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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTidepool, a codable storytelling world for kids
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Author Topic: Tidepool, a codable storytelling world for kids  (Read 23436 times)
teefal
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« Reply #120 on: October 20, 2015, 02:15:47 pm »

(Tidepool Alpha 3 is now available for anyone to DOWNLOAD).

Hi all,

I know you're busy, but I'm pretty sure you have ten minutes.  We need more sketches for kids to use in their stories and haunted houses and corn mazes, and such.

It's cool if you can't really draw ... in fact, it's better.  Draw with the freedom of a kid.

Here's what to do:

1) download and run Tidepool RIGHT NOW from the PlayTidepool website

2) click the paint canvas and draw, draw, draw!

3) click the checkmark and name your sketch.

That's it!  

Legions of kids may one day see your sketch roaming the Tidepool landscape, using it for inspiration for their own sketches, putting it in their stories.

Sound cool?   TEN MINUTES  (I timed it.)

Take care,
Tim
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 02:26:05 pm by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #121 on: October 21, 2015, 06:19:33 am »

Okay, so it's getting a little exciting now.  After opening the floodgates last night, allowing anyone to download and play, we're getting dozens of new people.

Here's my favorite sketch so far ...



(yes, by my daughter, but I still like it the most Smiley
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #122 on: October 21, 2015, 09:22:42 am »

Quote
After opening the floodgates last night, allowing anyone to download and play



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« Reply #123 on: October 21, 2015, 09:33:10 am »

Ha!   Great clip.   Already had an emergency build this morning ... Windows 32-bit wasn't working.

Got it working and the guy asked questions about deploying it to 100 computers in his school district.

"Umm..... alpha?"   (yikes)

I guess somewhere along the line people started thinking of alpha as nearly 1.0 or something ... so much so that people say "pre-alpha" now.
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teefal
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« Reply #124 on: October 30, 2015, 04:02:46 am »

book chapter 25) for you

Twenty-three years ago, I sat alone at a lofty window desk in Lehigh’s tech library, looking out at the campus, watching people go about their day with apparently more courage than me.   I was hiding.  I was reeling.

For weeks, I’d been sending a daily email to a group of Lehigh professors, describing my solo work on Gravity & Colony, my ill-fated precursor to the Web and many other things.  Were you to look at my design books from 1992, you’d be surprised by how much I got right.  And now here I was, slowly describing my dream to people who might understand.

“I wish I had time to sift through your messages and filter out the egocentric ramblings so I could attend to that part of your writings that do focus on your supposed topic. Unfortunately I don’t. Please remove me from your mailing list.”

I still remember the pain of that email.  I remember sitting at that window desk for hours, unable to summon the strength to leave the building, let alone continue with my daily emails.  For an authority figure, an expert in his field, to so callously rebuke me … I mean … lack of interest stung enough, but slamming the door on the way out … I was floored.  Little did I know this kind of response would become the Internet norm.

Slowly, numbly, I made my way back to my apartment, walking over the river as the sun set, caught between the faint hope of continuing and the certain relief of giving up.  Bracing myself as I checked my email, expecting another well-crafted time bomb to appear, I instead read this from another:

“I nearly got off this one at the very beginning, but I am glad I didn’t, I’d have missed seeing your honest voice.”

This well-timed kindness, this complete and welcome contrast, taught me more of value than a thousand lectures.  While it’s easy to say of criticism, “That’s just one opinion,” the sting is still there, and likely always will be.  Decades later, I still feel it.   But that day I learned something deeper, something I can draw upon in uncommon hours when continuing seems impossible.

Beyond the clamor of critics lies the heartfelt few. My efforts are for you.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 04:16:29 am by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #125 on: October 30, 2015, 11:03:57 am »

 Coffee

Anyone who has dealt with his fair share of professors knows that you'll find few people who are more prone to "egocentric ramblings" than them - I suspect more than a little bit of projection to be part of that first message.
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« Reply #126 on: October 30, 2015, 11:48:35 am »

Thank you JobLeonard.  Your encouraging messages help TIGSource feel less scary.
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teefal
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« Reply #127 on: November 02, 2015, 07:01:25 am »

Every player in Tidepool gets their own "parcel", which is a hectare-sized square they can build on as they wish.  It's where they put their stories.

At the center of the Tidepool world is the "hub", a four-parcel area where we can showcase the best content, teach new players, show off educational courseware, and otherwise experiment.  The "sandbox" can be changed by anyone, so it's likely to be a place of constant creation and destruction.

