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Old 10-28-2009, 09:02 PM   #1
Bakha
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Muds in Education

Hey all,

I have a friend who teaches in an alternative, non-traditional classroom. His students have talked to him about creating a roleplaying game as part of their curriculum this year (maybe something based on the old d20 system that came out with 3e). I told him he might want to investigate having them set up a mud because it would allow for even more diverse talents to come into play (coding, computer knowledge, graphic design on the webpage, writing, etc...).

Anyway, my questions:
1) I know they could just download DIKU and start there, but I'm curious about other options. Specifically, it would be cool if the coders get to work on some code that's written in a current and relevant language. What would be the best code base package?

2) What's the best way to breach this with technology administrators? What sort of hardware would they need to host this thing and how would it need to be set up on the server? Would they be better off just looking in to external hosting?

3) Should they pursue something else entirely, like a browser based game? It's a Language Arts class, so the writing component of a text-based game is a good thing.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:45 PM   #2
Milawe
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Re: Muds in Education

Do you happen to know what the skill sets of the students are? That could determine what they want to get into doing.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:25 AM   #3
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Re: Muds in Education

I've made the attempt to set up a teaching MUD a number of times in a number of institutions - I managed to get broad approval from my colleagues on the idea, but the neccessary approval from IT never came through. Such is the way of university politics, alas.

If you're interested in the case I made, then you can find the presentation/handouts at http://swordsmith.monkeys-at-keyboar...es/UAD_MUD.ppt and http://swordsmith.monkeys-at-keyboar...es/UAD_MUD.doc. I was Young and Callow back then, so they're a bit rough. Still, they were the basis of the argument I made.

My own choice was to use FluffOS and the Discworld mudlib to drive the MUD, mainly because I was already highly familiar with it, but also because there was reasonably solid introductory material available for allowing people to create areas, monsters, weapons and so forth. The updated and much more recent version of that is available at Monkeys at Keyboards.

I still want to set up a teaching MUD because I believe it's a great environment in which to learn code. My plans are for it to be an extra thing rather than built into the course, but I'd be interested to hear how it works out if attempted.

Regards,
Drakkos.
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Old 10-29-2009, 05:17 AM   #4
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Re: Muds in Education

This recent post on Raph Koster's blog might be something you find interesting:

VW educators in the UK, look here
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Old 10-29-2009, 06:06 AM   #5
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Re: Muds in Education

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
This recent post on Raph Koster's blog might be something you find interesting:

VW educators in the UK, look here
Our English class was quite forwards thinking as they used to give out the Fighting Fantasy books in the early years to encourage reading as a leisure thing.

I digress..

Its not a MUD, but I do remember creating a very high level scenario for AD&D as my final English project at secondary school. It was a cave system with a series of boss fights, were I had actually planned out the tactics of each monster as to flesh out the scenario.

My teacher was perplexed and it was the last one he marked, he insisted that a few of us played it out whilst he watched, and then gave it 39/40 and declared it was probably one of the best projects he has ever seen.

So I created a paper MUD so to speak :-)
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Muds in Education

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
Do you happen to know what the skill sets of the students are? That could determine what they want to get into doing.
They're pretty "geeky" (as evidenced by the fact they wanted to create a pen and paper RPG), but I don't know if any of them have any coding experience at all in any language. The reason I threw the Mud idea out is that some of the kids are really into computers whereas others are more artsy/lit oriented. I thought the mud might utilize (and teach) more 21st Century Skills than a pen and paper.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: Muds in Education

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudMann View Post
Our English class was quite forwards thinking as they used to give out the Fighting Fantasy books in the early years to encourage reading as a leisure thing.

I digress..

Its not a MUD, but I do remember creating a very high level scenario for AD&D as my final English project at secondary school. It was a cave system with a series of boss fights, were I had actually planned out the tactics of each monster as to flesh out the scenario.

My teacher was perplexed and it was the last one he marked, he insisted that a few of us played it out whilst he watched, and then gave it 39/40 and declared it was probably one of the best projects he has ever seen.

So I created a paper MUD so to speak :-)
This is more along the original idea they had. The teacher is worried, though, that there won't be enough "work" in the project to divide up between the 12 or so students in the class. That was another reason I threw out the MUD suggestion.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:54 PM   #8
Milawe
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Re: Muds in Education

If they have coding experience, I think your mud idea would be great. You can email the administrator at Archons of Avenshar. I know he had a really awesome Python code base going that he made available a few years ago. I have only begun poking around with DIKU, so I really couldn't tell you what the best thing to do is there. Tons of people could help with that, though.

I think, though, if it's mostly a writing assignment, you could very easily go the pen and paper route with a bit of computer thrown in. You could go as far as to do it all as a Power Point presentation which could seriously be a lot of fun. It'll also be pretty, teach the students how to use Power Point (which can be very helpful in the business world), discuss game design, and allow for creative writing. If you want a really serious project, create an entire Pen and Paper gaming system and then a world to support it.

Anyway, in an attempt to answer the questions you originally asked...

1) Try mailing admin AT avenshar dot com. Otherwise, you could look into the DIKU route. I've been told that building on a DIKU is a matter of learning how to script. You can learn that pretty quickly.

2) You could try coordinating with your comp-sci department and let them host a server for you. Otherwise, there's several mud hosting places, I think, that you could try.

3) Have you guys thought about trying to create a game or even a world on a Wiki? You could do a choose your own adventure thing, and Wikis are insanely easy to set up if you're not looking for something complicated. It would be fun, focus on writing, and be inherently collaborative.

Hope that helps!
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