Looking Glass Through Old Fresh Eyes

  • Sep 06, 2012

Coming back to the Looking Glass IDE after a summer away, I felt like this was a good opportunity to reconsider what my experience was when I was first exposed to Looking Glass, especially thinking about how users will be using the badge system to guide their discovery of Looking Glass.

To be fair, coming in with a considerable amount of previous programming experience, I definitely am on a different foot than many LG users. For example, after choosing a base world to begin with and doing my scene setup, my knowledge of objects, methods, and control structures let me pretty quickly build some simple worlds:I made characters move forward and say things, I put actions in count statements, that kind of thing.

As I played around to try to grasp the full scope of Looking Glass's capabilities, my worlds often veered away from being coherent stories, and more about the technical options I had available. For example, I made a weird world with a teapot on the moon, where things changed to odd colors, the camera zoomed around in dizzying paths, and halfway through, a pack of dogs ran by. One thing that always drew me back into telling stories was designing entries for challenges: I took challenges as an opportunity to showcase a lot of the technical aspects I had been practicing in a story-centric world.

The most advanced world I managed to make was an attempt to clone the game "QWOP," an odd videogame where you control each of a runner's joints independently with the Q, W, O, and P keys to try to make him move forward. This world was a massive amalgamation of all the techniques I had been practicing with control structures, keyboard input, and program structures into a package that was close, but not exactly, storytelling.

What can be gleaned from this? For someone with previous programming experience, curiosity about how to apply the knowledge they already have into Looking Glass may be sufficient to motivate their discovery. However, this may lead to worlds that stray far away from storytelling, which cuts out a lot of the ability to participate in the Looking Glass community. By the same token, sometimes it is just fun to mess around without a focus and create crazy worlds just to flex your muscles and see what you can do. To consider, though: Is creating worlds like this productive? Is it less productive than creating worlds with purpose and plot? Or are "all worlds created equal"?


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