There is some information you will want to absorb before participating in this simulation. Since you are participating with 3 other people, it is important that everyone has a good understanding of what is taking place. Else, you could make the experience unpleasant for everyone. You will not know who is in control of which objects in the world except your own nor will you know how certain decisions have been made. Since you will be connected to a server and the server plays no favorites, you can be sure you will have the same opportunities as every other participant to control what takes place during the simulation.
There will be time for questions from all participants before we start. Please make a list of questions you want to ask at that time. For now though, please read this document in its entirety. Many of the things you can not control during this experimental simulation can be programmed to be in your control for future simulations. Write down your suggestions as you think of them as I am very interested in your thoughts.
In the model window, the largest object you are looking at is a top view of a painted piece of wood. The wood (also called the board) is painted with 4 triangles colored red, blue, yellow, and green. You will be one of these four colors during the simulation. Above the piece of wood is a turn cube. The turn cube initially shows you your color. When you have noted which color marble is under your control, you can click on the turn cube to see the 4 marbles and the 10 goals of the simulation (the gray dots on the wood). The turn cubeís color changes to show whose turn it is (red goes first). You can not change which color you are. The piece of wood slants in four different directions during the simulation. Any object not glued to the wood will move in the direction of the slant. Your presence in the simulation will be represented by a marble on top of the piece of wood. You will be trying to direct the marbles during the simulation to reach an objective (to be discussed shortly).
You may have the ability to change the slant of the piece of wood during the simulation when it is your turn. Your turn comes whenever the turn cube (at the top of the model window) is the color of your marble. When you first arrive at the model, the turn cube will be your color. Make note of your marble color. You change the slant of the wood by clicking on the board on a colored triangle. The green triangle slants the board toward the green region of the board (top); the blue triangle slants the board toward the blue region (right) of the board; the yellow triangle slants the board toward the yellow region (bottom): and, the red triangle slants the board toward the red region (red). You will be very interested in which direction the board slants at any time. You will be able to see as many as the next 4 scheduled slant changes (4 is maximum). The upcoming slants will appear to the left of the board during the simulation. The bottom most slant object shows the next upcoming slant. When that bottom slant becomes active, a new slant may appear at the top of the slants and the other slants will move downward. The slant controls are never empty. If you do not select a slant during your turn (when the turn cube appears in your color), which lasts the duration of the active slant, the server selects one for you and it becomes another participantís turn.
There is a region to the right of the board which will show you objects during the simulation. I call that the palette. The palette is a place where you select objects during the simulation. The palette holds 2 types of objects: Obstacles and Effects.
Obstacles represent objects you put on the board to interact with the simulation. You use the objects to help you reach the goals the group has set for the simulation. Each object has its own embedded physics which define how it behaves during the simulation. You will want to be familiar with all the obstacles should you be asked to choose which ones you want to use to your advantage when building the simulation board (by placing them on top of the piece of wood). Those details appear in this document later on.
Effects represent temporary behaviors you give to the marble under your control during the simulation. For example, you may want to make your marble bigger for a period of time. In that case, you can request that the Marble Grower effect be added to your palette during the simulation. You can then choose to use it at an appropriate time. You will choose up to 7 effects for an active simulation round.
To use an object in the palette, you click on it with your mouse. It will become active at that time if the time is appropriate based on the rules of the simulation. You will need to understand why palette items are active only during certain times.
To answer the question "How Much Time to Make Choices?", you choose between 9 options, all of which are present at the same time as a checkbox list. You choose by clicking on the checkbox below the text of the choice you want to choose. Assume you choose "20 seconds" as your answer. The server may then serve you the next question and the text "15 seconds to choose". This feedback tells you that as a result of everyoneís answers you only have 15 seconds to make up your mind on any given question. If you do not respond within the 15 seconds, you will lose the ability to have any input to that group decision.
A rules round takes place as a series of questions provided to you in the rules window. The answers to the questions significantly effect how the simulation behaves. You can write down some of the information if you need to.
A design round takes place as a series of building events. Depending on the current rules, you may be able to add an obstacle to the board. If so, you will be taking equal turns with the other participants. You can add an object to the board when the turn cube (above the board) is the same color as your marble. You add an obstacle to the board by clicking on an obstacle in the palette, dragging it with the mouse from the lower left corner where it initially appears, and then clicking on the turn cube to send that obstacle to everyone else (and passing the turn to the next participant). Please be prompt in taking your design turn in order to keep others from becoming bored or frustrated.
An effects round takes place as a series of palette object choices. Depending on the current rules, you will be able to choose 7 effects for use in the next Active round (defined next paragraph). The list of available effects may or may not change from one effects round to the next. You choose effects by clicking on them in the palette. After every participant has chosen 7 effects, the effects round ends and the palette changes to reflect your choices.
An active round is where the simulation comes alive. The board begins slanting, the marbles start moving, and your effects become active as you select them. Borders are added to the piece of wood. The borders color becomes your color to remind you of which marble is under your control. The active round is where you succeed or fail based on the rules set by the group. Remember that you want to work with others to reach all the goals in the shortest time frame. A goal will turn from gray to green when it has been secured. If a goal is green, there is no reason to visit it again. You can watch the counter on the status bar to see how often the slant is changing (its duration is fixed), how long effects are staying active, and to get a sense of the speed of your marble. The counter shows the cumulative number of frames that have passed during the active round. The rules dictate when an active round ends. After an active round, you will get a score to provide you with feedback on your participation.
|Purple Sphere - Glues a sphere on the board which is the same size as a marble.|
|Horizontal Stick - Glues a horizontal stick on the board|
|Vertical Stick - Glues a vertical stick on the board|
|Diagonal Stick 1 - Glues a diagonal stick on the board|
|Diagonal Stick 2 - Glues a diagonal stick on the board|
|Shrinking Sphere - Glues a sphere which shrinks and grows during the simulation|
|Pendulum - Glues the top of a swinging pendulum to the board.|
You need to think about how best to use these obstacles to help you reach goals faster
|Fly Through - Flies your marble through any obstacles in its way except the border and goals.|
|Anti Gravity - Moves your marble in the opposite direction of the current slantís gravity.|
|Stop - Stops your marble for a period of time.|
|Goal Grabber - Lets you grab a goal from someone else and give it to yourself.|
|Add an Obstacle - Lets you add an obstacle during the active simulation|
|Marble Grower - Lets you grow your marble to twice its diameter|
'How Often Should Slant Change?' asks you to choose how often the wood changes its slant.
'How Many Frames for the Queue Lag?' asks you to choose how long the delay should be before an effect becomes active. 'How Many Frames is Event Active?' asks you to choose how long a selected effect should remain active.
'How High Gravity?' asks you to choose how strong the pull of gravity should be on the marbles.
'How High Restitution?' asks you to choose how much energy is lost when marbles collide with other objects.
'How High Mass?' asks you to choose how much mass the marbles should have. All obstacles have medium mass.
'How High Viscosity?'asks you to choose how much friction exists between the board and the marbles (higher viscosity means marbles slow down more while moving over the board).