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Involving Kids In Free Software Through Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the works-better-than-stapling-them-to-a-linux-cd dept.

Education 33

SynrG writes "Platinum Arts Sandbox puts into childrens' hands the ability to role play in a 3D world and edit that world using simplified controls. The expressions on the faces of our kids as they played were priceless; both the ups and the downs. I wanted to capture this on video and share it. After having established a rapport with upstream, we took a 20 minute clip of one of our play sessions and gave a copy to them to use to help further their work. Here is the edited result. They were very pleased to have that kind of feedback and found the video valuable for determining where the software still needed improvement and to notice which aspects particularly pleased the children."

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mhmm... (-1, Redundant)

f_raze13 (982309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682029)

20 minutes later, the kids got bored and moved on to something else.

Re:mhmm... (1)

Spassoklabanias (1295839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26684627)

20 minutes later, the kids got bored and moved on to something else.

Actually, 20 minutes later the kids think they can fly as well and try it by jumping out of the balkony.

Ughh... (1)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26709559)

Better yet:

The expressions on the faces of our kids as they played were priceless; both the ups and the downs. I wanted to capture this on video and share it.

Notice the emphasis... Am I the only one who's disgusted by the parents who think their kids are cute and insist on showing you photos of them, but in reality have some really ugly looking kids? I didn't even want to bother RTFA for fear I may see a video of another parent touting the looks of their child as "cute".

How about a better summary? (1)

OpenYourEyes (563714) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682117)

I went into reading about this very skeptical. I've been part of a few "no-subscription" virtual worlds aimed at kids, and watched a bunch of inventive and creative kids be horribly disappointed when the companies (I'm looking at you, Disney) pulled the plug on them.

But from the rather poor write-ups I'm finding, it sounds like this is Open Source, so even if its pulled there is still use for it.

Care to actually tell us more about the platform?

Re:How about a better summary? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682145)

I recommend reading this page:
http://kids.platinumarts.net/what-is-sandbox.html

And check out this tutorial video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g44Ww2bg2_E

Take care!!

Video games (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682163)

If I had kids, I wouldn't let them waste their lives away in some retarded video game. What happened to raising adjusted kids who learn conversational skills and stay healthy through sports or even robotics competitions?

Do you all want to be a parent of some soul-less little pokemon-playing faggot glued to a monitor during all of their waking hours? Do you want to teach them that escapism is an acceptable way to deal with life? Do you want your kid to be the overweight, friendless baby-talker who reads lame fantasy books all day? Do you want to raise somebody who will grow to be 300 pounds and who will want to live with you rent-free through their adulthood, urinating in a bucket they keep in their room and emerging only to ask for your money?

Fuck no. Feeding a kid too many video games is like feeding them too much McDonalds. It causes their minds to resemble an alcoholic liver: fatty, bloated yet totally ineffective at its function, eventually unable to fend for itself. Buy your fatass kids a bike and tell them to hit the road. Then lock the doors for a few hours and let'em cry. They'll thank you for it later!

Re:Video games (5, Funny)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682215)

Do you all want to be a parent of some soul-less little pokemon-playing faggot glued to a monitor during all of their waking hours? Do you want to teach them that escapism is an acceptable way to deal with life? Do you want your kid to be the overweight, friendless baby-talker who reads lame fantasy books all day? Do you want to raise somebody who will grow to be 300 pounds and who will want to live with you rent-free through their adulthood, urinating in a bucket they keep in their room and emerging only to ask for your money?

Yes. Like father, like son.

mod parent +1, funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682905)

i wish i had mod points today. perfect response. you sir, are a genius.

Re:Video games (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682953)

Do you all want to be a parent of some soul-less little pokemon-playing faggot glued to a monitor during all of their waking hours? Do you want to teach them that escapism is an acceptable way to deal with life? Do you want your kid to be the overweight, friendless baby-talker who reads lame fantasy books all day? Do you want to raise somebody who will grow to be 300 pounds and who will want to live with you rent-free through their adulthood, urinating in a bucket they keep in their room and emerging only to ask for your money?

Yes. Like father, like son.

i snorted diet coke out my nose and a little up into my ear. that was ear sucking good

Re:Video games (1)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 5 years ago | (#26684081)

I for one would never allow my son to compete with robots, they have a distint unfair advantage with their cold bloodsucking ways. It's only a matter of time before they all gang up on us!