Player parcels start north of the hub and circle around in rings as new players arrive.  So far we've filled out the first two rings with 32 players.  Players with a parcel closer to the hub will ultimately get more visitors, since it's easier to walk from the center.  Location, location, location!

In other news, Tidepool development has stopped while I make some money.  I hope to begin the next milestone on Thanksgiving (Nov 26th).  Till then I'll post maintenance releases to fix bugs, but otherwise nothing new.  We'll keep playing Tidepool, adding content to the world, including stories and zoos and mazes, etc.

Many thanks to those who have playtested so far, as well as those who plan to try it right now Smiley


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teefal
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« Reply #128 on: November 04, 2015, 05:06:23 am »

The only two Tidepool metrics that matter:  

* signups = 175
* playCount = 75

Only goal:  increase these numbers.

EDIT:  there's also 87 downloads, but I have no way of knowing how many of these are repeats from the same person.  I'm also worried that many got stymied by the Apple/Microsoft gatekeeper scam thing, preventing them to run non-sanctioned software.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 05:14:14 am by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #129 on: November 12, 2015, 05:35:00 am »

(response to the question: I was just curious as to what type of game it will end up to be.)

Storytelling will be a big part ... the "story start" you saw was the beginning of an implementation of Collossal Cave adventure, which will have dozens of rooms and puzzles to solve, with animated & scripted things throughout.   

The best way to describe what kind of game Tidepool is .... a 3D graphical MUD/MOO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUD

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOO

Another way is the term MMORPG, though this isn't that accurate.  MMORPGs are usually not customizable (like World of Warcraft), and we don't have any RPG characteristics, at least not yet.

The least accurate way to describe it is a programmable Minecraft.  That description does convey the sandbox style of the game (you make your own stuff any way you like), but there are no predefined visuals or block-building elements.  Everything is made by players.

More will be revealed as I return to the Let's Play videos ... for now, you can make stories, structures, and programmable animated sketches.

So far, people are making zoos, mazes, and such.
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« Reply #130 on: November 23, 2015, 04:34:10 am »

Starting 200 half-days of Tidepool work till September's gold release.

It's been 3 months since I've added anything new, and half that since I've touched the project.

Our Kickstarter will run for a month starting January 21st. The goal is to raise $9000 so we can port Tidepool to Oculus Rift.

Stretch goals will be in multiples of $9000, each for a new month and platform port: Android, iOS, web browser.

If we don't make our Kickstarter goal, Tidepool development will end with our March beta release, which is 80 half-days of work from now.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 05:21:22 am by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #131 on: November 30, 2015, 06:38:42 am »

(day 1 of 30 till Alpha 4 and the Kickstarter)

Today is "knuckle down day", or the day I start putting in consistent hours on Tidepool again.  I've had two months of post-release burnout, ending with a nice relaxing Thanksgiving break.  If I want to release Alpha 4 and start the Kickstarter on my Jan 21st birthday (which I do), there's no wiggle room left.  I have 30 work days left ... three weeks before my holiday break, and three after.

The schedule's tight, though if I timebox features and stay consistent, I should be fine.  I'll aim to release a version every Friday:  

0.3.1 on Dec 4th (auto-updates, new java, home free all)
0.3.2 on Dec 11 (card decks, tab completion, compass nav)
0.3.3 on Dec 18 (colossal cave adventure)

0.3.4 on Jan 8 (improved map, timeline)
0.4 RC on Jan 15 (forum, reverse execution)
Alpha 4 on Jan 21 (kickstarter video, finished trailer)

My first goal is to have a full version of Crowther's original Colossal Cave Adventure for people to play during the holidays.  It'll be exactly forty years since his daughters played Adventure during their holiday break.  I'm hoping to honor that history.

My second goal is to finish Tidepool's core functionality before the Kickstarter.  Alpha 5's cognitive agent and Alpha 6's realistic terrain are nice-to-haves.  They'll make things much cooler, but you can play without them.

I'll be posting daily to my devlog, morning podcast, and Let's Play channel, so stay tuned.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 07:39:31 am by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #132 on: November 30, 2015, 08:49:03 am »

My first goal is to have a full version of Crowther's original Colossal Cave Adventure for people to play during the holidays.  It'll be exactly forty years since his daughters played Adventure during their holiday break.  I'm hoping to honor that history.
Really cool how you work in computer history like that!
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« Reply #133 on: November 30, 2015, 10:01:40 am »

Thanks JobLeonard.  I think it's important we remember where we came from.  I played quite a few hours of Colossal Cave back in 1981 on Compuserve (paying $6 an hour), so this history is personal to me as well.  It was a thrill to speak with Don Woods (co-creator of Adventure) a few weeks back.  I got to thank him personally for essentially starting a new genre of computer gaming.
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« Reply #134 on: December 01, 2015, 03:11:30 pm »

(day 2 of 30 till Alpha 4 and the Kickstarter)

Beginning again has been tough.  After flailing around in the source for a while, I decided to do a full step-by-step code review from startup, looking at each line, refreshing the details in my brain.   This took 2.5 hours just to open the program!   Such are custom-built frameworks, but I'm reminded how much power is under the hood, how much I have to work with.

