Massively multiplayer algebra

Raph Koster’s blog entry with that title got me onto this cool find:

 

Check out Hippasus, an MMO where magic is done via math (shades of DeCamp & Pratt’s Compleat Enchanter). The goal is explicitly to teach math, apparently; you earn power and respect by mastering mathematical concepts in a world that mirrors classical antiquity.

Gotta love a description like this:

Different areas will be culturally, behaviourally, visually, and mathematically distinct to allow for an enhanced user experience.

Here’s the URL to Hippasus: http://www.frozennorth.net/games.htm, and below are some highlights from their info. This is interesting from several perspectives that I’ve been discussing in my blog. It takes the educational application of gaming farther than most others yet, since it is an MMO designed and created with a specific educational purpose. This is much different, much more direct, and likely a much easier sell than using a mainstream commercial MMO for educational purposes. It’s also an independently-produced special-purpose MMO – something Raph and I have both been talking about, and something we will be seeing much much more of in the near future. And those highlights about the game:

Project Hippasus is an online, community-oriented massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) with the explicit purpose of educating its players in various fields of mathematics. Players assume the role of so-called ‘arithmancers’: mages and sorcerers who base their power in fundamental mathematical concepts.

Project Hippasus is a fantasy online role-playing game in which the player takes on the role of a student of magic in a world paralleling classical history. The player undertakes pilgrpics to gain understanding and mastery over the world’s innate magic; learning, perfecting, and creating their own spells. Magic is based off of a logical system with emergent properties. Through the course of the game users are encouraged and helped to develop logical/mathematical skills which allow them to shape their experience as they see fit.

The game takes place in a world that primarily parallels human antiquity. The world will be physically based on a modified Europe, with plans to later expand into Asia and the Americas. The map will include countries inspired by classical Greece, Egypt, and the Indo-Aryan region (Persia and India, notably), 14th century Italy, a Frankish depiction of Germany (5-10th century), and 13-14th century China, along with some amalgamation of Celtic and Norse cultures.
Different areas will be culturally, behaviourally, visually, and mathematically distinct to allow for an enhanced user experience. Characters will be born into different civilizations based on physical traits defined on character creation. A few regions will be determined based on initial physical characteristics, with clothing options and other accessories of those regions being presented to make the final decision on what area to create the character in.
Areas in the world will have different mathematical concepts introduced to the users at different times encouraging exploration and cross-cultural integration as part of the learning experience.

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