Re:Video games (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26686267)

If I had kids, I wouldn't let them waste their lives away in some retarded video game. What happened to raising adjusted kids who learn conversational skills and stay healthy through sports or even robotics competitions?

How will they learn to program advanced robots without ever spending time in front of a computer?

Do you all want to be a parent of some soul-less little pokemon-playing faggot glued to a monitor during all of their waking hours? Do you want to teach them that escapism is an acceptable way to deal with life? Do you want your kid to be the overweight, friendless baby-talker who reads lame fantasy books all day? Do you want to raise somebody who will grow to be 300 pounds and who will want to live with you rent-free through their adulthood, urinating in a bucket they keep in their room and emerging only to ask for your money?

Hrm Maybe an insecure anorexic high anxiety urinating everywhere due to fear of not living up to there parents social expectations kind of child would be more fun. You catch them on the computer and you walk slowly up to them...."We need to have a talk" you say to your child."Who did you goto prom with?" "My friends" your child replies. "Not prom king/queen this year huh?"you ask. "No..." "Get on the scale!!" You demand as you grab your childs hair....

Fuck no. Feeding a kid too many video games is like feeding them too much McDonalds. It causes their minds to resemble an alcoholic liver: fatty, bloated yet totally ineffective at its function, eventually unable to fend for itself. Buy your fatass kids a bike and tell them to hit the road. Then lock the doors for a few hours and let'em cry. They'll thank you for it later!

They sure will otherwise it's the back of the hand again...

Re:Video games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26689987)

If I had kids

If the rest of the post is indicative of your personality, I wouldn't worry too much about this occurrence.

Involve kids in free software? (2, Insightful)

bazald (886779) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682225)

How is giving kids free software to play with equivalent to involving them in free software? If they aren't working on the software itself, how are they involved? I understand it is a sandbox that they can play with, but what is the importance of its openness as far as the kids are concerned?

I have taught high schoolers to develop video games in their free time using a FOSS game engine I put together. That seems more like involving kids in free software, to me.

This, on the other hand, is a cool way of allowing kids to interact with video game simulations in a way that allows them to be creative. It sounds like it works well for a relatively young age group as well, which is a good thing. However, while the summary of this interesting idea is not bad, the subject line is somewhat insane. I don't think we need to artificially emphasize the openness of our projects to garner a good reception on Slashdot.

Re:Involve kids in free software? (2, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682245)

I don't think we need to artificially emphasize the openness of our projects to garner a good reception on Slashdot.

Hey, it's a guarantee that all the fanbois will comment and argue to no end about topics that bore you to hell! Don't believe me, see above comment about urinating in a bucket.

Re:Involve kids in free software? (1)

Lendrick (314723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682291)

To the contrary, one of the most important pieces of Free Software development is feedback. Software developers need to know what their users want if their software is going to be acceptable. These kids are participating in the process as users of the software, and, through their parents, they are providing feedback to the developers, who are using that feedback to make development decisions.

Are they coding? Of course not. They're essentially a focus group.

Re:Involve kids in free software? (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682313)

That is an interesting interpretation of involvement. It is certainly valid, to some degree. On the other hand, I still fail to see how the openness of the project is important for this type of involvement. If they were used as a focus group for an identical closed source, proprietary, ..., project, would their experience be any different?

Re:Involve kids in free software? (1)

buravirgil (137856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682873)

No...but proprietary efforts have a tendency to exaggerate success and undermine what is meant by applying a "gold standard" to education.

Might get them interested in modding (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26683235)

It might get them interested in modding, I guess, and then they'll move on to something which actually allow them to write some code too. E.g., see the Oblivion or Fallout 3 or NWN2 scripting.

Most of the basic concepts involved in programming are just as applicable to and learnable from scripting, as from C++ or whatever else. E.g., according to a recent article, apparently one hurdle that half the population can't get over, is the humble "a = b" assignment. If a kid managed to get over it in a script to make their +5 Sword Of Ganking available in a game via a simple quest, or to put in a new uber-spell in NWN2, it's something they can apply later in a real programming job.

