MUV Project: Final Entry

So my project is about as finished as it’s going to get now. I wish I’d been able to spend more time on it as I had a lot of ideas but just had too much stuff going on unfortunately. I feel like it meets the brief for the most part. And according to the sphere on Koru, the final land impact count is 298, so just fitting in to the limitations. Also, its best viewed at the midnight setting 🙂

So my project started out with me not knowing what on earth I was going to make. After a chat with Clare I decided to go ahead with doing a club based around my favourite genre of music, K-pop. I don’t feel like the end product displays that theme particularly well, and if I’d had more time I would’ve like to get more k-pop related decor in there on the walls and things. Currently the only thing thats really k-pop is the audio stream running on the parcel.

As for the audio stream itself, I spent several days trying to get my own stream to work so that I could have my own selection of songs playing. Unfortunately the art of audio streaming seems to be lost on me and I was just unable to make it work, so I ended up using a pre-existing stream (found here) by someone else who actually does know what they’re doing. Fortunately most of the songs are good k-pop dance songs suited for a club, so while theres some that I personally wouldn’t include, and some that I feel are missing, for the most part it fits the theme of my build well enough.

The flashing down-lights in my build are not my own creation and can be found on the marketplace (I got them a long time ago and cant remember the link for them). I know they won’t be counted for the final build but I think they add to the overall atmosphere and am going to keep them anyway. My other particle effects are the white music notes coming from my dance ball (link) and the fog/smoke effect on the ground (link).

For the requirement of using at least 3 different prim types, I used cubes, spheres, hemispheres, hemicylinders and torus, at least from what I remember. As for prim manipulation, I used path cut on the roating torus on the wall, & skew and hollow for the barstools. There are plenty of items using glow in the build, as well as the down-lights being attached to a panel with shininess applied on the ceiling. Multiple textures on one prim is obvious by using a different brick texture on the outside and inside walls that are the same prim.

For the visual complexity requirements which is the option I chose:

  • A scripted change in colour
    • The lights leading up the stairs and on the balcony
  • An animated texture
    • The dancefloor is using an animated texture from here
  • An instance of a prim with Light
    • Don’t think this needs explaining, theres lights everywhere in the build – the torus on the wall for example
  • The use of at least two sculpties
    • The cushions on the couches and the glasses on the bar and tables are both sculpties, and the textures for both can be found here
  • An appropriate particle system
    • The fog on the floor and the music notes are what I feel to be appropriate particle effects for a club type build
  • Prim movement through scripting
    • The rotating torus on the wall.

Final Thoughts

Despite not being able to spend as much time on this to make it as good as I wanted, I’m still pretty happy with the result overall. It definitely has the atmosphere and feeling of being a club so it fits my plan in that regard. As mentioned above the walls feel bare and I would really have liked to make it more obviously k-pop themed, but in a general sense I think it’s still pretty cool. There were definitely a few challenges with the build, namely tracking down some decent sculptie textures and having to upload them back into SL. But the most challenging part was definitely the audio stream, hands down. I was about ready to throw something due to the sheer frustration of trying to get my own one functional, and I would definitely take that into consideration before doing this type of build again, but I think even having to use someone elses stream worked well enough in this situation.

Final Screenshotsclubdone1_006clubdone1_003clubdone1_004clubdone1_002

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MUV Project Update

The last week or two have been very stressful and unpleasant for me and as such I really haven’t had a lot of time or motivation to actually get much work done in any area of my study, including this project.

Most of what I have left to do is to finish the actual building up. The structural stuff is mostly done, and it really just needs filling up now, though it might be difficult with the land impact restrictions to actually get as much furniture and things in there as I would like. So I have decided that I’m going to leave the two side-rooms of the building empty and close them off, but I would like to keep them there as part of the actual building as I think it makes it look slightly more interesting from the outside, rather than just a box.

My next task to focus on is going to be getting a dance floor made with a lighting change script of some kind, and to sort out how I’m going to get music playing. It’s very useful that I can work on getting streams to play on the parcel now, and I have found that other peoples audio streams work just fine, so obviously I’m just configuring my own incorrectly. If it gets to the end of the project and I still don’t have my own working, I can at least fall back on using another stream. The only problem with that is that I’m picky with music and really wanted to have a set playlist of songs chosen by me to be playing.

