Ett 590 - Virtual Worlds


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Introduction to Virtual Worlds

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  • Audience questions.Who has been in Second Life?Who has been in an OpenSim grid?Who has set up their own Opensim server?Who has used a virtual world for development?Challenges you may have had?
  • Definitions of virtual world.Bell, M.W. (2008) Toward a Definition of Virtual Worlds. Journal of Virtual World Research. Vol. 1. No. 1. Retrieved on October 3, 2009, from, B. (2008). A brief history of virtual worlds as a medium for user-created events. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 1(1). Retrieved on October 3, 2009,from
  • Kaneva - Similar to Second Life in that is a 3D virtual world for social networking. "Kanevamembers create the digital version of themselves -- avatars -- and then meet up in a vibrant, 3D world based on the modern day. Every Kaneva member gets a Kaneva City Loft -- their own 3D space -- that they can decorate and furnish in their unique style" (About Kaneva). There - "A fully interactive, 3D online virtual world where members can customize and create their own 3D character, meet and hang out with friends in real-time using voice and text chat, build their own virtual homes, participate in events ranging from car races to paintball to fashion shows and even create and sell their own virtual items" (About There). Basic membership is free. Metaplace - The site states that it is an "open platform that harnesses the power of the Web to allow anyone to imagine, build and live in their own unique virtual world" (About Metaplace) This virtual world is in 2D, so a slightly different experience than Second Life. For more information read this CNETarticle. realXtend - " offers a free open source virtual world platform with which you can create your own applications using it as a base."
  • Defined as a 3D application serverReverse engineered from LL browser communication: “We didn’t reverse engineer the browser, but the communication that goes between the browser and Second Life” There is no LL code in OpenSimulatorSo what is it? Can be used to create 3d virtual worlds like Second Life. Can use SL browser or others such as Hippo to view. Like ApacheTalk about the fact that OS is open source and what that means….teams of developers, free, buggy, etc…compare to other open source projects such as Linux, BSD (Berkley Source Distribution), business friendly
  • Alpha software 60%, it does break, lack of documentation (os wiki), no tech supportOpenSim.ini - call for better physics enginePicture of my head sticking out of the ground
  • Some has to do with limitations of SL and some reasons are the capabilities of OpenSim
  • What started as a Second Life dissertation project was rescued by OpenSim when the doc student lost assess to the Teen Grid due to pulled funding.
  • Ett 590 - Virtual Worlds

