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Posts Tagged ‘interactive design

Video Vocab, Looma, and a new virtual world

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I have recently learned about a small non-profit that is working to deliver ICT support to rural educators in Nepal.

Looma lady 1
Nepali educators learning about the Looma.

That’s right, Information & Communication Technology in the villages and classrooms of the Himalayas.

VillageTech Solutions have designed Looma, a standalone audio-visual device that

  • is self-powered (solar-rechargeable batter)
  • is operated with a wireless “wand”
  • has a built-in audio system
  • comes loaded with CC-Licensed content (games, videos, songs, etc.)

The device projects the “desktop” onto a wall and comes with a hand-held mouse (the “wand”) to navigate. The prototype has been field tested and now they are looking for volunteers to help search for—and evaluate—content that can be loaded into the drive. (Most classrooms in rural Nepal have no electricity, much less an Internet connection.)

I would write a bit more; but, I am up to my elbows producing some educational content…gotta go. Holler at “azwaldo” at gmail dot com, anytime.

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Site Preview HUD

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Update: Demo stays for a while.

I have designed a new tool, and now invite you to try it out.

At last year’s VWBPE conference (previous post) I wanted to give visitors a quick, customized tour of a design I was presenting…even when I was AFK.

Azwaldo's Site Preview HUD
Demonstration vendor in
my parcel, in Urdu

This “Site Preview HUD”

  • combines scripted camera movement with audio narration
  • is “touch to wear”
  • is temporary, nothing is added to Inventory
  • quickly shows the points of interest in a region or build

I am not selling this object.

This is not an advertisement.

This effect is new to me; so, it may be new to others, as well. I would be happy to share full-perm copies with the right users. (The hard part is creating .wav files, setting camera coordinates.)

You can find* it here: SLURL

*

Demo will be removed after a week a month or two. Holler if it’s missing, and I’ll set one out again.

There is also a Notecard at the demo location. Please share that—or this link—with others.

I like this effect. I think it would be useful in introducing visitors to the key spots in a build.

Written by azwaldo

August 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

real world knowledge via virtual world content

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One of my earliest design gigs in virtual worlds was the development of a HUD* used by students learning the Chinese language. After four or five years, that design is still in use. The image below is from the Chinese Island simulation.

* Heads Up Display – an interactive display with buttons and text that mediates their interaction with the virtual environment.

Snapshot_001

News stand at Chinese Island. (Click for full size image.)
Note the blue dialog prompt, and the HUD in upper and left perimeters.

Early next year, a group of Monash University students will enter the virtual world of SecondLife™ to experience a variety of simulations; a restaurant, an airport, a medical clinic and a train station. Later, they will actually travel to Italy for a program of study, abroad.

The virtual environment in which they will immerse themselves is modeled on the neighborhood in Italy where they will be staying. The simulations are designed to prepare them for their visit. They will study maps, use currency, become familiar with local fixtures…like signs.

Snapshot_002

Avatar, virtual workshop, and assorted educational objects.

In support of the Italian Studies project, I am developing interactive objects—mainly the scripts—to provide a number of interactions. Students can open a “wallet” at the “ATM” and withdraw virtual currency, then visit a coffee shop and…maybe purchase a cappucino. On touching some of the things they see (think “mouse click”), the name of that object appears as text in Italian and they hear an audio-stream pronunciation of the term.

They will be required to buy tickets, read a public transit schedule, and complete many other tasks during their lessons.

My mother and I did something similar before our visit to New York City. After opening Google Earth and “roaming” the virtual streets around our hotel to prepare for our trip, we were able to navigate that neighborhood as though we had been there before.

So, thanks Mom…for helping field test this sort of technology.

Written by azwaldo

December 9, 2013 at 1:25 am

how to plug in to the design process

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The Basic Skills Gauntlet (BSG; described in previous post) project occupies an entire skybox, and—along with web docs, spurious announcements and notecards in world, and this blog—it all may seemed disjointed. This post is an attempt to connect the dots in the collaborative design process.

On arrival at the landing point at the project site, one finds seemingly-scattered objects resembling a yard sale (see image).

image of virtual world avatar with many objects in the distance

View from the landing point at the BSG project site; green boxes in distance contain design “modules”

Each of the green boxes in world is labeled with a floating “module number” corresponding to a line in the spreadsheet (green box there, too; see next image). In world, each module contains various prims and scripted widgets designed to “teach” the basic skill assigned to that module. On visiting any module in world, it helps to consider the discussion in the spreadsheet.

image showing various cells of a spreadsheet with text describing parts of the design

Screenshot of BSG spreadsheet (Click to view full size; Google Drive doc – group members can [please] contact Azwaldo with Gmail addy for edit access)

Once you find the skill in the spreadsheet, and locate the design module in world, you can examine (maybe even try out) the design. If you have a question or a comment—and it is expected that you will—you can simply wear your Spicy Vanilla group tag and touch the GroupNotePrim* to submit feedback via chat.

