Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Game version(s)

Hi all,

In response to some problems people are having with adapting the game, I've made a few more changes.

The first is that I've created a version of the game using JSON instead of XML. The importance of this is that those people having trouble with the XML files can now use simple text files which should fix most of their problems. JSON is just as easy, if not easier, to read and write than XML, so you should be able to change the format of your questions rather easily. I changed the format of all my questions from XML to JSON by simply using a series of find-and-replace.

The second change I've made is making it possible for those people not wishing to use the website evaluation questions to use that space for regular questions. Although I suggest using some kind of challenge questions, as the game will still assign a light of any color for a correct answer or remove a light for a wrong answer. Instructions on how to make these changes are in the gamedirections.txt file.

Here is the zip file: game.zip

Let me know how it works!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Working Games?

If anyone has their version of the game up and running with no problems, please let Amy or I know. I'd like to put a link to it up on the left hand side here, as well as the thrill of just knowing that someone actually got everything working.

I only hear about it when y'all have troubles!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Scott's new job

My big news this month is that I am the new e-Learning Librarian at Appalachian State University. I started here on November 12 and I am still supporting the Info Lit Game and will hopefully be making it even better in the future.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Time for Another Update

The Information Literacy Game has a new update and a bunch of new features.

Get the zip file

  • You can track results using a parameter in the URL

  • You can use alternate question sets by using a parameter in the URL

  • There is a new optional image for the game board

  • There is a new set of optional images for the dice

  • You don't need to run the game in a window of fixed size any longer, it adjusts to the size of the window you have open

  • This is Version 2.0! I'm going to start using tracking numbers so people will know if they have a new or older edition

The new board looks like this:
New game board image

Stay tuned for future information and updates!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Want to write a chapter in our book?

Working Title: Casebook on Gaming in Academic Libraries
An ACRL Monograph
Amy Harris, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a_harri2@uncg.edu
Scott Rice, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, serice2@uncg.edu

Deadline for proposals: August 31, 2007
Expected publication: Summer 2008

Gaming in all its forms is making its way into academia. “Casebook on Gaming in Academic Libraries” will provide case studies and reports of best practices and experiences in the many ways in which academic libraries have chosen to become part of this trend.

“Casebook on Gaming in Academic Libraries” will include three sections to encompass the variety of ways gaming has been incorporated into academic libraries.
Section 1: “Gaming as Marketing”
­ How is gaming used to bring students into the library and make students aware of other library services?
Section 2: “Gaming and Collections”
­ How have academic libraries started augmenting their collections with hardware and software?
Section 3: “Gaming and Teaching”
­ How is gaming used for teaching information literacy skills in academic libraries? How does gaming fit into the academic classroom?

Possible topics may include but are not limited to the following:
Information literacy games
Game night hosting
Student orientation games
Games in information commons
Game software and hardware collections
Games to train staff

Individuals interested in contributing a chapter are invited to e-mail a proposal to the editors on or before August 31, 2007. Proposals should be 400-600 words and include information about your name, affiliation, a working title, and abstract. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified of acceptance by September 14, 2007. Full chapters will be expected by January 15, 2008.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Session: Information Literacy through a Unique Education Gaming Applications

By Annie Downey and Kristin Boyett from the University of North Texas

At the beginning of a three-year, three-quarter of a million dollar project to build an RPG.

Incorporates 3 Educational Elements: Information Literacy, Online Education, Educational Gaming

Game requires full participation- experiential learning, inquiry-based learning

Game design concept:
Character driven
Problem solving
Modules build on one another

Game can't be lame. They're sacrificing some learning to avert lameness.

Program requirements:
Student logins
Ability to save
Monitoring capabilities

Evaluation Plan:
Usability testing during development
Focus groups
Game designers on UNT faculty
Student evaluations (cross-compared with traditional LI)

Annie, Kristin, Programmer (hired at competitive salary), team of part-time/student programmers, faculty advisers

Budget: huge

My summary: Grants are cool. This definitely gave us some things to think about when we work on the Next Big Thing. Again, it's also nice to see that gaming has room for everyone, from the huge money projects to our little game.

Keynote Speech: Big Fun, big learning: Transforming the world through play

Good morning! Another live-blog from the land of Gaming, Learning and Libraries, this one by Gregory Trefry from GameLab (created Diner Dash- cool game!).

