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

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

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

Follow up to the Script Exercise

To those who fully engaged in the “think about the script design” exercise last Tuesday thank you for taking on the task and making the effort to post your thoughts on the events and functions that would have been required for the interactions.

To those who did take on the exercise but neglected to post their thoughts I would suggest that you may learn more from the classes by fully engaging in the exercises.  Analysing what you see and experience is a large part of your assessed work in this class and the more practice you get at it the better you will become at setting out your findings.

To those who spent the time seeing how high they could fly or fooling around during the discussion session, I can only wonder why you come to the class at all.  If you have no interest in learning I would request that you at least respect the desires of those that do have that interest, and engage in your “play” somewhere else.  Unfortunately for the engaged students, it will be this group that more than likely does not bother to read this post.


August 26, 2010 Posted by | General, Scripting | 2 Comments

Week 5 – What we’ve done so far?

Congratulations those who made it, still virtually standing, to the beginning of Week 5.  Having spent all the in-lab hours with you in Week 4 and looking back also at the previous week, I’d like to give you all some feedback.

Firstly, as some of you may have noticed, we are a week ahead of the timetable for my sessions having, to a degree, combined Building Introduction – creating in a 3D environment and Primitives – the building blocks of 3D into the first lesson and then completed Textures – bringing primitives to life in Week 4.  From my observations most of you now having a good grasp on rezzing prims, manipulating the position, size and rotation of them and the ability to link them as an object and save and retrieve them from your Inventory.  You have also learnt how to colour and apply textures to a prim and to individual faces, how to manipulate the textures in terms of repeats, offsets and rotation, and apply various effects such as transparency, shininess and bump.  Pretty good really for two teaching sessions so kudos to you all.

There are some skills still to be acquired, and one in particular that will not only help you in terms of building, but generally in terms of observing and participating in this environment; the use of your camera.  The camera is your view into Second Life and your ability to move it around, focus and zoom into objects is vitally important, making your experience much less frustrating at times and faciltating your ability to build in a major way if mastered.  On your inworld parcel this week I have positioned a video screen that has this YouTube video showing you how to manipulate your camera using the keyboard and mouse rather the camera tools provided inworld.  I strongly urge you all to watch the video and then spend time in Second Life practicing using your camera in this way.  No longer will you have to walk to the other side of a prim to see it; in fact with enough practice you can even send your camera to the other side of a sim rather than walking there.  Get that skilled at camera use and you will find that Second Life becomes quite a different experience.

As camera use comes with practice, so will your skills as a builder.  Though you can all rez and texture prims there is still a big step from wanting to build something to actually completing the task inworld.  Building is about visualising the prim shapes that you need to combine together to form your desired end result and then manipulating and texturing those prims to achieve it.  So this week we will continue looking at prim types and the different settings available for each and I will set you the task of creating something of your own, working alongside you to guide you through the process and explaining as needed different possibilities to achieve your end result.  A mass of textures will be provided so don’t concern yourself with that.  It is more the working out of the prim structure for your build that I want you to begin to master.  And please remember that only practice will get you the skills you will need for your final project build.  The land parcel we use as a class space is there for you 24/7 and I am often inworld so available to help you out if you need it.  Practice, practice, practice is the key here.

For the tour this week we will be looking at sims developed for education, not necessarily put together by just educators but those who are passionate about subjects that interest them and who wish to share that passion with others.  The group of sims we will visit have the collective name SciLands and include over 50 individual sims dedicated to things such as space travel, health and nanotechnology to name a few.

International Spaceflight Museum

International Spaceflight Museum - Click to Enlarge

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Building and Texturing, General | Leave a comment