I am pleased to see that the community of Jokaydia have embraced and developed a new outpost on Reaction Grid, which is run on the OpenSimulator platform. Jo Kay reports on her blog that the community of educators will be meeting up on Sunday evenings;
To visit jokaydia @ Reaction Grid, simply sign up here and follow the instructions here. When you arrive, you’ll find us either by searching the map for jokaydia, or look for a blue landmark button that the Reaction Team have kindly added at Core 1 (the Reaction Grid landing point) t0 direct visitors to our new space.
Whilst Jokaydia will continue to have its main headquarters in second life, the plans to diversify will continue, spurred on by recent events which have caused a stir within the virtual world community.
Following on from Teachers Without Borders on Secondlife, I met Konrad to discuss what he needed in detail. The main goal is to have a set of chairs with multiple configurations depending on how the space is being used. In simple terms you have an object that you touch which brings up a menu with options like “lecture”, “discussion” and perhaps options for the number of chairs needed. When you choose an option the chairs reposition themselves. We’ll get to that in time. In this post we look at starting to design the chair in Blender. Konrad wanted to keep the space fairly informal so for now we are going with a typical outdoor chair.
I produced a video tutorial that roughly shows the steps I’ve taken to make the chair. I hope others join in and share their progress. All of the software is free and open source and runs on all the major operating systems. Here’s the things you will need.
Stay tuned for part 2, we’ll look at baking the sculpt map and making the texture.
PRO TIP FOR MEDIA: You’ll notice on archive.org that the video is available in Ogg Video format, this is the video format used by professionals involved in OER and free learning, its a royalty free format. If it doesn’t play on your system by default then download vlc media player.
The virtual worlds consultancy kzero.co.uk reports that membership of virtual worlds grew by 39% in the second quarter of 2009 to an estimated 579 million. Some of these memberships are likely to be unused or inactive but this is still a massive rise. Much of the growth comes from children, particularly in the 10-15 age group. Habbo has in the region of 135 million members, and allows users to create and connect, it is incredibly popular with teens. Second Life allows users to create their own content, unlike most of the newer virtual worlds. Whilst OpenSimulator lets you create a virtual world on the hard drive of your own computer, linking to other compatible ones, such as Second Life.
I hope Konrad Glogowski doesn’t mind quoting some of his email but heres part of what he told me about Teachers Without Borders and Secondlife.
The mission of Teachers Without Borders is to support teachers from around the world with professional development opportunities and tools that connect them with information and each other so that they may play more vital roles in their communities. We currently work with several governments and Ministries of Education around the world, including Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Peru, and China just to name a few.
The goal of the SL presence is to provide a platform for teachers in industrialized nations to discuss teacher professional development as an important factor in international development, to help raise awareness of issues affecting teachers in developing nations, and to work towards increased empowerment and change.
The space will be used to host a discussion series open to all on some of the above topics. As a long-time jokaydian, I also hope to use this space to continue to contribute to the island’s growth and profile.
Konrad contacted me about making some furniture for that space and I’m really keen to contribute. I think perhaps he saw my sculpture and and work flow from my screenshots on flickr. Over the last few days I’ve been experimenting with chairs. To be continued…
MakeHuman is a software application that generates 3D humanoids; similar to Poser or DAZ Studio. It is written in C++ and Aqsis is necessary to produce a render. The MakeHuman team work towards correctness both in programming (using common file formats) and anatomy. MakeHuman makes extensive use of university research in accurately modelling the human form.
What I found really interesting was when you import your model to blender, I did this using the collada import plugin. I’ll try to explain a little using the screenshot below.
By default the skeleton and armature are placed inside the body, I moved them out of the body to show you. Im sure having the armature already set up will save a lot of time, armature is kind of skeletal structure used for animation. Watch Super3boy’s 20th Blender Tutorial(Using Armatures) on youtube for a good introduction to armatures. The other at the back is the human skeleton. The other thing you can’t see here is the skin, I still have a lot to learn and texturing/skinning the meshes looks difficult. On top of all the 3d stuff theres so much I’m learning about the human body.
The other thing I’m enjoying about learning Blender this time around is the community at blenderartists.org. The way the more experienced guys explain things, the terminology they use is really helping me along and of course being able to use some of their source files is incredibly useful.
I’ve been thinking about what other useful tools I can introduce to educators in secondlife. Builders Buddy is useful for people interested in building. I put together a small package with a tutorial, you can get a copy of builders buddy in sl. Watch the Builders Buddy video on youtube to see what it is. Probably one of the cool things I didn’t mention was wearing it as an attachment and using it to rez a few seats that would follow you around. Maybe I’ll make a part 2 video that also looks at the configuration options at the top of the main script. People used to proprietary products in sl would probably know of something like this that’s usually called a rez box.
I’ve been thinking about useful tools for educators in secondlife. Meta Presenter is a simple, really easy to use tool for giving presentations. Its free and open source. Watch my Meta Presenter demo video on Youtube.
Teravus was teaching me about the internals of the meshing for physics on opensim when the topic came up about making a mesh out of a sculpted prim. I mentioned I would like to attempt to make one and try it out, and a few hours later he had it working! This video is Dahlia walking on a sculpted prim spaceship in OSGrid after updating to his new code.
In secondlife sculpties only collide on bounding boxes, which make them really only suitable for visuals, not for part of complex builds. Due to some early work done by Teravus this week, that’s no longer true for OpenSim. We’re now creating a tri-mesh collision surface for sculpties and passing that into our physics engine.
Probably the best thing about the way Ive done this is that I can run it from a memory stick which makes it easier to demonstrate and use when I’m not connected to a network on other peoples computers, thats a fairly common scenario in education, I can also leave them with a copy which is a nice bonus. Unfortunately in Australia our isp’s offer internet packages that set limits on how much we can upload and download otherwise I would have this running all the time. Perhaps someone out there could help out, i would love to have a Wikiversity region connected to osgrid or something like that.
I might put a howto on a wiki if people end up asking lots of questions.