By Lynne Garrow

Attendees at I/ITSEC came to ADL’s Virtual World Sandbox PlugFest activity to learn more about the open-source, web-based game development tool.

Dr. Sae Schatz, director of the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, welcomed a full house to the Virtual World Sandbox PlugFest Activity at I/ITSEC 2015. This all-day, hands-on event was attended by both decision-makers and seasoned software developers, and enabled attendees to get a better understanding of the VW Sandbox, and most importantly, the opportunity to leave the session with the ability to build and publish their own scenarios.

VW Sandbox is a free, open source, web-based simulation development tool that enables collaborative authoring and play of simulations via a web browser, without the need for plug-ins or software install. Authors can work collaboratively to design 2D and 3D-based simulations, incorporate their own behavioral scripts and use the built-in shareable asset libraries.

During her introductory remarks, Schatz explained that through ADL, the Office of the Secretary of Defense uses structured and collaborative learning and performance opportunities among industry, academia and government to develop learning standards, tools and content.


ADL’s Rob Chadwick leads the Virtual World Sandbox this year at I/ITSEC.

Following Schatz, Rob Chadwick, along with assistance from Jonathan Poltrack, Andy Creighton, and other members of the ADL Technical Team, facilitated a full-day VW Sandbox tutorial session. Morning highlights included a VW Sandbox overview and simulation demonstration, and introduction to VW Sandbox Editor.

Later, the team led attendees through a hands-on exercise of designing a scenario, then publishing and playing it. Additional lessons included an introduction to Experience API (xAPI), an e-learning software specification that allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences. They also covered adding custom code and xAPI tracking. The ADL Technical Team provided assistance and instruction, as needed.

For more information about ADL’s VW Sandbox, visit, download the Sandbox Manual, or for questions or comments about VW Sandbox, please email

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