I couldn’t resist I’m exploring Kitely. Yes! Another virtual world.

Recently I saw a post Mal Burns shared about pricing changes for Kitely.com – and I thought… why not?

My alt in Second Life wasn’t utilising the land I kindly paid for her to use every month so I decided to sell up and use those funds to create a Kitely World as a home base for exploration (16 regions with a total of 120,000 PE and up to 80 avatar capacity for around $40/month).

I want pretty things RIGHT NOW!

There is a lot of content available under public domain, creative commons and other open licensing models that you can legally and ethically upload and use in OpenSim Worlds (eg. Kitely) and in Second Life. For avatar prettiness, there’s the Eloh Eliot’s skin templates.

You may also opt to create and upload your own content – if you have the skills and time to do so. Despite currently being on a blender bender (learning 3D modelling and animation) … I want things NOW – and, of course, I want pretty things! So… it’s off to market I go.

Kitely Marketplace and Hypergrid currency options – Kitely Dollars or Paypal

Kitely is part of the hypergrid and content creators and vendors can choose to sell items using the follwing payment system and currencies:

  • Paypal (physical world dollars)
  • Kitely Dollars (or possibly other virtual currencies if you are logged in to another grid/environment and gift yourselfvia a hypergrid marketplace)
  • Combination of Kitelys and Paypal (use Kitelys where possible and bill the remainder to paypal)

As a resident, you can pay for your account and inworld expenses using Kitely dollars or paypal… or a combination of the two – it’s your choice!

Kitely dollars cannot be converted from the virtual currency to a physical world currency (eg. USD or AUD) – you can choose to do all transactions in either Kitely dollars or via Paypal.

Whether or not a vendor a chooses to sell items in Kitely dollars as well as via paypal will be dependent on if they have a reason to spend Kitely dollars. If they don’t, the only payment option will be paypal.

The items I’ve purchased have been paid for using both paypal and Kitely dollars. I found some Lilith Heart/Heart Botanical trees to put on my land so it wouldn’t be so bare… and some kayaks to paddle around in – but my avatar still needs some serious work.

The permissions system is different to Second Life – this is an OpenSim grid (and part of the hypergrid which means avatars can travel between grids/worlds).  In addition to Copy/Modify/Transfer permissions system that we see as Second Life residents you’ll also see an additional permission/option – ‘Export‘.

You can gift marketplace purchases to other avatars – on the Kitely grid, and a range of other grids (OpenSim environments/grids other than Kitely).

World, Estate and Parcel management

Setting up a world was easy – I put in my order and it was ready within minutes. I went for the Advanced World option which is a “world” with 16 estates/regions that have a shared prim/prim equivalent capacity of 120,000 and a shared avatar capacity of 80 avatars.

If you want to allocate parcels or regions to other residents/avatars you have to deed the land to a [land] group.  (Do not use the ‘sell land’ button/options in the land information window).

When you join a group, it may take a few minutes for the other person to notice you have joined the group – and I suggest relogging if you/the other resident cannot see that land has been allocated/deeded to the group once it’s done.  I found that there was a short time delay between when I set the land to the group – and the deed button appearing in the land settings. You may need to first set the land to group… and then relog and come back in 30 or 60 minutes to deed the land.

Visit Moggs in Kitely at Eloquence

If you want to check out Kitely feel free to use Kitely World – Eloquence as a base for your explorations. Note that this Eloquence has nothing to do with the Eloquence events Truth runs/ran in Second Life – my land parcel (and later group) has been called ‘Eloquence’ in Second Life since 2007.

Snapshot_071

‘No, not yet’ she says – and then gets FOUR mesh bodies. Huh.

I was chatting to my friend Lanna the other night – about life, the universe… and things.

Between more meaningful topics, we talked inventory. I was saying that for certain types of items – unless it was UBER freakin’ awesome exception – I trash if I acquired before a particular year.  We both took a moment to mourn items we loved that have not stood the test of time. Then we talked Mesh bodies. Lanna had gone there. I was still resisting, fearing assimilation to the Borg.

After Lanna logged off, bored with the herculean task of trying to reduce my inventory, I did what any sane Second Life resident does when inventory sorting becomes too much. I went shopping.

