After what has seemed like and age, TerraMUD (tMUX) is once more.

For those who are unaware, originally TerraMUD was “hidden” on a school server, back when they were a thing. Sadly the school had an IT review, instigated and carried out by an outsourcing company who – surprise, surprise – recommended that everything was outsourced. This meant that ALL of the local services of the college (state of the art at the time) were dismantled and replaced with less bespoke solutions that almost, but not entirely, did nearly nothing like the services they were designed to replace.

With the change went a HUGE collection of educational innovation, resources and services – that is progress…. I guess. tMUX was one of many victims of the apocalypse our school is still coping with.

terramud screen

Thanks to the kind intervention of Ado (Adrian Malisano) and Mazil (Michael Smith), tMUX is now hosted on a server not affiliated with the school, open once again to players.

After some farting around, fucking stuff up then getting technical support, I have managed to get some DNS entries to make access simpler, so and now point to Ado’s server, port 4042 is the gateway for a glorious text-only telnet interface.

Try it, it is so deliciously nerdy old school and just plain cool

There is a noobies guide also – HERE

Hello Old Friend

After discussion, it was decided to host the first term of our Year 8 Digital Technologies in our MOO (Multi-user Object Oriented learning environment).

There are so many aspects of “digital citizenship” that see so completely and natively at home in a virtual world that the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.

Our MOO has been running, uninterrupted since September 9, 2001, with students first making their way on 14th of that month – a calm safe place to learn just when the world changed so fundamentally.

MOO architecture is based around “room” objects, connected via “exit” objects, embellished with smart objects. Traditionally, using simple menu-based interfaces, kids make.

Knowing a lot about the language underneath, making areas is much faster if it is scripted.


With some simple scripting build commands, a whole new suburb is born, ready for kids to build from


So nice to see stuff happen so fast, will be interesting to see how our 8’s cope with a constructivist, constructionist mentality. Lots still to plan, should be fun.

It’s all in the Details

Given some skill, their own space and a little time it is wonderful to see year 9 boys so engrossed in an activity (to the point that none of us heard the bell, working on into our morning tea).2012burbsBuilding in the ‘Burbs

The brief was simple: Make something that looks like something, keep the scale avatar-size and make it as detailed as you have time for.2012details

The results were, well, quite wonderful as you can see. Some went the conventional “follow the neighbour” which is quite natural in a free-form activity – creativity coalesces between near neighbours and they are surprised when you point it out to them because they are sure they are being creative and not derivative.2012treehouse

Some lovely ideas expressed, including the practicalities of access, movement and texture. It will be interesting to see how this activity changes with a pair of classes, driven by different teachers next time.

Marking Your Territory

Teaching basic building skills in an OpenSim is fairly straight forward, I have found the kids take to it fairly fast but few think through a quality build first time. Pride in workmanship comes after mastery of the tools I am hoping.

The activity was simple and open-ended – on a designated section of the continent make a slab 10m x 10m x 20cm, nestle it into the ground slightly to become your building “plot”.territory

Object creation, scaling and movement skills followed texturing, exploration of other object properties and then a simple brief: make something that looks like something. the only caveat was that it needed to be on their plot, and to scale.buildings

They took to the task with great enthusiasm, exploring the way you construct more complex things from primitives, scaling, rotating, moving with greater and greater precision that comes with experience.vehicle

In the end they were inviting their iMates over to have a look, all fairly hoopy. We have, in the next journey into this world, to tie this world activity to the activity happening in MUD and MOO and then look objectively at the whole “amount of activity required to create a unit of believable detail”, but for now, play is a good thing.

I, Avatar

We are exploring virtual words with my year 9 students and it is a rich and varied experience, well, that is the plan at least. The worlds are textiverse (a custom MUD for them to edit), a browserverse (terraMOO, a hybrid world) and an Opensim (full 3d world called terraceLIFE).girls

Today we ventured into terraceLIFE and explored the notion of “avatar” – the brief for the first half of the lesson was simple enough – get your avatar to look like you.

What could possibly go wrong? Year 9 boys, in an opensim, where the default avatar is RUTH, a buxom female.avatars

After some initial explanation, they took to creating a virtual presence fairly well – it is interesting to talk to them about how they see themselves – shorter than they really are, heavier than they really are, bigger nose etc. I guess it is a tall ask to do body-image stuff with year 9 boys, given the hormone storm they are currently weathering but, you know, they handled it pretty well.vpeople

Very happy with the performance of the opensim also – 30 kids at once, all doing wonderfully interesting things, worked a charm. Next session we will explore building techniques with a simple construction project, then we will get complex and go for a collaborative building project (there will be tears before bedtime there I suspect).

I have a chunk of terrain for them to play on, will let them mark their territory and see how it goes – the only real rule here is “don’t be a dick” – it will be interesting to see how they cope.

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