Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Part Two: Open Source at the IEEE Games Innovation Conference in Hong Kong

Two presentations today covered additional games education and research efforts using FOSS tools.

The first, and one that has really taken off over the past 18 months or so, is the Mario AI competition. The goal is to program variations of ai agents, or bots, to do the best job of playing a game variation based on "Infinite Mario Bros" tribute by Markus Persson. That Java created game variant already had an endless random level generation function built in. This current year's contest has involved several different conferences and several different programming challenges including game play, learning, level generation challenges. An additional Turing test challenge will be run at the Aisa Game Show on Monday the 27th.Sergey Karakovskiy and the other organizers are planning for next year's challenge. So visit their page and get cracking!

Flexible Rules showcases a ser of tools aimed at creating computer-based board and card games that will allow for players to create digital games that can be as flexible as analog games. For example, you may play Monopoly with certain rules that your family has created to make the gameplay faster or "more fun". For example, the "free parking" space on the Monopoly board, according to the official rules, is just that, a consequence free space for the players to take a deep breath. Yet many use a "House Rule" in which fines levied accumulate and are given to the player who lands on the space. Digital games dont allow for the flexibility in game play that analog ones do. The website offers a set of java tools to create more flexible games.

This has been the second GIC conference with a third already being planned for. The organizers and I have been discussing a possible game jam as part of the next conference where the student teams would use open source technologies exclusively to build a game in 48 hours.
It'll take a couple of months to figure it out, nut if there's positive movement forward I'll be spreading the word and looking for your help to do the same.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Source at the IEEE Games Innovation Conference in Hong Kong

By the power of the POSSE alumni fund I had the pleasure to present a paper on the RIT efforts at this conference yesterday. The paper discussed the history of our efforts and, most importantly, the way in which HFOSS service education efforts have motivated our students to continue the if FOSS experiences and participation beyond the classroom and oaths and years after they've taken the course. Now that the paper has been officially presented it will be posted on FOSS@RIT in January when I return from my travels.

The paper was well received with questions about the course curriculum, FOSS and general and on the XO.

Another interesting project built on FOSS tech was an education effort for engineering education. Engineering Island used Moodle, SLoodle and Second Life to build a 3D world in which students race their avatars around a course under a timed challenge to calculate resistance and voltage balance. In an interesting real world portion of the exercise, the world is connected to a real world power supply and banks of resistors, rather than hard-coding the values. This teaches the students that the real world components "drift" and don't always work the way the "should". The developers have ported the world out of Second Life to work on Open Sim tech, so it's a fully open project now.

You can see more by surfing over to looking for the education Island info.