Mike Skocko

Feature Requests

How might we refine and extend Game On?

My students write the code that powers the plugin but its best features have come from the GO community. If you had a wish...

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Comments (523)

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Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/18/14 12:06:29 AM Permalink

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 8/12/14 5:35:51 PM Permalink

This is so low priority but are we not allowed to use spaces in Seating Chart names anymore?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/13/14 12:36:17 AM Permalink

Ezio's back in school this week so it might take a while to sort this one out. When we fix it and you alter the names as you'd like (after the students have begun rolling), your kids will need to revisit their profile page to select the new name(s) you've chosen.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/14/14 11:46:20 AM Permalink

Seems to be working on my end. What's the specific nature of the problem?

And please use the latest beta (August 13 build) so we're eliminating variables in our respective tests.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 8/10/14 12:16:30 PM Permalink

I have my class setup to use a single domain for all classes and the quests have a focus requirement so students from physics can only do physics quests and chem students can only do chem quests. The only hangup is that my admin account doesn't have universal access so my workaround is to make multiple admin accounts. This is an inelegant solution to the problem. Could we have an option for admin accounts to override the focus requirements? Or could we allow multiple foci to be selected within the clipboard maybe?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/10/14 2:30:08 PM Permalink

The guys and I have talked about this. Yes to both questions. Coming soon.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/15/14 7:15:59 PM Permalink

Just tested Forest's fix. Admins are now able to access all foci quests from their admin account. We'll fold this into the beta today. (It's another summertime workday in the Mac Lab.)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 8/9/14 6:58:43 PM Permalink

This is kind of related to the earlier post... but kind of a bug report...

When you insert a video, and want to use any word that's a contraction... it gets mad because of the single quote. Can we make those double quotes around the values?

A sexy pop up to enter URL, link text, and size that did it all for us would be awesome with a button in the wysiwyg editor. I think the old shortcode plug did that, didn't it?

Forest Hoffman

Posted on 8/9/14 7:34:59 PM Permalink

You can absolutely use double quotes instead of single quotes for any of the shortcode attributes. For example:

[go_display_video video_url="http://maclab.guhsd.net/go/video/quests/videoShortcode.mp4" video_title="Video Shortcode 'N Stuff" width="1800" height='720']

Above, the video_url attribute uses double quotes, but the height uses single quotes just to show that they can be mixed and matched. You will have the same issue if you attempted to use the double quotes like this:

title=" Video Shortcode and "Stuff" "

Does that make sense?


A WYSIWYG editor button for shortcodes is already on our list. For now, just be careful using quotations as it can get confusing at times.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 8/9/14 8:00:24 PM Permalink

PERFECT sense! Thanks a ton!

Is there a way to do just images instead of videos in the lightbox? Trying to get rid of my lightbox plug by just using your code! You guys are knocking it out of the park!

Forest Hoffman

Posted on 8/9/14 8:53:28 PM Permalink

Unfortunately, I don't believe that we have a way to do that right now. The go_display_video shortcode is purely for videos. That may be something we add post 2.0.0. Nice suggestion.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/10/14 1:54:51 AM Permalink

Just got home...

Click (lots of possibilities)

Gosh, is it really this simple? Unpacking and stuff. Back tomorrow or later tonight. :)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 8/11/14 5:12:27 AM Permalink

You're reading my mind Rob!

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 8/9/14 2:17:05 AM Permalink

How about a shared task repository? A way to export tasks/missions or whatever you call them for others to use. We could even have tags and a rating system.

Forest Hoffman

Posted on 8/9/14 3:00:11 AM Permalink

Hi Ryan!

We haven't discussed setting up a task repository (cool idea!), but it would have to be its own site due to the mass of tasks that would be going through it. I'd like to see how that would play out.

The exporting/importing of tasks is definitely on our list.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/9/14 3:46:16 AM Permalink

Great idea, Ryan! Unless someone comes up with a better idea, I'd be willing to host those. (The district allots the Mac Lab plenty of elbow room.)

Not altruistic. I'd benefit from the wealth of ready-made resources and it would be a nice fit with the new documentation page and the rest of the resources on the way.

Aside: One more day on the road and we'll be in SoCal tomorrow afternoon. Vacations are great but so's coming home. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 8/2/14 5:45:37 PM Permalink

How about a groovy little button in the WYSIWYG editor to enter a url of our videos (and any other values) and it will fill in the rest of the shortcode for us?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/3/14 12:35:52 PM Permalink

It's on the list. :)

Forest Hoffman

Posted on 7/28/14 5:03:41 PM Permalink

Hello there everyone! I usually leave the talking up to Skocko since he is so much better at it than I am; however, I wanted to give everyone the link to my fork where I am stashing all my changes leading up to v2.0. I have yet to integrate Ezio’s changes and there are still bugs that we haven’t found and added to our list yet. So, if you would like to brave the bleeding edge, please do so and comment on any issues you find!


The most recent commit changes:

- Fix: Loot presets weren’t removing fields properly when the “Reset Presets” button was used

- Fix: The help video url for the Penalty option in “Additional Settings” was a duplicate

- The default modifier in “Additional Settings > Modifier %” was changed back to 10%

Since Ezio and Skocko are on vacation, I’ll be trying to take a break myself. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll get an uncontrollable itch to continue working soon. This is all the work I’ll be doing today, I promise!

Thank you very much!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/29/14 5:08:14 PM Permalink

Hey Forest,

We toured Cal Poly yesterday (Forest's future university). Thought you might like this fun fact:

Computer Science/Software Engineering No. 1 for ROI

The 2014 PayScale study looked at 1,310 universities in the US. Among all Cal Poly majors, Computer Science/Software Engineering ranks No. 1. The data indicates that the Return On Investment for our graduates is $1.01 M (almost double of the CalPoly average).

Not bad, eh?


Oh, and thanks for the updates. When I get a chance, I'll complete the mouseover text for the New Store Items and New Quests.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/27/14 1:18:18 AM Permalink

I'm starting to use Foci (Professions, Classes...) this year and I've noticed that when I create the classes in the Game On option panel it doesn't create those in the Class categories under the Quests Menu. I manually added it but that seems like a little thing that should be automated.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/27/14 3:59:55 AM Permalink

Just tried it and you're right. That used to work. One more thing to fix.

Good catch!

For the record:

  • Focus > Setting: Toggle on
  • Add Foci (I added three)
  • Save Options
  • Categories should be automatically created (they weren't)
  • New quests should have new Foci in the sidebar (they aren't)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/17/14 10:02:57 PM Permalink

That's been fixed but I forgot to tell you. Sorry 'bout that. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 7:55:08 PM Permalink

We're on the road for two weeks beginning tomorrow (Sunday July 27) and I should have semi-random daily internet access. Forest may check in to handle questions and emergencies. I'll try to check in whenever needed.

Videos uploaded for Options page.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/26/14 9:32:44 PM Permalink

Hopefully you can get a break and relax a bit..you deserve it man!!!

Not sure if its my install, are the store issues corrected I won't be at a computer until 5 to check?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 10:21:45 PM Permalink

Forest is still working on the store. Issues will persist until the next update.

My wife wanted me to leave the computer at home. No chance. It ain't work if you like what you're doing. ;)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/27/14 12:41:53 AM Permalink

Haha, don't neglect your wife!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/28/14 1:21:00 PM Permalink

Can't neglect them while they're sleeping. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 1:48:55 AM Permalink

New Build

Same link. New file. Enjoy!

Note: Not done with v2.0 candidate. Have yet to merge Ezio's fixes and address other issues.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/26/14 6:36:52 AM Permalink

Not sure what happened...but..I was changing and adding ranks in 2.0, it was not working so I clicked fix ranks a few times. Still nothing, installed 1.9.8 now every version of game-on crashes my site.



Had to delete some tables from the database. Now its all better...

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 12:16:38 PM Permalink

Do you think something was corrupted in your tables, Terrence? Adding, removing, saving, fixing all work here with no issues.

If something's amiss, we need to fix it but I can't find any glitches within Levels.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/28/14 2:41:29 AM Permalink

To be honest I have no ideal...It took me about 3 hours to figure it out though..it was quite terrifying..lol

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/28/14 1:25:37 PM Permalink

That could be our new slogan...

And I could only find three tweets with: #quiteterrifying

Alert marketing!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 4:33:03 PM Permalink


We've identified a number of places we inadvertently broke things and will be fixing them today. (Ezio and Forest are coming to the Mac Lab yet again on their summer vacation.)

See the list here. Priorities are at the top. I'll be testing but I'd rather record videos and write mouseover text for the ?s to get the help system up and running ASAP.

Testers Wanted!

If you want to help hunt for bugs, please do. Additional features will (of course) be added after 2.0's launch when we begin the long, incremental, inexorable journey to v3.0 (summer 2015).

Game On!

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 4:52:22 PM Permalink


Stats: Combine items Purchased - I really like it the way it is. I can see a trail for each purchase time stamp instead of when it was last purchased.

In the naming conventions options- Tried renaming stats in options but it would not change. All other names changed perfectly.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 4:54:59 PM Permalink

Stats: I think I agree with you. We'll look for a way to handle totals in a different way.

Renaming Stats: Will talk with the guys.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 5:17:43 PM Permalink


Ooh, what if purchased items read something like:

Add Music (1 of 5) 07/25@10:04
Add Music (1 of 5) 07/24@10:09
Add Music (1 of 5) 07/23@10:15
Add Music (1 of 5) 07/22@10:23
Add Music (1 of 5) 07/19@10:21

The first number is the quantity purchased. The second number is the running total and would change for all instances with each purchase.

How's that for feeding two birds with one seed?

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 6:03:19 PM Permalink

That's perfect!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 6:20:40 PM Permalink

Ezio's on it.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 7:34:25 PM Permalink

Have that and several other issues fixed. Will update candidate shortly.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 7:51:44 PM Permalink

And Forest improved it. Coming soon...

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 4:27:32 AM Permalink

v2.0 Sneak Peak Non-Bloat File

Something went amiss in the prior upload. How's 451K sound?

CLICK (same link)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 4:33:37 AM Permalink

Lol..yeah that sounds much better...

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 5:07:28 AM Permalink

Tech happens.

(Especially when I try to do more than one thing at a time.)

Monotaskers Unite!

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 6:07:25 AM Permalink

The store does not generate a growl nor are items purchased added to the admin bar. An email is sent though (I thought there would be a checkbox in the store item options indicating which store item would have email notification, it seems like every purchase is emailed to admin)

Seems like the store in general is broken (I know you guys are probalbly working on it at the moment).

Quick request, is there a way to limit the quantity that is purchased via store options? Not the repeat purchased option but when the lightbox pops up for a purchase it has a box that says qty.(that one)?

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/25/14 11:22:23 AM Permalink

Maybe having an option to remove the multiple items box entirely?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 11:56:34 AM Permalink

Multiple Items Switch: Good idea. Will add.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 11:55:18 AM Permalink

Growl: Known issue. Will fix.

Email: On by default. Option will be added.

Limit Quantity: Hadn't thought of that. Good idea! Will add.

There are other store glitches we'll be fixing today.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/26/14 12:19:56 PM Permalink

About limit quantity... not sure how that got changed to limit number of times purchased. We're changing it back to limit quantity (the necessary feature I'd completely forgotten about).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 12:46:15 AM Permalink

v2.0 Sneak Peek

We're not going to push this until we fix a few more issues and I add all of the new mouseover text and video files tomorrow.

But if you want a sneak peek at the not-ready-for-prime-time v2.0... CLICK

Let us know if you find issues. We still have features to add so that's not as important (though we're always happy to hear requests).


Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 1:11:58 AM Permalink

What imagination, cooperation and innovation can do...I'm amazed!!

Wow, looks nice and clean! About to try a few different themes (Ones I had problems with the stats page responsiveness) to see if the issue has been fixed.

Looks Awesome guys!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/25/14 2:04:46 AM Permalink

FYI: We still have work to do with responsiveness, Terrence.

But thanks for the kind words. The guys have sweated over this one like none before it.

What a year it's going to be. :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/25/14 2:21:26 AM Permalink

Can't install the plug-in. I'm getting this error:

The uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 2:49:15 AM Permalink

Looks like you max upload from WP is set below 5mb? If so you need to increase it through your host cpanel php.ini file or you can do it through ftp.

Hold on thats only for media I believe..not sure why its saying in on plugin install??

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/25/14 2:55:40 AM Permalink

Just tried installing it on my blogs site set to 2mb upload. It got the same error your did. So yes, you need to increase you upload file size.

How to do this


Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/25/14 3:57:21 AM Permalink

Thanks for the link. Seems like the htcaccess addition worked. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/24/14 8:54:39 PM Permalink

So close to v2.0 release. Am testing and Forest + Ezio are refining. Will push it as soon as few remaining known issues have been addressed. Then we you to test and discover bugs we aren't aware of.

Hard to believe it's been four years from our humble beginnings.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/20/14 5:44:56 PM Permalink

Is there a way to make the stats and admin panels truly responsive? I know that in a couple years my students will all have iPads (the 9th graders all have them this year) and it would be nice to have a constent viewing experience across devices. Could we scale it down as a percentage of the screen maybe? See what happens to the stats page in various screen widths below.




Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/20/14 10:19:00 PM Permalink

Yeah, that's what we'll tackle after the options page rolls out. Short term solution may be to change back to single column.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/19/14 1:29:47 PM Permalink

The slew of updates in the last couple days is impressive. There are a few items that makes sense in my head but don't seem to function the way I expect (or at all).

1. Badges aren't being awarded via the clipboard UNLESS a message is posted.

I think users will have a hard time. I tried several different time to add badges before realizing that the comment might be a requirement. Maybe be more explicit with this or just get rid of the message requirement.

2. Experience/Gold/Honor aren't gained or lost as you push a player along manually via their stats page.

I think it would be nice to add this as an option with a checkbox, especially considering we intend to have students progress through locked stages by this method instead of the password.

3. Many of the help videos don't load for me.

I expect that this happens because they aren't uploaded so it's a dead reference right now. The linked video at the top when you first install game on doesn't work though. Gotta make sure that one is ready to go :)

I'd like to see a text caption with a brief explanation when you hover over the question mark icon if that's possible. I thought this was mentioned earlier so maybe you just haven't gotten to it yet.

Overall this is AMAZING work guys and I'm so excited to implement this next week.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 2:04:06 PM Permalink

1. Nothing is awarded manually unless a message accompanies any reward/penalty. That's intentional. We'll add placeholder text in the message field to reflect that... or maybe the same "See me" default message as in the Stats page for uniformity. (The latter most likely.)

2. You may need to click the update button for existing quests. Otherwise, it does give or take the appropriate loot associated with the stages.


Come to think of it... Yep, confirmed. Until we code a fix, it looks like all quests must be manually updated to reactivate loot settings. There may be a retroactive fix on our end, but until/if we find one, best to update to ensure everything works as intended.


3. The district shuffled servers and beefed up security to the point I couldn't connect via SFTP to upload anything other than via WordPress (and the videos are hard-coded to directories WP can't reach). That was finally resolved yesterday afternoon and I can begin to plug holes. Because of the massive changes, I've held off recording many of the videos. Now, they'll all be a different size (10% larger) so each and every one must be rerecorded. All tooltips (via mouseover) will be rewritten as well. Because those reside in PHP files the guys have been rewriting, I've had to hold off.

Rest assured, every ? will have a tooltip and a video associated with it. It's just going to take time.

Meanwhile, I'm back in the Mac Lab for one more day of fun before the trip to Adobe tomorrow morn.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/18/14 9:36:54 PM Permalink

Could we add some indicator to show that a quest is 3, 4, or 5 stages on the student stats page. As it is I can see some thinking a 3 stager might be incomplete.

Also, having a way for studenta to arrange quests by chain or tags or something would be nice.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 9:48:17 PM Permalink

The 3, 4, 5 visual indicator was inadvertently skipped. Definitely will be taken care of ASAP. Good catch!

Manual rearranging of quests is another matter. Doable but not easy. Maybe in the months to come.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/18/14 11:40:17 PM Permalink

Sorry I didn't post earlier... Other login not working and trying to fix.

I bet it can be done by not using separate boxes. Instead of generating 5 stages, I'm pretty sure there's a way to calculate progress with an equation. So instead of showing 3, 4, or 5 boxes... you show a progress bar with no divisions- then render the progress by generating

progress achieved / progress possible = percentage

then just display the progress bar as a percentage. This automatically will show the progress bar accurately no matter what the number of stages or progress.

I've done this in the past- but it was a long time ago and don't remember how I did it. It was back in manual HTML and table days.

this might help.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 11:56:31 PM Permalink

Rob, it's already nailed. And it's uniform. And it's got functionality built in that's easy to understand. Admin can unlock stages and/or push players forward or backward in individual quests with a click on the rectangle representing the desired stage.

Anyway, we're trying to finish the Options and Store redesigns right now. If Stats is redesigned, it'll be sometime in the future.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/19/14 1:10:00 PM Permalink

Pushing players along doesn't reflect the loot gains associated with that stage. Is that by design?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 1:46:25 PM Permalink

You may need to click the update button for existing quests. Otherwise, it gives or takes the appropriate loot associated with the stages.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/19/14 2:02:36 PM Permalink

The button on the student stats page to the right of the mission progress bar? That does advance the stage, it doesn't alter rewards. Is there a different button you're talking about???

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 2:15:22 PM Permalink

That's the button. Update the quest and try again. It works here on multiple sites

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/19/14 2:35:23 PM Permalink

So all previously created quests need an update to work with the new code. No biggie and it won't affect newbies at all. Good deal :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 10:27:00 PM Permalink

Fixed in v1.9.7! Thanks for the heads-up, Johnathan.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 2:17:42 PM Permalink

Copied and pasted from above just so there's no further confusion...


Come to think of it... Yep, confirmed. Until we code a fix, it looks like all quests must be manually updated to reactivate loot settings. There may be a retroactive fix on our end, but until/if we find one, best to update to ensure everything works as intended.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 8:45:52 PM Permalink

New Store Item Redesign

Changes happening so fast my designs are obsolete before they're finished. If you have a request for the store, now is the time.

(The butt-ugly Store Item Lightbox is also in our crosshairs.)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/18/14 10:24:42 PM Permalink

How bout a horizontal layout instead of vertical.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 10:32:12 PM Permalink

Not sure I understand. Is this what you mean? (LINK UPDATED... AGAIN)

(Welcome back, camper!)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/18/14 11:53:09 PM Permalink

Sorry, I forgot to expound on it...lol. When it's displayed on the frontend. Right now its vertical so you have to scroll down to see all the items. I guess, a tab view is what I'm thinking..

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 12:07:39 AM Permalink

Ah, I get it. Yeah, the vertical store happens when it's displayed via a single shortcode. To get a more appealing layout, use individual store categories in columns, boxes, divs—however you want to arrange elements.