    1. 1. Virtual Worlds ETT 590 - Module 5
    2. 2. Agenda  Gameplay: Crazy Machines  Game Sharing  InspiredTeaching and Learning  VirtualWorlds: Module 5  Introduction to OpenSim  Project Plans
    3. 3. Games and Game Principles in Learning  Brainstorm activities that incorporate game principles and scientific thinking  Choose two to describe in more detail  One, non-digital video game experience  One, incorporating a digital video game  Present:  What is the setting of the activity?  What is the goal of the activity?  What are the rules/conditions?  How will students know when they have succeeded?  What game principles have you incorporated?  How does your activity encourage systems level/analytical thinking?
    5. 5. Intro to Virtual Worlds Persistent spaces made available by networked computers accessible through a graphical interface to provide inhabitants synchronous interactions between individuals and the environment (Bell, 2008; Click 2013, Schroeder, 2008: Ondrejka, 2008).
    6. 6. Short List of Terms  Simulator (Sim) – server application  Grid – multiple servers  Region – 256 x 256 meters of virtual space  Viewer – Browser  Avatar – Player embodiment  Persistent – stuff is still there when you log back on
    7. 7. Virtual Worlds  Second Life  Opensimulator  Minecraft  ActiveWorlds  Kaneva  Metaplace  realXtend
    8. 8. What is Second Life?  Linden Labs Launched Second Life in 2002  Described as a 3-D virtual world entirely built by its residents  Residents retain the IP rights to their digital creations  15,753,363 people from over 100 countries  30,436 regions (256x256 meters each)  Virtual land is 15 times the size of San Francisco
    9. 9. How do I get a Second Life?  Register for an account (free)  Select an avatar and screen name  Download the Second Life browser  Go through orientation (take your time there)  Explore and meet people  Attend in-world workshops
    10. 10. What technology is needed?  Broadband connectivity  Supported video card  Administrative control over your computer to install software, or…  Flash drive (see, Second Life in your pocket)  Optional – headphones with built in microphone, for audio chat
    11. 11. Education in Second Life Harvard University Idaho State University United States Military Northern Illinois University Ohio State University University of Central Missouri PennsylvaniaState University Stanford University Texas State University University of Colorado at Denver VirginiaTech Leeds College of Art and Design
    12. 12. Glidden Campus  NIU entered Second Life in summer of 2005  Replica of our landmark buildings  Collaboration with other universities
    13. 13. All objects start as primitive objects  Your avatar does the building.  This picture demonstratesAli rezzing a primitive object (a box).  Other basic objects include a prism, sphere, cylinder, torus, tube, ring, and sculpted
    14. 14. Laying the floors of Altgeld Hall  You quickly realize you need to do things in a certain order because of the camera limitations.  For example I had to build the staircase first.  This building is built to scale, but because your camera is above your avatar things appear smaller.
    15. 15. Building the walls of Altgeld Hall  Measuring sticks were used to offset objects  Prim heavy - contains over 8000 primitive objects  Stone texture – photographs of real world building
    16. 16. Altgeld Hall in Second Life
    17. 17. Altgeld Hall in Real Life
    18. 18. Why teach in Second Life? Good question and initially heavily debated. • Anytime, anyplace access • Social presence due to avatar embodiment and interactions • Ability to create your own learning environment • Ability to create a custom avatar
    19. 19. NIU - The Art Café  Learning space for art education majors  Gallery shows for a global audience  Class meetings  Doctoral research
    20. 20. NIU - ETRA Online Classroom  Classroom community  Group work  First time we used 2-way audio in-world
    21. 21. NIU - Time Arts  Senior projects  Live 2-way presentation  Local and global attendance
    22. 22. Illinois Crisis Intervention  Online class in Homeland Security certificate  Debriefing experience for students
    23. 23. “I am moving to Canada!”
    24. 24. Virtual World of Your Own  Defined as a 3D application server  There is no LL code in OpenSimulator “We didn’t reverse engineer the browser, but the communication that goes between the browser and Second Life”
    25. 25. “If you break it, you get to keep both pieces”
    26. 26. Initial Impetus  No age restrictions  Research control  Control over upgrades  Programmable avatar experience  Develop locally, implement on server  Cost (scalability)
    27. 27. The One Room School House  Research opportunities  Basically free for student researchers  Accessible by kids under the age of 13  Protected, private, safe
    28. 28. Microfinance Simulation  Package and sell  Server-side coding  Privacy/containment  Consequences
    29. 29. Server-Side Programming  Content Management Tool  Instructor Dashboard  User Administration
    30. 30. Games Camp  Basically free persistent space  Available and safe for kids under 13  Easy to learn tool set
    31. 31. Feature Comparison Feature Second Life OpenSim Audio Yes Yes – Freeswitch module Groups Yes Not out of the box Off-lineCommunication Yes Not out of the box Currency Yes Not out of the box Scripting Yes Yes, but slightly different UploadTextures Yes Yes - free Terraform Yes Yes Grid Mode Yes Yes Building Yes Yes with some glitches Comparing SL and OpenSim
    32. 32. Pretty Solid  Avatars  Land, sky, water  Inventory  Building  Terraforming  Textures  Scripting
    33. 33. Yes, But..  Orientation  Off-line communication  Audio  Profiles  Search
    34. 34. Not so much…  Currency  In-world market
    35. 35. Pros and Cons of Opensim Pros Cons Control over server updates Less stable than SL No age restrictions Need for technical support Flexibility Lack of some nice SL functions Control over cost Scattered documentation Modular Beta application Opensource Absence of Pre-made Inventory Scalability Lack of market Control over user access Lack of large community Archiving No one in charge of development Some Pros & Cons of OpenSim
    36. 36. Quickly Experience OpenSim  Access one of the public OpenSim grids (OSGrid, Reaction Grid…)  Run a stand-alone sim on y0ur own workstation or laptop
    37. 37. Viewers  Imprudence  Hippo  Meerkat  EmeraldViewer (Mac)
    38. 38. NIU in OpenSim NIU Digital Convergence Lab Presents Highly InteractiveVirtual Environments (HIVE)
    39. 39. Standalone OpenSimulator  Free  Local creation for export through .oar files  Ultimate control over research data
    40. 40. An OpenSim on your own server  Relatively Inexpensive  Allows others to connect  Maintenance and Support  Demands on the system  10-20 users  4 regions  Virtualization
    41. 41. Hosted Server  Standard  $50/mo  Maintenance and support  OpenSim Specific  $75-795/mo  Virtualized-dedicated  Bandwidth  Support
    42. 42. Installing an OpenSim Server  Download OpenSim and helper applications  Install OpenSim application  Launch server application  Access from viewer (  Configure Regions.ini file to add more regions
    43. 43. The Future  Interoperability between virtual worlds  Divergence from Second Life  More secondary providers (i.e. Reaction Grid)  Distribution of content – Hypergrid - Diva Canto (the inventor of the Hypergrid protocol)
    44. 44. Resources Aline Click (Ali Andrews) Slideshare NIU HIVE Login URI ImprudenceViewer SLED Educators Listserv Opensim