Design News

Design News

Fictional Animals

As soon as you step into the world of Radix, you notice the animals. Big and small, cute and creepy, a seasoned Radix traveler has seen it all. But what you may not think much about is how the Radix game designers decided what animals to put in the game. Some animals are quite realistic, like the teebeedee bird and the polka fish. But others, such as the plumebill or the spekkler, are not quite like anything you've seen before here on Earth. They may have certain characteristics in common with real world animals, but they are still very unique.

From a gameplay point of view, it's more interesting to explore a new world full of animals and plants you've never seen. It's exciting and exotic! But fictional species help accomplish our learning objectives as well. Radix encourages players to explore and explain this new world, and it's certainly more challenging to explain a world of creatures you've never seen before. These creatures are realistic enough that knowledge of the Radix ecosystems can certainly transfer to the real world. However, the only way to find out what traits and genetics these creatures have is to use your trait examiner tool on them and to try breeding them yourself. In addition, having a fresh new set of content means players are all starting on the same level. No one can bring prior knowledge of specific animal behaviors and use it as an advantage, which ensures that no external information is necessary. Everything players need to know they can discover within the game, and that's where both the fun and learning happen.

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Botanical Gardens


If Ysola had a botanical garden, it would look something like this! With plants from all the biomes growing together in one place you can see the rich array of vegetation that grows across the island. Bright grassland feltspittles, slimy forest jelly hats, and curly swampy helix weed. Each plant has unique traits and attributes to explore in the world. Use your measure tool to compare the heights of different plants. Use the trait examiner to collect color data on the shades of mushroom colors and use statistics to describe that distribution. Play through quests to discover medicinal uses and nutritional properties of the plants too.

At first glance it may seem that the plants in Radix are just decorative, or there to set the scene. But once you explore them further you will see what an integral part of the game and the Ysolian culture they really are. This is not by accident and it's not just for fun. By giving them measurable properties, genetic traits, and narrative value, the plants enable players to make a lot of discoveries on their own, in the domains of both math and biology. Players looking at leaf stickiness for one quest might also discover the fascinating recessive color pattern they have. This encourages inquiry and motivates players to keep exploring, which are important design goals for the Radix game.

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Birds of Ysola

No one has yet published a Field Guide to Ysolian Birds, but here are a few avian species to get you started. The bright orange teebeedee birds are known for their unique call of "teebeedee! teebeedee! tee tee teebeedee!". The crested fen has a deep beak for storing small fish and grubs that it may want to snack on later. And the blackburns, while often considered urban pests, have fabulous colors and patterns that can be traced back thousands of years. Keep an eye (and ear) out for these species on your next birdwatching trip!

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Ysolian Aquatic Life

  

Most of the aquatic animlas around Ysola are hard to spot. They're hidden in rivers or swamps, or live on the coast where travelers can't get to. However, there is an ophidian snapper that can be observed lounging in the mucky shallows of Murky Maws. And although the polka fish are somewhat camouflaged in the muddy grassland rivers, they are large and like to swim near shore to scrounge for snacks. Keep an eye out for these species next time you go wading!

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Plumebill Pride


Are you aware of the importance of plumebills to the people of Ysola? These artifacts are just a few symbols showing how dear they are to the hearts of the Ysolians. If you are interested in this fascinating species, here are a few ways to find out more:

  • Find real live plumebills in Lednem Wilds and in The Menagerie.
  • Visit Bulu's house.
  • Play the EV2 evolution quest line, Plumebillian History 101.
  • Participate in the call for plumebill fan fiction!
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Lower Sabetlan Marketplace


Once you've finished the algebra quests in Sedge's Edge, you will have earned the right to trade in the legendary Lower Sabetlan Market. This is where the real wheeling and dealing goes on, but you have to be smart to get deals here. The secret to this marketplace is that the values fluctuate day by day. A clever trader will watch the market for a few days then pounce on a deal at the right moment. In addition, the quests given by Koling and Witani are open-ended and replayable. The quest-givers don't evaluate how well you did so it's up to you to decide if you could have done better, and compare your results with your fellow Curiosi.

Teachers, encourage your students to set goals for themselves or each other, such as seeing who can get the most zorbits possible, who's the first to get 20 fluffins, or who has the widest variety in their trading kit.

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Food Web Kit

Once you have investigated some stool samples, you will have some knowledge about the predator-prey relationships in a certain biome. In order to keep track of this information and visualize the ecosystem, you can create a food web! Using the food web kid players can add species and draw arrows specifying who eats whom in their food web. The food web kit itself does not know whether a food web drawn in it is accurate, but it does know if stool data has been collected about each relationship. Certain quests in the ecology quest line ask players to create and turn in a food web to explain what they have discovered about the ecosystem.


Draw food webs and send them to your friends to compare notes. Start by picking up some poo and then turn it into a beautiful web of life!

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Who Pooped Here?

   

When you activate your stool tool, you will suddenly be able to spot the droppings of various creatures in the world. By using the stool tool to examine the feces, you can often identify recognizable bits within them. This provides you with valuable information about what that creature has been eating. Of course, some animals digest their food so well that there is nothing recognizable left in it. Some may wonder why we designed such a tool into the Radix game, and while we could say it was to satisfy our affinity for toilet humor, stool samples are an authentic and valuable tool that ecologists use and they contribute to the embodied experience of The Radix Endeavor.

If you're ready to get your hands dirty, look for the Population Arbitration quest line in Murky Maws. Or, just walk around the world with your pooper scooper and see what you can find!

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Radix Prequel

The island of Ysola has a long history, much of which has not been recorded and lives on only in the memories of the ancients. Some of the more recent history is known, but is in danger of being erased by those in power. The Radix Endeavor game starts off at a time when big change is imminent on the island and much work is being done to shape that change. Watch this prequel video to reveal one more piece of the puzzle and understand how the Curiosi were formed and what they are fighting for - or rather, what you are fighting for, if you choose to work alongside them.

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Skull House



Many questions surround the infamous Ysolian skull houses. How old are they and how have they been preserved? Whose skull is that anyway? Do the inhabitants have to brush those teeth regularly? Theories abound but answers are few.


If your travels around the island have not yet revealed its location, then you have much left to explore!

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The Radix Endeavor is an educational MMO game in development at The MIT Education Arcade, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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