Reflection

As I have said numerous times throughout this course and within my blog posts, I am a total newcomer to Second Life and to the entire world of Multi-User Virtual Environments. I came into this course because I had a slightly negative attitude about MUVEs: for the most part I didn’t see the point and I didn’t see how they were useful to the real world. However, to my great surprise, MUV601 has turned out to be my favourite class of the year!

I am a very creative person and I absolutely relished the opportunity to build within Second Life. I had tried some 3D modelling in the past but I never knew it could be as easy as it is in SL. Being able to click one button and start building is a far cry from the complicated coding I had previously attempted, and once I got started I was in my element. I remember Clare saying at the start of the class that I would be surprised by how quickly the time passes once you log in to SL, but I didn’t take much notice as my schedule is very important to me so I knew that I wouldn’t spend more time on SL than I planned to. But sure enough, I would look at the clock after ‘an hour or so’ building and realise that it was closer to 3.

The build has been through many changes but I absolutely love the final version and I feel like I have achieved my goal of making an ideal performance space for myself. If I’d had slightly more free time this semester I’m sure I would never have stopped adding more functionality to the build, but overall I am very proud of what I have managed to achieve with this assignment. I never expected my build to look half as good as it does!

There were a few problems that I needed to overcome but overall the build went without a hitch, and the biggest problem I faced was my constant mind-changing about design elements. I am quite indecisive by nature but I’m managing to resist the urge now to go back and change elements now that I’ve marked the assignment as finished.

Thanks to Clare and Isa for making this class such an enjoyable one!

Week 4: Problems and Issues

Over the course of this assignment I had a number of features I wished to implement into my build but had a huge amount of difficulty achieving. As a newcomer to Second Life, I am sometimes unsure of which things are possible and which are not in the context of Content Creation, so my initial plans might have been slightly too ambitious. Below I have highlighted some of the most frustrating errors that I encountered and the various methods to solve them that I attempted.

 

Mirror

I originally wished to have a giant mirror at the back of the stage where my changeable texture currently sits. I did some research on this idea and I found several tutorials that said this effect was possible. However, upon following the instructions, most of them required the build to be turned on its side so that the area you wished the mirror to sit could be filled with water, which would then automatically reflect the surroundings. Hardly a good choice for my project! So instead I decided to implement Isa’s texture change script in order to make my build better fit the assessment criteria.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

 

Disco Ball

It was my original intention to have a spinning disco ball that reflected a group of lights that I would point at it. I managed to get the ball to spin with relative ease (I made some slight modifications to a script  in order to speed it up slightly), but I faced a similar problem to that of the mirror in the sense that I couldn’t enable to item to reflect anything. Instead, I decided to add a particle script to the disco ball which gives it a pop concert-style effect.

 

img8

 

Truss texture

Every stage needs trusses to surround it, to support lights, pyrotechnics, and other fixtures vital to a performance. However, my graphic design skills leave an awful lot to be desired, and while I did design the tile texture for the stage and the steps behind it, I found the texture for the trusses on the Second Life marketplace (it was only 50 linden dollars!) It came in a pack with three textures: one for a large truss, one for a small truss, and one for the ends. I felt the low price made it foolish for me to spend hours creating my own version which no doubt would not have been as good!

 

A small truss

A small truss

Week 3: Requirements Being Fulfilled

Once again I have been feeling very motivated this week and I’ve made great progress with my build. I have absolutely loved this assignment so far as I love anything that requires creativity. In this blog post I will take you through all the requirements of this assignment and how each one of them has been fulfilled by this build.

  1. A minimum of 50 and a maximum of 300 prims used in the construction

    img1

    The current build stands at 117 prims

  2. At least three different primitive types
    img2

    The disco ball uses a sphere

    The trusses, stage, and steps are cubes

    The trusses, stage, and steps are boxes

    The main portion of the light is a cylinder, and the light beam is a cone

    The main portion of the light is a cylinder, and the light beam is a cone

  3. At least four different forms of prim manipulationThe top section of the light is a sphere which has been path cut by 50%

    1. The top section of the lights is a sphere which has been path cut by 50%,
    2. The light beams have a .80 taper on its X axis
    3. The truss in the background and its counterpart on the other side of the stage has been twisted (B 90, E -90)
    4. The same trusses have been top-sheared (X .50)

  4. The use of different textures and colours throughout the build with consideration given to using appropriate textures, texture repeats, offsets, and rotations 

    img6The four side faces of all the trusses have horizontal repeats of 2.9 and vertical repeats of 1.1. The texture has also been rotated 90 degrees.

    img7
    The main stage has a texture with horizontal repeats of 25 and vertical repeats of 11

  5. At least two different texture manipulations
    img2

    The disco ball has a medium shininess

    The main portion of the light is a cylinder, and the light beam is a cone

    The light beams have a .10 glow setting

  6. The appropriate use of multiple textures on a prim

    img6

    The 4 main sides of the trusses use the ‘truss-large-aluminium’ texture, while the ends use the ‘truss-end-aluminium’ texture

  7. The appropriate scale for purpose both in construction and texture use

    The size of the stage and trusses were originally based on this real-world stage design. The largest trusses are 14m in length and the stage is 25m in length.

    The size of the stage and trusses were originally based on this real-world stage design. The largest trusses are 14m in length and the stage is 25m in length.

My build focused on visual complexity, and the following criteria are specific to that section.

  1. A scripted change in colour

    The main portion of the light is a cylinder, and the light beam is a cone

    The lights lights change colour between red and blue on a 3-second timer

  2. A scripted change in texture

    img9_001

    The striped backdrop changes to a metal grate upon clicking it.