[Skip to comparison table] [Comparison chart as a spreadsheet (google)]

I purchased the following Mesh Bodies:

  • Belleza Venus Mesh Body
  • Maitreya Lara Mesh Body
  • SLink Physique Mesh Body (I already own all of the feet and the hand multipack – you can purchase them separately or stick with your system hands. Slink also offers mesh heads).
  • The Mesh Project (TMP) Deluxe Female Mesh Body (TMP has a free starter mesh body available).

In a very short time I discovered more benefits than challenges. A single body with adjustable feet and, in some cases, adjustable hands. Fitted Mesh clothing options. Shorts that don’t look stupid. You know… things.  If you are still resisting or debating, you may try it and find yourself pleasantly surprise.

I’m not done learning about them yet – but already, I’m convert. Oh how easy it was once I stepped in the rabbit hole.

Which body suits your needs?

Here’s a quick comparison of bodies – it’s not a complete list of all features available – but it’s a start on comparing  body (parts) and HUD options/controls:

Item/Feature Maitreya Lara Belleza Venus SLink Physique (F) TMP Deluxe (F)
body, feet attached, hands attached, no head N/A Yes
Included
N/A N/A
bodyno feet, hands attached, no head N/A Yes
Included
N/A N/A
body, no feet, no hands, no head Yes
Included
Yes
Included
Yes
Included
Yes
Included
Feet – standalone Yes
Included
N/A Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Included
Hands – standalone Yes
Included
N/A Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Included
Head – standalone
(Default – your system shape/head)
N/A N/A Purchase/Attach Separately Purchase Separately
High feet position/pose Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Mid  feet position/pose Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Bare/Flat  feet position/pose – Main HUD Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Additional feet positions/poses – Main HUD Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
N/A Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Toe nails/polish – Main HUD Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Utility HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Nail length/type – Main HUD Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Utility HUD
N/A
Hand  position/pose options N/A Yes
Main HUD
Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Different hand position/pose options avail for left and right hands N/A Yes
Main HUD
Purchase/Attach Separately Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Finger nails/polish Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Utility HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Breast position/pose (eg. natural/pushup – gravity/bouyancy) N/A Yes
Main HUD
N/A Unsure
Cleavage position/styles (ie. squished together or further apart) N/A N/A N/A Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Nipple customisation/colouration N/A Yes
Main HUD
N/A N/A
Skin tone presets/customise tools – Main HUD Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Styler HUD -Style Mode.
Alpha layer control Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Alpha HUD
Able to adjust L/R alpha layers differently Some
Main HUD
Some
Main HUD
Some
Main HUD
Yes
Alpha HUD
Tattoo layers toggle Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Unsure
Underwear layers toggle Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Style Mode
Clothing layers toggle Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Main HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Style Mode
Clothing layer loose/tight fit options ? N/A ? Yes
Styler HUD > Modify Mode
Socks on/off Yes
Main HUD
N Yes
Utility HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Style Mode
Gloves on/off Yes
Main HUD
N Yes
Utility HUD
Yes
Styler HUD > Style Mode
Omega Applier System Compatible Yes Yes No Some
Buxom breast support – not sure if this is the cleavage optionss.
Compatible with mesh from other designers – feet, hands, heads Yes Yes Unsure Unsure

Features I particularly like include:

  • body options where I could have hands feet and body all in one – or have hands and feet by same creator that achieves the same seamlessness. The options are nice if you want to mix and match to wear your favourtite feet/hands.
  • being able to change feet and position/poses via the HUD – and, in particular, being able to select different poses for left and right hands
  • boobie options!  natural/pushup, nipples and cleavage options
  • being able to save your favourite skin appliers in a slot of the main HUD for quick access in the future
  • being able to purchase mesh made to fit that particular body (Fitted Mesh is my new BFF!).

Goodbye old school system clothing – hello applier clothing and fitted mesh

Your mesh body can’t just slip into system clothing (well, not easily anyway) – your options are:

  • Fitted Mesh – Mesh designed to size with the Mesh body – oh joy of joy of joy… oh how I love thee fitted mesh!
  • Standard Mesh – this is the mesh clothing we’ve been buying for the last few years in custom or standard sizes.
  • Applier Clothing – HUDS that apply system clothing layers (optimised for the bodies) to your mesh body. Those of you who have been wearing mesh feet; breasts or butts will be familiar with appliers.