And to some extent most such mods involve starting from _some_ sources, and sharing your own source. It's not really F/OSS that would please RMS, but it can serve to drive a point home. Especially when they run into stuff like that they can't import their favourite companion or weapon from Oblivion into Fallout 3, because it's copyrighted by Bethesda and most mod sites have stern worded restrictions on that kind of thing. And they can also see what it's like to be on the other side of the fence, when someone else takes your sources and models, with or without permission, and makes his own mod out of them. It seems to me like you then can make your own informed choice between such stances as "meh, I couldn't care less" (Public Domain), "... as long as he gives credit" (BSD) or "... as long as he shares his changes too" (GPL) or a few others. (Over-simplified view of those licenses, to be sure, but you get the idea.)

Or maybe decide that "mine! all mine!" is what fits their personality the best, I guess.

On the other hand, I see no reason not to start directly from one of those games in the first place. If I were trying to get a kid interested in coding, I'd probably rather start from something like that.

Re:Might get them interested in modding (1)

GrnyS (131646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26685445)

No, I think you miss the point I made in my article, or are at least veering off in a different direction. When we play with free software with children, it should not about the educational outcomes or preparing them for a career. Those things will happen anyway all on their own, and perhaps not in a way you carefully planned, either. But if that's all you are thinking about, if that is your primary motive, it will warp your relationship with the children. Instead of experiencing each joy and frustration along with them, instead of getting to know them better, you'll waste the moment pushing your own agenda on them. Best case, you'll impart something of value to them in spite of yourself. Worst case, they'll see you have some ulterior motive, something to sell them, and will be put off by it and lose interest.

In any case, most kids won't grow up to be programmers. Kids aren't just tabula rasas on whom we write some noble future purpose. Kids are people. They have their own thoughts and feelings, their own souls. Respect them. Get to know them. Be a meaningful part of their lives. Do you love free software and have a passion for it? Then draw them into your world by involving them in what you do, not because of the utility of such involvement, but because you value them and want to give them something special out of your heart.

And yes, if using the software sparks an interest in them to program or to mod or whatever, that is a good thing. But don't let that be the only reason you engage in the exercise. Do it because when you share your world with them sincerely and show them you respect them as human beings, you are giving them what they need most.

Re:Might get them interested in modding (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26686693)

1. I'm not proposing to _push_ any agenda on anyone. I'm just proposing to let them discover if they're interested in that or not. These are the tools, this is what you can do with them, feel free to experiment or not.

Note for example that nowhere did I say I'm going to push any flavour of F/OSS on them. One of the possible outcomes I described was also discovering that they're the "mine! all mine!" kind after all. I'd call that a valuable experience too.

(Entirely too many people are paying lip service to F/OSS, but get their panties in a knot when it comes to sharing their work too. I briefly worked as a dev on a MUD where they paid _incredible_ lip service to Linux and OSS, but upon joining I discovered that they were actually paranoid to the extreme about anyone copying anything of theirs. They locked it behind byzantine access restrictions, and I had to whine at someone just to get access to the files I need to change to do my job. And that their preciousss code included the work of developers like me: it suddenly was their code, to lock behind such permissions and get paranoid about it being even seen by the wrong people. Left me with a bad aftertaste. I'm not just talking about it conflicting with _my_ ideology, it conflicted with the ideology they themselves professed so loudly.)

But anyway, I think it's an important lesson to learn early. Not even "learn" as in "get to _my_ conclusion", but decide for yourself if that's what you want to do. If you've scripted an NPC, or modelled an AK47, or textured some beautiful armour, or whatever other work... are you ok with people recolouring it pink via a simple colour swap, and releasing it as their own mod? It will tell you right there and then how you really stand on F/OSS.

But I digress. I certainly don't propose to force anyone in any direction, much less any of the emotional stuff you write. I just propose to give them a chance to discover it for themselves, if they feel inclined their way. I'm equally prepared to accept that they're more interested in 3D modelling, or map editing, or creative prose for the quests and dialogues, or composing a music track, or nothing at all. Those games I've mentioned allow one to experience any of those first hand.

2. I fail to see how crippling a tool makes it any better in any of the aspects you've mentioned. My approach includes the possibility of coding, if anyone feels so inclined. Yours doesn't. Why is the latter better?

3. What on Earth does it have to do with involvement in Open Source, then, if there is no source involved, and no chance to see for themselves if they actually want to share theirs? If you're going to just use them as a focus group for some simple game, how's that any different from getting them in a focus group for the next closed-source Nintendo game?

