Week 5 of the course saw the teams being given an exercise that involved building a game around the Second Life platform. Team 2 member, Nicholas Palmer, once again, got the ball rolling by providing a useful mind map of the task at hand.
The game was based around the well-worn concept of role playing games (RPG), the format of this type of game is something that I am very familiar during my teenage years as I was an avid player (and sometimes author) of the “Call of Cthulhu” RPG system. Hamish Macleod offered a couple of examples that the teams could use or create something that was of interest to them. Hamish’s examples included:
- An Employment Exit Interview
- Drama on Drug Action at the Synapse
The team members suggested some ideas that could make a potential RPG. One of my proposals involving a sales pitch by a young team of comedians for an idea of a comedy show to some hard-bitten TV executives was taken by Marie Leadbetter and developed further by basing it upon the BBC TV’s “Dragons’ Den” format. Marie was kind enough to create a wiki for the team to start fleshing out their ideas. The wiki was broken up into 6 sections:
- Game Description
- Platform / Design
One of the side-effects of developing this game was that for some of the team, the concept of “Dragons’ Den” was not clear to them despite the presence of the rules and links to the BBC show and the Wikipedia article. This suggested to me that we were not using an universal cultural reference point on which to build and, as such, they felt they were not able to make a productive and fruitful contribution to the team project.
One of the issues here, is that teams need to turn around an idea into a fully-fledged “product” within a week. This means that the teams need to “virtually” meet with each other to get the ball rolling. Given that some of the team members are quite geographically and temporally displaced it does mean that they cannot always attend virtual meetings on Skype or Second Life. We can, of course, communicate via the Discussion Boards on WebCT, but again it could sometimes take up to a whole day before a reply is received. Therefore, in order to complete the project, some of the team members will have to “trailblaze” the project forward and having the other team members “piggy back” on when they are able to – this is clearly not an ideal situation as you want team members to have an equitable and democratic experience.
The Dragons’ Lair RPG wiki can be accessed here…