We won't be attempting to control that part from the back end, however tempting that might be.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/19/14 12:32:49 AM Permalink

Never thought of doing that! Thanks!

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/19/14 12:44:30 AM Permalink

I'm looking in my Dash and can't seem to find the add store item/category inserter when I go to edit my page. Also is the email admin option for this purchase going to be added before 2.0?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/14 2:04:29 AM Permalink

Ah, we'll have to include a cheat sheet on the New Store Item page.

[go_store cats="time earned,time owed,goods,music,resources,boss buffs,world of warcraft,hunters and healers"] is an example of the l-o-n-g vertical version.

[go_store cats="goods"] is an example of a single category.

As for the email option, I thought we added it. Will verify or rectify tomorrow. (Forest demands we work again. Gotta love the young man's enthusiasm. Even if my wife wishes otherwise. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 4:41:40 PM Permalink

New Options Page Layout

This is one of the things we're working on today—Click. Any suggestions?


EDIT: Okay, I'm already having buyer's remorse about the Tiers. Going back to 5 as default with no auto expansion setting.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/18/14 5:49:15 PM Permalink

Some of this is bigger picture, not specifically about the layout. No need to deal with it today!

  • If you're going to allow additional tiers, why limit to 10?
  • I agree with the 5 as a default number of tiers, though. The larger ones seem, from my limited game experience, pretty common.
  • Similarly, if you allow us to define levels, why place a limit? (though 99 seems to be plenty, to me)
  • Could we have a badge assignment field for professions?
    • Should the badge disappear if you change professions?
    • Could there be some requirement in order to 'claim' a profession? (XP, prior badge(s), etc)
  • I know from experimenting that there is some back-end calculation going on with the periods and seating charts in order to display on the clipboard (and stats page?). Is that required? Is there a way to make that optional, so if I didn't use seating charts, I could just display all my players alpha by period, for example?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 6:34:55 PM Permalink

Tiers and Levels aren't limited. Our presets are. You can manually add as many as you want. I only scripted 10 and 99 respectively.

However, Ezio made an epic suggestion: Rather than specifying specific numbers for specific levels (or tiers), why not just write an equation?

D'oh! Consider that in the (new) plan!

Badge assignment for Professions: We sell professions via the store. Affixing a badge to a store item is already built in. You can do that now.

Badge auto removed when leaving profession: Not yet but can do.

Alpha by period: That should work now. If they don't pick a computer number, the clipboard displays: go_remove (Ezio can and will deal with that). They DO have to select a period or class or whatever you set.

Hope that makes sense.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/18/14 7:53:29 PM Permalink

why not just write an equation?

So, the presets are filled based on the equation, with the level # being the variable for the amounts filled in for loot? Great idea!

What about multiple equations from which the user could choose? A simple linear progression, a geometric one, and an exponential one...just thinking aloud. This doesn't make sense from a game design perspective (we know exponential is the most motivating across the growth curve) but may be more comfortable for new folks unfamiliar with the theory...or would fewer choices be better for simplifying...not sure...

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 8:14:12 PM Permalink

Definitely something to consider for down the road. We're racing the clock trying to get Options and the Store redesigns up for the v2.0 release—hopefully before I board the plane for San Jose on Sunday morning.

v1.9.7 is a bug fix, additional features, and the promised lock coming soon (today) from Forest. Austin is on the Store and Ezio has Options.*


What I did on my summer vacation... :)


*v1.9.8—Ezio beat Forest to 1.9.7

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 12:02:09 AM Permalink

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 7/18/14 1:34:09 PM Permalink

I think PageLayers is really cool but I'm struggling to see a use for the layered files. What would you use those for?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 2:30:21 PM Permalink


Nathan Scherer

Posted on 7/18/14 2:34:43 PM Permalink

But why would you need a mockup in a PSD if you already had it coded out?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 2:44:44 PM Permalink

It's a heck of a lot quicker (for me at least) to push images around the page with a cursor than with code to see variations of a page layout. (Did you watch the video on that page?)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 7/18/14 3:23:04 PM Permalink

That's true - but then it would be helpful if it transferred back into code! :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 4:55:52 PM Permalink

Just a heads-up that Honor awarded within quests isn't functional in v1.9.5. We'll fix that today.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/18/14 10:40:42 PM Permalink

Oh my, that (PageLayers) looks nice..Converts page to layers...wow..

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/17/14 11:01:33 PM Permalink

Stats Redesign

We have some additional functionality to add but the bulk of the work is complete. If not for a permissions issue on GitHub, I'd be telling you to download the v1.9.6 update. Forest and Ezio have to wrestle with merging files without overwriting recent changes.

Hopefully, we'll have an update for you very soon.

Oh, you're going to LOVE your new Admin superpowers!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/17/14 9:58:35 PM Permalink

Tier Presets

Whatever we end up calling individual tiers, we've decided to default to the first 3 Tier settings to keep things simple. Options to expand to 5, 7, or 10 tiers will be provided. That way, newbies can up the stakes as they grow more comfortable and quests grow more challenging.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/17/14 9:51:53 PM Permalink

Game On v1.9.5

The Password option has been removed and a new, simple Lock Stage option will take its place in the next update (or two). The override has been built into the Admin's version of each player's Stats page (not released yet). Very simple to use and players receive an automated in-game message.

Not sure which one of these will roll out first.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/18/14 3:05:46 PM Permalink

Do you expect that to be out by Wednesday? I'm going to start teaching and it would be nice to lock stages until I can review student work. If not I can roll back to a previous iteration of Game On.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 3:23:04 PM Permalink

I'll make sure the lock feature is in place, today if possible, but certainly by next week.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/18/14 3:36:46 PM Permalink

Thanks :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 4:58:34 PM Permalink

We have lock functional.

Unlock globally via stage settings. Unlock individually via the admin version of student Stats page.

We hope to upload both today. I'll keep you posted.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/18/14 11:26:39 PM Permalink

You now have locking (and much more). Get v1.9.8

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/16/14 8:37:21 PM Permalink

Ezio was just demoing the new Stats page functionality when something screwed up. Then he said, "Oh! That's because I didn't give the quest any rewards."

Ah ha!

Henceforth, all new quests will default to the admin's Tier 1 loot settings.

Now we're busy enabling defaults for virtually everything else.

So close to v2.0...

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 8:36:56 PM Permalink

How do we reset all values to default on the options page? I want to run vanilla game on to better help with "support" as this thing takes off.

I believe it will this year, and you'll need the help, Mike!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 9:48:00 PM Permalink

Maybe that should go on the list. As of now, there's no way to reset all defaults with a click of a button.

Actually, right now we're still trying to figure out what the default presets will be for v2.0.

As for help, you've all been of inestimable value. (And I'm always thankful for the time you all put in! :)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 7/14/14 7:34:09 PM Permalink

So can you explain the Honor and the Demerits points? Demerits is kind of obvious but can anyone give me some real world examples for uses of both? What would you give out Honor or Demerit points for?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 8:21:33 PM Permalink

I know you know, Nathan, but just for clarity's sake: Bonus and Penalty points are optional and can be named whatever an admin wants and can be used (or ignored) to heighten motivation and engagement in individualized gamified learning environments.

Honor (or whatever I'll wind up calling the Bonus points) will be used to foster behaviors I want to encourage. Honor might be awarded for inventive collaboration, epic displays of skill, working on important but less exciting projects for clients, working on important but less exciting activities like documenting connections to standards or building our Wiki, peer mentoring, displays of ethical behavior, integrity, honesty, etc. Stuff like that for starters.

Demerits (or whatever I'll wind up calling the penalty points) will be used primarily for classroom management.

Both may be used as filters in the store. Bonus points may be used as a third form of currency in the store setting up interesting choices for students as they approach Thresholds.

I'm sure others will come up with much better strategies.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 5:13:01 PM Permalink

After much gnashing of teeth, I think I've got a simplified Options page design.

Here is the compact default appearance.

Here is the look with all accordions open and (almost) all options set to: On.

I'm really jazzed about the new, simplified Multiplier. If you choose to use it, you may leverage Bonus and/or Penalty using a simple formula. With the settings as shown, if I had 19 Honor and 7 Demerits (1-1), the Multiplier would be set to ZERO.

  • 22 Honor and 7 (2-1) Demerits, the Multiplier would be set to +10%. (Loot set to round up)
  • 9 Honor and 7 Demerits (0-1), the Multiplier would be set to -10%. (Loot set to round down)
  • 32 Honor and 7 Demerits (3-1), the Multiplier would be set to +20%. (Loot set to round up)

Individual Admins, of course, control the variables.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/14/14 6:20:18 PM Permalink

Looks orders of magnitude cleaner. Nice work!

I am unclear how the bonus formula works, so I'm going to try to sort it out here - please correct my muddlings. It looks from the examples you give as if honor is counted by 10s and demerits by sevens (discarding fractions?) to result in a percentage by 10s. So would 44 honor (4) and 7 demerits (1) be a +30%? And a 29 honor (2) and 14 demerits (2) be a 0%? What about 3 demerits or 12 demerits? Do those discard fractions as well, or round? How do these relate to the M=BTx-PTy formula? (I can guess that M is multiplier percent and B is Honor and P is penalty but what are T, x and y?)

Finally, what are the Experience, Gold, Honor and Demerits settings in that final section of the options for?

I'm very excited to get this version and start using the new options section (as well as all the other fab new features you guys have rolled out this summer) - this is looking SO great for the next round of games. 8-)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 6:44:04 PM Permalink


Admin can use Bonus Points, Penalty Points, both, or neither. If used, Admin sets a Threshold (T) to activate the Multiplier's Loot Buff or Nerf. In my example, Bonus is set to 10 and Penalty to 5 (not 7).

Rounding is NEVER used to reach a Threshold. Rounding is ALWAYS used for Bonus (round up) or Penalty (round down) so effect is present no matter the Loot setting.

If Threshold (T) is 10, 0-9 = 0, 10-19 = 1, 20-29 = 2, etc.

M = BTx - PTy

Multiplier = Bonus Threshold (times x) - Penalty Threshold (times y) with x and y representing whole numbers (how many times the respective Thresholds have been reached)

Probably a much clearer way to explain it but that's how it suddenly appeared in my mind.

The final option you refer to is for resetting values (end of semester, year, etc.). Zeroing out player data.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/14/14 9:43:37 PM Permalink

Aha, thanks, that clears up my confusions. This really levels up the multiplier and having both buffs and nerfs (with buffs applying in the store filters, even!) is going to be really more powerful for classroom culture built-ins. Thank you!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/14/14 9:46:58 PM Permalink

Thank you, that's very clear (for me, at least). I'm looking forward to using the nerf and buff options this year - this is going to really help with classroom culture development.

[Edit: Darn double-posting Adobe forum. Sorry about that - it didn't show me it saved the first one, so I re-entered.]

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/15/14 12:28:40 AM Permalink

Rereading my reply (above) it's obvious Matthew understood me but I may have set up others for confusion.

Missing pieces:

M = BTx - PTy

I'd listed the penalty as BTy rather than PTy (my dyslexia strikes again!) but Matthew seemed to get past that mistake just fine. The real missing piece was in explaining the M.

M, the Multiplier, is a function of the % setting on the Options page. In my example, the Multiplier (see Additional Settings at bottom of image) is set to 10%. You're free to set it to whatever you want. Using this, the Multiplier will result in no change or a 10%, 20%, 30%, etc. (or -10%, -20%, -30%, etc.) Loot adjustment depending on the BTx - PTy sum.

This really is actually a simple concept but it's obvious I'm not explaining it very well. I'll keep working on it. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/15/14 3:43:56 AM Permalink

I started to write a full explanation (partly just to make sure I understand it all properly) but it was getting pretty long and unwieldy for a post here. So I moved it to the manual. Take a look at the section called "Bonuses, penalties and the multiplier." Let me know if I've misrepresented anything or if you have other (or better) examples to add (or just go ahead and edit the manual).

Reminded me that the manual needs some updating and serious fleshing out. This may be where I can really contribute to the project this summer. I've just finished my class and will finish my other testing next week, so I'll have a bit of time to work on it these last few weeks before students come back. Whew, is it that late in the summer already? What happened to those looong summers I remember from my boyhood?!?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/15/14 5:21:04 PM Permalink

The only suggestion I have is to make it clear that the plugin does all the math. :)

We'd welcome your contributions to the manual, Matthew. With v2.0 on the near horizon, I've got my hands full with reworking all of the mouseover/click text/video help files.

Yeah, summer is flying by!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 7:07:29 PM Permalink


Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 7:15:35 PM Permalink

Hmmm.. just wondering- any way to give a SUPER SHORT description to each area? Even if just along side the titles of the areas to help the newbies know what's under there?

For example:

Naming Conventions
Loot Presets


Naming conventions-change default names for stages, points, gold, etc..
Loot Presets- Add, remove, or modify reward presets for quests.

Not a huge deal, but think it will help newbies find their way around in there when collapsed. Already a HUGE win because they don't NEED to go into any of that if we have a great set of presets already made! (I plan on just using whatever presets you have in there to make my class run like newbies' to help answer questions)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 7:20:08 PM Permalink

Rolling over the ? provides the short explanation; clicking the ? provides the video.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 8:01:50 PM Permalink

Perfect!!! Love it!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/11/14 6:48:22 PM Permalink

Mock-ups for Stats Redesign

  • Link and Header names are dynamic (pulled from Options page)
  • Content displayed is just filler (not representational)
  • Date filters on Leaderboard may be expanded
  • Simple, clean, and consistent is the guiding theme
  • Admin version of student Quests will have override and messaging built in (see Jul 8 comment below for details)

CS5 version of AI file and individual JPGs are included in this ZIP (a work in progress)


NOTE: We'll create a means for admin to designate the student info displayed on Stats (via Options page)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/12/14 4:33:09 AM Permalink

I haven't had phone or internet for a week (Camping in the mountains) I come back and see the sweet, sweet magic that has been happening here. Those mockups look tight by the way. (by the way.."tight" is slang for awesome)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/13/14 5:34:26 PM Permalink

You guys are killing it. Just had a baby Friday and I just had a chance to see these. I start teaching on July 23rd so I just hope this is rolled out by then. (No pressure ;P) You do an amazing job and my class is really going to benefit from the clarity of the redesign.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/13/14 5:43:47 PM Permalink

Congratulations Johnathan!!! Well i'm going back up the mountain for another week, see you guys Friday! Can't wait to come back and see what these guys have cooked up!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/13/14 6:19:47 PM Permalink

Enjoy your trip, Terrence.

Ah, this displaced Nor-Cal resident misses the Sierras. But we'll hit the Oregon trail in a few weeks. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/13/14 6:16:24 PM Permalink

Echoing Terrence's congratz to you and your family, Johnathan. Here's to sound night's sleeps and leisure-filled days... at some point in the future. :)

As for the 23rd, my trip to the mothership (Adobe's HQ in San Jose) begins on the 20th and I sincerely hope to have everything in place for demos there. But... well, you know.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/13/14 8:28:37 PM Permalink

Thanks to both of you :)

Good luck with the conference. It's going to be a fast week for you I bet.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/13/14 10:22:37 PM Permalink

Good luck! Having seen your presentation from earlier this year, I am sure the enthusiasm, energy and vision of this product and group will come through loud and clear. Be sure to have fun, too!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/13/14 10:21:11 PM Permalink

Congratulations, Jonathan!

I agree with Terrence, it's looking great.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 7:27:42 PM Permalink



Thinking about the stats page progress bar... If you used just a bar that then revealed itself, you wouldn't have quests that looked incomplete when they were only 3 stage quests...

CSS wrappers to customize colors allows you to keep it all SUPER lightweight, and also lets people play if you do it that way! Only thing I'd think of possibly changing is change progress bar colors, and possibly alternate rows on quests page for easier visual flow...

THANK YOU for no pie charts!!!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 8:06:37 PM Permalink

If it's a 3 stage quest, the 4th and 5th rectangles won't show. If it's a 4 stager, the 5th won't show. (My mock-up doesn't reflect that.)

We'll be including color pickers in the future for customization. For now, it's grays on white.

D'oh! Hadn't thought of alternating colors for rows. Better than the dividers. Ezio's pretty far into the design so that might come later.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/8/14 6:22:27 PM Permalink

The password feature is cumbersome (in more ways than one).

A better solution would be to give admins the power to unlock stages via the clipboard (via the built-in link to users' Stats page). In addition, the admin should have the ability to remove points, currency, and progress—to require users to repeat quests when necessary—all with the click of a button (and an in-game message to the offender).

Replace the password feature by enhancing the Stats page's power.

Coming soon.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/8/14 3:22:14 PM Permalink

Just a heads-up that we'll be in cart-before-the-horse territory for the next week or two as the interface redesign and new functionality rolls out in pieces. All mouseover descriptions are being rewritten and all videos rerecorded as well.

An organized, centralized help system is on the way.

A new currency (replacing Time) will offer addition flexibility. Honor (or whatever you want to call it) may be earned in-game (via Quests) or be awarded manually (via the Clipboard ). It may be exchanged for exclusive goods in the Store or retained to unlock loot bonuses. In other words, Honor leverages both the Store and/or the Multiplier (if you want it to).

Demerits (or whatever you want to call them) will only leverage the Multiplier and will be delivered via the Clipboard.

New filters will enable admins to create more complex in-game scenarios. Or not. Like everything else, it's up to you.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 3:16:05 PM Permalink

Stage Options All Click

All options selected.

Now, off to the Mac Lab to see if we can make this happen today.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/7/14 6:58:01 PM Permalink

Hooo boy! I just took a break from studying and glanced at my inbox. Of course, then I had to take a look. This looks great, Mike. I'm very excited to see it in action; I think you've substantially improved the usability and (with a nod to Rob) understand-ability of the interface.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 2:01:44 PM Permalink

Stage Options Click

Again, this is an accordion element in the Compact Quest layout.

Still have to open all those options to complete the layout but that's the default appearance at this point in the redesign. (The Stage values are dark for the respective stages within each Options accordion.)


Oh, and I added the shortcodes as a cheat sheet of sorts until we get the WYSIWYG element working. (Maybe we should leave them there for convenience?)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/7/14 2:39:14 PM Permalink

Maybe consider nixing them down the road as a fine tuning element but it's just not going to be that much of a problem when we can hide it anyways. I am so excited for this to roll out!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 2:51:06 PM Permalink

I'm excited, too. A quantum leap forward!

