Tuesday, 23 November 2010

First OpenSim project?

Although I've experimented with OpenSim, and created a few generic educational tools, we haven't used it in a project at the University yet. Although we might do in the very near future.


Shown above are characters on the stage of our virtual Globe Theatre. A previous activity involved students positioning the mannequins (foreground) to explore issues of actor positioning and movement during a scene. To give a better understanding of the affordances of Second Life, it was decided to replace the mannequins with student controlled avatars (centre). This probably seems like an obvious decision to users of Second Life, but the students in question are being introduced to and using Second Life in a single session, and we wanted to reduce distractions from the core activity (navigation issues, creating logins etc). As a compromise we'll be providing pre-made accounts where avatars start in the right locations.

However, a challenge is that the class will need to be divided into groups for the activity and there is only one theatre. There isn't space on the island to duplicate it, and so hopefully OpenSim can come to the rescue.


Our Globe Theatre was created by a developer in our department, and so we were able to export it to OpenSim fairly easily (see image above). The costumes are an entirely different matter, as they were produced by Karen Royer. Even large parts of the mannequins are purchased pieces.

This is a major issue in the educational use of OpenSim, which several people have highlighted. Generally speaking most academics don't have the time or ability to create good quality virtual environments. Even if they could, constantly rebuilding things that others have already made is wasted effort. Thankfully some resources are appearing, such as myOpenSim, although I'd prefer if they did away with the concept of pretend money.

3 comments:

Maria Korolov said...

Lucius --

A couple of ways to get content:

You can download entire OAR files here: http://opensimworlds.com/index.php?part=worlds

(You can also share OARs that you've created with others.)

If you enable hypergrid on your region, you can also teleport over to JokaydiaGrid and ReactionGrid (if you're on HG 1.0 and OpenSim 0.6.9) and visit their freebie stores, or to OSGrid and GermanGrid (if you're on HG 1.5 and OpenSim 0.7).

Finally, the Diva Distro comes with a very large selection of starting avatars, clothing, textures, and other useful objects. You can also download it separately as an IAR file (inventory archive):

https://github.com/diva/d2/downloads

Good luck and welcome to OpenSim!

- Maria Korolov
Editor, Hypergrid Business

Ina Centaur said...

I notice you mentioned the nontrivial matter of dressing up avatars for a Shakespearean production. For future reference: Note that mShakespeare (formerly SL Shakespeare) has open sourced all of their avatars under a vShakespeare initiative... since 2009!

http://vshakespeare.ning.com/forum/topics/2058941:Topic:1014

The project is currently on the main SL grid and in our private OpenSim.

--

I'm also hoping to contribute a number of high quality open source avatars to OpenSim. Details to be announced in Feb @ http://osavatars.com/

Lucius Nesterov said...

Thanks for your responses. Most of my explorations so far have been behind the institutions firewall, so I guess I'll have to break through that before hyper-gridding. It's a bit of a mystery at the moment. Do both the OpenSim and HG versions need to match for a successful jump? Can you jump to sims using a lower HG version but not a higher one?

Regarding the mShakespeare avatars, I didn't manage to spot them when I visited the SL theatre, but I'd be very interested in acquiring the OpenSim version. February is a little outside of out timetable, so I'll be contacting you directly.