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Illusionist
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icon DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+1)  
I was recently talking with my manager about this game, and how it affected me positively in my life and improved my work. I was jokingly said about introducing this game to our team as a fun way to improve the decision-making skills.

And then I thought, what would happen if this game was introduced in a way for children who have certain problems with learning?

There is this precedent with Rayman becoming something of a franchise with spin-offs like Rayman teaches French, English and German. And I was thinking, DROD teaches mathematics, physics, and so on.

Dreams aside, the reason I am asking this question is because this game has a very huge educational value by itself - it teaches you to recognize patterns, and planning yourself out of trouble. It teaches you to make swift decision based on experience and understanding the patterns. It's also colorful, has beautiful music, and is not dumb-for-kids product (a word I use to describe things that are all-ages for a fault - non-violent, boring, preachy stuff - DROD is not violent, but it has factors that could attract kids and make them want to dig into this game). Of course, I could go on and on, but no point in preaching to the converted. I am slightly pointing out the idea, because there's a lot of potential to explore.

The game rewards you for improving, it teaches you the mechanics step by step, and it has great story behind it. There's much more that this game teaches, but the point is, it's just a great game for the development of the brain. The comparison to chess is apt, frankly. But chess is not as attractive for kids as DROD could be. What would happen if the game was properly introduced for kids who have ADHD, or some form of Dyslexia? The question might be a little silly, but let's for a moment entertain the idea and the possibilites, for the sake of brainstorm. DROD is a game that anyone can play and enjoy, but the kids especially playing it would be positive for their brains.

Just askin'

And if you're curious how the introduction of this game to my team ended, well, they were more interested in Red Dead Redemption 2, because graphics:( I didn't give up, though. I will prevail

[Last edited by Illusionist at 09-21-2020 12:39 PM]
09-13-2020 at 03:18 PM
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NoahT
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+1)  
As someone with high functioning autism who has played DROD for over two decades, I can say it's been useful for developing puzzle solving skills and outside-the-box thinking. I would recommend you keep pushing for it.

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09-13-2020 at 07:36 PM
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Camwoodstock
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+1)  
Speaking as someone on the spectrum myself, I think DROD could actually have some educational potential--and I don't mean in the way DROD RPG is basically one big math problem about optimization. ;P

Its turn-by-turn, cause-and-effect nature could be useful for teaching such things that "X causes Y" or the likes. You could hypothetically make a whole dang calculator in DROD if given enough time--with NPCs and Variables alone, you can pretty easily replicate such a task, I'd wager. In fact, DROD's NPC scripting is practically an entire coding language on its own; with a very obvious output system, at that, so you could program all sorts of things!

Though, I think that its more useful in potential science applications over mathematical stuff; given everything in DROD follows certain rules, you effectively have the ability to create all sorts of simulations in it; stuff like Conway's Game of Life to Langton's Ant comes to mind. (Honestly, a bit surprised nobody's made either of these in DROD yet to my knowledge--if anyone has, please lemme know, I'm curious!) I think that, if given the know-how and enough time, you could theoretically create a whole chemistry simulator, or maybe even a rocket trajectory simulator. Basically, DROD's NPC scripting allows for DROD to, essentially, become an entire turn-by-turn simulator of just about anything, and in a way that's relatively simple to code! ...If given enough time, that is.

DROD also has potential for pixel art (in the minimap) which can be used to potentially make diagrams; heck, even with the actual room assets, you could easily represent concepts as well, and with scrolls, you could even annotate them. The only downside is, in the case of the minimap, colors are quite limited; for example, I don't think we have any explicitly purple elements, only a light pink element with trapdoors. So while DROD is more than likely easily Turing compatible, it isn't ROY G. BIV compatible, which is a heckuva sentence.