Oh, and the 3 Stage and Repeatable options need to be at the bottom of the list (as I've discovered in designing the all-open version).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 1:36:11 AM Permalink

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/7/14 12:48:28 AM Permalink

Students have been sending work via email and it keeps coming up with no attachment. I think that the file exceeded the file size limit. Would we be able to provide a pop-up so students know their file is too large?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 1:18:13 AM Permalink

Just a guess but I'm thinking that that happens outside our purview. (If I understand correctly—and I'm not at all sure that I do—I believe it's an email filter issue, not a WordPress issue.)

This seems more like a teachable moment that each of us needs to handle in our own way.

(But I most certainly might be wrong.)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 10:11:50 PM Permalink

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/7/14 12:49:38 AM Permalink

Massive improvement vs. the text entry and separator method!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/7/14 5:25:06 PM Permalink

Quick suggestion on naming conventions for loot presets (see what I did there?)

My personal suggestion is to reduce number and name them according to reward & challenge size for beginners... so maybe something like:


This way, the word can be easily understood by students and teachers who are just beginning... Everyone knows what a small quest or a small reward is... Everyone knows what a large project or large reward is... But what is "tier 4" or "level 7" to the parents/administrators/ students?

Small suggestion but I think it will help minimize questions later and make the tutorials for newbies easier to convey- ie: "now pick the size of the project and reward the students get for completing it"...
Most teachers coming from a gradebook with 3 or 4 "levels" of grade will find it less intimidating I'll bet- homework, quiz, project/report, Exam...

Keep it simple. ease people in.

Semantic terms can answer questions before they're asked. ;)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 6:27:33 PM Permalink


One day I'll remember that. Good suggestion! Five default (descriptive) names.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/8/14 7:11:10 PM Permalink

The drink/clothing sizes keep bugging me.

Small: Simple, Easy, Basic, Minor, Novice, Common...

Medium: Challenging, Moderate, Uncommon, Apprentice...

Large: Hard, Difficult, Journeyman...

What do you think works?

  • Basic
  • Moderate
  • Difficult
  • Heroic
  • Legendary

Matthew Miller

Posted on 7/8/14 7:40:20 PM Permalink

That sequence is better, but in keeping with the historic 'flavor' of the last two, the

Apprentice -> Journeyman -> Master -> Heroic -> Legendary

progression might work better. Or in keeping with the more mundane scale labels, maybe

Basic -> Moderate -> Difficult -> Formidable -> Epic

though I'd prefer the former, because I really like the motivational sense I personally get from contemplating a Heroic or Legendary task (even more than 'Epic').

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/8/14 7:59:34 PM Permalink

There are three Heroic coders in the Mac Lab right now. Austin has stepped up and taken his place alongside Forest and Ezio.

It's so cool to witness the progress unfurling. What a year this is going to be with everything working from day 1.

Four years of effort is finally paying off big time.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 8:15:34 PM Permalink

Completely agree on the team. Completely amazing.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 8:30:37 PM Permalink

I feel like these names are all sort of that "medieval" theme... but some use a futuristic or military theme... (mine's kind of modeled after the para-military secret organization thing like in "Alias" TV show or the "Joe Ledger" books)

Not that it's bad, but as you said, it has a "flavor" that wouldn't work well with a modern, futuristic, or "real world" theme of a game.

Of course, easy to change so I'm not planting a flag here... just trying to think of the way to make it as much "one size fits all" and "plug and play" as possible.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/14/14 8:48:10 PM Permalink

I'm open to suggestions for names that will fit everyone's theme.

Nothing's impossible. (But this is close. :)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/14/14 8:13:12 PM Permalink

Only pushback I have is that if we go with "size" labels- then it describes the reward AND the challenge. I intentionally use very generic words because different kids will connect to the concept different ways (what do I get or what do I have to do) Large challenge=large reward. Small challenge= small reward.

I make that a teaching point- that the size of the challenge will be the size of the reward. Don't try something huge, won't earn something huge.

In the end, doesn't really matter as long as it's clearly a progression that represents either size of challenge or size of reward- but both would be best, IMHO.

That being said, I don't have a great suggestion. Racked my brain for a while and didn't have anything jump in to fill the space. :/

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 7:54:24 PM Permalink

Working on the Options page redesign and am leaning towards accordion headers with settings within.

First up: Naming Conventions (what you want to call everything)

Here's a mock-up. Default settings are in gray.*

*This is very definitely a work in progress.

Roll over question marks for text description/explanation; click question marks for video version of same (not in the JPG, just once it's live).



Okay, as soon as I posted I had a thought...

Instead of Bonus and Penalty, those two should be wildcards to be used as admins see fit.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/3/14 5:57:10 AM Permalink

Would it be feasible to give students a way to send a private message that would show up for the teacher in the admin bar? I'm thinking that I can send message via the clipboard but it would be really useful if they could send a message back.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/3/14 1:28:28 PM Permalink

We'd need to set up a persistent Growl message (one that must be dismissed) in case the teacher was walking around the room or otherwise engaged so that messages were received in a timely manner. All too easy to miss otherwise.

This could be very useful and might open two-way communication channels for the shy one's in class (the kids who barely say a word).

Another good one, Johnathan. It's on the list.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/4/14 6:52:47 PM Permalink

I have used private messages for wordpress, and Cartpauj PM in the past. This would be nice for it to show up just like the clipboard messages. Is there a problem with adding these other functions to the plugin as far as the plugins ability to process. Will it use up resources and slow things down?

I would love for it to be a one stop shop!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/4/14 7:07:02 PM Permalink

The only problem is finding the time to do everything on this page. ;)

Messaging shouldn't be a resource hog and is potentially very valuable. It's in the queue.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/3/14 2:21:04 AM Permalink

To open up some design customization of the game, what about starting to just add CSS descriptors to main areas?

Main thing is quest page- just add unique CSS divs around the different areas (encounter, accept, etc.)

Adding CSS divs to the stats page might be cool too. then people could code up their own tweaks in the back end of WP without messing around in the code.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 7/3/14 4:35:57 AM Permalink

Great idea!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/3/14 1:16:32 PM Permalink

Terrence is right; great idea, Rob! It's on the list.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/1/14 6:05:42 PM Permalink

The List

I keep saying something about adding things to the list. We've had several of these in the past. This is the current list.

To keep the conversation here, the list is read only. Best to refine ideas before adding them. (Well, best for my sanity.)

Note: If you notice something I forgot to add, feel free to remind me.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/1/14 2:35:15 PM Permalink

Every once in a while I find myself wanting to add the code for a user's name and I can't seem to remember it so I need to look it up each time. I'm also finding that the quest options panel itself can be a little unwieldy and cluttered at times. What do you think about creating a separate panel for common shortcode items specifically? The current quest, video, and upload shortcodes could go in this new panel in addition to the badge shortcode (if we did that as a dropdown list).

Another thought on making the quest panel more user-friendly would be to have admins be able to click a button to maximize the stage pane with all the options for that stage withing a border and put the message WSIWYG box on the bottom since it refers to the message sent to a user AFTER they click the button to proceed to the next stage. If the box for encounter was open by default then users click open the additional stages one at a time the page would be a lot cleaner. Even better, if an admin were to minimize the encounter then the accept would be maximized automatically.

No idea how feasible some of this is but thought I'd share anyways

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/1/14 5:03:00 PM Permalink

Shortcodes: The plan is to add a WYSIWYG menu item featuring Game On shortcodes (click to insert). Yet another item I'd forgotten until your question jogged the memory.

Compact Quest Layout: Interesting idea for further down the road. I'll add it to the list.

Keep 'em coming, Johnathan!

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/1/14 5:24:49 PM Permalink

The WSIWYG menu item is a great idea. Is the plan to clean up the options panel as that is added then?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/1/14 5:43:43 PM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/2/14 1:25:30 AM Permalink

Compact Layout

I've just chopped up the existing New Quest page. Some descriptors aren't edited. Just proof of conceptual design...


Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/2/14 4:56:04 AM Permalink

This feels right, Johnathan. I've reworked the layout a bit and played around with some default text.

All because you asked.

Clutter tucked away and some new functionality will be within the Advanced Settings and Stage Options.

Same Link

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/3/14 1:25:30 AM Permalink

This looks really nice. It's just about what I had in mind.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/3/14 2:18:15 AM Permalink


Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 2:31:27 AM Permalink

And work on the new layout has begun...

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/1/14 4:33:06 AM Permalink

Had a new thought on quest chains. Could we create an option to only require quest completion to move on? I have some students that are ready to move on to a new topic but haven't taken the time to do a mastery assignment yet and are blocked because it's a 4 stage quest. :(

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/1/14 4:54:05 PM Permalink

Quest chains are Forest's and he's swamped right now. Quick solution is to make 3-stage quests* in the chain and offer Mastery as a separate quest (if you're making Mastery optional).

*Toggle Mastery Stage: Choose to deactivate the mastery stage, for a three stage Quest.

It's an idea worth pursuing down the road, though.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/3/14 4:30:06 PM Permalink

The more I think about this, the better I like the idea.

If Mastery (and the bulk of the loot) is optional, students choose (autonomy / intrinsic motivation) more work to earn more loot.

You're on a roll, Johnathan!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 2:29:56 AM Permalink

Done. With v1.9.1 mastery is optional (as it should have been from the start).

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/27/14 1:44:28 PM Permalink

Would it be feasible to add in a "File Locker" linked to user accounts? It would be really cool if students could just submit work into that file locker so they have access to it in the future without turning to outside tools like google drive. Maybe add a "Turn this in" button that timestamps the file and sends the email to the teacher as a reminder to check the file locker.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/27/14 2:57:08 PM Permalink

An interesting idea, Johnathan, but let me play devil's advocate...

Every lab is different. Some require students to login to a server. Some allow students to work locally in their own accounts. In either case, their files are at their fingertips.

When a file is submitted via Game On's functionality or it's submitted to the teacher's computer over the network via file sharing, the student still has the original copy of the work.

If we built the functionality into Game On, where would the file go? Once there, how would the students access just their own work in this shared environment? How long would the files be stored? Who pays for the hardware at the receiving end of the Turn this In pipeline?

As proud as I am of my team, I don't think we're in the same league as corporate coders. Google Drive does its thing pretty darn well. (As do companies like Dropbox.)

Having said that, I admit I may have misunderstood and hope this evolves into something I can wrap my mind around. If so, keep at it. Don't let me dissuade you. I'm neither wise nor omniscient. :)

Keep the ideas coming!

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/28/14 8:54:49 PM Permalink

Our school is using a LMS called jupitergrades that added this functionality to their assignments. On the teacher dashboard, there is a bullet that appears whenever new work has been turned in and needs to be viewed/graded. Perhaps doing something like this where the file is stored to the server the teacher is using along with a notification in the admin bar or something would work for what I'm thinking. At present, students are submitting work and my inbox is just filling up.

I think you're right that students should have their own file storage solution so probably disregard that one. It would still be cool if they had a "Submissions" page with a history of what and when things got turned in.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 9:52:56 PM Permalink

Ah, that's different, and a really good idea.

Documenting submissions made via the file uploader with student name and ID, a time and date stamp, plus a link back to the quest in question (via its title). That's doable.

The admin end with an indicator of whether a project has been graded or not is doable, too, but probably after the initial functionality rolls out.*

*Sitting here envisioning this... It might of value to let each admin control a rating system for the project—no, too confining—maybe a text field for letter grades, numerical score, rating system, etc. would be more useful.

What do you think?

(Nice one, Johnathan!)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 7/4/14 12:54:03 AM Permalink

I'm seeing that when I have a quest that requires both a file submission and approval (I'd like to check the work before having them master the quest), the students will navigate away from the page then have to submit another file before the password will be accepted. Could we arrange it in the system so there is a record of this submission that is checked on the page so it only asks for the password the next time?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/4/14 7:09:29 PM Permalink

Yes. Was unaware of that issue.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 7:18:15 PM Permalink

We're leaving the uploader in place in case the student needs to upload another file.

The only logical solution seems to be to make the password an override. That update is imminent.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 6/26/14 8:34:08 PM Permalink

Is the beautification of the setting page on the roadmap anywhere? I'd really like to get it tab-ified and polished up this summer. If nobody else is working on it, could we hash out a list of requirements and a process for me to take that on so it can be rolled into one of the updates before the end of July?


Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/27/14 12:55:15 AM Permalink

I honestly don't know if we will get to this but we'd welcome your participation, Matthew. Last time your layout was awesome but the tabs reloaded the page. I'll get feedback from Ezio and Forest re:best strategy for tabs.


Hey, are you back in the states for summer?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 6/27/14 1:24:09 AM Permalink

OK, I'll be happy to contribute. Let me know what Ezio & Forest think and how you'd like it to work; sounds like it should use something like jQuery to dynamically load tab content without reloading the page? Anything else on the list? (Everybody, feel free to jump in here - let's get that page as pretty as we can while I'm at it.)

Yes, I'm back in Boise, Idaho until the end of July, when we'll fly back to Cairo for the next school year. Really enjoying being back where customer service is a commonly understood social convention. :-)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/1/14 4:44:24 PM Permalink

Met with the guys yesterday and Forest suggests you fork the current version and use jQuery+Ajax to create tabbed functionality.

Clean, simple, and flat (no gradients) would be ideal. Thanks!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 6:29:12 PM Permalink

The guys are speeding ahead. We'll handle this. Thanks for the offer!

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/25/14 12:09:30 PM Permalink

I have a few more comments on the question dynamic to add here. As I'm going back to using it, I see a few more things that could be improved. Could we make the question box itself larger in the admin screen (a paragraph instead of short sentence length?) What I essentially want is for the questions themselves to be full text editing windows like each stage of a quest.

Then it would also be nice to have answer boxes that are full window length instead of short sentence length and the ability to embed at least superscript and subscript formatting.

There needs to be a better system of feedback when students miss a question. When one student misses a question, they get one message at the top indicating something is wrong. Then it's a guessing game as to which one is wrong and then they resubmit after making a change and hoping it was the right one. If a checkmark appeared next to each correct question and a red X next to incorrect questions that would be helpful.

I'd still like a "Fill-in-the-blank" or "numerical" question type added, even without randomization of numbers and equations to start. This is an area I'd really like to work on. I've been using Examview for a few years and am pretty adept at using the variable and algorithm system and now I'm using WebAssign and PERL/WATEX to do more of what I need. It would just be awesome to have game-on do much of what those tools provide.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/25/14 4:04:08 PM Permalink

Those are great suggestions, Johnathan!

The WYSIWYG text box would solve a number of problems (including inserting images). I'll forward this to Forest right now and see what he says.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/27/14 3:00:48 PM Permalink

Update: Forest and I have discussed this, he believes it may be doable, and he'll look into soon.

Right now he's crushing bugs and expanding functionality in the Quest Cloning mechanism.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/28/14 8:57:53 PM Permalink

That's great to hear. Man I wish I had the time and ability to get into the coding here... Feels like I'm asking a lot and I really can't contribute much to the work.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 9:56:10 PM Permalink

Think about it, Johnathan...

New and exciting ideas are THE most valuable contributions.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 6/24/14 10:55:43 PM Permalink

How about adding an option to send admin an email when a certain store item is purchased. This would be great so I don't have to go check their stats page for certain high priced items. .

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 11:02:33 PM Permalink

Oooh! That's a keeper. Can't wait for that functionality.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 6/25/14 2:51:12 PM Permalink

yes please!

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/27/14 1:40:02 PM Permalink

Could we create a reply link with the student's email address when they submit files? That would be a nice convenience. I occasionally reply to the email (since it has the student name as sender) and get 3 attempt emails back being unable to reach the recipient. Or maybe append the sender name with Game On: or the site title or something.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/27/14 3:15:57 PM Permalink


Since the email originates from the server in which our respective sites reside, reply wouldn't work (or at least I don't think it would) but we could pull the email address from their accounts and make that a link in the body of the email. Clicking that would open a pre-addressed email.

Whether the player entered the correct email in their profile, checks their own inbox, or digs the reply out of their spam folder (if it ends up there), is beyond our control.

I'll add it to the list.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/5/14 2:20:38 PM Permalink

File uploads now generate an email with this subject line:

  • Upload: Quest Name | Full Name Username (typically Student ID)

Student email (hyperlink) and the message, if any, is in the body.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/5/14 2:31:41 PM Permalink

Store purchases now generate an email with this subject line:

  • Purchase: Item Name (Quantity) | Full Name Username (typically Student ID)
Student email (hyperlink) and purchase price is in the body of the email
Note: If the purchase is for or from another student the subject line is:
  • Purchase: Item Name (Quantity) | Full Name Username (typically Student ID) | Recipient Username
It now occurs to me the full name of the recipient should also appear in the subject line (for convenience) and a second email to the recipient should also be generated... or maybe an in-game message would be preferable.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 2:47:12 AM Permalink

Silly me. The recipient already receives an in-game message when something is bought for her. Full name has been added and will be in an impending update.

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 7/7/14 5:37:57 PM Permalink

Can you make that a toggle?? I know my districts have always flipped out if the students' real names are moving around ANYWHERE on the 'net that isn't their servers.

I can do full first names or last names, but not both... maybe a toggle in settings with checkboxes so users can pick first, last, or both? (or something like "John S.")

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/7/14 6:22:04 PM Permalink

Good point. That will be a setting on the Options page. (On the list.)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 6/23/14 11:32:37 PM Permalink

I am really excited about the badge function this year as it will be a huge part of student mastery. One thing I would like is in the leaderboard area a space that shows who has the most badges. I know coding for this might be a huge problem. But if we could start off by manually adding them to student stats in the clipboard which will show up on the stats page leaderboard. I really like how adobe has done this on this site.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/24/14 12:58:19 PM Permalink

I'd like to be able to just search for badges directly from a store or quest page instead of having to pop out to the media tab separately. And I'm still stuck on the idea of players having a true inventory of items instead of just a "purchases" section on the stats page. This plugin has really come far but it's exciting to think of all the potential improvements just to be made.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 2:29:10 PM Permalink

Badges are essentially a media file—any media file (even videos). If you look through your WP Media tab you'll note that every single file has a [go_award_badge id="12507" repeat = "off"] shortcode associated with it. (The number and the off/on are variables.) Maybe the coders can figure out something but how would the search function? The best I can come up with is a password-protected page—a cheat sheet for admins—that admins have to create for themselves that would pair badges and shortcodes.

As always, I'm open to suggestions.

Hmmm... Maybe we could add a metafield to each image in order to separate badges (or achievements or whatever the admin calls them) from the general media population. Then we might just have something useful. Maybe...

As for an Inventory, do you just want the ability to rename Purchases (doable) or additional functionality? If the latter, and I know you've explained this before, what would that functionality be?

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/25/14 4:31:01 AM Permalink

I like the idea of a badge metafield. I'm thinking that a dropdown list of badges to embed when you are on a mission or store page would be a helpful system from a system admin perspective.

