Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) is at London Olympia on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th January, and alongside the (expensive) main conference there is a free festival, featuring a variety of sessions on digital learning.
On Thursday from 10.30 - 12.00, iO are hosting a session on Game Based Learning at Salon Bourdieu (S2):
This session will cover three different areas of the use of games in learning and most importantly games creation in creating learning opportunities for students. The session will draw on practical experiences that have already taken place in schools, refer and develop thinking based on newly released research outcomes, and give delegates solid starting points for them to take away and develop in their schools or organisations.
As part of this, myself, Kristian Still and Tom Cole will be talking about Interactive Fiction and Quest.
This session will explore how classroom practitioners have enabled their students to start writing, creating and engaging with Interactive Fiction games. The speakers will examine how disengaged readers are now reading and even better engaged in writing games. Examples of how IF is being used in other subject areas such as Science are being explored and developed.
Register for the festival - it’s free.
More details are in the full schedule (annoyingly there seems to be no way to link to a particular session, so scroll down to Game Based Learning at 10.30 on Thursday. Also for some reason the programme has me down as “Alex Ward”).
Hope to see you there!
I’ve started work on Quest 5.2, aiming for a release in the Spring. One of the first new features I’ve implemented begins to take Quest away from “pure” text adventures to open up another type of interactive storytelling - gamebooks, also known as Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA).
The gamebook mode is fundamentally a simple alternative Core library, built on the Quest platform. This means that you can create games using Quest’s visual editor, include graphics, upload your game to be played online in a web browser, and have your game converted into an app - everything that a “full” Quest game supports, with the difference that it is much simpler to create and play a gamebook, as players are only given a limited set of choices.
To create a gamebook, the “New Game” dialog has been updated with a new “Game type” option:
The Editor for Gamebooks is simple - each game comprises a number of pages. Each page has some descriptive text, and links to other pages.
Pages automatically default to names Page1, Page2 etc., but you can call a page any name you like.
This is what a new gamebook (as shown in the Editor above) looks like when you play it:
That’s all there is to it - pretty simple stuff really, at least for this first version. There is definitely potential for adding functionality in the future - because gamebooks are not fundamentally any different from ordinary Quest games, the full power of Quest’s scripting engine is available. This means that different behaviour could be triggered based on the player’s previous choices, random elements could be added, YouTube or Vimeo videos embedded, and a whole lot more.
Hopefully this new mode will open up interactive stories to a wider audience - if a full text adventure is too much work, a gamebook is one way of creating an interactive story where you really can focus much more on the writing than the implementation.
Gamebook mode is part of Quest 5.2, which is currently in development. I’m aiming to release this around Spring, although there will be a beta version before then. If you want to try it out right now, you will need to build the code yourself.
Quest 5.1 is now available.
The new version of Quest features the following improvements below (mostly copied from the beta announcement, so apologies if this is all familiar!)
All games on textadventures.co.uk can now be played online via iPhone, iPad and Android browsers, and on desktop browsers the player has a fresh new look.
Although the main website isn’t particularly mobile-optimised (just yet!), if you click the “Play online” link for a game and are using a mobile browser, you’ll see the new mobile-friendly version of the player.
The inventory, compass etc. are moved off onto separate screens, which you can access by tapping the “+” button next to the input box.
This means the experience of playing a game via a mobile web browser is similar to what you get with a stand-alone Quest game app. So that’s (currently) 356 games which are now playable through a mobile web browser - plenty of choice for gaming on the move, as long as you have an internet connection.
If you log in first, you can save your progress as you go along by tapping the “Save” button on the “More” tab. The game is then saved under your account, which means if you later log in from a desktop machine, you can resume your game from there.
Mobile browser games support pictures, which are resized to fit the size of the screen. You can also use hyperlinks for those games which have them (although most of the games currently on the site were written for older versions of Quest which didn’t support hyperlinks). You can use the Inventory and Location panes to give you quick access to objects without typing. Also, games written for Quest 4.x and later support abbreviations, so you can type “x mon” instead of “look at security monitors” for example.
The mobile player will automatically adjust to the resolution of your device, so it works nicely on tablets too.
The desktop browser player now also has a fresher look:
I hope you enjoy the experience of playing text adventures on your smartphone - don’t forget about the stand-alone smartphone apps as well, allowing you to play on your phone even without an internet connection. I hope to release more games as apps in the near future, and if you’re interested in having your game converted into an app, please get in touch.
Quest 5.1 Beta is now available. This is the beta test version of the next release of Quest, which features the following improvements: