Bluprint, an immersive, 3D world where children ages 6 to 11 can learn to code, was the first time Aidan Chopra and Scott Lininger realised that they were giving kids the tools to create their own metaverses.
If the metaverse is the future of our digital interactions, and the webpage is no longer the basic content, then children’s authorship needs to be more empowered. Chopra, Bluprint’s cofounder and creative director, argues that safe interactions are especially important for the children’s parents.
A metaverse that’s been kid-tested and parent-approved
Both are supported by Bluprint. Free to use, the web-based portal encourages children to learn to code by immersing them in a virtual world they create.
Element selection and construction in the style of Minecraft can populate such a metaverse. Elements can include unicorns, desert terrain, buildings, bridges, various animals, and anything else that comes from the imagination of the child developer. Ultimately, “Bluprint is really an authoring tool,” Chopra explains, “it’s a platform for kids to create their own world.”
A custom link can be used to invite friends and family to participate in real-time video chat with the child. Avatars created by friends who use the link can interact with each other in the metaverse as it develops. Inviting up to five people at a time, they can all play and collaborate together.
Kids can reshape their surroundings by cutting and pasting snippets of code to do new things. Programming unicorns, for example, is as simple as writing code. You can easily alter the colour of the sky by making a few code changes and reloading the world.
The Bluprint world will be divided into sections based on the difficulty of the coding. It’s common for newcomers to experiment with a few controls first, such as teaching a unicorn to answer questions or prefer certain foods.
The platform’s teaching methods are still being analysed by Bluprint.
Forged on Bitsbox
When it comes to teaching kids to code, Chopra and Lininger have a lot of experience. After a few months of testing, they launched Bitsbox, a subscription-based service for kids ages 6-11 that sends them monthly coding challenges. They claim to have taught coding to millions of children. Bitsbox subscribers’ names and subscription numbers were withheld.
With built-in video chat and parental controls that are easier to set up, Bluprint enhances Minecraft’s capabilities, says Chopra. Chopra claims that working together on Minecraft isn’t always easy. “We’re not looking to displace Minecraft, but we’ve built a number of features that we think are going to be really attractive to kids who are already into Minecraft,” says Chopra.
Metaverse is a Sticky Place
By providing a web-based portal, Bluprint aims to increase accessibility and the number of kids the team can reach. Beta testing for the general public should begin by the end of June. Chopra explains that the goal is to create a platform with a high level of stickiness in order to expand the user base. Chopra continues, “We hope that kids will tell each other about our game development platform because it is the stickiest, most fun, and most compelling we can make for kids.”
The Bluprint business model is based on in-game purchases of additional content. To encourage their children to spend money on Bluprint content creation, some parents give their children a monthly allowance.
It is Chopra’s hope that because Bluprint is accessible to all kids with an internet connection, the metaverse will reflect the real world more accurately. Chopra believes that if the metaverse is built by everyone, it has the potential to be both a place for everyone and a force for good.