I currently track down the badge shortcode by going to the media tab, then click back to the page I want to use it on. If I've made changes to the original page then I need to save the draft or update it first before going to the media section. It's just a logistical thing on my end I guess

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/25/14 10:16:49 AM Permalink

I like the idea of a dropdown list of badges. That would be helpful. As for doable... I'll ask.

On a Mac, I Command-Click the Media link to open it in a new window, close it when I'm done, and get back to working on the quest. Not as elegant as the dropdown idea, but still saves a bit of time.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/26/14 1:18:49 PM Permalink

That actually makes a lot of sense. Funny how you don't think about obvious time-savers sometimes. The dropdown would still be helpful for users that are new to the system though.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 2:48:45 AM Permalink

Oh, do we have a solution for finding badges. Coming soon to a plugin near you. :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/25/14 4:31:09 AM Permalink

With respect to inventory, I think that renaming purchases is just a good idea to make the system more customizable anyways but it's not what I'm thinking about in terms of a true inventory system.

In my game, I have a very limited selection of items right now. Students can purchase passes (turn in an assignment late, get extra attempts, etc. or they can purchase privileges (add 3 songs to the class spotify playlist, add a custom avatar,etc.)

What I'd really like to do is probably beyond the scope of what we're trying to do with game-on. I want to make an RPG with loot, crafting, equipable items, and consumables. I think it's too ambitious and would require way more time and energy than it's worth. Developing the Check for Understanding section would have much more bang for the buck.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/25/14 10:35:21 AM Permalink

Optional renaming of Purchases is on the list.

As for the rest, we have so many coders-in-training we may need work for them to do next year. But... [go_lightning_flashes]

Think about leveraging existing functionality...

  • Equipping items usually leads to a buff of some sort and that's what the Multiplier does
  • Consumables give something in return and that's what the Store does
  • Crafting is similar to Consumables in that something is used up to create something else. Again the Store's functionality

We have some powerful mechanics in place. It's the eye candy we lack. Function first. Form second.*

*The artist in me cringes when I say that.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/26/14 1:25:04 PM Permalink

The problem is that the multiplier ONLY affects one variable, XP. What if I want an item to boost the number of HP, or attack points, or defense points? I'm thinking of added versatility.

A true consumable would have the functionality to not only show up as a purchase but to redeem (lose it from your inventory but a buff of some kind is added to the player character; think extra experience potion).

Crafting could use consumables but we would need to have a way to combine items to reform another and that still leaves the lack of a redeeming option. A uniform UI where students could see the required items, the amounts of those specific items they have in inventory, and the buffs imbued by the blueprint (whether equipment or consumable) would be ideal.

Maybe I'm just stuck on Angry Birds Epic ;)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/26/14 2:37:27 PM Permalink

Actually, the multiplier affects points and currency. I'm not sure I understand how the HP, AP, and DP would play into quests (learning the curriculum).

We're working on leveraging badges for store items. The badge would not be consumed, but it's purchasing power would be. The purchased item could be whatever you want including experience or a buff—when that's built into the store (something I want, too).

Time or Synergy or Gems or whatever it's called can be used via the store's functionality. Again, the items are "consumed" just like Gold or XP are when redeeming, purchasing, exchanging, etc.

Redeeming items leverages the store's functionality. That's how one thing becomes another. A store item can live on any page or a quest stage and you can call it whatever you want. Maybe the word "store" is masking the scope of this mechanism. If so, mea culpa.

Because the system is made to be customized, the blueprint you're envisioning is admin-driven at this point. No one will have the same items or exchange rates.

But now that I understand what you're asking for, I'll ponder how we might enable something along those lines.

The store, marketplace, vendor's bazaar, whatever, is really critical to Game On and it's a high-priority item with us. But tying all of those admin-grenerated variables to the player's inventory ... that's a tall order.

But I like your enthusiasm and imagination. :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/28/14 9:28:23 PM Permalink

I guess I'm thinking of a way to make the learning not the center of the class but a necessary step in the process of something more exciting. If you've ever read Ender's Game, they had the Battle Room game. I'm developing a quiz-bowl like live game that I'd like to incorporate with power-ups that could be earned as loot or purchased. The game itself is a fun, engaging, team-based event that ties in academic vocab and problem solving. I'm thinking that I could run 2 or 3 of these games on Fridays and setup a ranking system.

I didn't realize that the multiplier affected Gold as well. I'll have to take that into account as I use the minutes currency.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 10:08:02 PM Permalink

"...a way to make the learning not the center of the class but a necessary step in the process of something more exciting."

Holy fragnog, Batman. Johnathan's on to something big!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 10:12:49 PM Permalink


Boring Point:

When things get this close to the edge, reply to a comment further up the thread or the formatting gets broken like it did here. (See the long links that did it?)

Hey, I'll bet that page can be saved. I'll write Nathan.


w00t! Nathan changed the links and it's no longer broken.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 10:46:08 PM Permalink

Kicking this out for more room...

Actually, I'm just finishing Ender's Game for the umpteenth time. And the cable company is offering free HBO and Cinemax this weekend so I watched it last night as well. Not as bad as I thought it was in the theater but still an epic disappointment. (How can Ender tower over Bonzo?! What ridiculous casting! One of many complaints.)

Anyway, reading (and watched) for ideas (the movie had some nice visuals for the leaderboard) but never even imagined taking it as far as you suggested with:

...a way to make the learning not the center of the class but a necessary step in the process of something more exciting.

Can't wait to hear the results!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 1:57:25 PM Permalink

Terrence: If you mean that you'd like a Badges tab in the leaderboard displaying small versions of the badges themselves—with the most badges at the top of the list, of course—I believe that's both doable and desirable. The alt text that shows up on mouseover would provide information about the Badge. That, as you know, is added in the WP Media section.

Is that what you'd like to have?

Terrence Banks

Posted on 6/24/14 10:53:47 PM Permalink


Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 11:01:47 PM Permalink

Perfect! On the list.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/22/14 1:15:24 PM Permalink

In the past week I've started getting into Angry Birds Epic. This game feels a lot like Final Fantasy 7 in the combat mode (turn based with limit breaks) but they've integrated some interesting social elements.

Players connect to their friends via facebook and are awarded bonus social "Gem" currency that can be used to re-roll for item bonuses when crafting or getting loot after combat. Additionally, the in-game currency is in the form of XP which levels up your birds and increases their attack power and HP, golden coins, which can be used to buy power-ups that make your crafting or combat performance easier, and silver coins, used to buy blueprints for potions/items, or to pay trainers and unlock new combat classes for your birds.

Within the system, you can pay $ for gold coins so that's the monetary aspect for Rovio, and they can be exchanged for silver coins or gems.

I'm trying to apply some of what I like about this game to game-on. Namely, having multiple currencies (I know we have XP, currency and minutes already) for a start would allow me to emphasize specific rewards for specific types of achievement. I love the idea of a social currency and I've been thinking about putting together a "Quiz-bowl" style competition at the end of each week where teams of 4 could compete in various mini-games designed to help them have fun while reviewing content. If they earned this social currency for studying together or bringing up grades of team members who are struggling, I think it would go a long way toward counteracting the "in it for myself" mentality that seems so pervasive today.

I know it seems odd that having competitions will raise cooperation but in small groups that's what I've seen. I have a lot of other ideas with regard to creating a character screen, items and bonuses, as well as a true inventory and equipping dynamic but I'm not sure how widely useful they would be to the game-on community so maybe I'll hang on to those for now until I can flesh them out.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/22/14 1:52:50 PM Permalink

With images of high school … the sports teams and the gangs … cooperation and competition. Images of his parents, hard at work side by side, striving for long hours to make their business thrive … competition and cooperation.

Images of cells and bodies, species and planets. Cooperation and competition. Are they really the same? How can they be?
Brin, David (2009-10-21). Earth (p. 344). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I love Nelson's character. Brin spends a lot of time in that book making a case for you, Johnathan.

As for using points (XP) as currency, my students—well, the serious gamers—overwhelmingly told me how bad an idea it was and why (back when we first started building our system). I took their word for it and was about to respond to you when I heard my own voice say what I've told the kids a thousand times: Don't just believe what you're told; look it up for yourself and verify the information.

The first answer on this page reminded me of push and pull game mechanics as well as possible benefits of XP as currency.

When you join a pull mechanic with advancement currency as the bait, you get a very neat mechanic that puts advancement and choice more into the players' hands. In my experience, that significantly increases players' sense of agency and control over their characters' destiny. (It's not fool-proof of course—the GM can offer bad deals—but you can break any mechanic if you try.)

This is intriguing, but if we move in this direction, we need to begin with something small—a proof of concept to build on. (We do that quite often with new features—roll out something to see if it works then refine, refine, refine.)

Can you think of the first step up this staircase? Enhancing cooperation and competition is highly desirable.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/22/14 10:18:06 PM Permalink

I only mention XP as currency because it can be used to purchase things in the store. I see what we have as "Gold" by default as primary currency, earned as they earn XP for completing tasks but adding a social currency that can be assigned either through task completion or through the clipboard would be handy for reinforcing team-minded performance. I'm thinking that if I had a student performing at a low level on a pretest but they see significant improvement, all members of that team would receive social currency for helping each other. This could be from group study sessions, team projects, group labs or experiments. I'd like them to then be able to use that form of currency to purchase perks they could use on the quiz-bowl days.

To test this out, you could just modify the code so I can rename minutes since I'm not using them anyways. I'll be implementing this idea over the next few weeks if I can get my ideas together for the AP Chem summer school group.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 3:42:20 AM Permalink

An option to rename minutes? Consider it on the to do list.

You know, Johnathan, renaming minutes might provide more of what you're asking for than you realize.

  1. Go to the Options page
  2. Look at Time and the Percentage Multiplier
  3. Think about that and the settings

I leverage minutes to buff or nerf loot based on time. Sure seems like you could do the same based on cooperation and/or competition (or however you want to parse that).
But you probably already thought of that. Sleepy here. Long day. Later.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/23/14 1:43:31 PM Permalink

You know, I didn't even think of that. I've just never used minutes (I tried in my first install by my clipboard was still erratic...) and I forgot that so much is connected to minutes. I'm going to give minutes a try this week and maybe we can try a beta feature where a secondary currency is introduced (Gold and Silver?). That would just be another item in the database right?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 4:13:08 PM Permalink

Crud! Did anyone get emails about two comments I posted right here regarding Synergy points? They're just gone.

If so, please forward the email(s) to mskocko@guhsd.net

If not, #$%&!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 3:19:08 PM Permalink

Fragnog! Looks like those comments are dust in the wind.

In a nutshell, if you don't use minutes—and in an epiphany-filled hour of typing about this yesterday, I'm seriously considering abandoning them after 12 years of valuable service—you could use the minutes functionality as a secondary currency. Since you're interested in fostering cooperation and competition, I suggested the option of renaming the field.

Synergy was the word I used. And that's the concept that got me all fired up about the idea (but you could call them whatever you wanted).

Admins decide how and when to award Synergy points. They could be awarded via the Clipboard, Quests, and/or the Store. When a player collects enough of them, the multiplier kicks in. (The admin, of course, determines the thresholds.)

The player has a choice: To keep the points (or gems or flying unicorns or whatever you call them) and collect extra loot for every Quest or to spend them for Store items that can only be purchased with Synergy.

Designed right, this could be a great game mechanic.

Would that work for you?

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/25/14 4:19:26 AM Permalink

I could definitely make that work. I started using minutes again this week and it really is a good dynamic for teaching. It's just not as immersive if you aren't running your game like a boss at a company.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/28/14 10:51:41 PM Permalink

Agreed. That's what the name must be customizable. That way each of us can optimize its functionality.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 6/22/14 5:47:05 AM Permalink

Is there a way to give students a Badge or does it have to be embedded into a quest or rank completion? I am all in for badges next year and want to be able to give them as well.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/22/14 1:06:50 PM Permalink

Great idea, Terrence! We'll add that feature to the clipboard.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/22/14 10:06:05 PM Permalink

I like that solution much better than mine :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/22/14 1:17:04 PM Permalink

I give them badges through a side quest. The shortcode you embed will grant the "badge" so you can just enter a password for those students who you confirm did that specific activity.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/20/14 3:38:38 PM Permalink

Since day 1 I've had problems with the format of the stats box but I thought I'd just rehash it here real quick. Currently, my stats box looks like this. I know you said you were planning on a fix at some point but I was curious where you were with that. It would be great to be able to zoom out or rescale it somehow.

Side note, still having random disappearing clipboard data. You can see it at chem.chasegame.net when you get a minute.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 4:09:42 PM Permalink

I've written Ezio to make a quick width adjustment for you. The redesign is still in the works. Sometime in the next month... hopefully.

No idea why users aren't appearing on clipboard. What host are you using? PHP version?

I'm trying to set up a meeting with the coders later today to discuss this and other plans.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 6:16:09 PM Permalink

Try this and let us know if it worked (for the Stats box).

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/20/14 8:15:05 PM Permalink

Stats box works great now.

I'm using mediatemple. The php version 5.3.27

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 9:35:53 PM Permalink


As for PHP, I'm using MediaTemple, too, for my test sites and the users work fine in the clipboard.

Made you an admin on http://dv.themaclab.net and sent the login info to the sushi email. Test away and see if you can figure why mine works and yours doesn't.


Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/21/14 10:02:59 PM Permalink

The clipboard works fine there... maybe it has something to do with my database prefix because I'm using a different prefix for this install. I thought you had those issues take care of though. And I could have sworn it worked a week ago. I'll keep tinkering with your site and see if there's a settings discrepancy.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/21/14 10:15:15 PM Permalink

I'll check with the coders about the DB prefix/Clipboard issue.

For what it matters... I have 60+ subdomains running Game On on MediaTemple, each using the default DB prefix. There's no conflict using the same DB prefix on different subdomains because each subdomain is a stand-alone website with a unique (yet identical) WordPress install.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/21/14 10:33:13 PM Permalink

okay. I just did a fresh install on my server to test and it worked fine. I'll try a few more things and let you know if I figure it out.

Update: Figured it out. I don't have a specific computer for my students so I just deleted the computer designation completely. I added the computer and selected the same computer for two users and viola! the clipboard works again. My analysis tab still doesn't seem to be functional but I'll keep working on that.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/21/14 10:39:48 PM Permalink

Kicking this out a touch...

Good, but if there's still a lingering issue with the custom DB prefixes, we need to identify it and resolve it. The Clipboard is the backbone of Game On and it has to work. Thanks, Johnathan!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/22/14 2:15:35 PM Permalink

Ah, just saw your update. That's good news!

As for the Analysis tab, you need to click the Collect Data button (once a week, say Monday morning) or it has no data to display.

Is that the problem?

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/22/14 10:36:06 PM Permalink

Hmm, maybe I just don't really get how it's supposed to function. I was envisioning that the analysis tab should show a change in player data over time (experience earned over the last week, month, year, etc.) Are you saying I need to select the feature I want to view and then click "collect data" to make the system focus on one attribute from that point forward?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 3:48:26 AM Permalink

No. You just need to click Collect Data once a week (the feature variable doesn't matter). Then the Analysis tab displays the chosen variable for the selected student(s) like this.*

*I obviously didn't remember to click once a week as you can see.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/23/14 1:45:18 PM Permalink

OH! I get it. It records a data point for that item ONLY when you click collect data. Couldn't it just always be tracking this data then format and graph it based on a selected timeframe???

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 3:43:29 PM Permalink

Kicking this out for more room...

It's very processor intensive and writes quite a bit of data. Semar recommended not using it more than once a week and only then when the server is at rest (no users on it).

Continuous use would write mountains of data and potentially overwhelm the server.

What I can do (and this is yet another item I'd forgotten) is ask Ezio to script weekly auto-data collections in the wee hours (local time) then we'd have access to data via continuous weekly updates.


Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/23/14 3:52:05 PM Permalink

How about allowing the admin to select a day (maybe Friday night at midnight or something), let the system run the report and then email it out to the admin. The teacher gets this report in pdf format or .csv waiting for them Saturday morning and they can look over it to plan for the next week maybe? Would that cut out the resource drain?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 3:47:42 PM Permalink

Oh, and just to be clear, clicking Collect Data collects data for ALL variables at once. It doesn’t matter what the pulldown menu is set to.

Only one click per week until Ezio writes that script.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/23/14 4:05:06 PM Permalink

Replacing the Collect Data button with a Collect Data Midnight on SELECT DAY is one way to eliminate one scary variable (a teacher clicking that Collect Data button obsessively).

Great idea!

I'll put that and the auto-reporting via email on the list.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/24/14 12:54:08 PM Permalink

Maybe code in a pop-up message so the teachers know what's going on too.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 2:35:51 PM Permalink

We'd set the default to midnight (local time) on Friday and allow admins to change the day.

As for the pop-up, we need to add a ? for a quick video explanation/tutorial. (Is that what you mean?)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/29/14 1:05:54 PM Permalink

I was actually thinking of a confirmation dialog box so teachers know something happened when they clicked the button.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/29/14 5:54:18 PM Permalink

Understood. But I'm still leaning towards removing the button. No real reason to collect this data more than once a week and much easier and far more dependable to do so automatically.

Let's keep the temptation away from OCD folks (like me).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/19/14 3:18:18 PM Permalink

Forest really delivered on the check for understanding update (v1.7.5).

Are there any other options for this feature that you'd like to have at your fingertips?

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/20/14 3:30:55 PM Permalink

Direct html markup (or a way to add a picture) would be nice as a advanced option maybe.

I'd also like to be able to code randomized variables but that's reaching I think.

This is awesome and I love how responsive you are to questions and requests :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 4:14:18 PM Permalink

I've sent your request on to Forest.

The questions and requests push Game On forward. It's a win-win for students and teachers.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 4:37:40 PM Permalink

From an email exchange with Forest, I wrote:

The option to randomize loot has always appealed to me. Not so much for the tests, though.

Allowing players to earn the right to random amounts of XP or Gold -- a variable admin could set from X to Y -- would be nice and I'm sure the players would love that, too.

I'd forgotten about the random loot idea. How many other good ideas are waiting to be re-remembered?

See? Win-win. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/21/14 1:28:31 AM Permalink

Re: Direct html markup (or a way to add a picture) would be nice as a advanced option maybe.

Forest explained in great detail the potential issues we might encounter, so to begin with baby steps, please give us an example of how this feature might work.

We've thought about the benefits of imagery in the past but have never proceeded due to other pressing needs.

Bottom line: We want to push the check for understanding forward in measured, useful, doable steps.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/21/14 9:56:09 PM Permalink

I'm thinking that in my chemistry class a way to display a numerical question that needs to be calculated would be nice. Since embedding watex or latex has it's own issues, I was thinking that an option to just include an image would allow me to export whatever weird symbols I need as an image. If there was an option to input a text or number response instead of multiple-choice or multiple-response that would be far more accessible for me even if the question can't use random variables.