For today's Let's Play Tidepool episode, I started implementing Colossal Cave Adventure. After some analysis of the original data file, it seems I'll need to create 66 rooms and sketch 23 items.  I drew the first four items today and begin laying out rooms.



In other news, I came across a teacher in-game from Seattle who wants to help test Tidepool next month with a group of ten grade-schoolers.  He's hoping they'll gain experience testing software and coming up with suggestions and complaints.  My response was "Yes, yes, and yes."

This morning's podcast talked about the home-free-all game I'm about to implement.   Tricky details for so short a budgeted time span.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 03:50:55 pm by teefal » Logged

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« Reply #135 on: December 21, 2015, 06:11:55 am »

Two years ago today, I started work on Project Kismet.  As that new winter dawned, I imagined it would take a year to build Tidepool and Storymill.  With pausing for four months and working half-time for five, I’ve put in a year and a half, with many months still to go.  Double sounds about right for software estimates.  Too bad the extra time is coming from my own hide.

My goal of finishing Colossal Cave by today came and went, and so I’ll work weekends in January to launch our Kickstarter on the 21st, my 50th birthday.  Whatever that outcome, I’ve at least got till Spring to finish the beta.  The Kickstarter determines how much further I go from there.  Strange perhaps to work for two years and then ask for “startup” money, but then this hasn’t been your typical project.

I still wake up every morning with new ideas to tell my tape recorder.  I still fall asleep dreaming of the Tidepool community, collaborating as they make games & stories, as they learn programming.  I still cherish the vision of Tidepool.  I believe in its future.

But I’m worn out, and need rest.  Happy Holidays everyone!   I’ll see you next year.
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« Reply #136 on: January 02, 2016, 07:57:24 am »

Back again after two weeks, I'm relaxed and ready for the 19-day uphill climb to Alpha 4 and the Kickstarter.

I've got just enough time to finish what's on my task list, without much time to find and fix new bugs.  This means I need to tread lightly and be diligent about timeboxing.  I've a few fun features to start with, then next week's push to recreate Colossal Cave in Tidepool.

Beyond coding, I need to start talking to people again, encouraging them to play Tidepool, back the Kickstarter, and spread the word.  I've got about 230 potential backers right now who have been hearing about the project for two years, so many of them need reminding.  I also need to start my larger publicity efforts.  My family business was advertising and publicity, so I've got some experience with this, but I'll be heads-down coding most of the time.  It'll be tough to juggle everything.

Enough talk ... let's go!

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« Reply #137 on: January 03, 2016, 03:57:01 am »

This morning I started designing "card decks", a new authorable 2D element in Tidepool.  Think hypertext Powerpoint, or web browser without the web. 

My inspiration for card decks is HyperCard, which itself inspired the web (and Javascript) and was later replaced by it.  Had Apple known what to do with HyperCard in the late eighties, it may have created web, though we'd all be talking "stacks" now. 

In Tidepool, you use cards for signage or tips or full-blown books.  I'll have a rich-text editor that allows you to format and arrange text, embed sketches, and link to other pages or elements in the world itself.  What you won't be able to do, at least initially is link to external web sites.  This is a policy choice rather than a technical one, since cards are displayed with a full featured web browser in-game.  I could show Wikipedia in Tidepool.  I'm choosing not to, at least for now.

In-game cards and decks will look like little billboards lying around that you click on to view fullscreen.  Inspiration here came from Croquet and Minecraft signs.  Ultimately I'd like elements within cards to be fully codable, much like they are in Etoys books, though I doubt that will happen during Alpha 4.

My first full use of cards will be the in-game tutorial which I'll write mid-January.  Adventure will also use them.

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« Reply #138 on: January 03, 2016, 08:37:31 am »

I can't test this right now, but I definitely want to - posting here so I get updates and don't forget it. The concept sounds really interesting!
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« Reply #139 on: January 04, 2016, 05:16:02 am »

Thanks Tobias.  Glad to have another aboard.
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