I expect availability of items will continue to increase – as everything else has – until such time something new comes in to challenge the status quo.

Pre-shopping checklist – ensure you have everything you needed to give your new body a test run:

  • Check you have a skin that will be compatible with your body. Some bodies come with skins. Find out who offers appliers for the mesh body/bodies you have/want.
  • Most the bodies come with bra and panty options – so you will not need to run around naked. You might want to check your inventory to see if you have items of clothing that will fit. If you are sticking with your own shape and most ofbyour slider settings – you probably do. I’d recommend getting at least one fitted mesh item made for the body you are purchasing. It’s also worth seeing just how good system layers can look on a mesh body so consider geting an ouytfit that uses appliers. Have a go at applying layers – and removing them.  If you don’t have anything you’ll find items at hunts; in world stores – and the marketplace to suit your budget (gifts, promos are often affordable starting points while you familiarise yourself).
  • If buying skins you will need a applier skin HUD. Different creators sell appliers in different ways – eg. For individual skins; an applier for each individual skin tint in their range – or ‘one HUD is all you need’ options tints. I found some skin applier HUDS do not tint a complete body – you either had to mix and match body and parts; use more than one skin appliers (eg. Omega + body specific HUD/styler) or else put up with some skin tint inconsistencies.  Doing some reseach on skins and the compatibility of the applier skin HUDS before you buy may save you L$.

I’m yet to find a skin that comes with applier HUDS for all of the bodies I have without being forced to mix and match parts (ie body/hands/feet) or turn off certain options. That will come. I’m sure.

Alpha layers … can you hide things differently on the left and right or are they mirrored?

In some of the reviews I read there was (very fair) discussion about the alpha layer adjustments and whether there were enough or too few for most outfits.

Even at this early stage, I wished for some extra options (mostly for standard mesh) – but in some cases for fitted mesh.

The mirroring of left/right layers is definitely an issue for asymmetrical clothing (eg. Off the shoulder).

I image that as the number of fitted mesh items grown as as creators get more savy this problem may be reduced.

Are your boobs in the right spot?

With the Belleza Venus body, something you need to be aware of is that there are two breast postion options ‘natural’ and ‘pushup’ (gravity/bouyancy).

Each fitted mesh item that your wear that covers your boobs will be tailored to one or the other of these positions… so if your boobs look weird in an outfit, go to the HUD and try changing your breast position. 

Dresses, shirts, bras, corsets, etc that come as fitted mesh will work with either natural breasts or push-up breasts – but not both.

WoW skin (my attempt at buying a single skin to use with each of my different mesh bodies)

I bought a WoW skin because they are one of the creators who offer applier skins for a range of mesh bodies and parts. Shopping and installing was easy but I was disappointed with a few (minor) things:

  • the Belleza HUD didn’t do the Belleza body hands and feet and if you wanted matching skin tones on hands and feet you were required to wear Slink feet and hands. I love Slink hands and feet but don’t want to wear them with my Belleza body – I like the whole joined body option.
  • the TMP installer worked beautifully – but when I changed my cleavage, I found that the texture had not been applied. I tried reapplying the skin and swapping back but it appears that the styler doesn’t apply cleavage skins.  I don’t think this is a fault of the WoW as the default TMP skins also didn’t apply to the cleavage when using the styler HUD. It may be something for designers to be consider and perhaps note in user help documentation and notecards.

    The Omega Applier lists ‘TMP Buxom Breasts’ as being compatible – so you might need to use an omega installer to apply skin to your cleavage. I’m thinking it’s either a Styler HUD issue – and/or that you need to use the Omega installer (I will try this – but haven’t yet).

    If you do play with the cleavage options and need to reset your breasts back to default – select ‘unstyle’ in the breast cleavage styler options and you’ll be back to the default body.

No Belleza skin installers for other bodies – yet *looks hopeful*

I was a little sad that I could not get Belleza skin appliers for all of my mesh bodies.

I presume because it may seem to the creator a little like supporting and making the competition look better. 

People who like to swap around their mesh bodies or who prefer another mesh body might love Belleza skins and still want to buy them. If there is no option to get them for their other mesh bodies, they will go to another skin seller to buy skins for their other bodies.

