SMARTASS Training (2)

Welcome to SMARTASS Training
Tutorial: Phase 1

TSTT Staging Room, Mission Control, 2017 CE

You find yourself standing in a vast room with fluorescent purple lines criss-crossing the floor and walls in a grid pattern. There are several people standing beside you, and three objects are just beginning to materialize a few feet ahead: a control panel of lights and switches, a stack of administrative papers and folders, and a statue of Thomas Jefferson.

Suddenly, a sapphire-colored bird flutters out from behind the statue. It stops at the group’s feet and looks up and down intently. Its quizzical look makes it seem friendly, but you know that it's very hard to tell with birds.

Suddenly, its beak pops open and a whistling voice greets you.

“Hi there, recruits! It’s me, 2Blu!… Well, a digital representation of 2Blu, anyway. I’m so glad you’re here representing the Two Summers program! I’ve heard all about you, and I’m interested to see how your teaching experiences play into the adventure at hand.”

2Blu raises a wing and points around the room.

“This is the texto-spatio-temporal transmitter. Mission Control—'MC’, for short—uses it to create anything needed for our on-going mission to save the world. We call it the TSTT, and even Mission Control doesn’t completely understand how it works. Something about technology and free will. You know how it is.

“All this means is that while the TSTT allows Mission Control to make certain magical things possible—like instantly creating apps or technological tools—you can think of it as a virtual duplicate of the real world. You can only control your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, not those of others around you. So you don’t get to say what other people say or do, just only can say what you do.”

2Blu flaps his wings and makes a light-hearted chirping noise.

"The mission I’ll be presenting to you will have certain boundaries. No, you can’t summon a friendly robot to battle your enemies… if you tried to narrate yourself doing that, the TSTT would probably return a result like ‘The educator falls into a daydream, remembering a fantasy story from her childhood. Then she wakes up.'"

2Blu pauses to let you take in the world around you.

“Getting used to moving around in the TSTT can be difficult at first. Before we leave the staging area, we have to make sure that you can safely move your avatar! For example, if I wanted to show that I was moving to the statue, I might say:

‘2Blu flies to the statue.'

“Likewise, if I wanted to peck at the papers in front of you, I would say:

‘2Blu uses his beak to nip at the stack of administrative papers.'

“Both of these actions would be acceptable inside of the TSTT because they communicate the story of what I did.

“We are co-writing a story together, and so it makes most sense for you to describe what your character is doing in the third person. There will multiple authors, so starting your post with “I do this and that..” could be confusing, with 4 or more authors.  So it’s best if we each just describe what our player does like a narrator.  Let’s have you move toward one of the objects in the room to make sure you understand. Here are a few verbs to choose from:

[my character….] walks








Example: 2Blu flies to the window, tweeting with delight. [Note, try to avoid the alternative, namely, I fly to the window tweeting with delight]

“Remember, you can only move toward the control panel, the stack of papers, or the statue, since you can only deal with things as they are. You cannot make things up or control the world beside yourself.”

"You should also get a little practice acting out your avatar’s identity rather than your own. If I wanted to get fancy, I could write:

'Wishing to show his passion for Behaviorism, 2Blu hops toward the stack of administrative papers knowing that he'll be reinforced for completing her paperwork on time.' Feel free to add that sort of thing at any time, including now.

Prompt: For practice, decide on an action and move your character avatar towards one of the three objects.

Mission Assist: Remember that all of your actions should be written in the third person (e.g., “Aliyah moves forward” instead of “I/We move forward”) and that you cannot control the environment or other characters, just yourself.


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