Games and Simulations Network

AR/VR Update - Virtual Connected Educator for Week of November 27


This is our Virtual Connected Educator update for the week of November 27, 2017.

VR Update

We have been asked what VR educators could use to have their students start working in game design and simulations. We would recommend looking at CoSpaces which now has a 2 month free trial. We walked the floor at the ISTE Exhibition hall and found it to be the most accessible form. For our game designers, it looks like a scaled down version of the game engine, Unity 3D.

We’d also suggest that educators take a look at the reports that have come out on VR from Foundry10

VR in education: The Student Perspective
This is an 18 page report that is well designed with images, pictograms and quotes.

For more detail on the Foundry’s research it would be better to look at their full study

Applied VR in the Schools, Aggregated Report

AR Update

We were also asked about AR. If you are starting out with using AR for game design, we would recommend trying Metaverse Have your students make a mobile scavenger hunt for whatever holiday you might be celebrating before the end of the year. We’ll talk more about pervasive mobile games in the upcoming weeks.

You may also want to keep your eyes open for these additional mobile AR experiences

Masters of the Sun, a graphic novel that was released in the summer, wil lbe available

More information from Tech Crunch and here’s the trailer.

Office Depot’s Elf Yourself app  and its Mensch on the Bench creations will include an AR capabilities this year. And yes it does even have a hashtag #ElfYourself. If you do create something feel free to share with us in the ISTE Games & Sims community.

From Mashable, there is a report on Smartify, like Shazaam but for artwork. It is now live in 30 museums worldwide. See if is live at museums you and your students are visiting

So you think AR and VR are only for marketers? Think again, car manufactures are getting into the game to leverage AR and VR to improve their processes, gather in depth market research, reduce repair times, and even train your robot to do your manual labor! Yes, your Career Technical Education (CTE) will need to learn AR and VR in the future.

Tech Live

Tech Line - Porsche AR

Toyota’s Remote Operation


Thursday November 30 at 8 pm ET/6 pm MT

OpenSimulator Community Conference Preview

Link to Google Hangout livestream

The fifth annual Open Simulator (OpenSim) conference will be taking place on Saturday December 9th and Sunday December 10th!

We are lucky enough to have the OpenSim conference organizer, Dr. Cynthia Calongne who is also part of the Games & Sims Network leadership to give us a preview of the OpenSimulator Community Conference Preview November 30 at 8 pm ET.

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Friday December 1 at 2 pm ET/Noon MT
Rapid Response Hangout - Net Neutrality

Link to Google Hangout livestream

Join us for a Rapid Response Hangout on the upcoming vote on Net Neutrality Regulation at Friday December 1 at 200 pm (ET)

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December 9 & 10

The 5th Annual OpenSimulator Community Conference is being held on December 9 -10, 2017

The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community creating the OpenSimulator software. Organized as a joint production by Core Developers of OpenSimuator and AvaCon, the virtual conference features presentations, workshops, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base. One of our Games & Simulations leadership members, Dr. Cynthia Calongne is part of the organizing team.

Registration Hashtag #OSCC17 and Hypergrid Address :

Word of the Week - LOOT BOX

In game design, loot boxes are an example of a randomized reinforcement. A player opens up an object, usually a chest or box and receives an in-game reward. The actual reward received usually is based on a randomization schedule. Psychologically, it creates anticipation in the player, followed by a release when the loot box is opened.

Here’s why discussion of loot boxes is currently showing up in the mainstream news:


Loot Boxes are currently becoming quite the divisive issue in the world of gaming and in state and governmental legislatures as well. While common in Asian games, they are making inroads into US gaming. Loot boxes offer developers of games (mobile, online, and console) a way to collect revenue beyond the initial sell point. They are also responsible for most of the monetization of free to play and freemium games.

First you might be asking yourself, “what is a lootbox?” A loot box is a relatively new mechanic in digital games, but had its origins in mobile gaming. In it’s simplest form, it is a box with loot in it. The loot can be pets, cards, bonuses, weapons, clothes, or even avatar skins. The contents of the box can either be guaranteed or random, but is commonly a mix of both where you get one item guaranteed and the rest are random. Loot box some in several flavors: in game, require a purchased key, or purchasable online. In game loot boxes simply drop as a part of game play and players can open them or have some in game mechanism that allows them to be opened. Purchased key loot boxes, typically will drop in game but require the player to purchase a key using real money to be able to unlock the box. Purchasable online loot boxes allow the player to purchase the loot box with real money and may also require the purchase of a key with real money as well.

The next question is why are they divisive? Simply put loot boxes become divisive when their contents allow players to gain equipment that is higher anything else in the game or when it allows the player to bypass the normal game mechanics (i.e. grinding) needed to obtain an item of equivalent level and power. Due to the randomization, loot boxes have the potential to provide improvements in gear or other status items that some players (i.e. those not buying loot boxes) have to spend a lot of time or resources to obtain without loot boxes. This is especially true when some games have high end items that only drop from loot boxes. This puts the casual gamer at odds with the serious heavy user in each game. This conflict occurs with any item that might drop from a loot box that could be considered a status reward or would only drop from a very difficult quest or boss.

So now we are on to why are legislators getting involved in loot boxes. The answer is gambling and how each state and country does or does not define gambling. By their nature, loot box contents are not determined by skill. They are determined by chance / probability. This puts them in a gray area as gambling this typically defined by games of chance, you pay money for the chance to gain a benefit monetary or otherwise. So, since a lot of games are now including purchasable loot boxes or requiring the players to pay real money to buy keys to unlock their loot boxes, you now have an environment where the players are paying real funds for the chance to receive digital goods that might significantly benefit they and enhance their success in the game. This issue has caused many countries and some US States to start legislating loot boxes as gambling,which is typically illegal in the US.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the following links:

State legislators call EA’s game a 'Star Wars-themed online casino' preying on kids, vow action.


EA pulls back loot system from Star Wars Battlefront II

Battle Front 2

If you would like to share anything you find, please post it in the ISTE Games & Sims Community.