I currently use webassign.net for most of my mastery quests and that site lets me code html and do simple programming using PERL. This system works for what I need but I'm just thinking of ways to make game-on better.

If students didn't need to go to a different site the experience would be more immersive for students and teachers could stick to one site most of the time. I get that many of the early adopters for game-on are media teachers and randomized variables don't really affect them as much, but I thought I'd throw out my two cents anyways.

Since I don't really understand the programming aspect of wordpress or the plugin, I'm at your mercy in terms of what functionality gets incorporated. Again, you guys do a great job and I'll take whatever I can get.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/21/14 10:01:45 PM Permalink

Now I understand (even the random variables). Sounds challenging. (Forest will love that!)

I'll pass this along.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/19/14 3:15:44 PM Permalink

QuestLines (Ezio called them Task Chains) have been released and Ezio's currently working on adding the automated next task link and an option to add a custom message at the end to the line, chain, whatever.

Wonderful addition to Game On via your suggestions!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/16/14 8:12:59 PM Permalink

Ezio generated this latest feature in about 90 minutes. I really like the idea of letting players know the loot up front. Can you think of any additions/improvements to v1.7.4? Here's what it looks like in two different themes.*

*The names of Stages, Points, and Currency are filled dynamically. Test to see for yourself. :)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 6/8/14 11:18:10 PM Permalink

Are we ever going to get the login bar back? :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/8/14 11:58:34 PM Permalink

Okay, been sitting here trying to remember what the login bar is... and failing. Sorry!

What is it and why is it preferable to the current login method?

(I'm up for anything that makes Game On better.)

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 6/9/14 1:50:52 AM Permalink

Oh, well on my page if I'm not logged in there is no bar at the top to login - once you login by going to the wp-admin page the bar appears. I have the same theme on two different sites and the one that has the Game On! plugin does not have the top log in bar when logged out. We talked about it a long time ago and it was set to the side to work on more important stuff, which is fine, but I thought maybe we could get someone just throwing it back up there.

Go to http://www.astronautdesigngroup.com and you should see the button at the top left - it's not there if you go to http://www.astronautdesigngroup.com/dd1 (don't mind the new theme, it's not there for any theme I choose that has the plugin installed).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/9/14 1:00:27 PM Permalink

Ah, now I understand. We'll look into this. Thanks, Nathan!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/9/14 5:28:47 PM Permalink

Just spoke with Ezio and he's put it in the queue. (A few things to finish before this.)

Look for a fix soon.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/11/14 1:18:30 PM Permalink

I used a login widget plugin to add shortcode with the basic login form to the main page. Once the students log in, they will see their profile at the top and they won't need to worry about it again.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/11/14 1:41:21 PM Permalink

We've been using [sb_login size="small" redirect="current" lostpass="true"] but at some point it began redirecting us to login.php page rather than remaining on the current (home) page.

Will be glad when we dispense with the shortcode and simply have a uniform login across all sites.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/11/14 1:47:27 PM Permalink


How and when did "true" replace "false" for lostpass? That's why we were being redirected (to recover the lost password).

As BlindEye would say, "It was as obvious as the blind spot in front of my face."

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/24/14 9:34:12 PM Permalink

Trickier than we thought. Some themes show the bar by default; some hide it. Ezio thinks he's found a way to make it visible on all themes when not logged in.

We've tested on a few. We're depending on you to tell us if it works on yours. :)

Release History

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 6/25/14 2:56:52 PM Permalink

It works!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/6/14 2:51:47 AM Permalink


No more login shortcodes!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/29/14 1:25:00 PM Permalink

Task Search: Insert [go_get_category] shortcode to activate task searches by focus, category, or tag. Results are restricted to tasks (or quests or missions or whatever you call your assignments/projects).

We have some formatting to consider but what about functionality? Right now each checkbox adds to the search results. Should we consider a method of restricting searches? (You'll have to try the search to see what I mean.)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/18/14 4:21:14 AM Permalink

I've been thinking lately about how to encourage behaviors. One thing that occurred to me was to have a small daily XP award for logging into the system. Optional, of course. Could potentially be linked to some kind of activity monitor...not sure about that. But I'm thinking that this could be a way to encourage daily engagement in the game (potentially, even outside of class time).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/18/14 10:47:52 PM Permalink

We used to have that feature with CubePoints and CubeGold (2012/13) but it was processor-intensive because it's a series of extra database calls for everyone when the class first logs in. But...

It strikes me that the coders could enable a bonus for logging in to the system (on the same day) 2+ hours after the initial login. Sure, some might game the system but others might explore further.

Hmmm... Recording the initial login is an extra call, too. We'll work on this.

Additional thoughts on how it might work? I liked the idea of showing a little love to those who go the extra mile. Would be nice to bring it back.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/19/14 4:53:13 AM Permalink

What about setting a cookie when the user logs in, with expiration of 12hrs or something? On re-login we could just check for that cookie (local processor hit, but no bandwidth & no server processing required), compare the timestamp, and then add points if applicable. Only the point add would hit the processor, so unless the same class had multiple sessions on the same day it should be fairly spread out.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/19/14 12:49:41 PM Permalink

Virtually all of my students who check back in do so after school... from home.

See the problem? :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/19/14 5:39:53 PM Permalink

Hmm, yes I do. Cold water on that idea, then. I guess it's a database call on login for sure, then, which definitely means it should be optional and turned off by default, if it gets put in. Why a "series of extra database calls," though?

Would just one on logon work? When players log in, record the timestamp. On logoff, if they have a prior timestamp more than X hours ago the same day, add points. That way we distribute the load a bit (and move it to a less critical point in the interactions), plus encourage good security practice in the form of logging off (all to often neglected around here, at least).

Aside: while researching for this post I ran across a really thorough article by Scott Taylor about optimizing database queries in WordPress. He's gotten some of the basic ones he started with from 4 queries taking ~650ms down to just 1 query taking 42ms. Well worth a read if the coding team hasn't already looked at this. Unfortunately, when I found it the only option was Google's cached copy of the page, as the original site returns a "502 Bad Gateway" error.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/26/14 10:07:26 PM Permalink

Could have sworn I responded. Now where did I put my mind...

The "series" of calls referred to the system that awarded points for simply logging in. In that scenario, the plugin recorded the login, awarded points, updated scores, and checked level thresholds. (Our new system makes extensive use of arrays to lesson this load.)

Logging in and out are both processor-intensive. Lots of info is exchanged. I still don't get why the server spikes on logout but it does. (We've worked with the district to monitor that activity. Everyone login. All right, now everyone logout. Repeat. Repeat. Collect data.) We're continuing to work on reducing the drag.

Until that mystery is solved, I'm reticent to add any additional calls (beyond tracking the initial daily login info) for login/logout during class. (But I do like your security-based logic for awarding points for logging out. We'll work on it.)

However, awarding points for voluntarily logging in after regularly scheduled classes is an option I can get behind. Random clusters of server calls aren't a problem.


P.S. I shared the article with the coders and Forest in particular dove deep. He sent a series of screenshots and reams of info. From his conclusion...

I am roughly 99% sure that all of Ezio, Semar, and I have all succeeded in not making useless SQL queries. The wp_go table is one of our most used, since students will be using it almost all the time for quests.

[A whole bunch of examples, code, and explanations.]

And that is the reason that our plugin seems slow, it is not necessarily the fault of the servers that it is running on. There are other things that you pointed out to him that force us to use as many queries as we do, instead of cookies and/or sessions.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/27/14 1:42:28 AM Permalink

So weird to hear of a district actually working with teachers instead of actively discouraging them from experimenting with technology. I still can't get my district to allow our students to use Plotbot (a scriptwriting website) because it has "friendship content."

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/28/14 1:52:46 PM Permalink

Nathan, have you ever tried sitting down with the folks who make policy to discuss possibilities? Come equipped with loads of research, plans, and enthusiasm. Stay positive and focus on how the resources will benefit students.

The district's NO GAMES policy was not only waived for my classroom, they created a hole in the firewall for World of Warcraft before and after school so kids could study the game mechanics (the foundation for Game On).

Use reason, passion, and data. And like I said, always, ALWAYS focus on how the resources will benefit students.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/28/14 2:06:03 PM Permalink

I haven't (I'm only two years in) but when I talk to my tech and mention that I would gladly talk to the district about stuff she won't let me! :) I'm sure they have plenty of directives on that.

I have some connections down at the main office who like what we're doing so I'm sure any major obstacles (none so far) can be overcome. The only good thing about having the certification tests we have is that when I give them a high pass rate everyone in the district gets money and so they get really excited about what I'm doing even though they generally have no clue except for what I tell them.

The biggest issue is trying to keep the peace between all of the tech people involved. One misstep and I might lose all support I have (there are plenty of teachers here who get left in the wind when they rub the tech person wrong).

So far, I'm pretty much left alone - it's the little things (like the Plotbot thing above) that bug me but I can live with them (for now).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/28/14 9:05:04 PM Permalink

Kicking this out for more room to respond.

When I scrolled up to kick this out I was thinking, What was the comment that spurred this exchange?

Matthew: I've been thinking lately about how to encourage behaviors.

Nathan, maybe that's the mindset you need to latch on to. You have good cred for bringing in dough with your certification test results. How can you leverage your cred, promote heightened student engagement, and dangle the possibility of raising certification rates—or better yet, helping others in your district raise cert rates via your model?

It's criminal to cow teachers with the threat of retribution. Tech support should support teachers, not maintain the status quo. Keep fighting the good fight!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/16/14 9:07:57 PM Permalink

Crazy Cool Coders

Not sure what's up with today but several of the coders (scattered throughout day) approached me and asked if we'd be working on Game On during the summer. When I answered, yes, each asked if it would be okay if they participated.


Keep the feature requests coming.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/18/14 4:16:10 AM Permalink

I disagree. Authentic activity, immediate and realistic feedback, real (worldwide, no less) audience, substantial challege...it sounds like exactly the sort of thing that so many articles about education say we should be developing. Not amazing at all. Just wonderful.

Thank you to all the coders!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/18/14 10:51:03 PM Permalink

That's a wonderful observation, Matthew. Hadn't connected those dots.

I'll pass along your thanks and observation.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/16/14 8:29:28 PM Permalink

Elijah, Matthew, Muhammad, and Kasie

When I told Kasie that her team couldn't fail, the four of them looked at me puzzled. "C'mon!" I said, pointing at each in turn, "Elijah. Matthew. Muhammad." They looked at each other, still not getting it.

Oh well. One thing they have gotten is lots of progress in redesigning the Stats page. In sketching out ideas, they've come up with a number of new features too. One of many examples.

Add your suggestions. :)

This is our first attempt at building a team composed of coders and artists. Good synergy.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/16/14 7:29:00 PM Permalink

Coming Soon: Search

Ezio has been working with Austin, our most recent training grad, on a new search feature. Imagine a page with 3 checkboxes:

  • Focus
  • Category
  • Tag

Clicking a box reveals the contents (such all all of the existing categories). Selecting specific categories and/or focuses/tags (via additional checkboxes) narrows the search. Search results are delivered on the same page below the 3 primary checkboxes in the form of links (title of the resource).
I was struck by how intuitive the search seems to be. Right now the search results don't clear immediately when changing variables. Once that's solved, it rolls out.
Note: Austin has mental superpowers and will be playing a major role on the team next year.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/13/14 12:55:42 PM Permalink

I love the Nerf Dates option!

Is there a way to have it where I can put in an actual amount of time as opposed to a date? Like say, 24 hours or 10 days or something? I have a lot of optional quests that my students can do but when they get to those they like to stretch them out. If I give them a timeframe like a week to do it before they get nerfed then it might push them harder to do it. Plus, if I put in a nerf date that means I have to keep changing the task every year or semester or whatever (or I have to make duplicate tasks for each class possibly - that seems inefficient). It just makes it easier to keep students on individual tracks but still give them due dates without having to copy and paste a whole new task for each student.

Make sense?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/14/14 1:44:15 PM Permalink

Great suggestion, Nathan. Ezio and I worked out a strategy to give admins the ability to set minutes, hours, or days from the point the quest is accepted. He'll code this soon.

The date feature will still function as it's perfect for real world projects with actual deadlines.

Will that work?

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/14/14 1:49:52 PM Permalink

The best of both worlds! How can you argue with that? :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/14/14 3:55:40 PM Permalink


Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/16/14 8:48:08 PM Permalink

Was just thinking about the implementation. It seems like there should be two radio buttons: TIME and DATE.

The DATE option would toggle the current settings and the TIME option would toggle the minutes, hours, days fields. (Adding this here so I don't forget.)

Chris Aviles

Posted on 5/12/14 5:47:02 PM Permalink

Hello, friends.

I'm not entirely sold on Game On being right for my English class. Hopefully, that will change with time and 2.0 coming out. I am, however, in love with the store. I currently have a class store and I have do everything manually. Would it be possible to use the existing Game On code to just make a store? Would this have to be in wordpress?

I'm attempting to code a store myself, but I just don't have the skills. Any thoughts?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/12/14 8:12:07 PM Permalink

Yeah, I think you could use just the gold (manually assigned per user) and store components. You would have to use WordPress, as GameOn is entirely a WordPress plugin and has no functionality outside the WP environment.

Out of curiosity, what aspects of GameOn are working for your vision and which are giving you pause? Are there specific ways we could improve the system for use in your classroom?

Chris Aviles

Posted on 5/13/14 12:13:08 AM Permalink

It sounds weird, but its not the system per say. It's the workflow. Getting work, grading work, and handing back work just doesn't seem to be there yet. I teach English, so I have a ton of papers coming and going. I plan on making a site (my first one, DYI in Dreamweaver!) and playing around with it and Game On in wordpress. I'd love to use the store because I do mine manual now and it's tough to keep up. I don't think I'll know if Game On is right for me until I play with it this summer, but the workflow seems like it wouldn't work for me... I need a one-stop-shop kind of solution.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/13/14 1:41:52 PM Permalink

Aha. Yeah, that's not very fleshed out with this system yet. One possibility, based on that workflow, might be the one-blog-per-student within a multi-wordpress site setup. That's how I run one of my classes. Each student has a blog. Quests require the students to write a post on their blog (could easily be a copy-and-paste from MS Word, etc, unless the formatting is important, in which case I'd require a PDF attachment). I see all the posts come through on the central page and can comment on them directly from right there (so feedback is easy - recording grades would have to be manually done in addition). If you'd like to see how this looks, email me and I can set something up (mmiller at g dash cacegypt dot org).

Caveat: I don't and never have taught English, so this might be misdirection from someone who really doesn't understand the needs of the process within that subject. Your call :-)

Chris Aviles

Posted on 5/14/14 11:58:59 AM Permalink


While I plan on continuing to follow and support this awesome project, can I have your permission to pull out and play with the store code? If you like at my game site https://sites.google.com/site/twentytwentygame/ you'll see I have a class store and class currency, but currently I do everything manually. Automating the class store is my number one goal this year.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/14/14 1:33:53 PM Permalink

Chris, you don't need permission. It's open source. :)

You're free to modify the plugin to suit your needs but the coders are currently expanding the store's functionality. If you'd like to suggest specific functionality be added, we're all ears.

BTW, our system worked manually in 2011/12. Three months in we started working on Cube Gold—our first attempt at a WordPress system—because manual systems lack the instant feedback that research says is a critical component for successful gamification systems.

Plus, from my perspective, manual sucked because I was wasting hours each week keeping track of everything. That's a computer's job. (And that's why, I suspect, you're so keen to automate your store.)

Chris Aviles

Posted on 5/14/14 3:19:52 PM Permalink

Yea, after talking to the other Mike he cleared something up. I didn't realize you could turn different aspects of Game On on and off. I'm going to install the plugin and just turn off the quest feature... I think. I really just need to site down and play with it.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/14/14 3:58:08 PM Permalink

Wow..."the other Mike..." I am tickled! After reading here for a while, you start to realize what a compliment that is. :-)

Sounds good, Chris. If you have questions you know how to find us. Have fun!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/14/14 4:33:37 PM Permalink

Pushing this back out so we have more room...

Chris, the most important mindset for using Game On is that you're in control of the variables. Our goal is to provide educators a system they can modify to suit their individual needs. Yes, it's a work in progress but that's half the fun. The classrooms using this are actually building one friggin' awesome, customizable, self-paced gamified learning environment together.

Secondly, we—the developers—the kid coders—want to modify and expand the plugin for our users. As I've said so many times before, most of the best features have come from you—the educators using Game On.

Think about what would make Game On work for you and let us know what features you want. Chances are, what you want is what we want too.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 5/7/14 2:11:05 AM Permalink

At the end of the school year will there be a way to remove all students "focus" and "classifications" or will that have to be manual. Without the clearing or refreshing of all those accounts the leader boards will be a mess...Or are we still on the path of deleting student accounts all together and starting fresh?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/14/14 1:38:41 PM Permalink

Ezio says he can make a button to remove whatever data you want.

As always, you're free to implement as you see fit. I like wiping the slates clean and starting fresh each year because, as has been the case since I started this crazy job in 2002, I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good teacher. Every year's collection of fails leads to new strategies for the next. Fresh starts feel appropriate, for me and the veterans.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 5/16/14 6:13:22 PM Permalink

I'm on board with a restart. I'm not even sure why I was wanting to retain the students account now? As long as I actually delete them then the data including leaderbaords would be erased so no issue. I think I will keep their student blogs although thinking about retooling the approach to how we use those could also change massively. I just don't want the students to lose all the great work they have done in building their sites this year.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/14/14 1:51:11 PM Permalink

I'm with Mike. I start all over again every year - besides the fact that I retool the whole system every time it helps make it fair for my new students with the leaderboard.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 4/30/14 2:45:21 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/30/14 1:56:33 PM Permalink

That does look cool.

Ah, form. One day we'll embrace thee. Function needs its mate.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/28/14 1:39:11 AM Permalink

The new store functionality looks good. I'm liking that students can target a purchase and that they have a makeshift inventory :)

It would be great to see a way to directly award a badge when a purchase is made though. I still can't directly embed a quest into a store item (says you need 0 more experience...) but if there was code that checked if a purchase was made for the target user and automatically displayed the shortcode for the badge based on those conditions it would be awesome.

In the spirit of customization, it would also be cool to be able to rename the "Purchases" tab (I'm thinking inventory) and having an option to choose visual representations (badges) in the inventory as opposed to just text. A direct way to send an item and receive payment from user to user would also be amazing as well as that "redeem" or "use" item functionality (maybe just sending a message to the admin and graying out the item in the user's inventory).

I'm really excited to see how the plug-in continues to progress.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/30/14 1:55:28 PM Permalink

Purchase a Badge: We could add that functionality but it seems to fly in the face of earning badges. What am I missing? (I can be slow on the uptake.)

