what it will be like. So far, I’m pleased, but you’ll have to wait a while for it as it contains probably 12-15 maps and only one is close to complete. There’s never enough time to do all the things you want!

Enjoy and leave me comments here about your conquests! Be sure to check back periodically for updated versions. Oh, at a minimum to play it you’ll need to install the Runtime Package (RTP) on your computer. You only need to install this once, so if you already have it, you’re good to go!

Advertisements

Mr. Smith’s Game 1.0

In my spare time I have dabbled with the RPG Maker series from EnterBrain. My favorite iteration was RPG Maker XP which I liked so much that I purchased it.

Well, I made a game of sorts several years back. Now, it has basically no story and no true ending, but the first two levels are more or less complete. And I’m proud of it. I had a lot of fun making it and my students have had a lot of fun playing their way through it too. I guess it would take about 45 minutes to work your way through the entire story getting all the items if you don’t escape from very many battles. And you shouldn’t, anyway. The boss in the forest really requires a certain amount of leveling up (and a certain equipped item doesn’t hurt) to beat.

So, without further adieu I present Mr. Smith’s Game 1.0! (I’ve got to come up with a better title later.) Oh, at a minimum to play it you’ll need to install the Runtime Package (RTP) on your computer.

Enjoy and leave me comments here about your conquests! Also, be on the lookout for updated versions in the future.

Question Review with Jenga and Bandu

www.flickr.com/photos/24348079@N00/306430750
Call it what you will whether Tumbling Tower, Falling Blocks, Jenga, or Ta-Ka-Radi you can use this simple and inexpensive game to keep players motivated during a review session. In Jenga, the goal is to remove a block from the tower and stack it on top without making the tower fall. When using this game for review, the number of players doesn’t matter and neither does the content of the questions being asked. It’s quite versatile. I hope your players enjoy it as much as my students.

You can also use a kind of reverse-Jenga game called Bandu (published by Milton Bradley and based on a game calls Bausack). In Bandu, the goal is to build a tower on a base using pieces that are all differently shaped. The wooden pieces range from “normal” shapes like rods, beams, cones, and hoops to “unusual” shapes like trapezoids, cut cylinders, a goblet, and even an egg! Players take turns choosing a random building piece that they must integrate into their tower without making it fall. The winner is the player (or team) with the last tower standing.

Jenga Rules

  • Split players into teams.
  • Ask questions of individual players on teams in rotation so that everyone has a chance to answer.
    • Team A’s Player 1, Team B’s Player 1, Team C’s Player 1, THEN Team A’s Player 2, Team B’s Player 2, Team C’s Player 2, THEN Team A’s Player 3, etc.
  • Students who INCORRECTLY answer a question must remove a block. The block removed must be below the top-most completed layer of the tower.
  • Students who CORRECTLY answer a question choose a person from another team to remove a Jenga block. The block removed must be below the top-most completed layer of the tower. No one can be chosen more than 3 times in a row.
  • The winning team is the one that causes a player from another team to knock over the tower.

Bandu Rules

  • Split players into teams.
  • Ask questions of individual players on teams in rotation so that everyone has a chance to answer.
    • Team A’s Player 1, Team B’s Player 1, Team C’s Player 1, THEN Team A’s Player 2, Team B’s Player 2, Team C’s Player 2, THEN Team A’s Player 3, etc.
  • Students who INCORRECTLY answer a question must choose a piece randomly and integrate it into the team’s tower. No one can be chosen more than 3 times in a row.
  • Students who CORRECTLY answer a question choose a person from another team to integrate a random piece into their team’s tower.
  • The winning team is the one that causes a player from another team to knock over the tower.

Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/24348079@N00/306430750

Inexpensive Interactive Whiteboards are Coming

For our graduate school coursework, Rebecca and I gave a short presentation on how the Nintendo Wii will change the future of education. Currently, school systems across the nation are paying thousands and thousands of dollars for very expensive interactive whiteboards. A quick look at the Tags used with this post will give you the names for some of the more common varieties.

What follows is the outline used in the presentation.