* The GroupNotePrim (see image) allows a user to submit a comment via chat. Those comments are sent to a Google application where an automated display of ALL COMMENTS can be viewed online, just as they are seen in world. (Developed by SL: Omei Turnbull.)

image of gold spike object in virtual world with text floating above

GroupNotePrim – an interactive commenting tool; just wear group tag and touch to begin. Once submitted, comments can be viewed online, as well as being displayed as float text above the object. This object is described further here (scroll down).

If you have a Gmail account, and would like to add 2¢ to the spreadsheet, please contact Azwaldo in world.

So, to summarize:

  1. Visit the project site and find the module design area.
  2. Scan the spreadsheet for accompanying discussion.
  3. Touch the GroupNotePrim to submit a comment or question. (And contact Azwaldo for Google doc access.)

Several modules exist in world merely as partial proposals in prims. Other modules are nearing completion…in that they provide a complete user experience. This does not necessarily mean that the overall design is satisfactory.

You may find that one or two of the “modules” interest you the most, (That’s how it is for me!) If so, please jump in and help see that module through to completion.

Your feedback could prove essential, at this point. And, with three weeks left for designing the prototype, it is time to get to work.

Holler any time.

Written by azwaldo

July 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

grokking subQuan

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I happened upon Cooper Macbeth, a SecondLife™ rezident whose passion both for education and virtual worlds is evident. Previously acquainted, we both attended a presentation and chatted briefly afterwards.

Later that same day, he posted a question about camera controls in a scripting group, a group that I watch. I have some experience with the issue he described; so, a quick reply engaged us in discussion and we were soon chatting in his Sushi Bar.

Image of virtual world sushi restaurant

Cooper Macbeth’s Sushi Bar, a custom venue for instruction

The Sushi Bar (SLurl) is a pleasantly appealing, interactive, educational stage that facilitates instruction. Cooper designed and built this elaborate classroom to deliver a specific—yet subtle—lesson in mathematics.

subQuan (sub’-kwän; from Latin subitas quantitas) is the ability to perceive at a glance a quantity much larger than seven by organizing the items into rows, columns, and containers
— from DreamRealizations Wiki

As interesting as the subQuan principle was, I found myself focused on Coop’s design. As VW instructional designs go, it is exemplary. Cooper and partner Ute Frenburg have been developing the presentation and its VW component for years. That is a long time in the metaverse.

SubQuan-1
SecondLife™ rezident Cooper Macbeth presenting SubQuan to a group

The space employs scripted control of each user’s camera to focus attention on particular spots, illustrating lesson content in a fluid sequence during his live demonstrations. His current challenge is to further refine the user’s experience by smoothing camera transitions from one view to another.

I don’t know if my feedback helped; but, I certainly learned something new. (Love it when that happens.)

In showing me where he needed scripted camera controls, Cooper Macbeth was demonstrating his subQuan presentation. However, in sharing his project, he demonstrated a sophistication in design that surpasses much of the educational content that I have seen.

He showed me, once again, how thoroughly VWs can augment our reality.

Written by azwaldo

March 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

interactive design at alphatribe

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Twice, recently, I have been asked what I mean when referring to virtual world designs as “interactive“. I bumped into a fine example today…

Flying about, I came upon an oddly abstract assembling of objects, finely shaped and all textured in monochrome. Look closely and you find various sit-target animations; hidden, whimsical surprises.

Skybox doodling at alphatribe sim. It is a joy to watch Alpha Auer dance.

Skybox scene at alphatribe sim; the space designed for a party.
For scale, note avatar near center, up and to the right.

SecondLife™ veteran Alpha Auer has a sixth sense for virtual world design. Her alphatribe sim (SLurl, or blog) is only her most recent space to capture my attention.  Perhaps you remember Syncretia?

Sit-target animations let the visitor dramatize the scene.

Closer view in same scene as image above.
Sit-target animations help visitors dramatize the scene.

Apparently, this particular corner of the metaverse is a stage, custom-designed “by Kikas and Marmaduke” for a party. Very cool.

Here, we are not left to merely look upon the scene.  We can interact with objects, immersing ourselves in the setting. This is what I think of when I imagine “interactive” design. Keep me clicking and you keep me coming back.

It is probably a joy to watch Alpha Auer dance.

Written by azwaldo

March 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm