[SLED] Re: NWN in the Classroom and Game Question

Jeff Hiles jeffrey.hiles at wright.edu
Fri Sep 15 08:01:58 PDT 2006


Sarah Brooke Robbins writes:

> This (article about "Neverwinter Nights" being used at the University of
> Minnesota) is pretty interesting. But I'm curious, why NWN with its mod
> capabilities could be preferred over SL. Any thoughts?

Unless someone has beat me to this, I would like to contact professors Paul
and Hansen, on behalf of this group, and ask them why they chose NWM.

Meanwhile, two reasons come to my mind--in addition to all the reasons other
folks have already mentioned.

One is that it appears you can customize NWM a lot, yet get by with pretty
modest requirements for the client computers and bandwidth.

http://nwn.bioware.com/about/requirements.html

The UM profs changed the medieval fantasy world to "the modern world of a
small American city." I assume that, like many MMORPGs, the players install
a lot of that world to run locally on their computers, instead of having to
grab everything from a server as they go along.

Of course, this limits what can be changed by the players after the world is
created. But for many learning objectives, I'd think it could be a plus that
students can't build much and that the world is closed to outsiders.
(Correct me if I'm wrong about how NWM works, Daniel.)

The other big thing is that NWM is a game from the start. So if you are
trying to build a learning game, you may have more built-in support for the
kinds of things games require. (Again, I'm guessing.)

This raises a question. Hmm... How to put it...

Second Life, we say, is a natural environment for people who grew up playing
video games. But residents can get downright indignant if you call SL a
game.

As educators, might we be missing something if we focus on the environment
and forget the game-playing part?

I'm thinking of a cartoon I saw years ago when people were saying that
television was a natural tool for teaching people who grew up watching TV.
The drawing showed a video camera attached to a TV. And the camera was
pointed at the pages of a book.

Jeff (Farley Scarborough) Hiles




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