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We've been busy all year on some great projects. We also finally took a few minutes to join the twenty-first century and join Twitter and Facebook — follow or like us to get the latest news and sneak peaks at upcoming projects.

Here's what we've released lately!

The lunar module lands in your neighborhood

Tranquility Base, the site of the first Apollo moon landing, is one of the greatest of all historic sites — and now you can bring it down to Earth to watch history unfold in front of you.

Moonwalking is an augmented-reality app that recreates Tranquility Base in your backyard or neighborhood park. With your iPhone or iPad serving as a magic window into history, watch as the Lunar Module "Eagle" lands, Neil Armstrong makes his famous "one small step," and Buzz Aldrin joins him for history's first moonwalk. All this is happening right in front of you — all around you — in an immersive virtual world.

MoonWalking is a demo app for Eduweb's augmented reality technology for historic sites, but we designed it so you can try it wherever you are on Earth.

Go to MoonWalking

WolfQuest: Survival of the Pack Deluxe
Exploring Slough Creek in winter
Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, Minnesota

Live the life of a wild wolf — now through wind and rain and snow and night!

From a late winter snow to spring thunderstorms to changing times of day, our latest expansion to WolfQuest adds a slate of environmental enhancements to help players immerse themselves in the wilds of Yellowstone. This version also features a new phrase chat for maximum online safetly along with improved safeguards in the lexicon chat and a raft of other tweaks and improvements.

WolfQuest teaches wolf behavior and ecology through exciting 3D gameplay and intense social interactions both in the game and through the WolfQuest website. The WolfQuest experience goes beyond the game with an active, safe, on-line community where kids discuss the game with other players, chat with wolf biologists, and share artwork and stories about wolves. This forum is actively managed by educators and wolf biologists who connect the WolfQuest gameplaying experience with the real world of wolf conservation and provide opportunities for interested players to engage with real wolf issues.

Go to WolfQuest

Architect Studio 3D
A house designed in AS3D
Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust
Oak Park, Illinois

Earlier this year, we remade Architect Studio 3D (which we first developed in 2005) using Unity3D, the 3D game software we use for WolfQuest, MoonWalking, and many other projects. The result? Better 3D graphics, more design choices, more robust web browser compatibility, and new functionality like printing!

Architect Studio 3D offers a unique opportunity to explore architecture and the design process by designing a house online — and then touring it in 3D. With Frank Lloyd Wright as your guide, you first review the needs of your client and the particulars of the building location. Then start designing, taking your ideas from floor plan to final 3D model. Share your house design with the world in the online gallery, and discover Wright's own story and his innovative buildings.

Go to Architect Studio 3D

And More!
Several projects won industry awards this year:

  • A Sailor's Life for Me!, which we developed with the USS Constitution Museum, won a MUSE Award at the American Association of Museums annual conference in May. The judges said, "This is an excellent research-based educational website. It's a great game site without the limit of age and fun to play and learn from."

  • Texas Independence, which we developed with the Star of the Republic Museum and Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, won an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. It also won the Silver Award from the Texas Associations of Museums Wilder Awards, in the Non-Print Media category.

We also published several papers and articles about games and learning:

  • From Knowledge to Narrative — to Systems? Games, Rules, and Meaning-Making, by Eduweb principal Dave Schaller. Museum educators wishing to adopt game-based learning methods must move from familiar narrative methods to a systems-based approach in which rulesets define player choices and subsequent consequences. These rules represent some aspect of the subject matter, while also revealing the designer's perspective on it. Rules create the space for the players to author their own experience, made more meaningful because it was shaped by their own choices, actions, and struggles within the system.

  • The Player's Voice: Using evaluation to bring the player into the development process, by Dave Schaller and Kate Haley Goldman from the National Center for Interactive Learning. The state of learning game evaluation currently resembles that of museum website evaluation a decade ago: designers recognize the value of evaluation but struggle to find appropriate questions, methods, and strategies to incorporate evaluation into the development process. In recent years, much academic research has been conducted on the learning affordances of commercial games such as World of Warcraft, and on in-school and afterschool based games. But evaluations of learning games played at home and in other free-choice environments are far less common. This chapter from Museums at Play: Games, Interaction and Learning explores the challenges and rewards that arise when incorporating the player's voice into the game development process.

  • The Meaning Makes It Fun, by Dave Schaller. Renowned game designer Sid Meier famously defined a good game as "a series of interesting choices." What makes choices interesting? The same thing that makes them meaningful: consequences, context, and a savvy appeal to human psychology. When designed well, these choices can make even mundane content meaningful. So imagine the possibilities when we use the stuff of museums — art, science, history and technology — as our content and context. This article in the Journal of Museum Education analyzes the board game Monopoly for attributes of interesting choices and discusses how those attributes are built into several games for cultural institutions.

We've got more projects in final stages of development, so look for another newsletter in early 2012. Happy holidays from everyone at Eduweb!