Purchase a Badge/Embed a Quest: Oh, you can do it this way: Add a URL to a page or quest to the Item URL (Optional) field and add the badge shortcode to the page or quest stage. If you really want kids to be able to purchase badges directly, please explain why. (I'm always open to new ideas.)

You Need More __________: That bug's finally squished in v1.5.8 (or at least we think it is—confirmation?)

Stats Page Customization: Great idea. We'll roll that functionality into the redesign (might take a while).

Badges in Purchases (or Inventory): Badges currently show up in the General tab. Purchases is just another data point—a way to track activity. Trying to wrap my head around the reasoning...

Peer to Peer Marketplace: The functionality is still being worked out. Ezio hurt his wrist over the weekend and its immobilized. No one else is in a position to complete that code block.


Sincerely hope this doesn't come off as negative. We're happy to push the functionality in new directions so long as we understand why. Maybe I'm just dense this morning. :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 5/4/14 5:16:52 AM Permalink

The idea of purchasing a badge was to act as a visual inventory of purchased items (think of WoW). The issue would be that badges aren't removed when used. Alternatively, it is a way of viewing the purchase itself as an achievement.

Right now, I try to embed a quest with shortcode but I get the "You need 0 more Experience to begin this task." message. I'm just linking to the quest page now but it's a lot of added steps to just give them a badge for making a purchase. A second stage to the purchase (if bought, display shortcode or some secondary message) is really what I'm looking for.

It sounds like some of this would be cleared up with the inventory system and peer to peer market anyways but hopefully this clears up my intentions. :)

Your comments never come off as negative Mike. I can't picture you being upset for some reason...

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/14/14 2:01:52 PM Permalink

Ezio almost has the badge award/purchase via the store polished enough to publish.

The peer to peer marketplace has been pushed and seems to be working as intended.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 5/26/14 10:30:58 PM Permalink

Jonathan, forgot to mention that the ability to purchase or award badges or achievements via the store is now active.

Haven't told everyone about the update because we have a little glitch in the peer to peer purchasing system. Once that's cleared up I'll shout it from the rooftops. :)

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/20/14 12:42:31 PM Permalink

As I'm starting my site over again I'm realizing the need for documentation here and there. I'm planning to introduce the store to my students this week but I can't seem to get the page to display properly with the lightbox anymore.

I created a category, created a store item with that category, created a page, then inserted the store code.

It's just showing me a list of the items as posts instead of the links to the lightboxes... Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong? I feel like I did this the first time but figured it out somehow.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 1:51:07 PM Permalink

If you click New Store Item and then click the ? next to Shortcode, a video pops up and provides an overview. If I had to guess your problem, it's a permalink conflict (watch the video at the 1:45 mark).

The documentation is in the ? (question marks). BUT -- really big but -- I have yet to make a number of videos. There's around 65 vids but I need another dozen or so. Plus I need to update some because the features have changed. Lucky it's summer. :)

On a fresh site, I just created a store item called thing1 and pasted its shortcode [go_store id='61'] (from the new store item page with thing1) into a new page and it worked.

Then I made thing2 and put both thing1 and thing2 in a Things category and pasted this shortcode [go_store cats="things"] into a text field on a different page and got the heading Things with thing1 and thing2 below it.

Nope that helps. I tried to go to your site but got a Forbidden page. Maybe you're reinstalling WordPress.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 6/20/14 3:28:42 PM Permalink

You nailed it. Permalink issue. Works great now.

The new site is up at chem.chasegame.net and you should have access with your "mike" account for future reference.

I know there are currently two game-on google docs that people are adding to but it still might be nice to have your videos indexed and searchable in some form.

Thanks for all the help and the new assessment feature looks great.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/20/14 4:17:35 PM Permalink

So glad it worked.

I just destroyed the Mac Lab site so I can start over. An index of videos there as well as within Game On is probably a good idea.

David Peregrina

Posted on 4/23/14 8:52:00 PM Permalink

Just out of curiosity, where is everyone hosting their videos? On your server or through other video hosting services? I know I had read somewhere in the group that there was something in the works to allow the videos to work with YouTube and Vimeo.


Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/24/14 1:03:45 AM Permalink

I'm hosting them on my server at mediatemple. I upload them with an ftp client, then do an ftp reference using the shortcode.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 4/24/14 2:58:13 AM Permalink

I host all of mine on my server using an ftp client as well. I can access them with the shortcodes.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/24/14 3:14:18 AM Permalink

Same thing—on my server. But I'd go YouTube if it weren't for the fact it's blocked for so many other schools. Bummer.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 4/24/14 3:42:49 AM Permalink

I host them on my server as well.

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 5/13/14 1:59:48 PM Permalink

If you make the videos short enough (and I've found that students have anything over 5 minutes so I break everything up) they can easily be stored on your site.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/20/14 9:38:42 PM Permalink

It would be really nice to have an inventory system setup within game on. The stats page (which we all know needs some attention) could include an inventory section (currently purchased store items go to the Currency section) with functionality to "Redeem" items that are purchased (notifying the teacher and removing the item). I'm thinking of having students purchase bathroom passes and I'm setting a limit of 3 passes per term. If students could "trade" items through this inventory system they could potentially get more of the desired but limited item. Maybe you've already setup something like this but I wasn't sure where to find it.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/21/14 1:11:05 PM Permalink

Good suggestions, Jonathan.

Ezio's almost finished with an update which will add a "Purchased" panel in Stats that will provide a record of purchases (with time and date stamps). A limited peer to peer market may also roll out with this update. The Redeem and Trade options may roll out after that. (Have to wrap my head around the idea.)

Updating the store's functionality is a high-priority. In many ways, the store is a vastly untapped resource. It could really add another level of engagement (and fun).

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/22/14 1:07:40 AM Permalink

That's great to hear. I can't wait to see the new look and functionality. I'm currently having students go to a badge quest after they make a purchase to get the achievement. If there was a purchase and confirmation page then we could link the badge shortcodes in the second stage.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/15/14 3:45:00 AM Permalink

I might be a bit slow but when I first started watching tutorial videos it took me a while to realize I needed to hit escape to close the video. Do the videos have a close button?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/15/14 12:58:07 PM Permalink

We're using an open source HTML5 video player to serve the movies. Clicking anywhere in the darkened area surrounding the video Lightbox closes the video (as does hitting the escape button). I'll ask the coding team (can't say "guys" anymore) to look into adding an X to provide a third option.

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 4/14/14 3:46:41 AM Permalink

When I setup a quest with a requirement for a password and a file upload, I've found that students can just type the password and bypass the file upload. It would be nice to know that these two features work together. Since I'm manually checking the file before sending them a password it doesn't really affect my game but I thought it would be good to get out there.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/14/14 4:50:36 AM Permalink

Yikes! Good catch, Jonathan. That one slipped past us.

Since Forest is currently rewriting this feature -- as per your original request -- this folds into place at just the right time. Thanks!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/19/14 2:58:24 PM Permalink

Forgot to mention that this problem has been fixed.

Keep searching for bugs and glitches!

Adam Coulson

Posted on 4/10/14 4:37:27 PM Permalink

Let me preface that I do know this is a theme issue as it works with 2013 theme

I recently started using the comments section in my quests and I just became aware that they are not appearing. While there is a comments section allowing students to leave comments, they are never visible even after I approve them. There is actually a message that says the NUMBER of comments made however they are not visible. While I know this is a theme issue I thought I would still throw it out there because the comments on my theme work for traditional pages and posts so I just wondered if there was a simple explanation or not. I know we can't work on theme compatibility issues but since I don't have your coding skills I didn't know if this was a big question mark or not.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/11/14 12:32:47 AM Permalink

Let us know the theme, Adam, and we'll look into it.

But bad timing, though, as spring break begins this weekend and Ezio won't be on campus tomorrow. (He wrote the original fix and is in the best position to review the issue.) Then he's off to visit universities with his family for the duration of break. Sorry!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/31/14 6:02:08 PM Permalink

I've been wondering lately about harvesting the student data we're collecting with Game On and an article I just bumped into re-fired my imagination:

“We have to distinguish between data and information,” Ben Alamar, Professor of Sports Management at Menlo College, said in a panel entitled The Future of Sports Can Be Found in the Data. “Raw data by itself is just rows and rows in a spreadsheet, and nobody can get anything useful. But when we take that raw data and visualize it, summarize it and analyze it… then we have information.”

As Steve Haro, Director of Marketing at Boeing, said during the Nano Size Me panel, “If you don’t have clear objectives, and you don’t understand what you are trying to achieve, then it is just data.”

If you had a wish...

(Besides beautification of existing elements. We're working on that.)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 4/13/14 6:02:11 PM Permalink

Reminds me of a class offering I just ran across: "...Urgent! Human beings needed with effective communication skills in order to translate inert, raw information into valuable knowledge useful and beneficial to others. No paper allowed....Engaging 21st century communication skill is less about making digital products than rehearsing personal influence and impact power in a media-rich attention competing world...."
From: a brochure for ASB Online academy, description of Creativity, Curriculum and Multimedia ?course.

Hmm, I would like to see a dual line graph of quests being opened & closed by week, pie chart splitting quests finished with and without mastery, % of class in orientation sequence & past it (with average time to complete orientation & s.dev), may think of others now that you've put this bug in my ear. :-)

Could it be a modular dashboard type display, with options for what graphs are displayed? (not asking for much, I know ;-)

Update 5/11/14: here's a picture, per Mike's very accurate comment.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/13/14 11:22:59 PM Permalink

No hurry, Matthew, but if you could provide a little visual information it would go a long way in communicating your great ideas with the coders. :P

Johnathan Chase

Posted on 3/28/14 2:32:22 PM Permalink

We could simplify the completion checks for understanding. Currently you are doing either multiple choice (radio) or multiple response (checkbox) and the answer choices are entered with the octothorpe separators. This works but it's a little unituitive. Could we code this to select the number of answer choices you want to offer, then separate text form boxes appear with key boxes, type your answers in the individual boxes then click a checkbox (or multiple boxes) next to the answer(s) that is/are correct? Just a thought.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/28/14 2:56:09 PM Permalink

Hey, John, welcome to the party.

"Unintuitive" is a polite way of putting it. Yes, the check for understanding mechanism is less than ideal. Your suggestion is now on the to do list. Thanks!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/13/14 11:25:06 PM Permalink

Update: Forest is working on this. Lots o' challenges due to the game mechanics.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/19/14 3:00:05 PM Permalink

Check out Forest's new check for understanding system in v1.7.5. Great suggestion, Jonathan!

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 3/20/14 5:33:00 PM Permalink

Still hoping we can get a time stamp on the items purchased from the store so when I check the Bonus Pay section of the Stats page I can see when someone purchased a Vacation Day or Restroom Pass instead of just seeing a running total of ALL the restroom passes or vacation days they have bought. It makes it harder down the line unless I separately track the purchases myself (which is defeats the purpose right?).

Is this still on the burner? or is it in a new update that I haven't installed yet?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/20/14 7:42:43 PM Permalink

Isaac has created an inventory system for the store that will provide time/date stamps (and more) but has yet to connect the final dots. I may have to hand this one off to another coder if he doesn't cross the finish line soon.

Thanks for the reminder. I want this one too. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 4/13/14 11:19:48 PM Permalink

Update: Ezio added this as a new tab in Stats (called Purchases) with date and time stamps but wasn't able to complete testing before spring break (this week). We'll probably roll it out around 10 days from now.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 6/19/14 3:01:48 PM Permalink

Forgot to confirm that this is now functional—but only for the last purchase of each item. Is there a practical reason to go beyond this?

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 3/20/14 4:46:45 PM Permalink

I know that we discussed ideas for the Stats page. Has there been anybody working on a new design? I love all of the functionality, but the form could use some beautification. I am not sure how the stats page and clipboard work. Is it all CSS? Or ???

I know your guys are working hard and I love all the increased functionality, but I like pretty shiny things, too. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/20/14 5:25:44 PM Permalink

You're right, Ryan. The stats page is a visual wart on Game On. We have a new training grad who's chosen the HTML/CSS path and she's going to tackle this.

Now everyone knows what you're doing, Kasie. Oops, and they know your name, too. No pressure. :)

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/20/14 10:58:58 PM Permalink

I came across the plugin Captain Up that also provides a gamified experience for websites. This might be something to look at for inspiration in regards to the design for the stats page.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/21/14 11:42:02 AM Permalink

I'll pass that along to Kasie. Thanks, David.

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/16/14 5:10:09 PM Permalink

Moving forward for next year, one of the elements I'm planning to implement will be replicating the competitive nature of the industry as a team as well as individually (which we already are able to do because of the leaderboards).
I plan to use the "Classifications" options and have the options of "Periods" and "Guilds". I am going to offer guild points to groups that help contribute to the culture of the classroom as well as other purely "fun" things. For example, we do a field day for team building where we take the student outside and have activities for them to compete in (tug-of-war and minute to win it type games). I would award winners of these games guild points as well. For now I plan to track them separately, but if there could be something incorporated into the game that would allow us to track not only XP and Currency, but also Guild Points that would be great! This would also be fun to have on the Clipboard, Stats, and Leaderboards.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/16/14 10:00:10 PM Permalink

We have to rewrite the scoring system to account for Leveling by Focus. Adding Guilds is an interesting nuance but potentially problematic if players wanted to jump from Guild to Guild because we'd have to strip their reputation each time.

That probably doesn't make sense...

A Guild is an entity unto itself. It collects XP as its members contribute. When the Guild hits a new level, the members receive a perk. Members level up within the game individually but also earn reputation within the Guild. The more rep, the more perks. A member can leave a Guild for another but forfeits all rep and perks and is required to begin at the bottom of the barrel (no rep) with the new Guild.

Does that make sense?

I'm not saying no, I'm just saying this is potentially very complicated. Or am I misunderstanding? I like the idea. If you can shoot holes in my reasoning, please do! I'd like this to work.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/17/14 8:11:12 PM Permalink

The more I think about this, the more I want it. (Anything that promotes greater collaboration is a win-win.)

David (and anyone else who is interested), think about its ideal functionality. Think a few scenarios through and capture your thoughts. I'm familiar with WOW Guilds but am having trouble seeing the Game On version in sufficient detail to move forward. Thanks!

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/19/14 3:54:07 PM Permalink

I've been trying to find a plugin that can cover this capability so that it can be on a separate subpage like guild.yoursite.com, but I have yet to find something that can do that. Still trying to think through some scenarios.

After sitting down with my students and talking about it, we came up with a few ideas that might work:

  • We put the student in a guild just like we would group them for projects and have them stay in that guild for the year. As an Academy we will be taking 130 some students and splitting them into 6 guilds. Guilds would not be something they choose like a focus, but a way to help teachers pair students together.
  • The Perks to being in a guild could be:
    • A Guild Bank - Players could donate gold (currency) to the bank and it would convert to XP to level up the guild and lead them to winning the guild competition at the end of the year (we're going to purchase a trophy that will be on display in the classroom with the engraving of each guild winner at the end of the year).
    • Teacher can add XP to the guilds with the Add button for any other reasons teachers would want to have outside of the game to affect the guild. (Think Harry Potter and the House points). They could also take XP points away to punish a guild.
    • When your guild hits certain levels it unlocks new quests. (We could use the same function that focus uses to hide quests, but then we would have to figure out the unlocking part). These quests could be directly related to the guild as a side story to the game (group project quests).
Not sure if that helps or not, I will keep discussing it with the kids. I guess we'd be trying to create a very simple version of a guild, but it would encourage collaboration and comradery.

Donald Peters

Posted on 3/19/14 4:44:21 PM Permalink

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/19/14 7:23:30 PM Permalink

Great resource Donald, I'll have to stop by the bookstore on my way home!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/19/14 7:52:36 PM Permalink

A bookstore?! Oh yeah. I remember those. ;)

Note: Used to be my favorite hangout -- especially used bookstores. Still love the musty smell of old paper. My bookshelves are stacked two books deep. But I haven't bought a tree-book in years. Love Kindle on the iPad.

Have highlighted about 50 different parts of The MP Classroom. (All accessible with a tap of the finger.) The story is not always applicable to what we're doing but it's still a good read.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/19/14 5:54:33 PM Permalink

That simplifies the equation, David.

  1. I get it now. You'll have your own Sorting Hat. That could be a third text field in Classifications on the Options page. Easily done.
  2. Gold to XP converter in the Store for Guilds. Can do.
  3. Manual adding or subtracting for Admin. Can do.
  4. Guild level unlocks quests. Can do but potential problems abound unless restricted to the side story quests as you described.
This is 100% doable but I'm betting there will be a flurry of option requests from others. In the spirit of flexibility, how about we let the conversation play out and plan on providing the above (as a bare minimum)?
Guilds are a great idea. We need to really think this one through. :)

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/19/14 7:23:57 PM Permalink

Sounds great, I'm excited to see where the conversation goes!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/18/14 7:10:57 AM Permalink

Here are my thoughts on this, likely disorganized but hopefully they'll offer some crumb(s). I'm thinking right now that this is more complexity than I want to handle next year, so I won't likely be implementing it in my classroom games. But otoh, encouraging group interactivity in a way that doesn't involve me setting up groups and assigning specific 'group' work is highly attractive, so I may well be won over as my subconscious mulls this over. Anyway, here's what's swirling around my head:

At least initially, it looks to me like the Guild would be a completely separate entity from players. Players earn their guild points and the guild collects them. The points accumulation for the guild is stored in the guild 'account' in the database; no link to player. Player accumulates points for themselves separately, no 'rep' within the guild. If they jump ship and change guilds, nothing to change on their account except their affiliation. Changing would be up to the teacher to allow & arrange - or maybe there's an option for students to do this themselves, but I'd make that an option, so it could be under teacher control if desired.

Guilds level up just like players (we'd need an option to define levels, just as with the player ones). Everyone in the guild gets any advantages of the level of their guild (and any nerfs the guild has accumulated, though that may be a future addition ;-). Guild affiliation, level, etc. is displayed on the stats page.

Later on, after we've gotten this working, we could add in a Guild-Internal 'rep' accumulator, in which players earn rep _within_ their guild for actions, contributions, etc. This would be in addition to (though contributory toward) the guild level (or rep?) total. It would be in addition to their personal XP and Level, too. An overlay on top of the standard game mechanics, that adds another level of score keeping and play on top of the basic one. Could be introduced after a couple weeks of class at the beginning of the year, so they can get used to the basics first, then add complexity to their stats page later (a.la. WoW).

David Peregrina

Posted on 3/16/14 4:35:03 PM Permalink

I was working on adding video with the new shortcodes available, and I couldn't remember if the option to add the title within the shortcode was now available or not. Thanks!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/16/14 9:36:59 PM Permalink

Available now.

