Immersive 3D Environments

a central point for students enrolled in A&M624

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

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 6 – Scripting

Heading towards week 6 and an introduction to scripting (or programming) in Second Life.  As you may have noticed on our tours, for all the building skills you may acquire a static build, with no way to interact with it, quickly becomes boring.  It does not engage with nor immerse the user in the environment and no matter the quality of the build, a user will quickly loose interest if there is nothing to engage them.  This power of engagement comes about through scripting; through designing user interactions that enhance the build, inform the user and keep them engaged with the subject matter.

To gain some understanding of the functions of scripting, the first two hours this Tuesday will be put aside for you all to re-engage with a build you have already been through; the SLENZ Project Foundation Studies build.  This build was designed, built and scripted by myself so I have an intimate knowledge of the interactions involved and how they were crafted.  This will not be a simple look over the build but is an assigned task where you will be required to investigate a number of interactions and to write up, as comments to this blog post, your thoughts on what events or functions might be required in the script to complete the experienced interaction.  Scripting is a set of events that are triggered in some manner; either by the user interacting with the scripted object in some way, or being sensed by that object, or as a result of some other parameter being met.  As an introduction to the complexity of what may occur as a simple interaction, first read this blog posting that I have written up on the Welcome Sign that a user is greeted with upon entering the confines of the Foundation build.  It should give you some insight into what must be taken into account when designing a script and help broaden the scope of your thinking when completing the tasks set out below.

The task this week is to find at least three of the following interactive objects in the SLENZ Foundation build, consider all of the functions that each object performs and what events need to take place for those functions to be triggered.  The interactive objects are as follows:

  1. The Stairway of Learning
  2. The Private Pose Stands
  3. The Hyperdome Console
  4. The Interview Room Teleporters
  5. The Student Notecard Dropboxes

You may discuss ideas amongst yourselves as a group and/or pose questions to myself about possible scenarios in the scripting, but each student is expected to write up, as a comment to this blog, their ideas on what is involved in terms of the functions and events required for the scripting of at least three of the interactive objects.  This is an exercise in thinking not only creatively, but logically, a must for the programmer.  And do consider that programming is not something that just gets done; it must be designed first.  This is about looking at the design of a script, investigating what is required and thinking all that through in a logical manner, step by step.  This must occur before a script even begins to be written.

For the last hours of Tuesday and the Thursday’s session we will be looking at some of the basic scripts available and you will be given an introduction to creating your own scripts.  Look forward to seeing you then.


August 23, 2010 Posted by | Scripting | 16 Comments