The whole sharing my world and all the fancy wording could apply verbatim to anything else. I could play WoW with them. (Hey, that's a part of _my_ world.) I could show them the meshes I made for a couple of simple Fallout 3 mods. Etc. None of those are F/OSS, but the exercise you describe could be identical.

Once you exclude the actual "Open" and "Source" even from the possibilities of that exercise, then the link to F/OSS becomes weak at best. (And trolling for page hits at worst.) It's like saying I'm involving anyone in geology, because I took them for a ride in my car, and some geologists found the ore it was made of and the oil it runs on. The fact that geology or F/OSS were involved several steps back, doesn't make the exercise itself have anything to do with geology or F/OSS.

Re:Might get them interested in modding (1)

GrnyS (131646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26687491)

1. I'm not proposing to _push_ any agenda on anyone.

Your agenda is apparently to involve kids somehow in either the production of software or things that go with the software (or as you say, give them this opportunity). Being broad-minded about this, you don't prescribe any kind of F/OSS at all. Nevertheless, it's still an agenda and has some influence.

But anyway, I think it's an important lesson to learn early. Not even "learn" as in "get to _my_ conclusion", but decide for yourself if that's what you want to do.

Yes, there are learning opportunities along the way. I don't place a low value on these. But I also am cautious to stress them or try to arrange these play sessions in such a way as to cause these outcomes. Again, you demonstrate a broad-minded attitude about it: "decide for yourself". Well and good. But the issues that you raise are fairly heady and I'd be surprised to observe any children paying them any attention until they have grown a bit more in age and experience.

I certainly don't propose to force anyone in any direction, much less any of the emotional stuff you write.

You're misrepresenting me now. I you have associated the word "agenda" with how people can tend to "push" or "force" agendas. I never used those words or claimed that's what you had in mind. Rather, I see people unconsciously guided by agendas in their interactions with children, and this spoils any value those interactions might have otherwise had.

As for the "emotional stuff" you vaguely and dismissively refer to, I assume you meant "experiencing the joy and frustration" with them? If you cannnot connect with them at least in some basic way, you have no hope of discovering the intrinsic value of sharing their play. Children often lack the ability to articulate exactly what precisely pleases or bothers them. It is often the non-verbal cues that tell us the most about how effective or ineffective software is for them. So on the one hand, being attuned to these emotional factors is necessary for the play session to work at all, and on the other, these same cues (on later reflection) feed back into the development process to make improvements.

I just propose to give them a chance to discover it for themselves, if they feel inclined their way.

And in this much of what you said, I agree.

2. I fail to see how crippling a tool makes it any better in any of the aspects you've mentioned.

This is over my head. Before Sandbox, we had no exposure to this kind of tool (except my 14 year-old son had some familiarity with Sauerbraten). I don't know any of the other software you mentioned. We came at it with virtually no preconceptions or expectations of superiority over any other tool. All we wanted to do was play and have fun with it. We did this and were delighted. A pleasant consequence of this was some valuable feedback into the software development process. I thought it was noteworthy to write about this.

My approach includes the possibility of coding, if anyone feels so inclined. Yours doesn't. Why is the latter better?

I am ... stunned. How did you read that into my response? I explicitly stated that it is a good thing if they *do* get interested in programming or modding. In no way do I exclude that possibility.

3. What on Earth does it have to do with involvement in Open Source, then, if there is no source involved, and no chance to see for themselves if they actually want to share theirs?

F/OSS has two sides: technical and social. Children can be involved in the social side long before they have a full appreciation of the technical side. Both sides are equally valuable. No code is written in a social vacuum. To dismiss non-coding activities around F/OSS as being unimportant while exalting contact with the source as being the only way to legtimize the activities as being "F/OSS related" is incredibly short-sighted.

If you're going to just use them as a focus group for some simple game, how's that any different from getting them in a focus group for the next closed-source Nintendo game?

If all you got out of my article was that I'm "using" my children as a "focus group" then you've entirely failed to understand the main thesis of the article, which is that engaging children both in play and communication with developers about that play is a natural and effective way to draw them into the F/LOSS community.

The whole sharing my world and all the fancy wording could apply verbatim to anything else. I could play WoW with them. (Hey, that's a part of _my_ world.) I could show them the meshes I made for a couple of simple Fallout 3 mods. Etc. None of those are F/OSS, but the exercise you describe could be identical.