We're working on a WYSIWYG version but for now just copy and paste the shortcode from the Video Shortcode field (second from top on the New Quest page).

[go_display_video video_url='' video_title='' width='' height='']

Just insert your data between the 'singleQuotes'

Default width and height are set on the options page. Add W & H only if video size differs.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/12/14 2:53:27 PM Permalink

Off topic. Just encountered this on twitter. I can't stop laughing. (Probably because I can actually empathize with the poor sod.)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/10/14 3:59:25 PM Permalink

Did we ever create the ability to lock a quest according completing a prerequisite quest or was our only solution to place the link to new quest in the completion window? I would really love to lock certain epic quests according to a handful of smaller prerequisites, but I want them to know what the quest is that they are completing the pre-req's for rather than just reveal it in the completion/mastery window.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/10/14 7:54:11 PM Permalink

Ezio and I just talked about this and we came up with something new:

  • Add optional QuestLine custom field to New Quest page (like Quest and Profession Categories)
  • Add a new QuestLine or select from existing QuestLines
  • Assign quests to the QL
  • Drag and drop to reorder quests within a QL (we'll design the mechanism)
  • Add a Next Quest button to the last stage of each quest in a QL (that automatically links to the next quest)
  • Out of order QL encounters will reveal nothing but a link to the beginning of the QL queue

This feels pretty solid. Please critique away!

Terrence Banks

Posted on 3/11/14 12:25:22 AM Permalink

I think that's a solid idea, especially the out of order QL encounter. This forces them to have to work through the quest sequence. I can already see some great titles for the quest in my subject. I really like this, it gives the students in my class to focus on a particular skill or technique if I want them to. How's the java script learning going? I'm also taking some courses on lynda.com learning about java, php and wordpress plugins. I want to eventually start making some plugins and themes as well.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/11/14 1:33:03 PM Permalink

My coding skills are stuck in neutral. Other duties swallowing large swaths of time.

It's weird though... the more I talk with the coders the more I understand how the plugin functions and that really helps with ideating.

I've submitted a requisition for an eighth day. ;)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/11/14 8:35:00 AM Permalink

Looks solid to me, too. I really like that idea of a 'next quest.' Could that be a field on all quests, as an option, so we could suggest a next quest for a particular path/focus/technique without having to require the quest-line?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/11/14 1:27:50 PM Permalink

Should be simple to add that as an optional field.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/12/14 3:19:08 AM Permalink

I think these QuestLines allow for the ability to create games within the games. I was just reading an article during standardized testing today (that the only value I see in them) and it referenced all our gamification authors. The games they referenced were ARG's but only as independent projects that I could see incorporated into our larger game. The article was in the new NAEA journal on technology in art classrooms. A pretty good issue.

While I love students having self-direction I think the quest lines will allow me to still facilitate essential parts of the lessons they choose. I haven't found a way to relenquish teacher control yet the way it seems several of you already are.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/12/14 1:41:32 PM Permalink

Games within games. I really like that, Adam. There's so much potential to push Game On in directions none of us could ever imagine without this synergetic give and take.

And when the export/import functionality is completed, we can share the GWG segments with one another. Imagine Color Theory and the Elements and Principles of Design (just to name two) as modular, customizable games within games. Oh, the places we'll go!

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/13/14 3:07:32 AM Permalink

Sick, right? ;)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/13/14 5:17:36 PM Permalink

Ezio and I were just talking and we decided that the QuestLine needs an option to fork the road, if you know what I mean.

Choice is good.

Probably added in a future update.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/19/14 12:59:41 PM Permalink

Ezio is soooooo close to releasing the QuestLine update. And it's got everything we discussed in the initial conversation about QLs. (Though no forks... yet.)

All because of Adam's suggestion.

You—all of you—drive the evolution of Game On!

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 3/7/14 3:01:39 PM Permalink

Limit a focus category by a level of another focus category.

The foundation of my class is digital arts/computer graphics. I have everybody start with design elements, art elements, Illustrator, and Photoshop. This year I have allowed them to branch out a lot more second semester and choose pathways/professions/guilds: 3D Design, App Development, etc.

Ideally what I'd like to do next year is build my game so they all start out in the graphic design & illustration focus and need to be, say, a level 15 Graphic Designer before being able to purchase one of the other focus categories. I could also see having something like you must be level 10 CS and level 10 3D before purchasing Video Game Development focus category.

I want to figure out badges, too. For example, earn X amount of XP in projects highlighting mastery of design elements and get badge.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/7/14 3:43:21 PM Permalink


I've been sketching out the plan for next year as well but hadn't taken it in that direction. The badge/achievement trigger via focus, category, and/or tag would be especially useful. (Right now the only optional auto awards are via individual quests or triggered by reaching a specific rank or level or whatever you decided to call your thresholds.)

If we open options at specific levels, we'll have to lay out the game with a heck of a lot more forethought. But even then, unexpected opportunities will throw carefully-laid plans out of kilter. For instance, I'd planned the orientation to walk the players through the first 10 levels before opening employment options but the librarian's Banned Books Week project destroyed that plan (in a good way).

Regardless, the idea's solid, Ryan. We'll tackle this soon. Thanks!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/13/14 5:20:59 PM Permalink

The fork in the road option in the QuestLine discussion (above) might provide a more flexible way to handle the Focus progression. The idea's still fresh and raw but seems to offer lots of potential.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 3/3/14 3:05:54 PM Permalink

What are people planning on doing to handle veterans in their 2nd, 3rd, 4th year? Are you going to reset their stats every year? Do they get some kind of bonus for being returners? Do they continue from the level that they left off? Do you purge all your users? Do you purge all student blogs? Or . . . ?????

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 3/3/14 3:40:24 PM Permalink

I reset everyone to level the playing field every year. It doesn't necessarily follow the "story" of the game but my students don't always take my level II classes right away (in some cases they may not ever take the level II or they may take it 3 years later).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/3/14 3:46:36 PM Permalink

That's a personal call. Here's how I explain it to the veterans...

When football season rolls around each year, are the prior year's stars required to do all the calisthenics, drills, reps, etc?

That analogy fits for the orientation (Boot Camp) each and every student is expected to complete. I preserve their blogs but wipe all game data. Everyone fills out the same job application each year and everyone, without exception, begins at Level 1.

That's just my take. Do what you think is best for your kids.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/5/14 6:21:58 AM Permalink

I don't have this situation yet, but have thought about it. I'm planning to wipe the XP & gold each year, but will have a returners series of badges I'll award for anyone coming back for multiple years.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 3/11/14 12:26:12 AM Permalink

I reset all stats but keep the blog up.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/12/14 3:30:29 AM Permalink

I am planning to wipe out XP and gold but the real problem that I have already encountered is that students that have already completed the quests are unable to encounter and accept them again as their account retains all the completed quest info. I will need them to repeat bootcamp most likely every semester.

I am pretty stuck on this issue particularly since I have semester classes that students rarely are able to take multiple semesters in a row. I will have to spend a significant amount of time prepping class and blog policy at the beginning of every semester.

I think I will have them keep their blogs but delete their entire site accounts and start fresh with encounter all quests for the first time.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/12/14 12:54:59 PM Permalink

We may be able to solve this problem, Adam. It's further down the queue but definitely on our radar. :)

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/13/14 3:13:04 AM Permalink

Don't need it until next next year so bottom of the list is appropriate.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/1/14 11:29:41 PM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/1/14 11:46:22 AM Permalink

Sheesh, this is turning into an idea storm...

What if we added a built-in quest search option for players? What if they could search by Focus, Category, and/or Tag and generate a custom list of quests that matched? The search would leverage the new built-in shortcodes described in my prior comment (below).

Heck, there are times I'd like that feature as well—one that would exclude pages and posts and just search the quests. Plus it would "encourage" me to become more diligent about tagging quests.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/2/14 3:09:13 AM Permalink

Oooooo...that would be sweet. I could easily quick reference students to find quests from past weeks, months, even semesters that are still in existence even if not listed on the guide page.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/2/14 4:42:16 AM Permalink

Forest and I talked about this today. He's on the case. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/4/14 1:25:18 PM Permalink

What, this wasn't already part of the system?!? I am actually shocked about this, because this is how I've been envisioning my students working through the material after the pre-structured bootcamp! They pick an area, tool, technique, etc that they're interested in and search it, then choose a quest. I plan to include next-quest suggestions in the mastery area, but this is the main method I'd been seeing in my vision.

...I'm surprised to realize I never tried to do it, just envisioned how I would.../me scoops jaw off floor.

This would be a GREAT addition, Mike, and really necessary for the way I plan to run my class next year. ;-)

Would their results be limited to the quests they have points enough / time enough / profession to accept?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/4/14 3:07:15 PM Permalink

Hadn't considered filtering the results automatically via the player's stats. That would simplify the search parameters on the front end.

You guys are geniuses!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/1/14 11:33:21 AM Permalink

Spencer has folded the best of Shortcode Buddy into Game On. Once he finishes the [go_quest_grab] option, we'll roll it out. The ability to sort by Focus, Category, and/or Tag will be built in as well though I'm not sure how complete the boolean will be in the first iteration.

What other shortcodes should we add?

Note: Game On shortcodes will honor the ones we've been using but will use the go_ prefix from this point forward so we don't conflict with other shortcode plugins. Yes, if you were wondering, [go_admin_only_content] is included.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/2/14 3:10:10 AM Permalink

Did we ever find create the ability to apply catlist's to quest categories?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/2/14 4:43:04 AM Permalink

Not yet. Coming soon.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/1/14 11:15:45 AM Permalink

Yesterday Semar proposed we create a new user role and shortcode option. The [go_teacher_only_content] shortcode would allow us to provide an option for educators to download any quest. And as I type this, I can see how this folds nicely into the boilerplate idea (in the comment I added below this one).

In essence, we'd create a custom user role called Teacher or Educator. I don't know about you guys but I have a large collection of educators who've asked to see Game On from a student's perspective. Since the kids are all identified by ID numbers and the teachers by name, it would be easy to select all the teachers then change the their role. Once done, the teachers—and only the teachers—would be able to see a button that would provide an option to download individual quests.

Note: This would be in addition to the quest banks first proposed in this comment.

Of course the ability to upload these quests would be built in as well. Once uploaded, we'd simply edit the content to fit our individual styles. Hey, maybe the feature should also provide a built-in attribution link so the kids could get a feel for the collaborative work we're engaged in.

What do you think?

Adam Coulson

Posted on 3/4/14 4:22:48 AM Permalink

The idea of being able to download YOUR quests to tweak for my class usage sounds like a mini dream. It feels a bit liking I'm stealing your content (I suppose anyone can have mine too) but the ability to re-adapt your ideas to my classroom and vice-versa sounds great. That informal collaboration that could explode as a massive resource for anyone using the Gameon plugin...especially newbs that want to test out the system using tested quest lessons that already exist.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/4/14 2:52:20 PM Permalink

Stealing is the sincerest form of flattery in education. Any teacher who hugs content to his/her chest is out of touch with our hyper-connected world.

I steal ideas from you guys all the time!

Example: Providing newbies with canned content to test. (Your idea... Now mine. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/4/14 1:20:34 PM Permalink

Outstanding idea. Definitely add the attribution bit. I would suggest an on/off switch in the preferences, with an option to specify a creative-commons license under which you are releasing your content. This would tag the end of any quest with the source (Name, URL & license?).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/4/14 2:58:56 PM Permalink

Adding CC license options to the attribution is another winner.

Amazing how one idea (Semar's) evolves as it passes from mind to mind. These are the memes I live for.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 3/5/14 5:45:05 AM Permalink

oh that would be awesome!!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/1/14 10:49:24 AM Permalink

Woke me up at 1:50: Since certain elements appear in virtually every Quest, we should have an option to pre-fill the four stages—an optional New Quest from Template for each admin to customize (if he/she wanted). You know, like a boilerplate.

For instance, virtually every one of my quests contains:


Code for the quest giver's image, a paragraph break, and the [get_displayname] shortcode.


Five hyphens (an indication that new content has been added here), a paragraph break + a single plain text character, another paragraph break + the bold, orange Completion: + a single plain text character (so the message that follows doesn't inherit the bold, orange code).

I literally type this each time (then copy and paste it into the Completion stage before filling out the details):



Completion: a


The same as the Accept field except the word Mastery replaces Completion.



Gratz, [get_displayname]

I don't know if any of that makes sense to anyone else, but it would be a huge time-saver for me. (I wish my brain could time these ideas better. Wonder if I can get back to sleep...) Oh, and [get_displayname] shortcode will soon become [go_get_displayname]. More on that later.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/26/14 12:35:17 PM Permalink

Since the Linked Learning 2.0 plan is also going to require a lot of repetition in creating that very large collection of quests to entice students track standards, competencies, and articulated benchmarks, a different idea emerged on a different day...

On another day last week I asked Ezio if it would be possible to "clone" quests...

Would it be possible to add a "clone" button at the bottom of the New Quest page that would automatically create a new quest with all the fields and settings intact? That way I could just edit a few key elements. It would save soooo much time.

Ezio thought, as Ezio often does, and within seconds he was explaining how it could be accomplished.

This one is in the queue.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 2/26/14 3:41:40 PM Permalink

Funny. I was just coming to request that option. As you can see on my Guild pages, like the 3D Guild page where I am pretty much cloning the Gresyscale Gorilla missions. It is a pain doing it manually. I was also doing it this morning for some Unity tutorials I found. Copying and pasting in four boxes over and over gets tedious.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/26/14 12:22:00 PM Permalink

Since my Linked Learning 2.0 plan is going to require a HUGE number of quests to entice students track standards, competencies, and articulated benchmarks, a couple of new ideas percolated...

One day last week I asked Semar if it would be possible to provide others with a way to import a collection of quests. The thinking went something along the lines of...

What if we could build a Quest Bank where others could choose from collections of quests to download? Ooh! What if others could deposit quests as well? We need a way to import and export quests...

Semar is researching. He thinks it's possible.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 2/24/14 5:48:52 PM Permalink

I believe this was brought up before, but now that I am utilizing the focus feature (guilds, pathways, whatever you are calling them) I'd love to see focus specific rankings.

For example. I have 3D Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, App Developer, etc. I'd love to see something like:

  • Graphic Designer Level 15
  • Web Designer Level 3
  • 3D Designer Level 7

Like in a game when you might have started as a warrior, but spent skill points in Conjurer. So, you are a Level 15 Warrior and Level 3 Conjurer.

One, as always, there would be bragging rights. Two, students could see who the highest rated students are in each category to go to for help or to collaborate on a project.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/24/14 6:09:33 PM Permalink

Love it, Ryan. Hadn't thought about it that way before but it makes sense.

Ezio is coding the time limit functionality right now. I asked about your idea, he thought for about two seconds, then said, "No problem. All we have to do is..."


Aside: Ryan, we're running with Linked Learning 2.0 next year. Check out that link for the plan and the #LinkedLearning20 hashtag for tweets.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/26/14 5:23:26 AM Permalink

Beauty, Ryan. This will be really useful for my Intro to Programming class next year; I was planning to use the Professions to distinguish between the various skill areas in programming, which in my game are separate Lands, each of which must be cleared (students have a choice of many activities in each land in order to clear it, with progressions of difficulty in each). This will make it super simple for a student to check what they've cleared and what they still need to add to their portfolio in order to move up. I hadn't thought through how to ask for tracking that yet, and now I don't have to. Love this group!

Nathan Scherer

Posted on 2/12/14 3:30:49 PM Permalink

What about a time limit on a quest? Not a limit on the time you have in class but an actual time limit before a quest either stops working or it penalizes you if you go past it?

I have a lot of students who like to take advantage of the "work at your own pace" policy. I have been using the line that someone here said where working at your own pace might mean you need to come in during lunch or before school to get caught up but that only works on the students who actually benefit the most from this policy. For the rest I was thinking it would be cool if you could put a time limit (like say, a week) or a date on a task and if a student doesn't finish the task by that time it would take of 10% of the rewards off or something like what happens when you aren't up on your minutes. That might take care of the ones who are just being lazy and it would push the ones who need the extra help to seek it out (instead of waiting until the last minute).

I don't know... just thinking.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 2/13/14 3:31:55 AM Permalink

I like the sound of that a lot. I know Mike and I have used "expiration dates" on some quests but that's done manually. Sounds like it might be a complex add on but it could be sweet.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/13/14 7:53:58 PM Permalink

Ezio reports, can do.

As Adam said, we've done this manually in the past. Never occurred to me to ask for this feature. D'oh!

Killer idea! Keep thinking, Nathan. :)

Terrence Banks

Posted on 2/15/14 6:14:10 PM Permalink

Wow..that would be awesome! Just to open it up for multiple uses, could minutes, alongside gold be something that can be penalized.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/16/14 6:10:20 PM Permalink

Update: Ezio solved the issue with admin entry of multiple expiration dates for gradual diminishing returns but has yet to add the multiplier's functionality.

Should be coming next week.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/6/14 9:33:01 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/6/14 5:30:05 PM Permalink

We're still in the rapid prototyping phase. Once we arrive at a mature, rock-solid edition, we'll make the move.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/11/14 6:54:18 PM Permalink

Ha! Like this group is going to let you settle into a rock-solid edition. ;-)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/5/14 5:24:00 PM Permalink

Is there a way to add a shortcode that will select a random quest within a given category, profession or with a given tag? This would allow us to create re-playable paths through our content (once we have enough quest in a given grouping).

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/6/14 6:39:29 PM Permalink

Spencer, our newest coder on the team, is working on our shortcode widget for the WYSIWYG menu. Once he nails that, we'll look into generating a number of new shortcodes to enhance Game On, including the ones you're asking for.

Random returns—for a lot of things—are high on the list after that.

Donald Peters

Posted on 2/4/14 2:50:43 PM Permalink

I apologize if this has been requested before:

They ability to 'batch add' new users.

Having to click the button to create and waiting for it to process each time is a real time sucker.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/4/14 3:10:31 PM Permalink

That's not us; that's WordPress. I believe Ryan Hayes (and maybe Rob) uses a plugin to automate the process.

I've chronicled the reasons I prefer to individualize the process... somewhere.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 2/5/14 5:21:43 AM Permalink

David Peregrina

Posted on 2/12/14 3:42:26 PM Permalink

Just out of curiosity, where is everyone going for blogs. This year I had students individually sign up for Blogger after creating a Google account. Is there an easier option that others are using?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/12/14 4:53:34 PM Permalink

I've installed a second WordPress installation, set up as MultiSite, with one site/account for each of the students. This is separate from the main installation and does not have GameOn installed. It does have the Class Blogging plug-in installed, which gives me an easy way to monitor all the student's blog entries.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/13/14 8:12:30 PM Permalink

I'm seriously considering moving to WordPress.com next year. We've been using WPMS (MultiSite) for years, and it works fine, but students lose their blogs after graduation.

