Welcome to Dollar Bay
Dollar Bay is a multi-user retailing game hosted on the
internet. Players join an agent-based simulation where they
assume ownership of a virtual store. The goal for each
player is to create a profitable store. This learn-by-doing
approach is often described as 'immersive' and provides
practical experience leading to greater conceptual
The current state of the game, and the immediate future
The Dollar Bay software is currently available in version 2.1,
but is still under development and we are looking for
partners to help move forward. Meanwhile, the game
is operational and a number of ancillary
materials have been created, including lesson plans that conform
to national economic education standards, activity
worksheets, and feedback surveys designed for both students and
teachers. These are all available below.
The game is populated by a range of intelligent software
agents. In particular, the shoppers operate with an intelligent
algorithm, and the employees are smart and getting smarter.
At the present time, Dollar Bay is developed to a point where
classrooms of students could be engaged (for an hour a day) for
2-3 week periods. The ultimate goal is to provide an online game
that will take a semester to play.
The current Dollar Bay interface
|click images for larger
Each player starts with $25,000 in virtual money and competes
with other players, who have also inherited a store and $25K.
Here a store owner is querying the employee while a shopper enters
looking for furniture.
The advertising interface, where players choose what to
emphasize in their store.
The hiring interface, where players choose an
employee. Employees accumulate history, and will eventually be
programmed to operate differently, according to their
experience. Note this employee has worked at more than one store.
The Ordering interface, where players choose their product line.
The Stock interface, where players set prices and can return
products that are not selling.
The Information interface, where players keep track of their stores. Note,
there are five tabs on this interface, including a scoreboard, a
weekly ledger (show above), a sales record, an expenditures
record, and the Dollar Bay Times, a newspaper where the advertising appears.
Analytical Problem Solving
The game stresses the need for targeting consumer groups and
focusing resources through the use of a market research tool
that provides a competitive advantage over the random strategies
that students tend towards. The message of the game is that
analytical approaches to problem solving are superior to
guesswork and luck.
|click images for larger
Market Targeting provides data for analysis and decision
making. This example shows a demographic breakdown of the Dollar Bay township in the
Dollar Bay region.
More Market Targeting. This example shows the demand for Electronics in the Dollar Bay
township in the Dollar Bay region.
Market Reporting is also a valuable tool for analysis. This
example shows the distribution of sales across stores in the entire
Dollar Bay simulation.
Dollar Bay Navigation and Activities
|click images for larger
The Map of the Dollar Bay region. This map shows about 40
stores, ten warehouses (as shown to the right), the bank, the
hall of fame (a yellow star), all divided into eight small towns
arranged around the bay, Dollar Bay.
The bank, where loans can be arranged. Future implementations
will provide a more sophisticated model of banking.
A warehouse, where wholesale goods are ordered for retail sales.
Dollar Bay Ancillary Resources
A range of ancillary materials have been developed to assist
with presenting and using Dollar Bay
The Dollar Bay brochure
The front side
of a 3-fold brochure about the Dollar Bay project (a 132 KB JPG file).
The back side
of a 3-fold brochure about the Dollar Bay project (a 94 KB JPG file).
Dollar Bay Instructors Guide
The Instructors Guide contains an instructors overview, activities and
answer keys, and a series of six 50-minute lessons
for students. Each of the Dollar Bay lessons are anchored by
National Economics Content Standards as established by the
The 36 page Dollar Bay
Instructors Guide (a 306 KBytes PDF file) version 1.1, is
available for download.
A nine page document, just containing
the first lesson
is also available.
Dollar Bay Surveys
Scenario-based Assessment for Dollar Bay
A Demo Path
Technical Issues with Dollar Bay
The recent versions of Dollar Bay are implemented using the
JavaMOO architecture developed by WWWIC at NDSU. The technical
details of this project are described in the
JavaMOO Technical Description document (a 2-page, 960KB PDF file).
Background and Scholarship with Dollar Bay
Dollar Bay is an agent-based simulation with intelligent
software agents operating as shoppers, employees, and a number
of other roles in the environment. The economic model is
authentic and robust, supporting a large number of competitors.
- Slator, Brian M., Harold Chaput, Robert Cosmano, Ben
Dischinger, Christopher Imdieke and Bradley Vender (2006).
A Multi-User Desktop Virtual Environment for Teaching Shop-Keeping
to Children. Virtual Reality Journal, 9,
pp. 49-56. Springer-Verlag. (284 KByte PDF file).
- Regan, Patrick M. and Brian M. Slator (2002).
Tutoring in Virtual Education Environments. Proceeding of the
ACM Conference on Collaborative Virtual Environments
(CVE-2002). Bonn, Germany. September 30 - October 2, pp. 2-9.
(86 KByte PDF file).
- Slator, Brian M. and Golam Farooque (1998).
The Agents in an
Agent-based Economic Simulation Model.
Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer
Applications in Industry And Engineering (CAINE-98) November
11-13, 1998, Las Vegas, Nevada USA (International Society for
Computers and Their Applications (ISCA)). (94 KByte PDF file)
- Hooker, Robert, Brian M. Slator (1996).
A Model of Consumer Decision Making for a Mud Based Game.
Proceedings of the Simulation-Based
Learning Technology Workshop at the Third International
Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS'96). (137 KByte
- Slator, Brian M., Harold "Cliff" Chaput. (1996).
Learning by learning Roles:
A Virtual Role-Playing Environment for Tutoring. Proceedings
of the Third International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring
Systems (ITS'96). Montreal: Springer-Verlag, June 12-14,
pp. 668-676. ( Lecture Notes in Computer Science, edited by
C. Frasson, G. Gauthier, A. Lesgold). (142 KByte PDF file)
The principal investigator, Dr. Brian M. Slator, is a researcher in
Artificial Intelligence, Case-based Reasoning, and Immersive Virtual Environments for
Education with a career that spans the last 20 years. You can
review his record at
Slator: Curriculum Vitae.
He has published two books and several
dozen research articles in refereed journals and international conferences.
For history buffs, here are some blasts from the past - old
interfaces and such - at
Dollar Bay History.