If I can find someone offering a skin I like for all of the mesh bodies I have, that’s what I’ll go with.

Looking at the blogosphere, it seems there are a number of Second Life adventurers that explore alternate looks but return to the bodies, skins and bits they love the most between adventures so it might be worth them offering skin appliers for other bodies. Or not.

My thoughts on the TMP “experience”

To start with the word ‘Ugh!’ was and understatement … but bloody-minded persistence had me discovering some fo the fabulous options tucked away in the styler HUD.

I didn’t experiece any customer value with the HUD shopping processand found it quite annoying.

The HUD also obstructed me from seeing and reading about what I was trying to purchase.

I don’t feel it saved any time or make anything easier and I felt it took more effort than a regular shopping experience. Maybe all of the the benefits is for the seller, not for the customer (which would be madness as it’s not a good business strategy).

However, it was quite late when by the time I bought this body so I could have just been tired and a little grumpy.

Initially, I found the styler HUD and process annoying – then I realised the styler HUD has lots of great stuff in it… it’s just too big and maybe the interface makes it feel more annoying that it really is.

If the style HUD and shopping HUD were smaller it would significantly improve the experience – they take up too much screen real-estate and obstruct your vision.

Tabs in the HUD might help – options as a series of screens… I don’t know, the size of the HUD is so annoying it makes you believe (wrongly) that the whole experience/body that is annoying.

Having the alpha HUD and styler together might be nice.

Hopefully as the “experience” moves out of beta the usability and afforances offered to the consumer will be improved significantly.

I like lots of things about the body and features available but feel as though the feet could do with some work.

I haven’t played with sliders (and probably need to)  – my first peek at my feet had me reeling backwards and gasping the word “cankles” in horrified tones.  

You choose to try using an alternative mesh foot – or stick with system feet. I’m not convinced that the feet are to blame. I’m new to the body, it may just be a user-error that I can fix with the touch of a HUD button.

When the inner organiser gets involved:

  • I’m an organisation junkie – so I had to unpack and sort everything logically before I even attempted to see how the bodies worked.

    Over the years, I’ve discovered a little disipline in terms of inventory organisation when you buy items/unpack items can save hours – and possibly days – in the future. (I’m not saying parts of my inventory aren’t so messy that they give me nightmares… because it’d be a lie.  But some of my inventory is beautifully organised). 

    I sorted by clothing folders differently too – to make it easier to select stuff (and hopefully easier to clear out my inventory as things become dated and obsolete).
    MOInvOrgBPBellezaScreenshot705-20150428-190652

  • Put the body on… and apply a skin (make sure your ‘system’ avatar is wearing the skin too if you are planning on keeping your own head.  Wear the skin as usual … and then use the appliers from the skin creator to apply the matching skin tint/tone to your mesh body.
  • Once you get to a point where you are happy enough that you can go outside and appear in public, save your body as an outfit (you can always delete or replace/update inventory it later). This will make it quicker to swap between system or mesh bodies.  You might choose to save a naked version – or you may be more modest and put on the bra and panties that come with the bodies.  Whatever suits you… but saving it as an outfit is bound to save time later – or while you are still experimenting.
    MOVenusNOutfitScreenshot706-20150428-191700

Next?

I have not yet tweaked my shape for the individual bodies – other than what I have had to do for fitting/compatibility. I’ll share some pics once I have.

Mostly this has been a brain dump so I can remember the challenges of being a mesh body newb. And I really wanted to share the comparison chart with others.

I’ll have to find some funds to get my alt a mesh body (surely SHE only needs one?) and I’m also curious about checking out male mesh body options – just because I hate not knowing. I’ve only ever worn male avatars for testing or building or tying on.

Once again, I only meant to dip my toe in the ocean but instead found myself swimming in the deep – and, I’m not even sorry!

Additional websites and resources you may also find useful:

Moggs has issues with her plumbing. No! Not THAT plumbing… actual RL plumbing.

So I get home tonight and hear the weirdest gurgling sound… after investigation, I discover my toilet has morphed into some new form of  life – and is already communicating.  At least, I think the bubbling and gurgling might be some primitive form of communication. Unsure.  Either that – or the toilet is haunted.

BUT.