 

MUV Project: First Week Progress

I’ve finally been able to start getting to work on my project for assignment 3. As mentioned in my project plan I am going to do a build project as I enjoy working with architecture and the like and making it all look pretty. I have finally decided for my design that I am going to go ahead with building a club type of building and making it immersive and interactive with lights, sounds, dance floors, dance scripts and more. I am thinking about making it themed on my faveourite genre of music which is korean pop (kpop) but I’m not really sure how to turn that into a design theme so I will need to do some research about it.

As for now I am building the basic structure of the building. For the overall look, at least for the exterior, I am going to go with a sort of abandoned warehouse, industrial type of feeling as I like that style. The interior I would like to jazz up and make a bit more modern than the exterior, with many bright colours and neon lights ( I wont make it too blinding =) ).

Progress Pictures:

Exterior:

club2_001club2_002

 

Interior:

club2_003club2_004

 

Next I need to go through and adjust some textures to make them fir with each other better as there are some that are stretched or mismatched currently. I also need to decide on how the layout is actually going to work and where certain things will be.

MUV Project Plan

For my Project I have tentatively decided on the Visually Complex Building option as I have enjoyed building the most in SL so far. As such my project will be based in Secondlife. The biggest problem I am facing right now however is that I really have no idea what I actually want to build, as I just cant seem to find inspiration anywhere, and my interests are pretty limited. I’ve had a couple of ideas but have mostly shrugged them off as they don’t seem complex enough, or I’m not sure about how I would build it to fit the project brief i.e. no logical way to implement changing textures and colours into the build without it seeming out of place.

I enjoy architecture and building things like houses and other structures but it seems like too simple an idea to just build a house. A thought I had was possibly building a club based around the sort of music that I enjoy and focus on creating an interesting atmosphere, but again it just feels too basic. Maybe I am overthinking how in-depth the project needs to be. My only other thought was to recreate a structure or interesting location or piece of architecture from a game that I play, but I don’t really have a specific piece or game in mind and am really struggling to think of something that would fit the brief. Whats throwing me off the most are the scripting requirements for this build option I think. I can get a lot of ideas for the structure itself but it kind of falls apart when I try to figure out how I will work in changing colours and textures via scripting.

As for the resources I will need, in a more general sense given that I don’t really have a set idea in mind, I guess I will need to find textures, possible items to implement into the build, sculptie textures etc. I imagine most of the things I need will be either already in SL or should be easily found on the marketplace.

In regards to skills that I have and what I will need to learn, the skills that I have (at least I would think) are basic building skills, in terms of creating architecture like buildings I have had plenty of practice with it in games like The Sims where I spent my entire time in game building and creating houses. So for the structural side of the building I think I will be fine. My weakness though is scripting as I’m not hugely interested in it, so I would like to at least learn how to make some of the scripts I need rather than just using ones made by other people.

In terms of the timeline for the build, honestly I’m not great at planning ahead so I’m not really sure about this part. Overall I would like to have the basic structure and layout of my project built by the end of May, and just spend the couple of weeks in June sorting out the scripts and doing any final touches. Can’t really get more descriptive than that at the moment as obviously I still don’t know what I’m even doing yet.

As for questions regarding the project, again theres not much to mention as I don’t know what I’m going to be making. I guess one question I have though, is:

Can I build the basic structure or parts of the structure in a mesh building tool outside of SL, and import it as part of my build? Or does it all have to be created within SL itself?

I don’t mind either way but am curious if I can slip a few things in to make the build tidier.

That’s all I have for now, going to spend more time trying to find inspiration and come up with something so I can get started.

MUV601: Community Interaction

For the Final part of Assignment 2 that involved taking part in a virtual community, I decided to use a guild that I was a part of in the MMO game Final Fantasy XIV. I know that it was preferred that the participation be recent but I’m really not comfortable with just randomly joining groups and things out of the blue, it feels really awkward and uncomfortable for me. I’m aware that this may not meet the requirements and I may not get any marks for it but am just going to go ahead with it anyway.