Blogger is great for integration with the rest of the Google ecosystem but it feels co clunky next to WP. In the end, however, whatever works for you is the best choice.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/14/14 8:31:06 AM Permalink

Keep in mind that wp.com = no plug-ins and no ability to add features (you can request, but no control of your own).

I host my personal blog over there and will likely be moving away as soon as my current payment expires. Too many times I've thought "oh, I'd like to do X on my blog" and found out I can't, or that I could if I pay Wordpress another $N/month for the privilege. I think I'd rather pay my regular web host and have full access and control.

But, for simple sites that have all the beautiful functionality of a basic WP site, you can't beat it. You might ask your school district about it, with a written cost-of-benefit analysis. I did this at the last school I was at, and they bought the argument that providing the storage space (very minimal cost) and bandwdith (also minimal) for graduates was worth it. We promised at least 2 years after grad. This is even more reasonable when considering that the tech will have evolved in 2-5 years so far beyond todays' that it's highly unlikely to create anything more than a minimally measurable impact on budgets, time, and workload. Mine was a private school, though. YMMV

Adam Coulson

Posted on 2/3/14 2:25:56 PM Permalink

Do we have the ability to leave comments on a quest post? All of my quest say "comments off" but I don't see anywhere to be able to turn the comments section on. I have the general comments turn on for my site and the comments show up when I create a page instead of a quest. Does anyone have a suggestion?

Feature request: add "discussion" section to quests like in a regular post so that comments can be turned on.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/3/14 2:51:24 PM Permalink

This one needs to be addressed ASAP. I'll talk with Ezio today.

UPDATE: Ezio reports the functionality is there on the back end but isn't displaying on the front for some reason. He's on the trial to an answer.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/5/14 5:30:09 AM Permalink

Adam Coulson

Posted on 2/5/14 4:35:27 PM Permalink

Awe...some! Like my Fairy Godmother...(I have a 3 year old) I wish it and you make it happen. PS My district just got a Lynda.com account. Mike, how have your kids taken to tutorials that aren't recorded by you?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/7/14 12:14:45 PM Permalink

I'm sure they're relieved to hear other voices but the real exciting part is discovering videos specifically targeted for the subject, skill-set, perspective, or whatever they each want to learn. A fabulous tool to help individualize the learning environment.

How about in your lab?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/3/14 2:10:12 PM Permalink

Just had a thought that tickled my fancy; this is kinda a reverse of the increasing nerf allotment idea I had last. What about a 'power' attached to a profession? The 'power' would be a specific multiplier that would apply for that profession, and perhaps for specific levels within or types of quests. A couple examples:

  1. Student achieves the "Warrior" role. Special power of a warrior is to jump into battle rapidly and effectively. Student receives 25% more loot for Accept actions.
  2. Student belongs to the "Photographer" profession. For photography type missions, the loot awarded for mastery is boosted by 5%.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/3/14 2:50:33 PM Permalink

We need to expand the multiplier's functionality. At present it's tied to time. Shouldn't be that difficult to offer additional customization options.

Stay tuned...

Adam Coulson

Posted on 1/30/14 7:25:24 PM Permalink

Can we add functionality to reset gold or points like just like the minutes? I haven't found a good transition for students for one level to the next and still have an even "playing field" for all students within a single class. New students would come in behind a full semester with no way of legitimately catchin' up in score even though they are working harder. I'm still trying to decide upon the best way to roll student account from one semester to the next when much of the class is compiled of advanced level students with score of zero because they haven't experienced the game yet.

Being able to reset by class would be great but I would also love to be able to reset individual user accounts as well.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/30/14 8:17:13 PM Permalink

I'll pass this along. Meanwhile, if you want to brute-force it, you can always zero-out students one-by-one via the Clipboard.

Not ideal, but certainly doable if you're in a hurry.

Adam Coulson

Posted on 2/3/14 5:10:01 AM Permalink

That's what I have done so far.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 1/27/14 9:17:40 PM Permalink

I prefer to reset minutes at the semester and give the students a fresh start. I didn't see this ability under GameOn.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/27/14 9:22:14 PM Permalink

Ezio wrote the script today. He's going to verify it on a test server, then I will, then I'll zap time in the Mac Lab.

If it doesn't kill any of our sites, we'll release it.

Theoretically, it should work without a hitch. But you know how that's worked out in the past. ;)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/28/14 8:10:08 PM Permalink

Ezio's verified it works and has added it to the options page. Our district is undergoing sustained DNS attacks right now so we're holding off on testing on the Mac Lab until the attack subsides.

v1.2.7 will (hopefully) be released later today.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/29/14 3:07:55 PM Permalink

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/26/14 12:37:17 PM Permalink

New idea (and created in one of Mike's 3Bs, too! ;-):

Could we have an increasing nerf allotment for a category once a player had a profession? I'm thinking along this line: I have students that need to learn a variety of skills, but I want them to have as much freedom as possible within the game environment. I'd like a mechanism to encourage variety, as well as depth. So once they earn a profession, I'd like further tasks within that profession to earn a decreasing amount of XP & gold (an increasingly smaller amount, if that makes sense). I'm thinking this would allow students to continue to choose projects they like in that area, but reward them less and less and thus encourage them to choose other areas for the greater earning potential.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/27/14 2:07:59 PM Permalink

I got the 3B's from Betty Edwards back in '88. Great book!

We've been talking about how to leverage the multiplier in creative ways but haven't yet found the magic modular method. (The idea is to make implementation as flexible as possible.)

This is one more reason to try. Keep 'em coming, Matthew (AKA foreman of the idea factory).

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/3/14 2:11:31 PM Permalink

I haven't had any brainstorms about the multiplier implementation yet either. If the guys are working on this, would they be interested in a skype session just to chat about it a bit?

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/3/14 2:56:06 PM Permalink

You're 10 hours ahead of us. Ezio's in here from 9:30 to 11:30 M-F. Our next Sat school is Feb 15. Forest and Semar have classes M-Th. We could shoot for Friday if you want. Maybe I can get them in here at the same time.

They've been working on other functionality. No additional action on the multiplier yet.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/4/14 8:38:06 PM Permalink

Next Thursday (2/13) afternoon or Friday (2/14) afternoon (my time / morning your time) would work fine for me; Saturday I could make work, too. Is that too soon, based on what they're working on? I don't want to distract from current work! Just enhance the discussion & work on this aspect, when it comes up again.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/5/14 3:18:57 AM Permalink

How cool that will be. I'll ask Forest and Semar if they can make it on the 14th and/or 15th and get back to you.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/11/14 6:56:22 PM Permalink

Any word from Forest & Semar about the 14th or 15th? Starting to plan the weekend (weekend is Fri & Sat over here). If not, or if this weekend isn't on, no biggie. Just checking in.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/13/14 7:57:19 PM Permalink

How's the 15th, 9:30 or so?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/14/14 8:33:37 AM Permalink

9:30am your time (Pacific, right?) is 7:30pm my time, which is when I'm reading stories for my boys' bedtime. Could we make it 10:00am Pacific / 8:00pm Cairo?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 2/12/14 9:45:37 AM Permalink

Bumping out for room. An idea finally occurred to me about implementation. What I caught a glimpse of, mentally:

  • Each quest has an optional 'conditions' section
  • The condition section defines specific conditions, eg:
    • "belongs to NNN profession"
    • "has NNN time"
    • "has not completed NNN quest"
  • and a result, eg:
    • apply multiplier X
    • do _not_ apply multipliers
This would essentially require us to build a scripting syntax or otherwise create a way to define those conditions and results, so this is definitely non-trivial. But I think it could make the multiplier much more flexible.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 2/13/14 7:58:30 PM Permalink

Forest is handling the multiplier. Will pass this along. Maybe a topic for Saturday's Skype.

Ryan Hayes

Posted on 1/22/14 5:28:10 PM Permalink

Finals week and I had a request from a few students. Could they "sell" each other time, minutes, etc. Seems like a slippery slope. What do you guys think?

Seems some students are short on minutes, and instead of putting in the time, are trying to buy their way out.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/22/14 9:06:12 PM Permalink

I sell 60 minutes for 500 gold in the Store. (Pretty steep price.)

Since they have to put in the work to earn the gold, it seems like a fair trade. (With very few takers.)

As for selling time to peers, that's a personal call. I've forbidden it from the start. (And have never regretted the decision.)

Let us know what you decide and how it works out.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/22/14 2:00:31 PM Permalink

Check for Understanding—Multiple Questions Completed in v1.2.6

Forest just about has this dialed in. Choose to add up to five questions to unlock Completion and/or Mastery stage (radio buttons or checkboxes).

I played with it earlier today. Lots of potential.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 1/23/14 8:44:57 AM Permalink

This here has tremendous potential, I love it!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/22/14 3:03:57 AM Permalink

Game On Video Player

Ezio is probably one day away from delivering a replacement for that miserable $50 Lightbox video player that glitches all the time. He's leveraging an open source player (that we're also using for the in-app videos in v1.2.5) via a shortcode to eliminate yet another third party plugin.

More cool news tomorrow...

Terrence Banks

Posted on 1/23/14 8:44:30 AM Permalink

Oh my goodness that would be nice! That young man is really putting in work....

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/29/14 9:51:13 PM Permalink

He's had everything working in Chrome and Safari from the start. Firefox has been the challenge. It works but there are strange glitches that keep popping up like a demented whack-a-mole.

All I can say is coming (hopefully) soon.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/20/14 8:40:02 PM Permalink

Here's a pie-in-the-sky idea that just occurred to me. I have set up a GameOn for my Yearbook class. It would be a complete dream if there was a way to have some kind of global chart indicating whole-group progress toward a goal. I'm thinking that I would add all the pieces that need to come together to complete a section and tag them or otherwise label them as belonging to that section. Then the student's dashboard would include a view that showed total overall progress toward the goals (because there would be more than one). As tasks (quests) are completed, a temperature bar or other graphic would indicate the progress. It's late, so if this makes no sense, let me know and I'll try to elaborate, tomorrow. :-)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/20/14 10:26:01 PM Permalink

This is worth pondering, Matthew! Another longer-term idea to build toward.

Keep 'em coming. :)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/16/14 12:51:50 PM Permalink

Allow for Commenting in Quests

Is anyone's commenting working? Adam brought it up here (dang header—scroll up a bit if you have to) and Matthew confirmed the same problem but I seem to remember comments on some of Rob's missions.

Either way, we need to look into this.

Terrence Banks

Posted on 1/20/14 9:12:07 AM Permalink

Mine works fine, could it be a specific plug-in issue. Matt and Adam maybe you guys can swap plugin names to see if you have one in common?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/20/14 11:58:59 AM Permalink

I'm using

  • Game On
  • Shortcode Buddy
  • Shortcodes Pro
  • TinyMCE Advanced
  • Use Google Libraries
  • WP Video Lightbox

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/22/14 10:21:44 AM Permalink

I was going to do as you suggested, Terrence, but then noticed that some quests, like this one, allow commenting while others on my site do not.

If it's a plugin conflict, why wouldn't it affect all quests?

Oh, well, here's my list:

  • Game On
  • Shortcode Buddy
  • WP Video Lightbox
  • Akismet
  • Database Browser
  • Exclude Pages from Navigation
  • Jetpack
  • Polldaddy Polls and Ratings
  • Post Types Order

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/16/14 9:56:16 AM Permalink

It's not a high priority, but the number of items on the Game On Options page is getting a bit awkward. Could those be separated into tabs? (I'm posting this to record it here, but am working on implementing this myself right now - should have a demo available in a few days.)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/16/14 12:12:23 PM Permalink

The number and the size as well. We need a complete UI redesign. Thanks for adding that much-needed reminder. Now where'd I put that 8th day of the week we'll need? :)

Looking forward to the demo.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/18/14 6:52:22 PM Permalink

Here's an initial demo. The tabs are working, but I'm still working on the CSS file to clean up display of the fields. Ideally, they'll display in 3 columns horizontally, organized logically both vertically & horizontally. But CSS columns are trickier than Wordpress tabs. :-)

Anyway, this one is just a one-file update: go_options.php.


Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/18/14 7:58:32 PM Permalink

That's a HUGE improvement, Matthew. And it's remarkable close to my Stats page redesign (clean and simple).

Great work!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/20/14 7:15:01 AM Permalink

Revised demo with 3 columns working. Something goofy happened to the Presets tab, but I don't have any more time to troubleshoot right now. Will fix later today or tomorrow, then this is ready to mainstream. Affects two files: go_options.php and css\options.css

Apologies to the guys for removing their green backgrounds and such; I didn't want to try to do columns with anything more complicated than the default Wordpress stuff. (css still hurts my brain ;-)


Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/20/14 8:12:37 AM Permalink

That's sweet, Matthew. Really like what you've done. One problem. Snag the latest update and check out the Options page (click the questions marks).

We'll need to merge carefully to preserve functionality. We'll also use Ajax so the tabs don't reload the page. Would you mind emailing the two files?

P.S. Don't sweat the removing of the green. That's actually an extra bonus!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/20/14 2:35:34 PM Permalink

OK, final fixes in place and emailed the files to you. I've revised them based on the new 1.2.4 download, but it looks like someone may have been in the middle of editing it, the 'go_focus_new_input' function was missing from the copy I downloaded. Otherwise should be a complete copy.

On another note: Woot (to Ezio?)! That help functionality is soooweeet!

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 1/15/14 3:23:04 PM Permalink


inspired by Mike's jobs for internal and external work for the kids... real world work that will be used in or out of the school...

Would love a page where visitors could enter (probably password protected to keep spam at bay) and request work.

Form would include:

  1. requester - Client- Who we doing this for? Mr Jones, PE classes, Drama dept, or Substance Awareness group?
  2. requester's Client's email- to contact them with Q's (not visible when posted)
  3. requester's Client's phone- to contact (not visible when posted)
  4. job type- (short description of job [ie- Award Plaques, Poster Design- to be used as title])
  5. Job specifications (limitations, requirements of job)
  6. Job Reward- ($ donation to program if any, or student reward? :))

When submitted, admins get a notification email that there's a new job to approve.

When we approve, it gets turned into a special quest category(client-job or something), we assign points and set it up with the items pre-populated in the mission.

  1. Title= [job type]
  2. encounter= "Design a [go_job_type] for [go_job_client]"
  3. Accept= Here are the specifications from [go_job_client]:

Then we fill in the rest and post it. It auto generates a list of jobs that can be displayed with a shortcode [go_joblist] or something.

After that, kids can accept... it tracks if it's been accepted at all... posts a number at the end of the [go_joblist] display of how many students have accepted the quest. Click the number and it displays a lightbox showing all students that have accepted the quest with links to their blogs (blogs can be directed to have a jobs page where they post projects.)

Jobs with no accepts have a RED button display. Jobs with accepts get a GREEN button display. Jobs with students marking complete get a YELLOW display to show some students are calling it completed. Once completed and mastered (only master when the client likes it and it's over) the job goes to a completed list [go_jobs_completed], and displays the name(s) of students that mastered it with a link to their blog.


Mockup of jobs page

And looking at Mike's page... maybe a drop down list or radio button list to choose client type, stealing from mike's page... choices for Internal (maclab), External (school) and Global (Real World). Shortcodes can display all of them mixed up, or sorted by type [go_jobslist type=external]

Requester should be referred to as client to reinforce real world skills.

ps- (Originally triple posted somehow. Weird. Deleted extras.)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/15/14 5:35:32 PM Permalink

ps- (Originally triple posted somehow. Weird. Deleted extras.)

Including my reply! Lucky I took a screenshot to document this odd glitch (that I've encountered over a dozen times). Transcribing the rest from that JPG...



As someone with about 30 up-posted jobs in the queue (and more coming in every day) I heartily second this feature request.

We'll need to wrap our heads around the exact implementation but you've got a truly EPIC vision here, Rob. Love the heightened functionality. Freakin' awesome concept!


(And Rob's concept still seems as freakin' awesome as the first time I wrote that!)

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 1/15/14 6:22:26 PM Permalink

Dunno the guts of WP that well, but I suspect that:

  • You could create a form for visitors to post a "job" by filling in the items requested... Store that in the DB in a new table. (this would be a new custom post type)
  • When an admin posts the job, it just copies the DB table info from jobs table into a quest as originally described
  • Jobs private info (phone, email, reward) only available to admins from the dash- never copied to quests.
  • To display if anyone's taken it... you could call the DB like the stats page does, and see who's taken the mission and where they're at in the process to get the indicator colors. (this might be heavy lifting for the DB??? if so, maybe do it just when a job is posted or have a refresh button in dash for admin to do before/after school?)
Display of mission status automatically is prob the hardest part.... the rest I believe is really simple... But not so simple that I could code it. :/
Simpler version:

Other option is to just modify the quests themselves to add a private_info variable (for client, phone, etc..) and then create a public facing page that gives limited access to entering a mission... then after it's entered, it just gets saved as a draft mission that's unpublished. We check it and tweak it... then post it. Make special categories for jobs that we post them to to display on another area of the site.

Or even easier so you don't have to modify the table at all... Could probably just add the private info to the completion stage wrapped in shortcode that only admins can see to hide it. Then you wouldn't even need separate table entries, just make them part of the entry form and on display, wrap in shortcode that won't be visible to anyone else in the encounter stage. (or in a sidebar or behind a link). (Possible solution?)

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/15/14 9:07:58 PM Permalink

There are a lot of subtleties to this concept that dazzle. We get how to set up the DB calls, but the concept keeps spinning out other functionality.

  • [go_admin_only_content] has epic possibilities—far beyond this idea. Had never even considered coding that functionality. We could leave notes for ourselves all over the site and collect it all in one spot with another shortcode (with links back to the page the note is on for context.
  • The Accept button could take on new meaning—we might need to limit the number of active quests in player's queue to prevent quest hoarding and promote finishing the job at hand—something that's been bothering me.
  • Undo becomes Abandon (in the Accept stage) to allow a player to drop the quest. A redirect would be necessary to avoid immediately encountering the quest again.
  • On login, a number of hard-coded variables are downloaded to reduce server calls. Perhaps the Jobs data could be included. I really like the idea of providing data reflecting the number of players who've chosen particular quests. The individual quest pages could also reflect the count.

There are so many more possibilities! Keep thinking out loud, Rob. :)

Matthew Miller

Posted on 1/16/14 9:50:28 AM Permalink

Mike Skocko

Posted on 1/16/14 12:16:35 PM Permalink

Ah, I hadn't thought to add those two +1 ideas together. You're right, Matthew.

Am going to have to organize a coder's workshop in an upcoming MLSS—Mac Lab Saturday School—so the newbies can get some extra guidance.