alpha « Tidepool News

Hi everyone,

Summer’s been productive, at least lately.  You’ll be seeing many changes in the next few weeks.

We just finished version 0.1.1 of Tidepool, which adds 3D shape-making and uses Crayola colors, etc.  Here’s the screencast video.

We’ve also been talking about the kind of community we’ll be creating… here’s the start of much more discussion on this.

As always, you can see the sometimes humorous day-by-day by following me on:

Even if you don’t use these services much, it’ll help for appearances sake if you follow/friend me.

Also, subscribe to the YouTube channel if you can.

Take care,

Hi everyone,

Tidepool is moving along nicely these days after a slow summer.

(version 0.1.2 – the world gets bigger)
(version 0.1.3 – stories & portals)

Our current plan is to finish up Alpha 2 in the next ten days, so get your paintbrush ready to sketch and make stories.  I know it’s been a long time since the last alpha.  This should be a good one.

We’ve also started to reach out to area colleges in hopes of giving them a taste of Tidepool during our upcoming “Kismet Club” classes.  My aim is to build partnerships in my own backyard (for a change!).  We’re looking to spark the same kind of interest as our earlier Waveplace work, encouraging teachers and students to make courseware, do research, and organize service learning trips. Read more about it in my latest book chapter.

In other news, our funding ran out last month.  I’m pretty happy we made it nine months, though wish we were further along.  I did manage to find a corporate gig I can spend half my time on while I finish Tidepool.  Unfortunately this means everything will slow down for a while. My new goals are beta by New Years and gold by March 21st.  Gotta pay the bills!

Donations are still open and very much appreciated.  All money will be paid forward from profits to other educational groups.

Lastly, I’ve made a Reddit section for Tidepool.  Please help make it more lively by subscribing and posting a comment or two, perhaps in the Introductions thread.   If you don’t yet know about Reddit, I highly recommend the “Today I Learned” section, which always has something interesting.  Be warned though, there are places on Reddit that aren’t suitable for work or children, so I wouldn’t leave your kids alone with it.   It’s a very populated nexus for gaming though, which is why I posted our shingle there (for a start).

Take care,

Hi everyone,

Today I posted the Tidepool Alpha 2 release candidate … yay!

I then found a whopping 34 bugs … boo!

As it may be a while before these are fixed, here’s the latest book chapter and screencast.

Take care,

Hi everyone,

It’s been more than two months since my last Tidepool news, during which time I focused on other billable projects and took a much needed holiday break.  Along the way I found time to fix most of the 34 bugs I found last November, only to find another 20 as the new year started. I’m hoping to fix these remaining bugs and release the long awaited Alpha 2 soon.  Stay tuned.

In other news, I’ve started a “devlog” on TIGSource, which is a pretty nifty community of game developers.  This is my first real attempt to get feedback on Tidepool gameplay, along with being my first publicity efforts beyond my private group of friends and colleagues.

I’d love for you to check out my devlog, perhaps even commenting occasionally to help get the conversation started.  Making a free account there should take only a few minutes. Here’s the link.

Take care,


Hi everyone,

At long last, I’m thrilled to announce that Tidepool Alpha 2 is available for download!

You’ll need to log in first, or create an account if you haven’t already.  If you need help remembering your username, password, or secret code (needed to create a new account), reply to this email.

To learn about Tidepool, either press F1 ingame for the help section or watch these short videos.

Keep in mind that this is an ALPHA release, which means There Will Be Bugs.  Also, everything is slower and less polished than it will be later.

** If you’re using Windows, you may see a box that says “Failed due to exception from main class.”  Simply click OK and wait for the program to start.  This bug is harmless.

If you find new bugs, let me know by sending me an email or by adding an “issue” on our tracker:

And thank you for being one of the hundred alpha testers on my list.  Whether you find time to try Tidepool or not, it helps to know I’m sharing this journey with colleagues, friends, and family.

Now begins my big push to expand Tidepool in time for the ISTE conference in late June.  ISTE is the world’s largest education technology conference, and this year it’s being held nearby in Philadelphia.  Only 42 days to go!

Take care,Tim

ps, here’s the latest book chapter.

Hi everyone,

Some Windows users are having trouble.  To get Tidepool working on Windows, install these SAFE extras from Microsoft: (if your Windows is 32-bit) (if your Windows is 64-bit)

If you don’t know if you’re 32 or 64 bit, install both and it should work fine.

If you’re like me and have NO IDEA where it PUT Tidepool on Windows 8, type “Tidepool” in the search field in the upper right of the boxy Start screen.

You can then right-click on “Tidepool” and do “Pin to Start” or “Pin to Taskbar” to find it more easily later. Be sure to wait a while while it first loads.  Seems extra long, but it might just be my machine.

And yes, I will make this easier in the next version.  Today was my first attempt using Windows 8.

Take care,


Hi <name>,

I hope your summer is going well.

Watch Isabel, Paula and I stumble through the new Tidepool stuff in our daily Let’s Play series on YouTube. With hundreds of new teachers ready to try the next version, we’re on a bug hunt.

We’re also starting work with eight courseware authors, creating supplemental materials in Tidepool for a fourth grade curriculum.  Details can be found here.

If you’re interested in helping, or just to say hi, stop by our HipChat channel anytime.  You can leave a message even if no one’s there.

Take care,

Hi everyone,

I’ve been making great progress on Tidepool, though haven’t talked much about it this summer.  Yesterday I resumed my development log, with daily details and screenshots for those interested.  The programming interface is really coming along.



We’ve also picked some solid release dates.  For too long, I’ve treated Tidepool as a pet project with “when it’s done” aspirations.  From here on, I’ll timebox each release as I would with a client.

So, mark your calendar … beta release on December 1st … official “gold” release on March 20th.  These dates will not change.

We’re planning a release party on March 20th with an equinox bonfire in our backyard, so if you’re able to make it out for the weekend, we’ll make room for you.  One way or another, my twenty-one months of work will be done, so come celebrate or commiserate.

(Tidepool Alpha 3 is now available for anyone to DOWNLOAD).

Hi all,

I know you’re busy, but I’m pretty sure you have ten minutes.  We need more sketches for kids to use in their stories and haunted houses and corn mazes, and such.

It’s cool if you can’t really draw … in fact, it’s better.  Draw with the freedom of a kid.

Here’s what to do:

1) download and run Tidepool RIGHT NOW from the PlayTidepool website

2) click the paint canvas and draw, draw, draw!

3) click the checkmark and name your sketch.

That’s it!

Legions of kids may one day see your sketch roaming the Tidepool landscape, using it for inspiration for their own sketches, putting it in their stories.

Sound cool?   TEN MINUTES  (I timed it.)

Take care,

Every player in Tidepool gets their own “parcel”, which is a hectare-sized square they can build on as they wish.  It’s where they put their stories.

At the center of the Tidepool world is the “hub”, a four-parcel area where we can showcase the best content, teach new players, show off educational courseware, and otherwise experiment.  The “sandbox” can be changed by anyone, so it’s likely to be a place of constant creation and destruction.

Player parcels start north of the hub and circle around in rings as new players arrive.  So far we’ve filled out the first two rings with 32 players.  Players with a parcel closer to the hub will ultimately get more visitors, since it’s easier to walk from the center.  Location, location, location!

In other news, Tidepool development has stopped while I make some money.  I hope to begin the next milestone on Thanksgiving (Nov 26th).  Till then I’ll post maintenance releases to fix bugs, but otherwise nothing new.  We’ll keep playing Tidepool, adding content to the world, including stories and zoos and mazes, etc.

Many thanks to those who have playtested so far, as well as those who plan to try it right now Smiley