Design A New Universe
athletics (noun): competitive activities such as sports and games requiring stamina, fitness, and skill. — wiktionary.org
Over the past three years, TypeRacer has been a fun, even addictive, virtual world for personal development and sportive competition, visited by thousands of people every day. Although I like to think that my selection of funny and interesting texts for typing had something to do with TypeRacer’s success, the athletics of typing is really the main ingredient that keeps people coming back to the site. It’s fun to to compete against people from all over the world in typing, a vital, everyday skill, and it’s rewarding to see the improvement in your focus, stamina, and dexterity.
There is also a lot of potential in TypeRacer as a medium for learning new information and I believe that a community effort to create new sections (“universes”) within typeracer.com is the way to unlock that potential.
The technology for creating specialized new collections of texts on any topic is already in place. Last year we launched a number of new TypeRacer Universes (one for accuracy and fifty for different languages). If you are not yet among the twenty six thousand people who have already tried racing in another universe, let me explain:
A Typeracer Universe is a distinct version of the typeracer.com website which is accessed through its own unique URL such as (http://play.typeracer.com/universe/code). It has all of the same functionality, but with a distinct set of texts and stats (the high scores will represent only the races completed in that universe).
A small group of us, including David Pritts (famous for appearing in the TypeRacer walkthrough video as well as being able to comfortably type 140 wpm), and a number of school teachers, have been experimenting with this new medium since last summer. David designed two new universes: one for learning SAT vocabulary and another consisting of only the easy texts from the standard rotation (which might be a hit with our “race selectors”). Meanwhile, the teachers have been successfully using their private universes to teach their students.
With this technology ready to be put to wider use, I need your help to unlock its full potential. Let’s build some new universes this year! We could have universes that teach history, science, languages, and just about anything else. At the same time, we could create universes with different themes just for fun. Please submit your ideas!
- texts with only lowercase letters and no punctuation (for devices like the iPad)
- real texts in a different language (it’s not hard to do better than our machine translations!)
- quotes from your favorite book
- jokes / humor
- typing code in your favorite programming language
- subjects like history, law, biology, physics, classic literature, etc.
Please tell us about any category of texts that you would enjoy typing or learning. Some universes could become powerful learning tools for various subjects while others could exist just for fun.
How to participate:
Please submit your ideas as comments on this blog post and vote for ideas submitted by others (using the thumbs up/down buttons). If your idea is chosen, you will get a free TypeRacer Admin account, which will let you create and maintain a new TypeRacer Universe. Or, if you see an idea that you like, you could volunteer to help create that universe.
Creating your own universe with an admin account is simple: just enter your new texts or choose from a list of existing texts (take a look at the screenshots).
If you’re submitting an idea or an offer to help, please don’t forget to mention your typeracer.com username so we can contact you later.
I look forward to hearing from all of you!
The only limits are the limits of your imagination. Dream up the kind of world you want to live in. Dream out loud. — Bono