Like the quasi practical once-from-the-country-girl I am, I investigate further. I run all of my taps and every drain works just fine. Everything is fine – except the  toilet – it’s still gurgling. So… I go outside to investigate the drain near the door. Also fine.

I hear “hello” from the other side of the so-high-I-can’t-see-over-it-at-all fence. I ignore it. I presume the neighbor is talking to his dog and it’s kind of rude to answer on behalf of a dog, so I don’t.

I go inside. Bang, bang, bang – there’s loud knocking on my front door. I go and answer it. It’s the dude from next door. The dude whom I’ve introduced myself to exactly once and said hello to on one other occasion. We never see one another. He says, “Are you having trouble with your plumbing?”.  I can’t help myself… I tell him my toilet is gurgling and bubbling and potentially has become a new form of life. (To his credit, he doesn’t run, his face doesn’t twitch – he’s a man in control).

At my house, it’s only the toilet but next door every drain in the house is having issues. Issues that went from bad to worse with my diligent testing of my own drains.  One of my tests was to fill the full-size bath up an inch (or three) before pulling the plug to see that the water drained away as it should. Yup, next door… floods!

My house and his house used to be one… until someone plastered up some walls, erected a fence and decided to make two houses. Apparently the plumbing is still connected. Next issue… my bloody toilet drain thingo is about half a meter or so under ground. The plumbers had to dig for it last time.

I ask him for a shovel and we start digging for it so I can avoid having to explain anything but the problem to the plumbers. I want them to fix the issue. I don’t want holes all over my backyard – which may happen if they have to locate the buried pipe.

The shovel hits the drain and I’m on my hands and knees digging out dirt with my hands (easier to clear around the drain) and the neighbor who I don’t really know moves (to be helpful and shine his torch in the hole). He didn’t tell me he was moving so I throw dirt all over him. Do I know how to win friends and influence people or what?

Yeah, don’t answer.

Anyway. I’ve emailed my agents and hopefully this will all be resolved by the time I get home tomorrow night.

If it’s not, I’m afraid the next update may be … err… a little ugly.

Night!

PS:  I came home to non-gurgling drains. My neighbor has text me to let me know all is well his side of the wall too.

This is probably the most surreal ‘meet your neighbor’ experience I’ve had.  It doesn’t beat  the time I raided the mens’  loo for toilet paper for someone stranded in one of the cubicles in the ladies ‘bathroom’. The strandee later introduced herself. recognising my watch from when I tossed the paper over the top of the door.  We became friends and I ended up being a bridesmaid at her wedding. I guess, in reflection, I’m the Queen of Bizarre Beginnings.

Champagne - a colour in words

Champagne – picture a colour with words

Champagne - a tempoary image

Champagne?  It’s not really my drink is it now? If I’m really treating myself, a good spirit or liqueur is more to my liking. A nice scotch … or – benedictine, perhaps.

For me the  luxurious decadence of champagne isn’t about the beverage – it’s about the rich images that populate my colourful imagination.

Burlesque. Lush textured champagne coloured feathers against red velvet curtains and plush leather lounges. Cigar bars – not that I’m particularly partial to cigars.  The two times I indulged, however, were as memorable as the lingering taste of cigar the next day – which, to be honest, was quite disgusting.  One evening was a boys night out to celebrate the birth of a baby boy with the proud daddy. I was quite the minority being one of two women honoured with an invite and an Aussie  amongst a small crowd of European men from all over the map.  The other occasion was some wacky-on-a-whim night out with friends. You know how those things go – you suddenly out-of-nowhere get the idea to go out for a drink. You call a few friends and end up on a wild ride full of cocktail bars, magicians, cigars and the question of whether you’ll answer the phone if  the stranger you gave your number to happens to call.

Oh… where was I? Ah, burlesque – feathers, velvet, leather, champagne glasses –  and bathtubs that one imagines full of champagne. Lush costumes. Glitter, glam, lingerie, the stage… the costumes (oh the costumes!), the sparkle… the bubble of excitement and a taste of the decadent. Fabulous stuff.

