Immersive 3D Environments

a central point for students enrolled in A&M624

Presentation of your final build

Lisa reminded me that I need to discuss with you your final presentation of your build and I will be happy to answer questions in class this afternoon.  In the meantime I hope you find these notes helpful.

You will notice that in the assessment information document we were not prescriptive of what form this presentation could take, partly because we weren’t sure what would be suitable for the different builds that we might get! Now that I know the kind of things you are all doing, I would suggest one of the following:

  • a powerpoint presentation which can be played by anyone who wishes to see your work – this could be loaded to your blog and accessed by a link from there, or could be loaded up to a site like Slideshare, or it could be done as a google presentation (create new/presentation from your google docs account) and linked to from within your google doc.
  • a post (or better still a page) in your blog which provides a clear demonstration of the build in its final form.

Remember this is a presentation of your finished build so it needs to contain good photos of all its features together with explanation of how you intend it to be used, including the different aspects of object-to-object interaction and avatar-to-object interaction.

If you have had other thoughts on how you might meet this aspect of your assessment then feel free to discuss it with me.  The most important consideration is that you must be able to showcase  what you have built to an audience outside of the classroom and outside of Second Life.

November 9, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Formative Assessment

Those of you who had entered links into your master google doc should now have a new google document which I have shared with you personally with the result of your formative assessment.  Remember this is intended as a guide to what you need to do to ensure that you are on track for a passing grade in your final assessment.  We have tried to make constructive comments that will help you with the remaining work.  If you wish to go back and rework any of your existing postings or to add new ones to the list (on the evaluation for example) then please feel free to do so.

I hope that get a chance to have a read and a think about what we have said before the class today and I am very happy to talk to you individually then about them or for you to make an appointment with me if you prefer.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

An interesting blog to read

A blog you may find interesting and that is worth keeping an eye on is this one:


It is the blog of John “Pathfinder” Lester who used to work for Linden Labs and is a very well-respected authority and inspiration on matters of education in Virtual Worlds.  Check out his postings for information and links on creating ‘sim-on-a-stick”

October 12, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Week 10

This week we move into the part of the course where you will be mostly working on your own project work and of course completing the evaluations of other builds that we have talked about.

Please remember to paste the URLs of relevant blog postings into your google document under the appropriate headings.  If you can’t remember what those headings are then please go back and look at the course outline again. It is all documented there.

I will be looking for

  1. Blog postings of your evaluations of other builds/virtual worlds (3 minimum)
  2. Blog postings documenting your project work.  This should include details of your project brief, your ideas and designs, your evaluations and comments on the work that you do – don’t forget to use plenty of pictures etc to illustrate your ideas.
  3. Don’t forget that you can also leave comments on other blogs and include those URLs in your google document too.

Formative Assessment

The formative assessment date is this Friday (Sept 24th) and I will be taking a copy of your google doc on that day so that Aaron, Lisa and I can consider the work you have done so far and let you know what you need to do to pass the final summative assessment.  This is your chance to get formal feedback on your work against the criteria that will be used to grade it.  I am posting the grading criteria on to the NMIT Online site, together with information about writing your project brief.

Organising Second Life Time

Aaron wants to make best use of the class time in Second Life from now on and as the Thursday class is now poorly attended we have decided to move one hour back to Tuesday.  Aaron will now be in the Second Life class area on Tuesday 4-7 and on Thursday 5-6.  Clare will be in attendance in A217 Tuesday 3-5 and Lisa Tuesday 3-7 to assist in ‘real life’.

One concern that Aaron has is that quite often several of you want help at the same time. Obviously it is difficult for him to answer everyone’s questions  properly without spending some time with you and he doesn’t want you to feel that you are sitting waiting when you could be doing something else! So we are going to trial a kind of ‘appointment system’ – I will explain in class.

I am going to check out your google docs now and have a look at your blogs too.  I was very pleased to see the progress that some of you are making!

September 20, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Please participate

One of our Graduate Diploma in IT students is currently running a survey on the use of Facebook for his final project.  He would be very grateful if you took part!  It only takes a few minutes to do and is completely anonymous.

You can find the link to the survey here :


September 20, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Projects and Project Brief

There are a couple of things you need to think about when deciding what you are going to do for the design and implementation part of your assessment.

  1. Do you want to work with others or on your own?
  2. Do you want to take on all or part of one of the projects suggested, or
  3. Do you want to write your own project brief?

You might want to start thinking about these questions and we can discuss the advantages and disadvantages and the options  in class. It will not make any difference ultimately to the work that you do for the assessment but it may alter the process that you go through.  While working with someone else can help you with the skills that you don’t have, scripting perhaps, but of course collaboration can be a double-edged sword and you may feel you have less control over your work!

