Educational aims and content

Archetypal CavernJoseph Campbell, in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces advances the theory of the monomyth, the idea that all stores are basically variations on the same theme, and that all heroes are basically the same hero. This ties in nicely with the concept of the archetype from Jungian psychoanalysis. Very crudely put archetypes are one of a number of preset groups of reactions that we tend to revert to. The "Knight In Shining Armour" or "Damsel in Distress" are good archetypes - and despite the associations of these roles with gender, the archetypes are accessible, and accessed by both genders. The character Xena, Warrior Princess would include Knight in Shining Armour amongst her common archetypal roles. She also includes the "Dark Past" literary archetype, which would include the leader, the thief and a few other less desirable archetypes.

The cavern is, of course, part of the monomyth, but ties back to all kinds of stories and settings more directly than this. It also gives a lovely mood-setting location in SL, and informed our tools for presenting the information. We've used pots, scrolls and cave paintings scattered through the cavern to present the information, and a few doors with quizzes in them to just get people thinking and answering questions. There are a few surprises around too.


Technical notes

This build actually contains relatively few technically clever bits. It was about 5 hours work to build and script. Adding the educational content took longer, but in terms of concentrated effort it wasn't that difficult or long a period. The rocks are all more or less randomly tortured cubes with a nice texture on them.

One thing of note - we started using direct pictures of the goddesses from extant art. They didn't work very well. I suggested using the pictures to generate "cave painting" style art - mostly or wholly in black and white, with bevels making it look carved into the rock. Fitting them really well to the twisted prims is tricky, but the overall effect works well in this setting. Even pictures that you would think shouldn't work well, like the photo of Jung we used, look effective in this setting with this technique.

The doors use a simple, single question system to open. It's always the same question in each door, although it would be possible to set up a system to ask random questions from a range provided. To keep the students actually thinking though, the answers are randomised so they have to be read each time.


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