I close my eyes and there I am – the excited and low tones of the audience as they take their seats… the hush as a slight movement on the stage is spotted from the corner of the eye… the silence full of anticipation as the spotlight lights the wooden floor boards of the stage. AND then… the unconscious leaning forward, closer to the stage as the music starts and the emcee steps into the light.  There’s the sounds of awe at the physical dexterity on display; laughs of appreciation at the repartee – all mixed with a smidge of healthy voyeurism as we watch classic glamour and the tacky, sometimes vulgar, wonders merge into art.  All too soon, the show is over – what to do now? Surely it’s too early…? can’t we just…? oh.. and how about?

My mind wanders off to other luxuries… a hot bath in an aged and worn claw footed tub. Candles flickr lighting the walls as music fills the room. I lie back, listening as the suds whisper their last breath. I stretch my toes and arch back, arms folded toward one another above my head as I sigh happily.  My hand reaches out, wrapping around the thin delicate neck of the glass. The fizz and pop of the bubbles in the glass is complimentary to the bubbles covering me and it makes me smile.  I lay in the tub, warm and content not wanting to move but knowing that I must, lest my skin become wrinkled and puckered – beaten by the will of the water. I stand and water cascades back into the tub, dripping on the floor as I step on to the thick mat. I pat myself dry and wrap myself into the luscious towel, half yawning – sleepy and relaxed as I head to my bed and curl into the rich silken champagne coloured sheets, my senses fulfilled.

Champagne? It’s code for luxury, decadence… lush textures… bubbles…  sparkling goodness… hedonistic scents. It’s divine and awe inspiring. It the things that tease and tantalise the senses.

Colour sample for Luna Jubilee’s 52 Weeks of Colour Blogger Challenge II
colour swatch - champagne

Listen to this post on audiofarm

* This post was brought to you by the letter M, the number 1 and the colour of champagne.

‘How do you say this where you come from?

Yeah, yeah… the 52 Weeks of Colour Blogger Challenge posts are coming – the issue isn’t in writing the blogs but creating the images to go with the post is tricky on my old and tired computer.

In the meantime, I’m sharing recordings of me saying a list of words as per a meme circulating Plurk – the point is to hear how different people from different places and with different backgrounds pronounce the words.

Gamification links

Ambra Scarlet presented a Gamification information session for educators which was really interesting.

Unfortunately, I had to leave half way through. I did ask a friend to scribble down titles and links for me in my absence and between us we managed to note down a number of links.

Some readily recognisable examples she gave of gamification in every day things include the Khan Academy, Biggest Loser, Weight Watchers, Fitocracy/Get Addicted to Fitness.

Gamifying your classroom activities can be as simple as giving out rewards and badges for achievements – ie. Give rewards for achievement of microtasks.

Gamification is about creating aims/it’s about the milestones – and about getting reward for achievement.

Gamification does not necessarily involve IT or tricky technology – it can be be quite simple to include it in your current teaching without much modification at all.

Gamification links

  • www.khanacademy.org
    From the site: “The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.” It’s a little Amercianised but many topics can be used elsewhere – history is probably an exception.
    See http://www.khanacademy.org/about for more information how you can track student participation, etc.
  • Cell Craft – http://www.cellcraftgame.com/Home.html
    Subject: Science.
    You build cells (yes, as cells that form part of your body and such) that help fight viruses, etc. You may need to have the site with the game unblocked at your school if you wish to use it.
  • Dafurs Dying – www.darfurisdying.com/
    Good to use as a guided exercise. It teaches about society and the environment – more suited for older students.
  • Launchpad Launchball – Science Museum – http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/
    Year 3-8. With younger classes use as a classroom exercise. Older students can do work through this on their own.
  • Fate of the world – http://fateoftheworld.net/about or http://store.steampowered.com/app/80200
    Topics: civilisation. The world is melting and you need to create a world where civilisation works and the world does not work.
  • Chore Wars – http://www.chorewars.com/index.php
    Compete within your household or office for experience points. Win badges. This was not mentioned in the presentation but I thought it was silly enough to share – I think it’s a game where you might let others win and smirk when they do.
  • Interger Jim’s math squads – http://www.mathsquad.com/
    You can buy resource books for these activities/concepts which Ambra says is worthwhile.

