Sheltons Organic Turkey

if I empty out all the unimportant stuff here, maybe there'll be more room in my head for important things

name: shelton brett
location: western u.s.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

interactive fiction as a text book

So, these posts have to be getting boring. "Too academic, not enough laughs." Yeah, well who asked ya? Just kidding, but lately stuff's in my head that is academic so that's what I must blog.

So I had this idea, based on the project I've initiated with my Instructional Games class, about taking Interactive Fiction (IF) to other domains. I mean, I know other people have taken IF to all other areas, so no big whoop. I'm not the inventor here. But I mention to my partner-in-crime David Wiley about my idea of using IF for a textbook for a class, and he thinks he already invented it. Whatever, doooode.

Anyway, wouldn't it be crazy to have students enter a domain and walk around exploring things, alluvasudden, an NPC of David Merrill comes out and starts talking about the first principles of instructional design. Well, wouldn't that be cool? You're typing text to speak to him: he's telling you about pebbles in ponds. Fantastic! How about if you get two or more of them into he same space and have them speak to each other. This is perhaps the most important benefit of MOOs and MUDs, I think. You get people in these things that can interact with you, have conversations with you, and you begin to scratch the surface of the persona....

Well, perhaps David and I can pull off this project with some funding. We have the basis for IF from my project in the Instructional Games class I'm teaching. Dr. Wiley is innovative as hell (yeah, I said it) in making an online book that contains a whole bunch of characters (all eventually, written by himself) discussing the issues at hand for his class. This is going to be a great book (also a TEXTBOOK) to read, and you can count me in on the readership. Anyway, I don't know if people will respond to it like I have, but in the same spirit, the IF textbook should have the same kind of impact. Imagine, interacting with content and characters as the book author intended, yet having some feeling of narrative, story and autonomy as you move through chapters. Interact with characters from the past, present, and fictional in the same space. Survey an entire fields (Instuctional Technology) by typing commands to "go north", "turn on lamp" and "kill Wiley with knife." Cool stuff.