The only thing I think could be an explicit problem and not just a nitpick is the fact that DROD has blood particles; even though DROD is VERY cartoonish in how it handles blood (with a stock "splat!" folly sound and red dot particles jumping all over the place as "blood"), I can see academic institutions holding an issue with this. Still, since DROD has an open source, modding the game to remove this wouldn't be out of the question, and coding in a "no blood" setting would be utterly trivial--alleviating the problem altogether. In addition, in some cases, its turn-by-turn nature could be a problem for some simulations, as nothing happens if the player does nothing; however, one could easily make a bot that auto-advances the game if a player doesn't do an input, so again, I don't see this being an explicit issue, more a nuisance.

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09-14-2020 at 01:03 AM
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+2)  
quote:
Camwoodstock wrote:
Though, I think that its more useful in potential science applications over mathematical stuff; given everything in DROD follows certain rules, you effectively have the ability to create all sorts of simulations in it; stuff like Conway's Game of Life to Langton's Ant comes to mind. (Honestly, a bit surprised nobody's made either of these in DROD yet to my knowledge--if anyone has, please lemme know, I'm curious!)


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09-14-2020 at 01:07 AM
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Illusionist
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (0)  
quote:
Camwoodstock wrote:
The only thing I think could be an explicit problem and not just a nitpick is the fact that DROD has blood particles; even though DROD is VERY cartoonish in how it handles blood (with a stock "splat!" folly sound and red dot particles jumping all over the place as "blood"), I can see academic institutions holding an issue with this. Still, since DROD has an open source, modding the game to remove this wouldn't be out of the question, and coding in a "no blood" setting would be utterly trivial--alleviating the problem altogether.


This in particular is a point that I was thinking about the most - it's something that would require modding, but only to satisfy parents, because kids themselves probably wouldn't mind it at all. I myself played games like Doom, or Wolfenstein when I was like what, 9 years old? These games seemed more interesting to me than puzzle games back then. So from the viewpoint of the kid, that pixelated blood ironically makes DROD much cooler than any other puzzle game.

But of course, unfortunately you just can't have something to be fun and promoted as educational and have "blood", even if it's barely noticeable. And then again the name DROD itself would probably also be a problem

It would probably require to be renamed as Beethro teaches math / physics, with no reference to the DROD anywhere :D:D:D:D

Or worse - you can't kill the cockroaches , you have to put them in the cages using the wooden sticks instead of sword.

(As for the other issues you mention, I still have to digest them, because that's a lot of food for thought)

quote:
NoahT wrote:
As someone with high functioning autism who has played DROD for over two decades, I can say it's been useful for developing puzzle solving skills and outside-the-box thinking. I would recommend you keep pushing for it.


I've noticed that a lot of people these days prefer games to be an interactive movie. With no challenge whatsoever. A co-worker of mine for example told me that she played GTA, because within the game, there is a show that you can watch for hours. Or the aforementioned Red Dead Redemption. People are gushing over graphics more than gameplay which makes my mission harder.

I've seen some discussion here about making mobile DROD - but in order for this game to really catch on, it would have to be extremely easy, simple, and very casual-friendly. Something that people would play while waiting for the bus. And even that wouldn't guarantee the success.

-------

I like the way you guys think. There's plenty of the potential there, and only the sky is the limit. It's a blessing that DROD is very mod-friendly

[Last edited by Illusionist at 09-21-2020 12:49 PM]
09-14-2020 at 05:29 PM
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Camwoodstock
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (0)  
quote:
kurwaa wrote:
quote:
Camwoodstock wrote:
(me talking)


This in particular is a point that I was thinking about the most - it's something that would require modding, but only to satisfy parents, because kids themselves probably wouldn't mind it at all. I myself played games like Doom, or Wolfenstein when I was like what, 9 years old? These games seemed more interesting to me than puzzle games back then. So from the viewpoint of the kid, that pixelated blood ironically makes DROD much cooler than any other puzzle game.

