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#1 2006-11-07 19:33:24

MathsIsFun
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The MacArthur Foundation

Read this article. It certainly applies here.

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/co … 359889.htm

"It's clear that for many, the richest environment for learning is no longer inside the classroom but…online and after school," said MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton

Also:

...will give $10 million in grants to individuals and organizations to work on projects that stimulate research in digital media or explore new approaches to educational innovation...

Now, if we could just think of something innovative eek


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#2 2006-11-07 19:46:17

Devantè
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Registered: 2006-07-14
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Wow...imagine what we could do to the site with that kind of money. Thing is, can we convince them that we are capable of using that money towards educational resources, etc.?

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#3 2006-11-07 21:00:39

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Well, if anyone has any good ideas they want to research or develop, please take this seriously.

Perhaps we as a group may be able to do something, or at least help someone who wants to.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#4 2006-11-10 09:28:35

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

I have been doing some thinking about a concept I think we discussed a year or so ago ... a game where math skills are needed to advance.

These are just some ideas for the game:

* It would be played on a large sphere (so there are no edges). The game could be called something like "Sphere". (Or perhaps a Torus?)

* There would be "fields" that vary in intensity over the sphere. They could even change gradually. These "fields" would be important to the game. Think of them as "sunshine", "water", "gravity" etc.

* You can measure these fields, and by doing some calculations you can use them.

* By using these fields you can build things, move around etc.

* What you build, other people can see.

* You can buy and sell.

* You could program machines with functions to use the fields.

* The game would be part of the forum.

* The software could be Flash (on your PC) and php (on the server, like the forum).

* luca can do the graphics smile

Feel free to add or subtract ideas.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#5 2006-11-11 10:41:56

Devantè
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Registered: 2006-07-14
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

This is a very good idea. Having a game like this would be very interesting, and I, as the average member, would personally be interested in this idea, if this helps you in any way.

What kind of game would it be; A long-term project game?

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#6 2006-11-12 06:45:46

mathsyperson
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

I like the sound of this! I'm not sure that I grasp all the concepts fully, but I'm sure if the game appeared on the forum, then I would enjoy playing it very much.

Would I be right in saying that it's a kind of maths-orientated MMORPG-type thing?


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#7 2006-11-12 09:33:13

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

It is all very conceptual at this stage. And I wouldn't be able to do it on my own.

Yeah, MORPG style - but I have never played those, so I don't really know.

I think the game should allow people of all ages to join - like this forum.

I can imagine it would be a section like "Dark Discussions" but when you click on it you would get a 3D view of where you were standing last. Control bar at the bottom, mouse or keyborad navigation. And it would be getting the status of the game from a database.

If Devante had been building stuff since you last visited you would see it.

But the whole point would be that you could improve your status and wealth by interacting and you need math skills to do that.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#8 2006-11-12 09:45:03

Zach
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Registered: 2005-03-23
Posts: 2,075

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

The only thing I could find a problem in that idea would be making the sphere, I could probably figure out how to do the rest of it, I just can't do Flash.


Boy let me tell you what:
I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a fiddle player too.
And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you.

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#9 2006-11-12 09:54:34

mathsyperson
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Well, you could probably get around the sphere problem by making it a flat map that wraps around instead. It would still be the same kind of thing as a sphere in terms of topology, but easier to program. If you actually wanted an image of the sphere and all the things on it then that wouldn't help though.


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#10 2006-11-12 12:38:32

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

There is the vague possibility that if we did up a good proposal we might get some funding from the MacArthur Foundation. We could then employ some people to develop this.

I say "vague possibility" because it seems that the money goes to academic research rather than groups like us. If anyone knows about grants (I don't) you could start here: http://www.digitallearning.macfound.org

But maybe there is enough talent here to accomplish it anyway,

The idea that we need to flesh out is: how does the gameplay tie in with mathematics?

In the ultimate you would get a maths education by playing - the basic levels would require mastery of basic arithmetic and geometry, and so on. But how?


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#11 2006-11-12 13:04:39

mathsyperson
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Although lots of free money would be nice, I think the main purpose for us doing this would be to enjoy developing and then playing it. If we do then get a grant, then that would just be a pleasant side-effect.

The issue of how gameplay ties in with maths is a tricky one. We need to get the balance right. On one hand, if it hardly relies on maths at all then people won't be motivated to learn and there wouldn't be any point in the game being here, rather than on any other site.

But on the other hand, I think an overreliance on maths knowledge would make the game less fun as well. If we took it too far then we'd get something like this:

"You plant a seed. What is the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle if the other two sides are 5 and 12?"
You: "Um, 15?"
"Sorry, the answer was 13. Your plant dies."

And that would be no fun at all, because there's no reality in it. I'm not sure how the system would actually work, but I'm sure together we can all think of something.


