March 4, 2018

Tyto Online Gameplay Progression

Lindsey Tropf

As more educators are getting set up with Tyto Online, we're realizing we should take a moment to outline the gameplay progression of normal gameplay.  We've designed Tyto Online to be able to be completely self-driven by the students/players, which means that it has its own built-in progression and flow.  Or teachers can bypass that by assigning specific Quests and Sandboxes from within their Teacher Dashboard.

So let's go over the flow of gameplay so everyone has a better idea of what to expect, and teachers can make a better decision about if they want to let it play out for a bit or jump right into assigning quests.

Getting Your Character Set Up

We recommend that the first time playing teachers give students some time to get their characters set up, go through the tutorial, and finish our introduction sequence called "Welcome, Citizen."  This should take about 15-20 minutes and by the end students will receive their own custom apartment to decorate, which can be very motivating for students as they earn rewards.

Initial Quests

After that, students will see quests nearby and if left alone will begin to pick those up.  The exact ones they grab will depend, but they tend to be Pollinate & Prosper (Ecology quest about mutualism), The Proof is in the Poop (Ecology quest about invasive species), or some others meant to introduce them to the game world.  After they've completed two Ecology quests, they'll hit Level 2 in Ecology. They'll get a telecommunicator from Dr. Sandrine asking if they can help in the Amazon Biodome.

We have five biodomes (Amazon Rainforest, Mojave Desert, Great Plains Grassland, Himalayan Forest, and Alaskan Tundra) that are locked until the player has done this quest for Dr. Sandrine -- first she unlocks the Amazon and then after completing the quest she unlocks the rest.  This ensures the player knows what they are and how to get there, since we tell them what to do for that first quest!

Unlocking the Create-Your-Own Ecosystem Sandbox

After the player does a couple more quests, they'll hit Level 3 in Ecology. If they've also done some of the biodome quests such as the Amazon Rainforest Food Web 1 quest that introduces them to a DNA Extractor, Dr. Sandrine will send another telecommunicator request and will unlock their first Sandbox, the Create-Your-Own Ecosystem H.E.L.O. (Holographic Environmental Life Observatory).  The student will need to head up to the Academy and talk with Dr. Sandrine and then will unlock access.

Students will start out with a limited number of "Research Points" (RP) they can use to unlock species in the Biodex, and only basic information.  This is so that students are scaffolded with smaller species, herbivores, etc. and then will unlock more and add more as they progress. It also gives a reason for students to do more within the game world, as they will earn more RP for every quest they do and as they progress in the ecosystem.  In order to unlock all the information in the Biodex, they'll also need to go into those biodomes and scan, take DNA samples, take photos, and observe the species in their natural habitat. This will also help them keep learning and improving their ability to make their own ecosystem!

Continued Gameplay

All the above gameplay depends on how focused students are, but if they are staying on task with Ecology quests, it would take around 2 hours of gameplay to get to this point.

After they've unlocked the biodomes and H.E.L.O. this way, students will have a lot of options in how they keep playing.  Some will balance between creating ecosystems and questing up through Level 10 as they learn more, while some will just want to quest until they're out of quests and have unlocked everything possible.

We also have the Heredity quests, so students will be able to start accepting those after they're done some of the Ecology basics, working towards being able to breed their own drakons and unlocking that Sandbox and those quests, too.

Teacher Assignment

Of course if you're a teacher looking to quickly get to results, just give your students a some time to get set up with their characters and used to the game and then you can start assigning all the quests and sandboxes.  Our system will automatically unlock the required pre-requisites (like the biodomes) and give them R.P. to make sure they can unlock some species immediately so you don't have to worry about all that!

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