Held Come Out & Play Festival in NYC last year.

Real-life city-wide games, like Human Pong

Alternative Reality Games: large online games (like I Love Bees)

Big games are also partly social experiment: Huge pillow fight in a square in Toronto

The Canon:
PacManhattan- people strap Pac Man suit on and run around Washington Square with ghosts chasing you, marked off areas and used cell phones to call when he arrived in
Mogi-Mogi- people pick up virtual objects using cell phones
Big Urban Game- people took big balloons around city, anyone could join (in Twin Cities)
The Beast- tie-in with movie AI. Microsoft thought they designed 6 months of content, people on online bulletin boards solved in 3 days
Space Invaders- projected on a building in Manhattan, used motion-detecting cameras for movement (could we do this on the side of Jackson Library? AH)
Journey to the End of the Night- Kind of like Zombie Tag. People had to run all over NYC and try to avoid capture
You Are Not Here- paper with NYC map on one side and Baghdad on the other, had to hold paper up to sun and find places in Baghdad by going to places in NYC, when people arrived they learned about a place in Baghdad
Payphone Warriors- Identified 30 or 40 payphones in the city and people had to make a call from each one. Like Capture the Flag.

His Trip to the Library: Hadn't been in a while, went to NYPL (it was closed)
Library Assets: many locations (game board!), Collections (photos, etc.), Spaces (built-in territory to capture), Content, Persistence, Unique Identifiers (scanners would be cool), Referees (librarians), Tools (copiers, computers, wifi), Display (to keep track of the game), Refreshments

5 Ideas:
Secret Agent (scavenger hunt)- secret meeting spots, ask referee a question, avoiding detection (to avoid disturbing others, say if referees catch you, you'll lose points), collect codes (like DaVinci Code), Level Up (higher level after a certain number of tasks)
Then and Now (citywide photo hunt)- take old photos and ask students to take pictures of what it looks like now
Rent Control- the real real estate game- uses old rent maps
Abolish (ARG)- narrative about ending slavery
Babel! (Code breaking)- students in teams have to figure out a message
Dewey's Demons (collect creatures generated by codes)- web-based game where checking out books give them codes which can give them characters

Process: Look around the world, Give normal activities goals, Simple ways to track moves, Playtest, playtest, playtest

My summary: I want to create a big game for our library. Now. That would definitely improve the fun quotient of our freshman library tour.
Oh yeah, and project an old arcade game on the library tower.

Come out and play, September 28-29

Monday, July 23, 2007

Another Session: Making Book: Gaming in the Library

By Natalie Gick, Simon Fraser University

GamesRoom is in it's third iteration

GamesRoom v1: TechBC
Student Initiative: for game design, other areas of study, future employment

GamesRoom v2: SFU Surrey
PCs, Consoles and TVs
Students using GamesRoom started using other library services

GamesRoom v3: New campus
About 500 sq. ft.
Gaming equipment and shelving, soundproof

400+ games
3 day loan
Boxes shelved, games behind shelf
Lock or loan (TVs are locked down, everything else is checked out)

Also have a guitar and a driving wheel

PC Games
Over 100
4 hour loan (for in-library use)

Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS

Legacy Systems: Reproduction arcade game with lots of old games

Copyright and Loans
PC Games: Click-through licenses, compromise is 4 hour loan period
Console games: DVD-like
Permission to Loan: who owns rights?, asking was largely unsuccessful

Partnerships/Collaboration: Library, School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Academic Computing Services (buy and support), Student Games Club (3 liaisons to library)

Management: Pre-load (can run out of space), now hybrid (pre-install some, students install others, regularly re-image)

Multiplayer gaming: Games Night in the labs (sponsored by Games Club), computers are reimaged the next day

Online Gaming: uses too much bandwidth

Selecting Games: Students, Gaming Research Group, Faculty & Graduate Students, Librarian Jamie Anderson (use Metacritic, Game Developer Choice Awards, BAFTA, School Library Journal to help)

Purchasing Games: Amazon, Best Buy, Baker & Taylor, EB Games, Library Acquisitions (Platform, version, direct link to game)

Cataloging: Searchable platform (538 System Requirements) or Local MARC field (made searchable, created authority file for platform names), game Key is suppressed in local field

Challenges: Equipment failures, Noise, Monopolized (not enough women), Abuse of privileges

Code of Conduct

My summary: What a fantastic idea for libraries! A space that's completely fun for students to use to blow off steam. That is a great way of doing outreach.