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#12 2006-11-12 13:21:59

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Commerce would help. You could buy cheaply then travel (teleport?) to sell at a profit. Get your calcs wrong and lose money. 500 bricks at 0.43 each, 10% discount for payment in the next 10 seconds!

It makes me think that the game should be seeded with "drones" (AI players) until we get a few hundred real players.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#13 2006-11-16 10:28:39

rida
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Registered: 2006-09-25
Posts: 839

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

A game is a great idea.I always learn quicker when I'm having fun.:D


Dreams don't come true, you gotta make them come true.

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#14 2006-11-25 10:07:04

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

So, our long term goal could be this interactive world where we can walk, fly and do all sorts of things.

Call that goal "Version 3.0" or something

How about a "Version 0.1" to start with? You would be a dot on a map, and you can move around, find other people and perhaps little treasures. In later versions we could add animated characters and a "3D" feel (if someone knows how to do this!) and so on.

If I can master the process of Flash reading and writing to a database we could get a basic game started.

In "Version 0.1" we could have:
Location: a) The surface of a sphere with 0-360 degrees in two directions, or b) a simple square 10,000 km on a side, but when you reach the edge you "wrap around" to the start, or c) something else
Remember Location: When you exit the game it writes your location to a database so that when you come back again it knows where you were.
Objects: We could play "find the hidden object" with clues

Ideas, opinions?


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#15 2006-11-25 10:11:13

Devantè
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Registered: 2006-07-14
Posts: 6,400

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Sounds very interesting. I like the idea of a 'find the object'-type thing. It would appeal to a lot more people than usual. Only thing is...

...I have no idea how to make a Flash game! Maybe I could be used for storage of files and suggestions or something. sad

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#16 2006-11-25 22:50:36

rida
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Registered: 2006-09-25
Posts: 839

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

My brother is learning how to make flash games but he hasn't learned enough yet.If he had I could ask him to help.


Dreams don't come true, you gotta make them come true.

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#17 2006-11-25 23:22:34

Devantè
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Registered: 2006-07-14
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Another thought; What about adding audio to the game? I guess that would be pretty cool, even though I have no idea how to integrate audio into Flash. We could edit it with Audacity or something. Theme music, perhaps? To make it more interesting and catchy?

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#18 2006-11-25 23:49:22

Patrick
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Registered: 2006-02-24
Posts: 1,005

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

A thing I'd say is very important is to encourage creativity! The math you do in the game should not be fixed so to say. It's not important how you do it, it's if you do it. This might be a bit vague at the moment, so when we start to get more into the development of the gameplay, I'll tell you more about what I mean.


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#19 2006-11-25 23:56:13

mathsyperson
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

I like the idea of having lots and lots of versions. If this is going to be as great as our visions of it are, then it would be a gargantuan task to make it all at once.

If we start simply, then when we start playing we could say "Ooh, I like this feature. More of this would be cool." or "Hmm, this part isn't very intuitive. Maybe it we changed it a bit so that it was like this, then it would be better.", etc.

I especially like the idea of people setting up treasure hunts for each other!


Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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#20 2006-11-26 02:49:33

Patrick
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Registered: 2006-02-24
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

If we're going to go through with this(at whatever pace), I think we have to give the choice about using flash a lot of thought. What are the pros and what are the cons?


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#21 2006-11-26 02:59:26

Devantè
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Well, firstly, it's a good piece of software, but the bad thing is, not a lot of people know how to use it.

SwishMaX is good, though.

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#22 2006-11-26 09:02:54

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

I use SwishMax (it creates flash files). I am just a bit worried about their future development ... there has not been a new version (apart from bug fixes) for over a year.

Anyway, I can experiment with SwishMax and see what it can do.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#23 2006-11-29 14:42:09

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

I have overcome (I hope) some of the communication difficulties and enabled a Flash (using SiwshMax) application to interact with a database AND use our forum login.

If you go here: Yet To Be Named World it will assign YOU a location of (0,0) and you can see a list of where other people are. And you can also change where you are.

Pretty UN-impressive, isn't it?

But it is the start of something for sure.

Where to next, guys? I really need input (ideas, programming, graphics)!

If you want to contribute programming, we can talk about an interface to the database.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#24 2006-11-29 19:05:42

Toast
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Registered: 2006-10-08
Posts: 1,321

Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Is this going to be a sim city type game, a turn-based game, or one where you can actually walk around with your character?
Where is this going to be set, in the city, in the country, in outter space?
I guess what I really want to ask is, what is going to be the scale of the game you have in mind and how much work is it going to take?

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#25 2006-11-29 20:16:47

MathsIsFun
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Re: The MacArthur Foundation

Devanté: the "é" drives it crazy ... I will try some things.

Toast: I would like to be able to walk/run/fly/teleport around it.

But to begin with we *could* just move like pieces around a big map, build things, have games, and "evolve" the world around us. But we can make this anything we want.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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