Virtual World Characters – Both in worlds and out.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/12/a-question-of-character.html

The above link has some great food for thought for all those “virtual world story consulting types”  The same folks usually are very much into Gov. 20 ,virtual worlds “betterverses” and  “avatar multi-lifing” type myths. Maybe “this Age of Imagination” should take some lessons from the “old Age’s of Imagination” which of course, I cant remember ever having ended.;)

Generation Pixar – Designing Psychotic Lamps for who?

http://www.core77.com/blog/object_culture/tvor_perhaps_the_worlds_most_existential_lamp_18185.asp

Once we celebrated design that solved problems for people. Like having “light” to see by in the darkness… Today we celebrate creating machines with psychosis’ and we expect a better tommorrow via a faith in technology. This is how Matrix’s are born.

All seems kinds delusional to me.;) I don’t curse the “artist”, only the “critics” and ” press” who are only permitted to ask one question per blog post.:) or 140 character news report.:)

LA NEVERDIES – VIRTUAL WORLDS AND SELLING THE DREAM

The thing that most will have to “learn” about “virtuality” and “virtual worlds”… It’s always going to be HOLLYWOOD baby! Even if you think your’e educating k-12 or trying to revive Comdex.  When Google has closed down and fired the “video kids” studio it’s dancing around buying this month, the Dream and the path to Digital Realities will still be the same as when AOL, or Yahoo did the same.

Welcome back 1996 LA. Only this time, the same.;)

IBM to Patent “Not Bumping your head on a Virtual Ceiling?

For the consideration of  Design professionals and educators of design methodolgy for a century.I’m sorry for the format, it’s a simple cut/paste from an ongoing LinkedIN Groups Disscussion. I assume public..and not a Wikileak, but then again, seeing how my POV is being distorted into “picking on IBM” , I’m not so sure I wont have to soon color my hair oddly and join Assange in a secure mansion in Europe.;)-  thats a satirical joke for all the techies who will read this.:)

HenryStop Following Follow Henry
IBM Learning Commons : Virtual World Design Principles
Hypergrid Business has just published an article detailing specific design principles incorporated into our “IBM Learning Commons” virtual world learning environment.

With no solid walls or traditional buildings to speak of this environment is really about connecting people and social learning.

It’s a radical departure from what designers usually start building when they first get into virtual worlds. Instead, we’ve left out real world elements that didn’t provide any significant value to the user experience. The exception of course is when you are trying to provide a contextual environment for learning. But this doesn’t need to be a whole office tower or city block. In this case we bring the right-sized environment to the learner and instantiate it on demand when it’s needed.

Sound interesting? Take a moment to read the article and let me know what you think.

– Henry

3 days ago

IBM’s principles of virtual design – Hypergrid Business hypergridbusiness.com

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Larry Rosenthal • “Radical” and “patents” are strong “specific” words from “IBM”;). Maybe some prior art research is in order. The “design principles” you are speaking of have been used by many for 20 years in “online” 3D environments and are much older in environmental design work in general.

2 days ago
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Lisa
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Lisa Laxton • Interesting approach but I have to agree with Larry about similarities to early efforts by folks in the 3D community. I am glad you found a way that works for you – keep up the good work to promote Virtual Worlds! Collaborative research is a good idea – we can all help each other. Let me know if my team can assist you in your endeavor – I believe we can bring value to the effort

2 days ago
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HenryStop Following Follow Henry
Henry Watson • Ok, you got me on the dramatic “radical” comment :), but my point was that most of the learning builds I’ve encountered (and apparently those encountered by Hypergrid editors too) over the past few years do not exhibit these design principles.

The patent mentioned was actually in reference to a methodology for designing virtual spaces in general and not those particular design principles discussed (I can see that wasn’t so clear in the article).

Although the design principles may have been around for years as you say, unfortunately they aren’t applied as often as they could be to improve user and learning experiences. I hope to see more thoughtful design in virtual learning environments and would be interested to hear of examples where you’ve seen similar principles applied.

1 day ago
• Reply privately• Flag as inappropriate • Flag as promotion . Larry Rosenthal • What youve encountered (as well as what Maria looks for in topics/encounters) is up to you both to explore. PR and declarations of “firsts” and ” radical” new, are of course, old in the digital media pr world. That said:

A general patent on designing virtual spaces? Again an idea that I would think concerns many designers who exhibit careers and works going back way beyond 3 years of IBM interests and Second Life projects.

Seeing is more common than hearing today, and we live in an age Im told when one dosent need to wait monthly for a design journal to be published, or for a car trip to a library to see, hear or touch, many examples of virtual worlds expressed via online means.:) One can only hope your patent officer assigned has discovered this brave new world:)

Heres just one article on 2d/3d Virtual Design Principles published and republished many times online since 1996. Once for the DUX Confernece as requested for an event night presentation on such matters.

http://maxping.org/virtual-life/other/the-interface-2d-to-3d.aspx

Please be free to click over to the works done by myself with Cube3 since the early 90s. The principles and the actual resulting projects/products have been for the most part, presented or written about publically for 15 years or so. I spoke many times about these works and the reasoning behind them at both of the Web3D sigs I founded over the years,

I also produced a website for Showtime/ New Media Festivals/Labzone in 2001 all about web3d projects and designers/artists/ etc. I would say most of them applied similar principles to their works. In my position as editor, it was such applied principles that usually gave me cause to choose their works as valueable to others and warrent publishing.