Next Techsource Session: Gaming in the Library: From Collections to Services and Beyond

By Lisa Hinchcliff from UIUC

Gaming Initiative:

Games are an important text of our culture, trying to create a historic collection today
Needs assessment
Funding: used media and monograph money, Friends of Library, donations
Collection Storage: anything that would fit into lockable DVD case is on shelf, Guitar Hero guitar is at desk
Access and Use Policies: 1 week checkout (same as movies)
Licensing/Publisher Relations: game system games not a problem, PC games are a problem because of registration

Game as Object (the game itself) vs. Game as Experience (game as people played it)
Vintage Games Donations
Emulation and Emulators (code)
XBox Live and Nintendo Virtual Console

Teaching and Research
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary
Classroom Use and Support (games on reserve, loaded on library computers)

Gaming News Blog
Gaming Nights
Librarians as Researchers and Teachers
Collaborations on Archival and Use Standards
Campus Gaming in Learning Symposium in Fall 2008

Summary: UIUC does cool stuff.

Gaming in Academic Libraries: The Why and How

This session is being presented by our friends down the road, Lynn Sutton and Giz Womack from Wake Forest, and Lori Critz from Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest heard about Game Night from Georgia Tech, as a marketing technique to reach freshmen who don't attend library tours. They also wanted to support innovation and creativity. They also see gaming as more than marketing, games were social networks before there were social networks.
Game Night Formats
Open Game Nights:
Two on Fridays in September from 7-11
One on Friday in February from 7-11

Held on a Friday in February from 3-6

Students registered in advance for both formats, they can come without signing up, but can't play

Partners- Library IT Team Staff, Resident Technology Advisors (already established relationship)
Equipment- LCD Projectors (got old ones from campus IT), Screens, Students bring systems
Supplies- Food, Extension Cords, Tape and Sharpies (for labeling equipment), RCA connectors, Trophies

Email, flyers, word of mouth, student newspaper, flyers with lollipops attached, You Tube video

First one- $425 (rented screens)
Subsequent ones- about $170 (have since purchased screens)

Have surveyed students twice
  • Students like the events
  • Students like bringing their own consoles
  • They like both open gaming and tournaments
  • Keep mixing it up

Georgia Tech Gaming

Part of RATS (Recently Acquired Tech Students) Week
Get library staff involved with students
Brand library as center of technology

Facebook, flyers, posters

Formed committee with IT and library (IT set up LAN, library handled everything else)

Used Unreal Tournament (1st person shooter)

Also included food, music, DDR, demos, GT improv group, A capella club, Anime Club, etc.

Projection Screen (rented for $500, about 12 feet wide)
Computer Stations- Game loaded on each machine, dusted each machine to limit overheating, headphones added

4-30 minute elimination rounds and finals
64 players per round
Finalists= Top 4 scorers for each round
Gamers could use own controller
Players pre-registered for time slots

Semifinalists won headphones, B&N giftcards, flash drives
Winner won 20 GB hard drives

Took a lot of time

Coolness factor
Face recognition
Partnership with IT
Subtle indoctrination
Clubs see library as good partner
Image boost for staff

Lessons learned:
Unreal Tournament had limited appeal to females and non-gamers
350 estimated hours of labor put in
Not possible without volunteers

Today at GT:
Changed date away from fraternity rush (crowd increased to 700!)
Retro gaming (Donkey Kong, Pac Man)
Board games
Poker tournament
Speed dating
Ninja Tag

My thoughts:
This presentation was great. I enjoyed seeing how other universities do Game Night. I'm glad that our Game Night is very low-key in comparison. We don't do signups anymore, and the LAN tournament just sounds way too labor-intensive for me! Also, our experience with cleanup was vastly different than that at GT. After our first Game Night. I picked up one cup. I think the students so badly wanted us to do it again that they went out of their way to make sure things were picked up. Many of them also stuck around to help us clean up.

Also, I have to echo their emphasis on working with student groups. Our Game Night would be nearly impossible without the help of the Science Fiction Fantasy Federation, Student Government and the Campus Activities Board. SFCubed provides our game systems and does some marketing, SG helps with marketing, and CAB markets and checks IDs at the door. Without their help, we probably couldn't pull it off.