Final Fantasy XIV is an MMORPG developed by Square Enix. It is a relaunched and redeveloped version of an earlier version of the game which failed somewhat due to poor management. I joined FFXIV in the closed beta tests for the relaunch version having not played the original, and I was really surprised by how enjoyable the community was to participate in even then. I normally don’t interact a lot with other people in games aside from my first ever MMO City of Heroes which also had an amazing community so I was pretty happy about it. I decided to join up to a guild (or “Free Company” in FFXIV) for the launch of the game, and through browsing community sites I found an Australian/Oceanic community of about 20 people to join.

fishing
Fishing at the docks with some FC members (names hidden for privacy)

The first 6 months or so after the game launched was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in an online game. I don’t normally participate in Raids and most end-game content in these games, but I was the first healer in the Free Company to hit max level so I kind of got dragged into it. It was stressful at times but the people I was playing with were so great and supportive of each other, sharing helpful information and helping to understand skills and abilities better. We made pretty decent progress despite being a range of people with jobs and families to take care of. They also brought out my more social side which is rare. Before playing with them I would never speak on VoIP programs due to shyness, but I pretty much had to due to group content and needing to communicate which really helped to bring me out of my shell. I also started to talk to strangers in general chat whom I otherwise would never have interacted with.

 

raid
After killing a raid boss (names hidden for privacy, ‘Katarina Velaris’ is me)

Unfortunately after about 7-8 months there were some members that couldn’t make it to raids as often as others and some of the more hardcore players ended up leaving to find a Free Company that raided at more suitable times and at a better pace for them. There were no hard feelings and we mostly remained friends even afterwards but after that things quietened down a bit. This was also around the time that I started studying full time and just couldn’t commit myself to the game as much as when I wasn’t doing anything. However I still look back on that time as one of my fondest memories of my gaming life and it’s easily the best community I’ve been a part of even to this day.

waiting
Waiting for the rest of the group on raid night

MUV601: Intellectual Property

How the Permissions System helps to protect IP 

The items created in SecondLife by the users are considered the Intellectual Property of the person who designed them, like an author of a book or an artist’s painting. As such there needs to be systems in place to protect the creations of these users so that their items aren’t stolen and profited from by someone else. This is where the object permissions system comes into play. As mentioned in that blog post, the three main object permissions give you a good amount of control over what you want to happen to your objects once it is made available to the community, whether you want people to be able to copy it, modify it or transfer it, or not.

The permission system is generally the best way for users to protect their content and as mentioned in my previous blog entry, a lot of consideration should be put into which permissions you want to set, as if you set them incorrectly then it’s most likely tough luck when your items get stolen and redistributed.

 

What is Copybot? 

SecondLife currently has no built in way for you to backup your creations or take them out of SecondLife. This means that you are relying on nothing going wrong that may cause your item to disappear, never to be seen again, which could be incredibly frustrating for large projects that are built entirely in SecondLife (mesh objects built externally will most likely have a backup).

Copybot is a tool that is designed to bypass that limitation of SecondLife, allowing you to export your creations as an XML file. This means that you can keep a safe back up of your items and import them back into SecondLife if things go wrong. Unfortunately this also cause some issues as people may be able to export an item that doesn’t belong to them and import it back in as their own creation, and possibly profit from it. As such it should really only be used on items of your own creation, or items that you have explicit permission to export from the owner, which is where the permissions system comes back in to play, allowing you to designate what you want to happen with items that you have created.

 

 

 

MUV601: Object Permissions

 

The different levels of Object Permissions 

SecondLife contains permissions that you can set regarding the sharing, modification and altering of objects created in the world. There are three main permissions: Copy, Modify and Transfer, but there are also other permissions that may be more situational like sharing to a group, allowing anyone to move objects and more. These permissions are in place to make sure that a users work is not stolen or changed by other people, and is only shared in the ways that the creator wants it to be.

The first of the three main object permissions is Copy. This permission is about whether you want other people to be able to duplicate an item given to them or purchased by them. If they are not allowed to copy via the permissions, they will have 1 copy and 1 copy only of an item, which when placed in the world is removed from their inventory. If you allow someone to copy an item, they will be able to essentially duplicate it to make as many of the item as they want. For something like lights for a house, you would most likely want to be able to copy an item as you would need multiple of them, but for something like a T.V. it may not be as important to be able to copy it.

The Second Object Permission is the Modify permission. This allows a user to be able to change features and aspects of an item they have received or purchased. If the modify permission is not allowed, then the user will not be able to change things like the size, color, and shape of the item. If it is allowed, then the new owner will be able to change the objects as they like. So for something that has a very specific shape and set of textures applied, that you only want to look a particular way, you may not allow the modify permission. If you just have a basic object like a sofa or chair then there’s not really much reason to not allow modification.