I don't make any claims to F/OSS having a monopoly on life-reaffirming communities that may have value to get children involved in. I merely wrote about the community that matters to me, both as a developer with an interest in improving F/OSS for children, and as a parent wanting to share his world with his own kids. Yes! You can certainly apply the same approach to any walk of life. And if you do, more power to you.

Once you exclude the actual "Open" and "Source" even from the possibilities of that exercise, then the link to F/OSS becomes weak at best. (And trolling for page hits at worst.)

How does acknowledging that there may be other applications of this approach negate a link to F/OSS? The link is that I have *done* this in F/OSS communities and experienced success! It is perhaps a non-obvious way that kids *can* get involved because so much of the world is focused only on "educational outcomes" and not at all on this kind of interaction.

It's like saying I'm involving anyone in geology, because I took them for a ride in my car, and some geologists found the ore it was made of and the oil it runs on. The fact that geology or F/OSS were involved several steps back, doesn't make the exercise itself have anything to do with geology or F/OSS.

Oh, good grief. Read the whole article! At times, I have my kids directly talking with developers. At others, we just relay (with the kids' full knowledge of this) feedback to them and vice versa. The kids enjoyed being a part of this and the developers were equally happy. This is nothing at all like your analogy.

Re:Might get them interested in modding (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26687757)

Your agenda is apparently to involve kids somehow in either the production of software or things that go with the software (or as you say, give them this opportunity). Being broad-minded about this, you don't prescribe any kind of F/OSS at all. Nevertheless, it's still an agenda and has some influence.

Let's just say: I certainly _would_, if I submitted an article like "involving kids in OSS". Because, again, without at least understanding (or having a chance to try out) the sharing part, it's got nothing to do with OSS. They're just using a program, which might as well be closed-source or open-source, but that has zero impact on that session.

How does acknowledging that there may be other applications of this approach negate a link to F/OSS?

Because if there would be no difference at all between this and a session centered around a non-OSS product, then it's not "involving them in OSS" in any form or shape.

The link is that I have *done* this in F/OSS communities and experienced success! It is perhaps a non-obvious way that kids *can* get involved because so much of the world is focused only on "educational outcomes" and not at all on this kind of interaction.

That's a link as weak as saying that using the ReiserFS gets you involved in murder. The facts A="the kids are using those programs" and B="it's got something to do with OSS" are linked just by the utterly irrelevant fact that a third person (you) was involved in both. Maybe, but it's not involving _them_. It's exactly the same link as between the guy using that workstation over there with ReiserFS and Hans Reiser having killed his wife. I.e., hardly any at all.

If you don't care about educational outcomes (and I'm not even saying you should) then at least have the decency to not come up with a "involving them in OSS" claim.

F/OSS has two sides: technical and social. Children can be involved in the social side long before they have a full appreciation of the technical side. Both sides are equally valuable. No code is written in a social vacuum. To dismiss non-coding activities around F/OSS as being unimportant while exalting contact with the source as being the only way to legtimize the activities as being "F/OSS related" is incredibly short-sighted.

Except:

A) That social participation is worthless without even understanding what OSS means. And I don't mean getting a lecture in RMS's beliefs, but that experiencing first hand an, "am I ok with people changing a ladder on my map and releasing it as their own?" (Or two letters in my walkthrough, or whatever.) If it's based just on a vague "I get to use stuff for free" (as in beer, or let's say candy for kids), it's at best just producing another generation of freetards who think that downloading a beta of Windows 7 for free or getting a free 7 day demo of WoW is after all the same thing.

It doesn't even have to be code. It could be a picture released under the Creative Commons license, or whatever. There have been people who've uploaded their family photos as a basically "do whatever you wish with it" license, and then got upset when a company used their daughter's photo for a "ditch your girlfriend by SMS" ad campaign. And then went on record asking all over the place how to un-CC those photos. Tasteless campaign, no doubt, but that's the kind of thing where you discover if you really like such a licence or you've been just following the wrong crowd for your personality.

B) Again, you could do the exact session and "social" claim about a proprietary software too. WoW doesn't exist in a vacuum either. Neither does the MSDN. Etc.

Again, I'm not saying you _should_ teach them anything, if that's not your goal, but at least then please refrain from misleading claims.

