Custom Duolingo-based Simulation Games
My name is Tony Diepenbrock and I've always loved Duolingo since it teaches me basic vocab. However, what I've always wanted was a simulation game where I am placed in a specific immersive scene (like a restaurant), and I need to figure out what to do.
So that's what I've been building for the last 8 months. You can play your simulation in the browser, and soon in VR headsets like Oculus. If you guys want to learn more, here's an article that just came out about us:
Yes! In fact, we realized at one point that our simulation game was eerily similar (we hadn't heard of them until 6 months into our project).
After we reading the Influent reviews, we realized people really love this concept! Unfortunately Influent is a pretty limited game, I could only play it for about 30 minutes, whereas we're building LOTS of these simulations for you to play (hundreds within the next year).
You tell us what environment you want your simulation to be in, and we'll build it! Soon you'll be able to talk to tutors in these simulations too.
. . . I totally agree on the limitation of inFluent. And now my next questions:
- What will the price point be?
- Will you develop the obvious locations (restaurant, airport, hospital, lawyer office, clothing store, garden, zoon, playground, soccer arena, blah, blah, etc.)
- Modding capabilities?
- Can you customize characters (think Nintendo Wii, Minecraft, Sims, etc.)
- What languages will be available?
- Will it be available through Valve's Steam?
Intrigued and curious. Good luck with your venture!
Thank you! I'll do my best to answer them
We're starting at $28 per simulation. We have ideas regarding how to change it to a subscription model once there are tutors in the simulation with you though.
Yes. We are already working on this.
Right now, whatever you request, we'll build. You can tell us EXACTLY what you want, and we'll go out of our way to build it according to your details. We are losing money doing this, but we want to make our first few users really happy (take advantage of us while you can!). In fact, I will offer Duolingo users a special deal: we'll build 2 simulations in the same environment instead of 1.
Right now, the simulation plays from a first-person perspective, so you can't see your avatar from the 3rd person. Down the road, we might change this so you can customize your avatar. Maybe as you progress, you'll be able to customize it in special ways too :)
We're starting with the most popular languages in America first, but we'll be expanding quickly since it is very easy for us to make more simulations. All we need to do is find a teacher/tutor who can build the simulation using our Blueprint tool.
We prefer to offer our product outside Steam, but we'd consider it if we thought there was a good reason to do so.
We can offer you a lower price since Steam isn't taking a % of the purchase. The nice thing is that our app runs directly in your browser, you don't need to download or install anything! It runs even on inexpensive Chromebooks.
That sounds amazing! Too bad I don't have any money in my wallet currently, otherwise I would purchase it.
Actually, I meant in my dreams, not with real money in real life. I'm just a kid.
A restaurant, because you can talk a ton of Español or Français (the languages I would talk in).
Hola! This concept sounds great and I love that there will be more language learning tools! Gamification is the way to go, much better than flash cards!!
I am however confused, on the website it says Try the demo but when you click on it nothing happens... is it just because I'm on a work computer and need flash or something..... I really want to try one to see what it is like but don't even know what simulation I would like.... I would like to try what other people have thought of so I could figure out what more I needed... I live in mexico and work in the mines so have learnt a very specific type of vocabulary so I would love to expand it to things beyond grocery shopping, restaurants, animals, travelling which I find you get heaps of in beginner courses. It's so hard to think of what I want, maybe a medical one where you help to diagnose patients that have more then just the sore stomach, sore head etc.... Or I do love a good mystery type game.... who knows... I love at least a bit of a story line to keep you hooked
I will have a look at influent and see what I think it is missing... (but I have a feeling it doesn't have the game aspect I'm after, I'm not one for just trying to memorize vocab)
There are also these guys that have a beta version for ipad only - http://xplingo.com/en/ - it's not a simulator but a point and click game that is worth checking out. I love that there is a story line. I don't think you can have too many learn spanish games!!! I would much prefer to play these for hours then reading through text books and conjugation!!!
Can't wait to hear more :)
Sorry, I am working on getting the demo to work right now, there was an issue on our end.
This is all SUCH great feedback! Thank you so much Lisa! What is your email? I would love to contact you there about your "in the mines" Spanish simulation. In many ways, the simulation is a mystery type game. You need to figure out what to do, and all the instructions are given to you in Spanish.
I totally agree that when you have context, you can pick up on nuances and words you were never taught. I believe that's the way to go.