I'm already excited about our next Game Night on September 5!

Live from ALA Techsource Gaming Symposium!

I'm blogging live from ALA Techsource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium, where I'll be blogging for the next two days. Scott and I are speaking tomorrow morning, so if you're here, please come and see us!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Little Delayed, but...

We'll be at ALA Annual, doing a poster session on Monday from 11-12:30. You can find us at Table 5 (if you're not going to see Julie Andrews, that is).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Information Literacy Game Problem

A few people attempting to adapt the Game for their library have written to tell me that they get errors when they try to run the game. I think I've finally isolated the problem.

It appears that some servers do not set the response headers correctly for the XML files that hold the questions. The header is set as text/plain rather than text/xml, which causes the browser to go wonky when it's looking for XML to come back and the server tells it that it's getting text.

There are a few possible solutions. The first, and best solution, involves speaking to the person who administers the web server you have placed the files on and explaining that they need to set the MIME type of files with the .xml extension to be sent as application/xml or text/xml.

The second, which is an incomplete fix, is to paste the following into your newgame.html file:
try {xmlhttp.overrideMimeType('text/xml');}

Place that little bit of javascript right after the part that reads:
xmlhttp.open("GET", url, true);

This should fix the problem in Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 7. I'm not certain if that will help those with Internet Explorer 6. I am looking for other fixes which might help there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Big Current Project

In addition to attempting to keep up with the Information Literacy Game, we (along with our new partner, Lynda) are working on a major overhaul of our Information Literacy Tutorial.

And we are incorporating many mini-games and other gaming elements into it. The new tutorial will be written using AJAX and I am fairly sure we will be releasing the code and content under a Creative Commons License just as we did with the game.

My thinking behind creating this game is that it will be somewhat of a Choose Your Own Adventure (you remember those books, right?) type of experience. The user will be given a certain set of content, but will be able to choose the order it comes in and how in-depth and detailed the information should be.

The nifty thing about it is that the content will all be in XML format (just like the Game) with many ways of configuring the presentation. So another librarian could write a module on web evaluation and by filling in a few simple options, include a quiz or a game (or both!) in the module.

I'll try to post more information and demos as it is developed, but the idea behind it all is similar to the Game: other librarians with little tech skill can make a sophisticated (and fun!) tutorial quickly and easily.

Information Literacy Game Updates

For those working on getting the game working at their own library, a few notes and a bug fix or two.

If you attempt to set up the game and run it from your own machine (as opposed to putting the files on the server), try it in Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. For some reason, IE will not load the XML from your local machine but will simply sit and spin its wheels. If you place the files on a server and access it there, IE should work fine.

As for Firefox, there have been a few reports of the Game crashing the whole browser! I have been able to test this to some degree and confirmed this ugly behavior. I believe it has to do with the sound implementation. I am still looking at possible fixes. To mitigate the problem, I have posted a new sound javascript file here. So place that file in the folder where you keep the current sounds.js folder.

In addition, you will need to add the following to the newgame.html file.

Cut and paste this:
<div id="sound"></div>

In place of this:
<script src="sounds.js"></script>

Cut and paste this function in place of the old psound function:

function psound(soundobj) {
if (sounds==1){
var thissound=document.getElementById(soundobj);

Finally, add the line:
<script type="text/javascript" src="sound.js"></script>

Right after the style section and before the current script section. It should look something like this:
</style><script type="text/javascript" src="sound.js"></script><script>...Configuration Section...etc.

Once that is in place, Firefox should run the game fine with the sounds off (which they are by default).

Sorry about the Hiatus!

I have been away from the blog for awhile, but hopefully I can get back into the swing of things. Lots of news and links and updates to the Information Literacy Game to share.