The attempt to make “good design methods” a patented – single controlled entity -“technology” is I believe why “unfortunately” will contribute to the continued lack of “thoughtful design” in virtual environments. Method patents are not quite what they “used” to be, for that, neither are we.

Once… less was more. 😉 today Im always reminded that more means less.

23 hours ago
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Amy Groves • Hmmm. Just to correct one point, IBM’s been involved with virtual worlds for waaaay longer than three years.

Also, I do think that you have to really be able to dive into the specifics to be able to see what’s unique about this particular learning design. This is about more than how buildings are designed and constructed; it’s about how the design is driven by learning best practices suggested by research. The key word here is probably “learning,” not “building.” The sponsoring organization for this project was IBM’s Center for Advanced Learning.

That having been said, thanks for the link to the Cube Productions article. Looks like interesting reading.

20 hours ago
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John Jamison • It’s nice to see the continued effort of IBM to take a serious approach to virtual environments…when many others remain outside. And it seems to me that what is described in the article, while not exactly ‘radical’, may be a very sound approach for IBM, and the uses of the v-world that it anticipates for it’s culture.

But as out here in carbon-based land, it is going to be extremely difficult to agree on a common set of design and usage guidelines that will translate to all groups. I have been active in research and development in v-worlds for about six years now, completed my PhD research on virtual environments, all focusing primarily on development options for education and training. We hold meetings, develop interactive simulations, create authentic assessments…along with a range of other activities, looking at how to “do” learning in new ways made possible in the v-environment.

For our needs, our list of guidelines would look different than those of IBM. While ‘connecting’, and ‘social learning’ are certainly a wonderful part of the virtual environment, the over-riding focus for us is using the environment to create unique and meaningful “learner experiences”….which may or may not include social interaction…depending upon the situation and objectives. The virtual environment lets us manipulate so many modalities and sub-modalities that we can engage learners as never before. For our needs, we’re not focusing establishing guidelines about whether there should be ceilings, walls or chairs, or consistency. These are all good things, and apparently fit IBM’s needs very well. That’s outstanding.

But we are looking the environment as a responsive place in which we can create authentic interactions with new learning, and when it contributes to learning, interactions with each other.

It’s a great time and place to be involved…keep up the great work!

John/Virtual Bacon

19 hours ago
• Reply privately• Flag as inappropriate • Flag as promotion . Larry Rosenthal • Hello Amy.

“3.5- 4 years” was the articles “Hamilton’s” assertion. not mine. In terms of “web3d” media ( virtual worlds can mean another thing imo) I do remember working with IBMs “hot media? metal” back in the 90s.;) with an author on a book about web3d media.

Again I have no knowledge of what IBM plans to attempt to patent or not, only the article and comments here to react to.

I do know that “learning” and “design” are broad terms, and that “best practices” are usually considered with marketing terms rather than patents.

Interface design using real-time 3d media has been around commercially and in academia for 20 years plus. I’m sure certain aspects people have used may be called unique, as to the strength of /or business politics of particular patents, either granted in the past or future, one can only confront them, when they’re public or an issue to a concerned party.

I’ll end with “Education”, and specifically “the educational results” using 3dmedia does demand us to do better, since the majority of experiences presented using the medium has come tangentially from the game and entertainment industries for the last 20 years.

thanks for the further info.

19 hours ago
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DavidStop Following Follow David
David Miller • Hmm, I think amphitheatres pre-date IBM . .

Okay, sorry, it is far to easy and tempting to pick on IBM. IBM has poured 10’s of millions into virtual worlds and are a big reason we have working hypergrid teleports in OpenSim. Thank you IBM for the resources, both in money and talent, that have furthered virtual worlds overall.

It is very tempting to build in traditional ways and that is often rationalized as helping to “suspend disbelief” for learning scenarios. Good virtual world building means taking into account those factors in virtual worlds taht affect user experience. Things such as ceiling heights. Unless you change some debug settings, walking into a space with 8 foot ceilings without being in mouselook is terrible. Same for landing areas and what Henry was pointing to.

Of course, the purpose of your environment is the latgest driver for design. I do middle school science work so a desalination plant needs to approximate a real one to an extent.

Even with 4 years experience with 19 sims in Second Life and now a private OpenSim grid, I still want to base my builds on pseudo-real architecture. I have a fully floating lounge 200 metres up that I built two years ago and I still struggle with the concept of it in my head!

Hats off to you IBM for continuing to research and develop virtual worlds and contributing to my enjoyment of them!

4 hours ago
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Amy Groves • David, thank you a million times for pointing out how easy and tempting it is to pick on IBM. I can’t tell you how challenging it can be sometimes to engage in meaningful public dialog without sinking into defensiveness. Ultimately, what we’re really trying to do here is share our work with people so that it will do some good.