  3. The use of at least 3 textures with transparency

    img6

    The trusses use three different transparent textures: the top, and the 4 sides (large and small variants)

  4. An instance of a prim with light

    The light beams have the light property set to true

    The light beams have the light property set to true

  5. Prim movement through scripting

    The disco ball is set to a slow rotation using a script

    The disco ball is set to a slow rotation using a script

  6. An appropriate particle system

    Since I was unable to have light coming from the disco ball, I thought a good compromise would be to add this particle system. I used the script that Isa provided for us but made some slight modifications to the number of particles emitted and the radius

    Since I was unable to have light coming from the disco ball, I thought a good compromise would be to add this particle system. I used the script that Isa provided for us but made some slight modifications to the number of particles emitted and the radius

Week 2: Design and Development of Activity

I often find long weekends are the perfect opportunity to take time out and work on assignments. I must say, with my mounting to-do list I was extremely grateful for the time! Since I have no lectures on a Friday I was left with 4 days off, which meant I could dedicate 1 day to each subject. So Sunday morning I was up bright and early, and ready to start building!

Over the last week I have been following various tutorials on building in Second Life and re-reading the blog posts from Clare and Isa, and I finally started to feel confident enough to start building for myself.

As my concept is creating an ideal performance space, I did quite a bit of research on different stage designs. I had initially chosen a design from the following screenshot:

Stage_Truss_System

I created my stage to look almost exactly like this, as this screenshot was very helpful in providing a guideline for sizes and lengths of the trusses. As an inexperienced builder it did take me some time, but I was quite proud of myself that I managed to do it!

However, after I completed the design I found the stage to look quite boring and uninspired, and this project is supposed to result in an ideal performance space for me. So I started drawing various other designs and finally chose on one that I liked.

My progress at the end of week 2:

Snapshot_001

Front view

Rear view

Rear view

The wooden panel at the rear of the stage will be replaced by a texture in due course, and of course after the stage is finished I can begin adding more complexity (i.e. instruments, scripting, texturing).

I must say I’m quite pleased with the progress I’m making!!!

Week 1: Initial Planning

The initial planning for this assignment has taken me quite a bit longer than originally anticipated. It’s the one I’ve been most looking forward to so I really wanted to make the right decision from the list of possible areas to explore.

In one of the first lectures of this class, Clare had mentioned that it would be possible for me to organize an event which could be a musical performance of some kind. As I am a keen singer it seemed ideal for me and a really fun way to get away from the stress of all the other assignments I’ve been handed!

Unfortunately after a conversation with Clare and a bit of thinking over I decided to change directions and go for ‘Content Creation’ instead. I still don’t really know enough people within the Second Life community to make the attendance at the performance worthwhile, and I also reasoned that if I was to host a performance, I would also have to create the venue myself, which would count as content creation.

At Clare’s suggestion, even though I am no longer doing the performance, it would be quite fitting for my content creation to focus on creating an ideal performance space. With that in mind, I am working on taking all of my favourite elements from places that I’ve performed and putting them together for this project.

I am currently reviewing all the notes I have taken on prim creation and looking at some other online tutorials so I am still very much in the experimental phase, but I am hoping to get something properly created in my workspace this week.

Watch this space!!!

Participating in a community

The community I chose was NCI (at Clare’s recommendation). I had originally chosen a group for people wanting to learn Japanese, but upon visiting the group’s headquarters I found that there was nobody there to interact with (probably due to the time difference between NZ and Japan).

I still do not feel fully confident with of Second Life, so I thought NCI would help me to get a bit more of a grasp on all of the basics. I teleported to the NCI plaza and was quite amazed by the number of people around. My nearby people showed several hundred in the immediate area!

However, when I zoomed the camera out and went to take a screenshot for this blog post, Firestorm viewer promptly crashed. Needless to say I haven’t got off to the best of starts.

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Permissions

What are permissions? Well, the clue is in the name, i.e. what you will permit another resident to do with items that you have created in second life (or equally what they will allow you to do). And what is the aim of it? Answer – the permissions system is designed to foster the best possible content and sanctify the best possible experience in Second Life.

By applying different permission sets to different categories of people, residents can control how their items are used and distributed.
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The Big Six

The Community Standards sets out six ‘behaviours’ that apply to all areas of Second Life, the Second Life Forums, and the Second Life Website. [link]

The goal of the standards is encapsulated in the following:

“treat each other with respect and without harassment, adhere to local standards as indicated by simulator ratings, and refrain from any hate activity which slurs a real-world individual or real-world community.” (I think it would be a great idea if more people followed this in the real world as well, but I digress.)

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Intellectual Property in a Virtual World

Demonstrate your understanding of the need and the means for protecting
Intellectual Property in a virtual world.

I thought it might be useful to first define what intellectual property actually is. According to the dictionary, it is “property that results from original creative thought, as patents, copyright material, and trademarks”. It is an” intangible asset, such as a copyright or patent”. In other words, when you create something, other people cannot just copy it without your permission, even when it is a ‘virtual’ creation.

Although this is an issue for all ‘virtual world’ sites, as Second Life is the largest and most well-known, I have based my answers on the information they provide. There are whole sections on the Second Life website to explain how your work is protected, but equally how the work of others is also protected, particularly trademarks and celebrity material. The site explains that as Second Life gets larger and more work is added, they are receiving more questions about intellectual property and Second Life. [source]

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MUVE Viewer 2: Phoenix Firestorm

Who it is developed by

Firestorm is a Second Life viewer that is developed and maintained by The Phoenix Firestorm Project, Inc. and it was first made available in 2010. The organization is entirely not-for-profit and was founded by Jessica Lyons [source].

The software is regularly updated, and Phoenix now has over 80 volunteers working on the project [source], many of whom are developers.

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