For those who want to see either Amy or I in person, we will be doing a poster session at ALA in a couple of weeks. After that we will be speaking at the ALA TechSource Symposium in Chicago in July. Please stop by our poster or talk and say 'hi'.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

ACRL Roundup

I realize this post is about two weeks overdue, but I'll chalk that up to allowing myself plenty of time to roll things around in my head.
I saw and heard about some incredible gaming projects going on in academic libraries across the country. The University of Cincinnati is working on a game that we saw some screenshots from, and it looks amazing. I'm excited to keep up with its creation. I also heard a little about a game at James Madison that sounds awesome.
Of course, presenting our poster session with Scott was a great, overwhelming, exhausting experience. I think we ended up talking with and giving handouts to about 400 people. Since ACRL, we've heard from enthusiastic librarians all over the country who are eager to adapt our game for their own libraries. Hearing from colleagues really makes the whole process worthwhile.
On a (brief) philosophical note, I realized that the thing I like about gaming in libraries is that it is accessible to everyone. Librarians are creating and have created games that range in complexity from our two-person six month project to multi-year, team-built projects. There's room for anyone in gaming.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gaming, not just for Millenials

There was an article in the New York Times today called Video Games Conquer Retirees that discusses how retirees are playing online games. Apparently many of them also love to play the Nintendo Wii. This article grabbed me because when librarians talk about gaming in libraries, we are usually trying to reach Millenials. This article shows that we should think bigger and focus on trying to reach nontraditional students with our games as well.

Friday, March 30, 2007

ACRL Poster Session Handouts

For those wanting the handouts and links after seeing our poster session at ACRL, here they are:
Information about the Game (Word document)
Make Your Own Game (Word document)
Game Poster (PowerPoint file)

Play the Game!
Get the Game Files

ACRL Blogging

It's late afternoon at the ACRL conference, and I'm attending the Blended Librarian session. I met a lot, lot, lot of people at my poster session this morning. We ran out of our 175 handouts in about 20 minutes, and we ended up getting cards and e-mails from another couple of hundred people.

Get Blended: Injecting Instructional Design and Technology Skills into Academie Library Jobs
Steven Bell
John Shank
Kathryn Shaughnessy
Sean Cordes

Use Elluminate to webcast free sessions
John talking about what a BL is
Related positions include web & instructional lib, instructional tech lib, learning tech lib, instructional dev lib and electronic learning lib
Instructional design: to develop instructional tools and work on process
Instructional Technology: Work w/libs to pick appropriate techs

Qualifications: Multimedia software, organizational, project management, instructional design, communication, teaching, instructional technology
Project Management skills top need

Duties: digital learning materials, lib instruction, reference, info lit, keeping up w/ tech, assessment, training programs

Libraries adding instructional designers who are not librarians to get the skill sets

Role is to enhance lib's instructional program, identifying techs
Biggest challenge to BL: identifying what does need to be integrated with tech, bringing people together at all levels of institution, time and perseverance

Integrate info literacy into core curriculum
Biggest challenge for BL: libs not sure it's meeting a need, tech is beyond libs

Other stuff mentioned
Low threshold apps
Parks Multimedia studio
high end digital video editing system
Podcasts using audacity & innerTOOB
Wikis using PBWiki, Wikispaces, & PMWiki
Tutorial with captivate, blog with blogger, wordpress

Friday, March 16, 2007

Information Literacy Game updated again

Another update to the download files for the Information Literacy Game. As people download it and give it a whirl, I quickly learn where the problems are. This update includes a crucial file, the image for the gameboard itself!

It also includes a change in the CSS file and changed instructions in the gamedirections.txt file explaining how to change the URL of the boardgame.gif file.

If you've already downloaded everything and just need the board image, here it is.

To download the entire zip file again, here it is.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Upcoming Conferences

Scott and I are working the conference circuit over the next few weeks. Locally, we will be presenting poster sessions based on The Information Literacy Game at the UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference on Wednesday, March 21. Then, the following week, we will be at ACRL. Our poster session there is scheduled for Friday, March 30, 10:00-11:00 AM. We're poster 32. Please stop by and visit!
I also plan on doing some blogging about all the new, wonderful things I learn while we're in both places, so check back soon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Information Literacy Game updated

The game files available for download at http://library.uncg.edu/game/mygame.asp have been updated. Seems I forgot to include the actual sound files in the package! Also, included is a bug fix in the game script.

You can also download the files here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Your own Information Literacy Game

For those folks that are interested, the Information Literacy Game is now available to be adapted for use in your library. You can download the zip file, which is complete with the question sets, images, web pages, scripts, sounds, and a text file called gamedirections.txt which explains what it all means.

If you are having trouble getting it to work for you, let us know and we can help. If you do put your own version of the game, tell us about it and send us a link and we'll include it in the links on our page.