Your example of the eight foot ceilings was interesting to me because it’s a really good example of what I think Henry was referring to when he wrote that Learning Commons is “a radical departure from what designers usually start building when they first get into virtual worlds.” I still think Henry was correct in his statement. To this day I still see new builders putting in eight foot ceilings. Learning Commons has almost no ceilings or doors, except in certain very specific cases in which we require a realistic environment for staged role plays. I think the trick here is to provide the correct degree or verisimilitude for the type of learning that is being offered.

Another thing that we see new builders doing all the time, and which I think continues to be a danger and a bother even to experienced builders, is overbuilding. In Second Life it’s so easy to build that we become our own worst enemies. With Learning Commons, we looked at requirements gathered from over 40 different internal learning programs and pilots, distilled them into a set of common basic requirements, and built from that. What we found is that by making our spaces highly configurable by the learning facilitators or instructors, we could satisfy 85-90% of the instructional designers’ requirements within only two contiguous regions, not a lot of prims, and a limited texture library. People have noticed that IBM currently maintains only a fraction of the 40+ regions that we once maintained. It’s not because we’re less interested in virtual land; it’s because we have finally learned what to do with it — particularly for adult corporate learning.

Our build is uncluttered, in keeping with our desire to minimize cognitive overhead. At the same time, our design conveys a sense of openness because we wish to encourage the social and informal learning which is such a big part of how adults learn in a corporate environment. It takes a lot of meetings and a lot of field testing to get the balance just right.

There’s a video on YouTube about one of the courses that’s conducted in Learning Commons. This course is atypical in that these learning designers did much more customized building than any others have elected to do. Nevertheless, it does give you some views of a little part of Learning Commons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2p0vSGzZKM

1 hour ago
• Reply privately• Flag as inappropriate • Flag as promotion . Larry Rosenthal • Please. Give us a break. Picking on a multibillion dollar corporation? One that today has it’s employees publically posting about Patenting the obvious fundamentals to the design processs that trained designers for a century have passed on as ” free Knowlege and eperience or as formal education” not Patent licenses..I dont expect much agreement on forums like this anymore, thus isnt that the real problem with this meta “virtuality” that we have- ahem IBM? to be “grateful for” ?

This thread was started by an IBM employee. Asking for thoughts.Too bad My thoughts were about the “patent” statements in the article as well as “radical” aproaches that clearly are not radical or new for professional designers.- and thus the patent statement seems to be “one” of business politics, and not any “faux altruism” for others, even those like David.

“Think! “used to be IBMs “motto” I guess with todays employees it’s “be grateful and don’t pick on us.”

IBM “Patenting” Virtual World’s Design Principles and Methods?

http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2010/12/ibms-principles-of-virtual-design/

The article suggests IBM wants to “Patent” Virtual Worlds Design Ideas/ Principles…. like “open spaces without clutter” ?! and the use of “transparancy for walls”?!. 😉

Where does one start?.. Maybe with Prior Art… With that “I” think “we” can offer some rebuttle to the “depth” of “non obvious” for the last “few” years of prim bending “expertise” IBM employee’s “discovered” in Second Life.

I hope this is just bad reporting or just dumb PR from an IBMr looking for a new job or blogger pundit deal.;)  Patenting Design methods and principles that seem to have been taught in Design schools (like Pratt) for a century, just because today’s non thinking /or paid off Patent Officers are still afflicted with MIPS – Media Induced Psychosis.;) is getting ridiculously dangerous in our society today. “One click Patents” and “information” wanting to be free– and tools licensed not owned… are all not good omens for the future of Design.

Anyhow- Im sure theres more or less to this. You go search it out. Feel free to use Cube3 digital worlds design for 20 years as prior art and thought.;)

The Birth of StarbaseC3 – Virtual Worlds based on Content, Commerce, and Community

I recently had one of my older “print” version portfolios sent to me from CA. It seems I must go back to the past to go forward into my future;) While going through and scanning pieces of my past work, I found a 1997 issue of Macworld magazine. I wasnt sure why I had kept it, but upon openeing it I saw it contained a large article about web3d to which I contributed “quotes” etc. Overall , from its Adobe(Macromedia) and Disney proclamations about web3d dominance;)  the article could have been published again this week. Of course Second Life would be mentioned if it was.;)  Anyhow , the article also had a call out feature on StarbaseC3. This article seems to predate the AOL /Asylum version of the StarbaseC3 which would bring the product into one complete web interface that used Flash to combine the 3D MMO, the narrative, and the commerce systems. Im listed as in NY, so it probably was written  a few months before that .

Take a read if you like, the article documents the ideas that some say “still” need to become the only successful long term way to make virtuality a media that serves us, rather than us, it.

Video Tour Of Cube3 in Reaction Grid -Indieverse Meetup

 CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO

Recorded earlier today. Runs about 25 minutes. Actual Speaking Tour starts about 5-8 min mark into the video. Good event, tour etc. Take a look, send me an email if any questions.

C3 Unity Center – A Work In Progress

Two Images of the Unity Center under construction at the CubicSpace Sim in Reaction Grid. Ill be giving a tour on Friday at 10:30 am EST as part of my demo at the IndieMetaverse Meet in Orlando.