Polly's World

Some of us want to start an on-line world that kids can build, with creatures they can grow and play with together. But the kids will need to learn how to program to do really cool things. The (not so secret) agenda is for our society to achieve near-universal literacy in programming, sooner rather than later. After all, society once thought near-universal written literacy to be impossible, even nuts. That was back when "literacy" involved a small elite memorizing texts in a sacred language. In that context, people couldn't see why you'd want everyone to read and write. We know better now.

Getting little kids to see the potential social relevance of programming is a first step, kind of a "Cat in the Hat" level. We also need to eventually extend to the "The role of the Female Protagonist; Shakespeare versus Virginia Wolfe" level, but first things first.

The following are early tests for a character who will live in an interactive world called RAPUNSEL that Mary Flanagan and I and some wonderful graduate students are collaborating on under an NSF grant.

Kids will be able to customize the world through magic code windows, in which they can use programming to give their characters personality and create adventures for them. All the source code will be exposed, down to the renderer, so that intrepid kids can dig deeper if they want to.

one polly two pollys

Note: The critter design is based on earlier work I did in VRML a few years ago.

- Ken Perlin