The final object permission is Transfer. This permission isn’t really used as much as the other two but is still useful in many ways. This permission basically controls whether someone is able to transfer an item they have purchased or received to other people. For things like freebies and gifts, and things you don’t mind being shared around, it’s probably fine to allow transfers of the item between users. However if the item is a custom creation or design that you’ve put a lot of effort and time into, then it may be best to not allow transfers of the item as someone that receives it may then be able to sell it off to other people and profit from your own hard work.

Knowing what permissions to set is important when designing and building items for SecondLife and a good amount of consideration should be put into what you want people to be able to do with your items.

MUV601: Community Standards

 

The 6 Community Standards

There are 6 main community standards set for SecondLife [found here], with the purpose of keeping it a safe and enjoyable place to explore. The general idea of them is about treating other users with respect, not being hateful etc.

1). Intolerance

The purpose of this standard is to ensure that nobody is treated badly regarding their nationality, gender, sexual orientation and more. It means that using rude language or slurs, or making degrading comments towards people because of their differences, is absolutely forbidden in SecondLife.

2). Harassment

Harassment in second life may come in the form of someone trying to threaten or intimidate someone, making unwelcome sexual advances, or stalking someone. Due to SecondLife have so many possibilities and things to do, there needs to be a standard to make sure people don’t get carried away.

3).Assault

Assault in SecondLife is anything that can be considered annoying by another person, I.e. constantly pushing them around, shooting them, using scripts to annoy them etc. Basically, it covers anything that can hinder a person’s enjoyment of SecondLife.

4). Disclosure

This standard covers a person’s right to privacy and what they choose to disclose with other people. It also means that sharing information about someone without their consent is not tolerated.

5). Adult Regions, Groups and Listings

This ensures that all Adult content is generally kept to private islands or designated areas, and must be within an area specified as “Adult” so that people can not unknowingly wander into these locations.

6). Disturbing the Peace

Disrupting events, annoying other people, spamming, annoying scripts etc. all fall under disturbing the peace. This standard is in place to ensure that residents of SecondLife aren’t bothered by other people and that they can enjoy it in peace.

 

Why do I think they have been created?

The community standards for SecondLife are very familiar with the standards and rules for many games that I have played as well as basic morals expected in the real world. To me the whole point of them is basically saying “Don’t be an idiot”.  The reason for them existing is to make sure that everyone is free to enjoy SecondLife in the ways that they want to without annoyance or harassment, as people sometimes use these worlds as a way to escape the real world. They generally seem to be about making sure everyone can enjoy the world in peace and not feel uncomfortable due to the actions of another user.

 

How I would make sure to not violate the standards

For me on a personal level I don’t really think I would have any issues adhering to the standards set for the community. I don’t have any desire to mess with other people or cause problems. I have been a part of many virtual and online worlds and have a good grasp on how to behave and how to treat other people in these worlds. As such I don’t think I would have any issues sticking to these standards. From a more general point of view for the average user, honestly all I can say is the classic saying of “treat others how you want to be treated”. I would hate to have someone harassing and annoying me when I’m trying to relax or have fun, so why would I inflict that on someone else?

 

What to do if someone is abusing the Standards

If a user believes that someone is violating the community standards, there is a report option within SecondLife in the Help menu to report people that you think are being abusive. The details of the person reporting are kept strictly confidential so you don’t have to worry about the other person knowing who you are. It might also be helpful to collect any evidence you have of the person that is causing the problem, like a chat log or screenshots, though sometimes these can’t always be used as evidence.

MUV601 Platform 2: OpenSim/Kitely

The second platform I am going to look at for assignment 1 is OpenSim/Kitely. Kitely is a provider/host for opensim regions and hosts more than 10,400 of them. Development of Kitely began in 2008 and was ready for public beta in 2011. It was It was co-founded by Ilan Tochner who is the CEO and Oren Hurvitz. Kitely’s virtual worlds have a focus on education and creation, with less of a focus on building community compared to Second Life. I haven’t spent a lot of time using Kitely so I don’t know a lot about it other than the basics.

 

opensim1_001
First Impression at the Kitely Welcome Center.

 

Functionality:

The functionality provided by Kitely is fairly similar to Second Life; it gives you access to a virtual world with a variety of regions and locations and allows you to explore and create within the world. One of the benefits of OpenSim as a whole is that anything you make in the world, you are able to export and take with you to other places, whereas with SecondLife it is very difficult if not impossible to take your creations elsewhere. You are also able to view and edit the code in OpenSim and using a feature called Sim on a Stick, you can take your Sim with you wherever you go via USB stick, and just plug it in to any computer to be able to use it.