Oh, good grief. Read the whole article! At times, I have my kids directly talking with developers. At others, we just relay (with the kids' full knowledge of this) feedback to them and vice versa. The kids enjoyed being a part of this and the developers were equally happy. This is nothing at all like your analogy.

Except again the same thing could be done -- and _is_ routinely done -- for proprietary software just as well. I must have submitted two dozen suggestions and bug reports to the City Of Heroes team in January alone. And they too have "chat with the devs" sessions. Heck, you could say the whole thing about Microsoft, and God knows they've been at the spearhead of the "OSS is evil" astroturf blitz.

Re:Might get them interested in modding (1)

GrnyS (131646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26688669)

I don't have the energy to continue this at length. Debian Jr. is about making Debian better for kids. We discuss and try various software with them. We respond when things are broken and file bug reports and make feature requests. We test new versions of software when these problems are fixed or features are implemented. This isn't involvement in F/OSS?

Don't for a minute think that I *avoid* talking about the distinction between free as in freedom vs. beer (in whatever terms I think they will grasp). All of our children have grown up steeped in an environment where free software is widely used, Dad talks about his work with Debian, why he does what he does, and how it is different.

I'm sure my kids will all grow in time to really understand what F/OSS is about, even if it's a bit hazy at ages 7 and 10. One of my teens, at age 17, has already a fairly firm grasp on it and this influences her choices, in spite of the fact that she does not live with us so her contact with F/OSS growing up was mostly on weekend visits which have gotten fewer and further between as she has grown older. Now that she has a laptop of her own, she has chosen to install Ubuntu on it, and while she initially had it dual-booted with Windows, she reports that she finds herself using it so little, she wonders if she should just reclaim the space for Ubuntu.

But now we have veered quite far from the original article which is in itself coherent in its argument and does not need to be bolstered by any of these footnotes. Clearly you have an axe to grind, and if you feel the need to continue, go ahead. I'm not interested in further discussion about it.

Re:Involve kids in free software? (1)

GrnyS (131646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26684105)

Read the quote from my article in context. There is more happening here than just giving kids free software to play with. Our approach with Debian Jr. is to observe children using the software, respond to their needs and wants, and work with package maintainers and upstream developers: providing notes/videos of the sessions, chatting with them, filing bugs, making feature requests, and trying new releases. So yes, the children take an active role in the software development process. We involve them in these ways in dialog with free software developers; they learn at an early age that they are accessible and are listening to their requests.

It may appear that there is nothing novel in this approach. Others have mentioned focus groups, which have been around for a long time. However, this is nothing so serious and formal as that. Focus groups have agendas. Our informal play sessions are just for the fun of it. Naturally, we are pleased when our suggestions make it back into the software. But in the meantime, just engaging kids as they play in discussion with developers is rewarding in and of itself for all parties involved.

Sauerbraten? (2, Interesting)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682517)

I've typed "newent" a few times, and that game looks a lot like Sauerbraten to me, but I din't see anything about Sauerbraten or Cube 1/2 in the article or on the game's page... http://www.sauerbraten.org/ [sauerbraten.org]

Re:Sauerbraten? (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26684949)

I believe sauerbraten was renamed cube and this seems to use the same engine. Pretty cool - kids will have fun editing with it.

The video doesn't match the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26682557)

I saw two kids playing a video game. They treated it just like the old
Donkey Kong game. There was no sign of creativity. they merely used the EDIT mode to "cheat." This will soon fill up with the same old debate on open source software and 3d worlds.

LOGO (1)

buravirgil (137856) | more than 5 years ago | (#26682817)

teaches more. Doom + Myst isn't a magical formula for learning unless the plan is to populate Second Life. But an open source, immersive environment is exciting if, say, Powers of 10 is the bar. Doesn't virtual reality promise means of illustration limited only by imagination? Game environments seek to temper all the running around (that is so fun) with puzzles that are, in a way, signatures of what abstract thinking skills its players possess.

Number munchers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26683635)

Come on! you programmers must remeber this? screw your 3d complicated systems. Update a better 2d graphics of a number munchers type game. Done!

Remeber to small kids, Actually being able to do something is fun in it self.

The 3d ultra high budgeted interesting plot and gameplay systems are for our old disillusioned selves. Kids? a 5 cent rubber balloon filled with hot air that you bat around with them often keeps their attention longer then the 60$ remote controlled velociraptor. never mind a real dinosaur book.

