June 2014 News

June 2014 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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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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