Performance:

The performance seems to be very similar to Second Life in that you really want to be on a good internet connection to really use the world as well as you can. The faster you can download things around you the better your experience will be. As noticed when we tried visiting here during a class and were almost entirely unable to render the world around us due to the strain on the network. Although we generally don’t have issues like that when we are all using Second Life in the classroom so there may be some optimisation problems with Kitely itself. Computer hardware and performance will also play a part in making things run smoother and look better but due to the amount of downloading that needs to be done in these sorts of virtual worlds, network connections will almost always be the most important aspect of making things run well. Even on my home fiber connection I encountered lag and other issues when visiting the world on my own.

 

opensim1_003
Textures took longer to load for me here than in SL where they download almost instantly.

 

Kitely is used in a similar way to Second Life, although it’s a bit difficult to write about it overall as there is really so many ways that these worlds can be used that narrowing it down is rather difficult. It does seem to have more of a focus on being a platform for education, business and creation as mentioned above, rather than something like Second Life which seems to have a lot of focus on socialisation and community.

 

Comparison of OS/Kitely and Second Life:

I’ll go right ahead and say I’m fairly biased as Second Life is the first virtual world I have tried so I’m obviously going to feel more comfortable there. I like that Second Life has lots of fun social activities to engage in, and while I understand that that’s not the focus of OpenSim as much, for me personally it’s something I would like to have. Opensim as an educational or business tool would definitely be a great idea but overall the performance issues I had with it would put me off from using it, as I don’t have those problems with Second Life even when visiting some script-heavy and graphically intensive places. OpenSim does have the benefit of HyperGriding which allows you to visit multiple OpenSim grids without needing to create a user account for each one which is a nice quality of life feature, but it’s not enough to sell me on it considering everything else.

 

MUV Location 2: Nagare

For my second choice of location I chose to visit an Island called Nagare, which is also a location that I found through the Second Life website. I had initially discovered it back when I first started the class and thought it looked interesting but never actually got around to visiting the location. So I decided to go and take a peek, as I have a lot of interest in Asian culture (Japanese and Korean in particular) and this seemed like a unique place to visit instead of just doing a theme park like I was thinking of doing. Nagare is an oriental, Japanese inspired build with a very peaceful atmosphere and is incredibly well designed. I was very impressed from the moment I landed here.

 

Snapshot_018
Relaxing under the trees.

 

Technicality:

In terms of the technicality of the build, it is similar to the other location I visited in terms of the sounds and effects adding huge amounts to the overall atmosphere and feel of the area. I was surprised by all the little sounds I kept hearing that really made it feel like I was walking through a Japanese garden. The more impressive sound effects being the calming sound and gentle clunk of the hollow wooden chimes as they swayed in the breeze, as well as the water-tippers (I always forget the right name for them) slowly being filled with water, tipping it out, and returning to its upright position with a gentle clunk. The birdsong added to it a lot as well as the gentle sound of the waves crashing on the rocks in the background, not to mention the slowly falling cherry blossom petals. The majority of the scripting and technical work in this place seemed to be in the atmosphere of the location itself rather than in creating a bunch of things to do.

 

Snapshot_013.jpg
The Architecture and design was particularly impressive.

 

What to Do:

There were no rides here, and what games there were on offer involved being teleported out to other locations. Instead I think this place was built to capture this sort of culture and as a beautiful place to relax and hide away, and it does that incredibly well. The whole design of the place was very impressive; the buildings looked very good and true to the sort of architecture you would expect in a place like this, the trees and plants all felt carefully thought out, and all the little pathways and bridges made this a really pleasant place to wander around in. It was also fun to find all the little hidden shrines around the area.

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Location Comparison:

How it compares to the last location I chose to write about…well that’s difficult to say as the purpose of the two places are completely different. The first location I chose, Winter Wonderland seems like it would be a great place to go with friends to hang out, play games and enjoy the rides on offer (not to mention the whole cornfield experience) whereas Nagare feels like a great place to come and visit alone, to enjoy the atmosphere and the peace and quiet. I honestly think I will be visiting both locations again for sure, with Nagare being my personal favourite of the two.

 

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Watching the world go by.