    • Quest for the Gold Calculator- http://www.mathsquad.com/
      Students get a map – which Ambra said she divided up into game squares for math topics for 2 terms so one square might be integers, one might be multiplication, one might be division – and so on… When students achieve they get ‘quest bucks’ – which they can then use to buy options – for example out of four quizzes that students get they can have one not count – usually they don’t get to choose which one… but if they have 20 game bucks the student can choose which quiz doesn’t count. They can also buy things like pens, etc out of their game bucks. If they forget their stuff and have to borrow items from others then this costs them game bucks – so students soon learn to remember their stuff. They can also buy activities – like extra or alternative math questions, etc. Can also be used for writing activities.
    • Adventure math journal- http://www.mathsquad.com/
      Students make an Indiana Jones style adventure journal which maps their math activities out. As part of this concept – students also are doing tech, design and art. Students often get really involved in the journal while learning math. Fun! (Can I go back to school please?)
    • Adventure Express- http://www.mathsquad.com/
      Topic: Society and the environment (this is a good activity for when you have spare time in class).
  • Mystery of Time and Space (MOTAS) – www.albartus.com/motas/
    May have been recommended by one of Ambra’s colleagues.
  • Tran Towers – http://www.transum.org/Software/Trantowers/trantowers.asp
    May have been recommended by one of Ambra’s colleagues.
  • Stop Disasters – www.stopdisastersgame.org/
    Older students. Helps them think about disaster management. They really need to read all instructions – you can’t play without it and she recommends the easiest settings on the first attempt. This might be done this as a classroom activity where one student reads instructions and others participate.
  • Space Chem – http://spacechemthegame.com
    Topic: Chemistry
  • Wondermind – http://wondermind.tate.org.uk/
    From the site: “Wondermind is about a few things. It’s about the brilliant, amazing and truly mind-boggling stuff that’s going on inside your brain as you grow. It’s about the art of Alice in Wonderland, the exhibition at Tate Liverpool. And it’s about putting together both of those things: mixing art with science. Being good at one doesn’t mean you can’t be good at the other (in fact, it’s often the opposite).”
  • Thingdom – http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/WhoAmI/Thingdom.aspx
  • Minecraft – http://www.minecraft.net(this is the main mindcraft site – there are other links for educators below)
    • About Ambra’s example mindcraft game design for Lunchtime Bytes
      • Ambra advises teachers that they do need to build and design minecraft learning environments but you don’t have to make it that beautiful to be engaging. The example that she showed for the lunchtime bytes presentation even though it was beautiful, only took 5 or 6 hours.
      • The way Ambra used the minecraft world showed a large amount of teaching ability. She used the game as a teaching tool.  The educational design of the games was definitely there. It was a  nice balance of entertainment and learning.
      • A really good example of making students think was a math puzzle on the wall (in game).  The room had a range of doors with numbers (the answer to the math problem) on them and only one was right. All of the doors opened to more rooms but only one was not a dead end (right answer obviously). One room was a restroom where you could pause game. One was an abrupt dead end. Another looked like it would be the right answer because when you looked through the bars on the window you saw a door – but if you didn’t do the math and just focused on appearances you’d have been at a dead end (the second door was fake). The only way forward was to do the math and pick the right door.
      • To teach electricity and explain it there was a circuit with one box in one place another in another place. The electricity looked like red dust and had a path and if you added more red dust in the square to join it the electricity worked and you could keep going. You could get all the way into the game and see the missing square but if you didn’t read the instructions earlier you probably wouldn’t have had the red dust in your inventory to complete the circuit.
    • Massively Mindcraft – http://socialmediaclassroom.com/host/MassivelyMinecraft/
    • Minecraftedu.com “Bringing minecraft to the classroom” – http://minecraftedu.com/
    • A local school has it’s own minecraft server and they have minecraft sessions at lunchtime – it’s pretty much run by the students.
    • Jokaydia Minecraft – http://minecraft.jokaydia.com/ (for educators)
  • Gamification video from Good Game on the ABC (feature story) – http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s3187937.htm

Some popular games available on Steam that have learning components (but where education was not necessarily the key objective)

IMPORTANT NOTE TO TEACHERS: Always play the games and check the resources yourself before using them with your classroom. While they are great now, you don’t always know who owns them – or when the ownership changes hands. Sometimes the games are changed turn into something different – and this may mean they are no longer suitable for use in with students.

Note: I am not an educator – the comments here are from a talk by an educator who is also a gamer. I work closely with a number of educators but mostly I’m just interested in stuff – and often that stuff seems to have some cross over with the world of education.