In the mines is my daily life sadly not a fun simulation for me, the problem with mining is in each spanish speaking country the words are different so I can't actually see it working. I think I like the simulation ideas of - going to the library and searching for a book (lots of different options then as you could add alternate scenarios depending on what sort of book) then once you choose a book you could read the first paragraph and put it back if it wasn't the sort you were looking for. i.e. you need to find a recipe for a dinner party you find a book and read a bit but it is on history so you need to find a different section of the library for a cooking book You could then do a cooking simulation where you have to prepare the recipe for your friends, then there could be a dinner party simulation where you talk about peoples jobs, personal life etc the usual conversation stuff.
I think the price point of starting at $28 is too high, I would prefer that you make a few simulations that you pay $2-$5 to play (depending on the length) and then you would sell them to a lot more people. I know you are still in the development stage but by paying that I assume you are going to sell the personalized simulations later on and sort of feel like you at least need the demo game and a few to try before I would pay this. I hate the idea of a subscription model since there are so many now that I feel like they are sending me broke and I don't like to sign up to something have to try and do it all in a month to save money or play for a bit then cancel because I am not getting my moneys worth. Which I think is what a lot of people do, I would prefer a low price where you can sell it to heaps of people which you will if you make a great simulation game, and then maybe where you can buy packs of simulations that are linked together somehow like the library dinner party thing. Maybe that price is too low but in the world of cheap apps I think it is a model that is working better, spending $30 for 1 simulation puts me off a bit because I can get a 1 hour spanish class for less than that, I don't want to under value your time and work, I totally think you are worth being payed a decent salary and LOVE this concept but I think you would actually do better and make more money in the long term that way. People are cheap especially when it comes to digital data and downloading, me included :)
Can't wait to try the demo and follow you guys, maybe a kickstarter project is the way to go when you have enough interest? Especially if you have a few scenes people can play and you have proven the concept I would think that would potentially be the most successful way forward!!
Thank you very much for all the feedback. I think you're right. We're still in our earliest trial phase, and we can only handle a few customers which is why the price is what it is.
I will keep you posted. What is your email?
I'll send you an email don't want to post on here, what's your best contact :)
I really love the idea, and i can't wait to see the progress! I would love to pick up a simulation as soon as you have Spanish or Italian.
Also when i attempted to view the English version of the game, my browser didn't have enough ram allocated to run it, will I still be able to run it if i purchased a simulation?
One more thing, I think that a good scene for people wanting to learn Spanish is some kind of store, such as a tourist shop or grocery store, and you can discuss prices and names of common products in those stores.
Keep up the phenomenal work!
Thank you! Gracias!
Sorry about that. Yes, we will make sure you can play the simulation (we may have you download it and run it as an app instead). What kind of computer do you have? Could you tell me the specs?
Yes! In fact the English game is in a store :) I'm working on building a lot more awesome environments.
PS: We offer full refunds if you aren't 100% satisfied!
My computer is a Acer Aspire, 4GB of ram, Intel Pentium Processor on 2.7GHz , & running Windows 7 Home Premium 32- bit (though it is supposedly 64-bit).
I'd love to test the English game and any future simulation environments as long as my computer wants to cooperate with my excitement!
Did you sign up with your email on the site at the bottom of the page?
Hmm, try a hard refresh... That should work! We've tested it on Chromebooks with 1GB of RAM.
Are you using Chrome or Firefox? Try Firefox if you can.
I apologize for the annoyance! I can also send you a download-able app if we can't get it to run in the browser.
No I didn't notice the sign up unfortunately, I didn't see any kind of sign up other than buying a simulation
Chrome does tell me this: Duolingo On The Web; The browser could not allocate enough memory for the WebGL content.
Sorry, I can’t try Firefox at the present moment. But a hard refresh? As in closing my browser from the background completely?
Don’t worry, I’m pretty patient when it comes to technology :)
No worries! What is your email? I'll send you something you can play.
Thanks for your patience, I really appreciate it.
No problem! I just really thought your game as a great interactive way to learn, and I'd love to get to try it out!
One question: Have you ever thought of trying to raise money through Kickstarter or Patreon?
Yes! I think we're going to do that :) Thank you! I will email you some time Monday morning.
Well it seems i've had all my questions answered and errors situated, thank you very much.
Have a nice evening and can't wait to try the simulation!
This project of yours is AMAZING!!! I cannot wait to start using it, good luck with development