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

Evaluation Exercise – #1

Last week Aaron asked you to explore the SLENZ Project Foundation Studies build in more detail, particularly looking for the different kinds of interaction that were part of the build.  This week I am going to ask you to revisit that build with an eye to evaluating the build in its entirety.  All your work on this should appear as a posting in your blog.

A critical  evaluation of something is a purposeful, reflective summary of what the thing is,  how and why it was created, who it is for, how is it used and what appear to be its strengths and weaknesses.  Of course it isn’t possible for you to know everything about a ‘build’ just by looking at it – you need to explore it, test out the functionality of it, investigate the various elements of it, such as the textures, the use of different kinds of prims, the scripting, investigate who uses it and why and provide your observations on the aesthetics and design of the build.  For your final assessment I will be expecting to see at least three such critical evaluations – done properly this could be the first of those three.

You are free to do your evaluation in whatever manner seems best to you but if you would like guidelines then I suggest that you follow the process below.

1. Write a detailed description of the build including first impressions of it, the approach to it, the overall design and ‘look and feel’ of the place.  Don’t forget to provide information on where in SL the build is and provide a SLurl.  I would also expect to see at least two photos of it.  This description should also include details of the different parts of the build – e.g. The Stairway, The Forecourt, The Interview Rooms, The Shop etc…

2. Write a description of the community that uses the build.  You may need to search on the internet for information about this – the SLENZ blog is a good place to start (look under interesting Links on this page).  Imagine what it would be like to be a student in a class that used this build – how do you think it would feel?  This video may help in your understanding.

3. Write a short description of each of the following aspects of the build:

  • the shape and type of prims used (look at the complexity of shape, the size, total number of prims, use of transparent prims etc.)
  • the textures
  • interaction and scripting

4. Write up your observations of the build – how does it feel to be walking around it? do you find it aesthetically pleasing?  What aspects of the design work for you and which don’t?  Does it feel like a ‘real’ place or is it total fantasy? (Is it important to have private changing rooms for example? why do you think they were built?)

I realise that if you do this evaluation properly, paying attention to as many of the elements as you can, then you will not be able to finish this in one session.  However, I want you to publish what you have done at the end of the class – you can always go back and edit the post later.  I would like to see the evaluation completed before next week’s class.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Clare is back

Hello everyone – my apologies for my absence over the last couple of weeks and my thanks to Aaron and Lisa for enabling the class to keep going pretty much as planned.  It was with great anticipation that I went to look at your blogs this afternoon to discover what you had been up to and I have to say I was mightly disappointed.  There are still 5 people who have not posted their blog url in their google doc and of those of you who have more than half of you have not entered anything relevant  into your blog at all.  This is not good enough and if this situation isn’t addressed soon then your final assessment is going to suffer as a result.

Consequently there will be a change of plan to this week’s class.  I had planned to talk to you about different virtual worlds but with an eye to your assessment I feel it is necessary to concentrate on starting to get some useful postings written up.  Just before class I will be posting here what I want you to do in the first session of the class (3-4.45).  As planned Aaron will be running his session from 5-7 on the use of particles and this will be repeated on Thursday.

Looking forward to seeing you all again 🙂

August 30, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Art and Music in Second Life

There are many aspects of art represented in Second Life, including

  • public galleries
  • collaborative spaces and groups
  • exhibitions
  • poetry and creative writing groups
  • private galleries
  • sculpture parks
  • machinima/film making
  • dance

Many established artists and art institutions are looking for new ways of exploiting this new medium and looking for new ways of being creative.  Much of the art and many of the art installations are ephemeral – sometimes deliberately, sometimes not!   Fortunately much of the work is preserved as machinima and a simple search on Youtube will find you lots of examples to enjoy.

One of the most acclaimed is by Robbie Dingo (aka Rob Wright)  who created a machinima of his building of a 3D version of a well known traditional art work.  He blogs about it here and you can also watch the video in high resolution from his blog or find a much lower quality version of it here. He also uses SL as a film-making medium for more traditional storytelling – Better Life is one.

Check out the Second Life Destinations Guide for heaps more interesting places.

Second Life is also widely used as a venue for live music performances.   Full orchestras have played there, as well as well- known musicians like U2 and Suzanne Vega.
There are a large number of live music venues and it is proving to be an interesting outlet for indie musicians who may never have performed in ‘real’ life or who have only started performing in a real space after first appearing in Second Life.  Frogg and Jaycatt are a duo from Eugene, Oregon, who had not played together before but are now well-established and respected musicians in SL.  See them again, and in both realities.  A number of artists have played with mixing realities and the results are fascinating!
There are also a number of internet radio stations specifically designed for Second Life, some  spoofs 🙂 and some collaborative  music videos made entirely in Second Life by geographical remote collaborators (and here).
You can use the Events tab of the Search function in Second Life to find live music performances – try and catch one that interests you.  You can also find some interesting music places in the Destination Guide again – here.
Good luck in your exploration of these new spaces.  I would like you each to write about one that you have visited on your blog.  You should provide a SLurl to the place, a brief description of why you visited it, what you found there and your impressions of it.  It would also be useful to observe who it would prove interesting to, what kind of community group, if any, has been built around the site, and whether you would visit again or not – giving reasons of course 🙂  If you can add a photo or two that would be excellent!  You might also like to give the SLurls of any other interesting places you find and don’t forget that you can add your favourite ones to your picks on your profile.

August 3, 2010 Posted by | General | Leave a comment