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Individual Projects | Leave a comment

Critical reflection and appraisal

This week I want to focus on another of the learning outcomes of this course and one which is also evaluated as part of the final assessment.  The outcome is

Critically analyse their own and others’ work, and explain the relationship between project aims and outcomes.

You will see in the assessment section of the course outline that this is translated into this ( I have changed the formatting but not the content).


Critical reflection and appraisal (20%). (Learning Outcome 4).

At various points during the semester you will be asked to provide a critical reflection of the work that you have undertaken so far and to record that reflection in your blog. Your reflection will include (but is not limited to) such things as:

  • problems and issues that you have faced and how you solved them (or not),
  • how you have interpreted the project brief,
  • how well your design/build meets the project brief and
  • areas which you would like to develop further etc.

You will also be asked to comment on at least two other students work and provide suggestions for how their work could be, for example, improved/extended or re-interpreted. Details on the expected content for these critiques will be available later in the course. You will also be expected to post relevant and helpful comments on others blog’s and reply to those left on yours. (INDIVIDUAL work)


One good way to practise this kind of appraisal is to keep a reflective journal of your ideas and your work.  Even those ideas that don’t eventuate can be useful when you go back and look at them.  I had thought that you would be able to use your blog to do this, as it is a great way to keep track of digital resources.  Lisa is going to show you and talk about her digital journal and how she both manages it and uses it.

Daniel has also provided a blog entry talking about the first things he has built in SL and I would encourage you to have a read of that too.  I will be expecting to see postings along these lines over the remaining weeks.  I realise that this is difficult until you have a clearer idea of what you are going to be building and we can also start those conversations now.

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Critical Evaluation | Leave a comment

Sculpties 101

This week for the technical session we will be having a quick look at one of the advanced modelling options for builds in Second Life; Sculpties.  To read up on exactly what a sculptie is visit this FAQ page on the Second Life Wiki.  That will give you an overview of what we are talking about in the inworld session.  Sculpties allow more organic models to be built and also facilitate the reduction of prim numbers on a sim if used correctly.  Below is an image of an in-world modelling tool developed specifically for creating sculpties but many standard 3D modelling applications such as Blender or Maya can also be used.

Sculptie Example - Click to Enlarge

Once we have looked over sculpties I will then be available to work with you on your individual projects for the rest of the session.  Don’t forget to post your interaction ideas on the blog (Particles 101 is where we are gathering them together) so that all the class can share in the thought process and the working out of the interaction scripts.


September 7, 2010 Posted by | Building and Texturing, General, Individual Projects | Leave a comment


So that all of you may work on the group parcel on your own projects unhindered by others’ work, and so that we may have space for our class sessions, I will be creating individual workspaces for you up above our space on Kowhai (generally known as skyboxes in SL).

There will be teleporters to each workspace by the pavilion where we have our discussion sessions and a teleporter back down again on each workspace platform.  If you require a workspace please comment your request to this post.


Individual Workspaces

Individual Workspaces

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Individual Projects | 7 Comments

Particle Systems 101

Particle Laboratory Transport

The Particle Laboratory Transport

For the technical sessions this week you will be working some more at designing interactions and, along side that, investigating Particle Systems which are  basically the special effects side of Second Life.  Particles are used to create everything from flames to waterfalls, fireflies to tornadoes.

You will be travelling to the Particle Laboratory in smalls groups to gain some understanding of what particles are, the scripts used to put them together, the different forms particles can take, and also to collect sample scripts for your own use.

As the smaller groups move to visit the Lab I will remain with the others, where I will work with each of you as required to take you through creating your own interaction.  What you will be required to do is come up with the design of an interaction between an object and an avatar that initiates at least two events and uses at least two functions.

I do not expect you to know the actual syntax of the events or functions you require but instead to describe in plain English, as comments to this blog, what you would like to happen.  I will then guide you to the correct events and functions to use and show you how to put them together as a script so that the interaction works as you would like it to.  You will then be required to post, as a follow up reply to your original comment, the actual script used and a brief summary of how it works and whether it met your purpose.

An example of a possible interaction would be that the object scans a designated area and when it detects an avatar it sends the avatar a message and changes its own colour.  Make sure in your design brief that you state everything required; in this case you would want to state what you are scanning for (i.e. avatar, object etc), the distance and arc to scan and how often the scan repeats itself, what will happen if no avatar is sensed in the scan area, what the message is, whether its in main chat or IM, and what colour to change the object to.

Particle Laboratory Tutorials - Click to Enlarge

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Building and Texturing, Scripting | 11 Comments