I have been busy since 3:30 AM this morning, working on getting a basic prototype of the DigiBahn game ready for the 2009 ACTFL Annual Conference. I know that it won't be until November 22, but I'm afraid that once the semester starts the first week in September, I'll get too busy with other things. Besides, adding meshes to what has been developed this far will simply be a matter of importing, scaling, and then positioning. And I should also really start looking at grants and writing articles.
This test run of the Blender game engine sees the completion of the underpass stairs (finally got the railing installed; now I just need to get the textures applied) and a nice skybox (there is no air pollution in Germany, right?). Although I grabbed the skybox from Tony Mullen's excellent book, Mastering Blender, it will be a fairly easy procedure to make one myself; I can do this when I have more time. Anyway, here it is:
In any case, the skybox gives the game a more realistic feel, and I'm happy to note that the FPS (frame rate per second) did not really drop below 50. I was a bit disappointed, however, as the original screen capture was meant to have audio narration, but Camtasia didn't seem to pick it up. I'll have to fiddle with the controls and try again later.
Basically, what I wanted to say in the narration was this (major points):
- Language usage is situated within specific, real-world communities of practice;
- Classroom-based language instruction, however, tends to be purely academic, with no real-world contextualization;
- This type of instruction can be applied to real-world setting, but only with difficulty;
- 3D games can simulate a real-world environment, allowing players to experiment with cultural hypotheses and play with language in a virtual environment; and
- Learning in a virtual environment should transfer better to a real-world environment than traditional classroom-based learning.
I'm currently exploring how narratives of space, both virtual and real, can be aligned with the way that people apprehend reality through narrative frameworks. Can a connection be made between the game narrative and the sociocultural narratives of a real-world space (here: Stuttgart Central Station) via a virtual rendition of this space? Hmmm....