The Nintendo Wii and the Future of Education An Exploration of New Technologies to catalyze School Reform

  • Introduction
    • The Nintendo Wii home gaming console
    • Statistics from vgchartz.com showing market penetration
    • Demonstration with Volunteers
  • Educational Uses Now
    • Physical Education
    • YMCA
  • HOPSports – The future of kid’s fitness?
  • Wii Remote Projects with Johnny Chung Lee
    • Web Site: www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
    • “Tracking Your Fingers with the Wiimote” Video (4:08)
    • “Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the Wii Remote” Video (4:46)
    • “Low-Cost Multi-point Interactive Whiteboards Using the Wiimote” Video (4:04)
  • Conclusion

It’s only a matter of time before someone takes advantage of Johnny Chung Lee’s software to produce a very inexpensive interactive whiteboard. In fact, you can do this yourself if you are so technically inclined. The Wiimote costs around $40 US, the pen is cheap too, and the software is freely available. Compare that cost to the thousands of dollars companies are currently charging for these displays and you can quickly see why they are marketing their products so heavily. They know that the technology is changing and they have a limited amount of time to turn a profit.

So, what is my advice for a company, organization, or school system interested in purchasing this technology? Wait. If you must have this functionality now in order to stay competitive then don’t invest your money in the expensive wall displays. The smaller hand-held pads and tablets give arguably similar experiences at a fraction of the cost. My own school system uses InterWrite Pads extensively with a few Smartboards here and there.

Future Gaming with the Revolution Controller

This video, created and released by Nintendo, revealed the kinds of activities possible using the new Wii Controller. (The Nintendo Wii codename was Revolution hence the title.) As a bonus, this video is also an excellent example of marketing. You never actually see anything on the television screen. The viewer infers what’s going on solely through the creative use of sound effects, body positions, clothing, and facial expressions. Available from:

How to add an Interactive Treasure Chest in RPG Maker XP

So, what’s an ‘Interactive Treasure Chest’ and how is it different than a regular one?

Well, regular chests just open up when a player loots them and that’s usually all. By contrast, my Interactive Treasure Chests do a little bit more. While the player is interacting with it and the code is being executed, this chest is fully open. After the player is done getting the loot or whatever, the chest remains open a little bit to indicate at a glance from the player that the chest has already been looted. Also, if a player attempts to open the chest again it opens wide and tells the player that it is empty.

So, I guess you could say that my Interactive Treasure Chest just provides the player with more useful feedback using both visual cues and a status message.

Instructions:

  1. In a new Edit Event window, double-click the empty graphic box and select a closed chest graphic facing the direction you want. (These are on the top row of the built-in chest graphics.)
  2. Uncheck Move Animation.
  3. In the Event Commands, add a [Set Move Route…] event from page 2. Change the drop-down box to “This Event”, click [Turn Up], and [OK].
  4. Add a [Play SE…] event from page 2. Choose “055-Right01” from the list and click [OK].
  5. Add a [Show Text…] event from page 1. Type a message to the player indicating what was found. (e.g. “You found some Bread!” Click [OK].
  6. From page 1, add a [Change Items…], [Change Gold…], [Change Weapons…], or [Change Armor…]) event. Choose what you want to give to the player. Set the Operation to Increase and the Operand to Constant. If you are adding gold, set the amount in the Constant box.
  7. Add a [Control Self Switch…] event from page 1. Click [OK] to create an event that sets Self Switch A to ON.
RPG Maker XP - Adding a Treasure Chest, Page 1

How to add an Interactive Treasure Chest in RPG Maker XP - Page 1

  1. Now press the [New Event Page] button at the top of the Edit Event window.
  2. Double-click the empty graphic box and select an open chest graphic facing the direction you want. (These are on the third row of the built-in chest graphics.)
  3. Check Self Switch so that A is ON.
  4. Uncheck Move Animation.
  5. In the Event Commands, add a [Set Move Route…] event from page 2. Change the drop-down box to “This Event”, click [Turn Up], and [OK].
  6. Add a [Show Text…] event from page 1. Type a message to the player indicating the chest is empty. (e.g. “The chest is empty.” Click [OK].
  7. In the Event Commands, add a [Set Move Route…] event from page 2. Change the drop-down box to “This Event”, click [Turn Right], and [OK].
RPG Maker XP - Adding a Treasure Chest, Page 2

How to add an Interactive Treasure Chest in RPG Maker XP - Page 2

Ultimate Domain Box Scans

[Update! Broken links are fixed! Sorry for the trouble.]

Ultimate Domain, known better as Genesia, was a popular DOS game released in 1994 by Microids and The Software Toolworks. It’s very rare now, but I still have a copy including the box, original installation disks, and user’s guide. So here are the box scans for Ultimate Domain. If you’re interested in learning more about this game then visit the information page for it on Abandonia.com.