Summer is a time for experimenting and trying new things and this summer I am finally trying out TaleBlazer. This augmented reality app was designed specifically for educational uses by a group at MIT. The software can be used by either the teacher or the students.
The software is broken into two pieces – the creation tool and the game play app. In order to create the game the designer will need to work through the TaleBlazer.org website. After creating a login the game designer can start building their first game. The challenge (opportunity?) tontgis system is that is dependent on coding. I can easily see how a teacher could use this software to teach coding; I know that I am learning quite a bit about programming as I try to design my pretty simple game. Thankfully the TaleBlazer creators have simplified the programming process by providing basic ‘blocks’ which can be fit together for successful scripts. There is also a straight forward tutorial system (which I have been making ample use of). This process is not for the easily discouraged. I’ve put about 8-10 hours into learning how to program a game that will likely take students 20-30 minutes to complete. I came into this though with zero coding knowledge though and it is getting easier the more I work on the software. More experienced programmers will have a much easier time.
With this in mind, the creation software is incredibly powerful. Once mastered, the designer should be able to created a ‘Pokémon Go’ style augmented reality game. The software is best used in combination with a GPS enabled smart phone that tracks the users realworld locations. The designer can create games where players run into ‘agents’ and can collect items, recieve missions, watch videos, get audio clues, and much more. The designer can create a scoring and leveling system as well as allow players to collect items in an inventory. What I found most useful is that ‘indoor games’ can be created using a password system that doesn’t require GPS. This will allow building or classroom scavenger hunts or a GTA style individualized lesson delivery systems. This is all possible with my minimal coding ability and I can see how a more experienced programmer could create some amazing games.
The second piece of software is the TaleBlazer app that is available through the iTunes and Android app stores. Once downloaded the app generates the game that is programmed through the website. Players download the game using a code provided by the designer or through a local game finder. One of the most useful features is that the player is prompted to download the latest version of the game when they start over.
I’m excited about the possibilities in the TaleBlazer creation tool. If you would like to see the app in action I have been working on an indoor game in which the player can input a password instead of relying on GPS. I will be hiding the passwords around the building on address label stickers but if you’d like to try it out I will provide a link to a Google Doc with the passwords in the comments. The game code is gqwshxj.