But of course, unfortunately you just can't have something to be fun and promoted as educational and have "blood", even if it's barely noticeable. And then again the name DROD itself would probably also be a problem

It would probably require to be renamed as Beethro teaches math / physics, with no reference to the DROD anywhere :D:D:D:D

Or worse - you can't kill the cockroaches , you have to put them in the cages using the wooden sticks instead of sword.



I severely doubt censorship would be needed beyond removing the blood--enemies in video games get trounced all the time. Goombas get flattened, Botniks disappear in a puff of smoke with the animal inside freed, Creepers just vanish in a puff of smoke outright--heck, all three of the series I just mentioned have had their own run-ins with the educational world! I'm pretty they wouldn't mind that roaches go splat, just with less red bits flying around.

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09-15-2020 at 10:29 PM
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dojo_b
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+1)  
Zachtronics has made its puzzle games free to all public schools

http://www.zachtronics.com/zachademics/

and if I were a K-12 educator, I would frankly take these over DROD to begin with, for a few reasons. First, they can absolutely teach you to program. Now they may be a little bit perverse as an intro to programming, because the tools available are superficially limited, unlike a C-like language with its beautifully expressive and general vocabulary. But that leads to interesting puzzles and it makes things a bit more concrete than general programming.

(I'm sure DROD is Turing-complete, but its puzzles tend not to have that engineering flavor in my experience)

Second, the Zachtronics puzzles are more open-ended "build a thing" challenges, which demand creative and logical thinking but are less likely to be absolute stumpers. They don't have that diabolical flavor of many holds where you are in this elaborate death-trap with only a narrow, unintuitive road to victory. (I mean, I enjoy those, but like most of us here, I've got a high tolerance for frustration and have built it up over the years.)

Third, I can't help but feel that the aesthetics of DROD are likely to appeal to a more limited audience. To me it is very evocative of the Shareware era of gaming (with "indie" not yet a term, and low-budget gaming more nerdy and idiosyncratic on the whole than today) and, culturally, of tabletop RPGs and pre-Diablo dungeon crawlers and roguelikes.

With all that said, I tend to think puzzle games in general are a valuable activity for kids, and probably more so when they are designed by people who actually love puzzles and are not trying to ham-fistedly shoehorn in "subject-area knowledge". It's probably most important that parents and educators see this and give kids SOME decent gateway into this world; the particular game is less critical.

[Last edited by dojo_b at 09-21-2020 03:08 AM]
09-21-2020 at 03:06 AM
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icon Re: DROD - a good tool for kids with learning disabilities? (+2)  
I think DROD (and games like it) might be a good fit if you have the disability of being so called "gifted". Here in Sweden there really isn't that much to do if shool is too easy for you.

Good and fun tools to improve your logical thinking may make it easier for teachers not having time to give attention for students that are understimulated.

I think tools would be needed that requires very little work from the teacher. It is "required by law" to provide all students in sweden with stimulating possibilities to learn and grow. Unfortunatly this is not really true for those who pick up the subjects very easily.

I don't know... I also like the idea behind brilliant.org, with a strong emphasis on problem solving. That would likely have kept me motivated and happy in shcool.

And apperantly this question is extra-relevant for me. When we realized our son probably had autism (he does) we started reading up on the subject. Aperantly both me and my wife has autism too (and ADD in my case).

My point is: If DROD appeals to you it's somewhat likely that your main problem in school is that shcool is just too easy (at least when it comes to STEM subjects). For me this was a bigger problem when it came to learning than either of my (then unknown) disabilities.

In a way I also think being able to watch pre-recorded lectures might be good if you have ADD or ADHD. I have realized this, at least for me, tends to make learning easier.

In conclusion: DROD may be good to keep some gifted students from boredom, and hone their ability to train their problem-solving abilities somewhat.

I think DROD RPG can be made to help students train simple arithmetic, though. You could probably make level-sets of different difficulty-levels that could be kind of fun, regardless of your skill level. Maybe :)
09-21-2020 at 06:45 AM
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