Having newphews helps in the understanding. (pre-empting the "slash dot we don't procreate)

How is this relevant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26684727)

Open Source is not a topic children should be expected to understand. In a world where most children have enough advertising and propaganda shoved down their throats on a daily basis, why are we even discussing this?
Oh wait, it's because the title of the article is completely irrelevant.

Information Regarding Platinum Arts Sandbox (2, Informative)

calimer (872695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26689351)

I would first like to point out that this was the original news title: Free 3D Game Maker Gets Kids Involved Through Play The new one seems to be a bit misleading. The goal of Platinum Arts Sandbox is so that kids and adults can quickly and easily create their own video games and 3D worlds. The software is free and open source. I recommend watching the tutorial video to see how the in game editing works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g44Ww2bg2_E [youtube.com] I have used Sandbox to teach a HS afterschool club, at a Middle School, a kids summer camp over 3 weeks with about 60 kids, with my college students, etc. Also many other teachers from around the world are using it. In addition it has been featured at various conferences and included in a software package that goes out to 500 German schools. In addition it has been voted one of the top 100 projects of 2008 at moddb out of over 5k, and waiting on voting to see if it makes it in the top 5. In my classes kids have learned to design levels, model, script, code including adding their own monsters, and how to use SVN. Kids as young as six have had work submitted. To learn more about its specific features you can go here: http://kids.platinumarts.net/what-is-sandbox.html [platinumarts.net] I think what SynrG has done with his kids is extremely valuable. They are learning new ways to express their imaginations, create stories through roleplaying, learn game design, and more. The next step is teaching them how to use scripting to make quests. I think a big mistake aspiring game developers make is not seeking out game developers and the proper communication channels. This is something I really try to hit home with my students. You can gain so much insight about the software, and also about the developers themselves and their experiences. And generally with free software there is a much greater chance to get in contact with these individuals, whereas with commercial products contact is much more limited, if you get any responses at all. And this way the kids get to learn the ins and outs from the developers themselves. Communication and being able to express yourself in general is a really important skill to learn, especially as an aspiring developer and these kids are getting a great opportunity to start early. As a note to the guy that was worried it might get "ripped away" that isn't going to happen. I started this project for elementary kids in my afterschool program and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon :) Also to the person that suggested that this could get people into modding, such as NWN. Why would you do that? You're going from a project that has everything completely open down to the engine source and SVN, to a closed source project where you're lucky to even get much game code. I think if you can start with a good standalone that is a much better experience. Take care and enjoy the software! -mike

Re:Information Regarding Platinum Arts Sandbox (1)

cgreuter (82182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26701031)

I just downloaded it and played with it for a few minutes. Some comments:

  1. I don't think your license actually meets the criteria for open-source. It isn't clear to me that I legally could create a fork of Sandbox and distribute it under the same terms. I'd be much happier if you used a well-known open-source license (e.g. the GPL) instead.
  2. I also don't how your license claims the copyright of any submitted changes. A more suspicious mind might think you're trying to build a base of contributor games that you can then commercialize. If that isn't your plan, I suggest you change the terms to make that clear. Once again, using a well-known OSS license would solve the problem.
  3. Aside from that, I think this is a really neat idea for teaching kids to think like programmers.

Re:Information Regarding Platinum Arts Sandbox (1)

calimer (872695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26701573)

1. Open source is when the source code is accessible. The license itself actually is based on the GPL and closely resembles it in theory. It will be going to mostly a zlib format but right now the rewrite of that license has been put off for a bit since I'm working on getting the license set for the debian free version which is going into edubuntu, debian, ubuntu, slackware and more hopefully.

2. I realize that section is poorly worded. The intent is that if content is submitted that it cannot be revoked. This is so that down the line if someone submits something they can't say that they want to remove and slow down or halt the project. It does clearly say that that content can be used in other projects. A more suspicious mind? The whole goal of sandbox is so people can make games, commercial or not. That's a specific requirement of being debian free software and all the content in Sandbox lite will be able to be used commercially. The main branch license will be getting a reworking to highly resemble the debian free version license. That debian free license though is the priority currently as there is a deadline for everything to make it into the new linux releases.

3. Awesome, yes it has been working out really well :)
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