Diaspora – some quick and dirty tips

I thought I’d quickly share some things I’ve learned in my short time at Diaspora with others just getting started.

  • the #tags you add to your profile to describe yourself are clickable and will take you to a ‘hash tag profile page’ – you will see a list of people on this page, they are all of the people that have used that tag to describe themselves.  This means they are a quick way for members of your networks, communities and people with shared intersts to find you.You will also see any conversations/threads that feature that #tag – where they are public or posted by someone who has you in an aspect.Second lifers for instance will find people from that community on the following hash tag profile pages (click the hash tag to view) – #secondlife, #avatar, #virtualworlds– they’ll also appear on a range of other pages depending on their profile.To find contacts and conversations, it’s really worth exploring hash tag profile pages – just replace the keyword at the end of the URL/web address when you are on any hash tag page.
  • google+ users will recognise aspects as being similar to circles and #tags as being somewhat similar to sparks.  Use Aspects to group people so that you can readily share with the groups you want to share with… or read the groups you want to read.
  • to post pretty pictures to your stream – add the cubbie application. You’ll need to use your diaspora ID to link cubbies to Diaspora – your diaspora ID is the thing that looks like an email address that you were given when you joined your Diaspora pod. For example – mine is: moggsoceanlane@joindiaspora.com (you can find this in your account settings on the account tab).
  • #tags are a great way to find people, conversations and posts of interest– I like a mix of real and virtual world discussion so I wanted to know how to find others outside of my immediate communities. You can click on a #tag in your stream to access a ‘hash tag profile page’ or you can just directly type a URL to randomly browse hash tags as keywords/topicsHere’s a few to get you started:
    #diasporajoindiaspora.com/tags/diaspora
    #secondlifejoindiaspora.com/tags/secondlife
    #photographyjoindiaspora.com/tags/photography
    #sciencejoindiaspora.com/tags/science
    #fashionjoindiaspora.com/tags/fashion
    #artjoindiaspora.com/tags/art
    #artjoindiaspora.com/tags/designNote the hash tag matches the keyword at the end of the URL.You can select to ‘follow’ a hash tag from the ‘hash tag profile page’ – the follow is in the same place you’d find ‘add to aspect’ on an individual’s profile page (top right of page).
  • Once you have contacts and want to add a number of them to a new aspect or existing aspect, create the aspect and then edit it.  To quickly add/remove people to/from aspects, go to your aspect list and edit your aspect… and tick and untick the people from your contacts you want in that aspect – or that you want to remove. Easy peasy!
  • To send  a message to more than one aspect/social circleclick on the aspects on your left menu bar one after the other – the aspects will go from looking like a link to looking like bolded regular text (this indicates you have them selected).When you write a message to share with your stream it will go to ALL selected aspects (unless you remove some before you hit send).
  • You can make a post public and share with the world by selecting the little globe/world icon at the bottom of the post box. You can also choose to share with facebook, twitter or tumblr networks. These are the icons under the message/post box.
  • The only people that appear in your stream are those you’ve added to aspects. If you don’t want them in your stream, remove them from all of your aspects.
  • To add someone to an aspect either:
    • Edit the aspect (if they are already a contact) OR
    • Go to their profile page and using the button at the top right of the screen near their name, add them to one or more aspects.
  • To get a URL that will take people directly to your profile page, select your account name (top right) and then from the drop down menu select ‘Profile’. You will navigate to your profile page. The URL in the address bar will be a unique URL for your web page. You can share this with your contacts, networks and communities to enable them to quickly access your profile page. Much quicker and easier for many than having to search on your diaspora name/ID (Your ID/account name is the diaspora ’email’ address).
  • The number of contacts in the top right of your aspects page and profile will probably continue to show 20, however if you click ‘show all’ or else choose to edit an apect, you will see all of your contacts and if there are more than 20, you’ll see them all.
  • #tags don’t work in private messages, they only work in the stream.
  • you can delete single posts and responses in the stream without deleting the whole thread.
  • In private messages you can only delete the whole thread you cannot delete single messages.
  • It seems there is no editing of posts available – something many of us came to expect and appreciate from our short time on google+. You can’t edit posts on facebook or plurk either … we all want this now… oh how quickly we adapt. 🙂