Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Reading Room

My big challenge for my four days leave was to make a holodeck scene. The instructions are simple, it should have been easy, the draft version was! I made a very quick one just to see how the whole system works.
I was using Horizon’s Pro holodeck and chose to make a reading room. It seemed to me that many people may be able to use that in Second life to study texts of all different sorts especially language learners and teachers whom I seem to spend a lot of time in-world with.

Initially I put just a carpet, tables and chairs and a couple of pictures in the scene, that saved and worked but once done I could not find a way of editing it – there is nothing in the instructions about that! So I scrapped that and started again. I worked for three or four hours setting up the room, I had some books, made in word and given out at a book faire, they would have been really perfect, but all of the books made in-world, even my own, have properties that means they cannot be modified so the necessary script cannot be added. Back to the drawing board for a second time. Even though it was nearly finished I had got bored with the reading room and next day, with plenty of time to work I started to play with a different idea.

About a year ago I was involved with a literacy build based on the Leah poem The Owl and the Pussy-cat. That build is finished with and many of the resources created for it have been returned to my inventory where they have lurked for several weeks. I thought that if I could make a holodeck scene with these resources other people may be able to make use of them in other situations; they at least could be called on when or if required.

So early in the morning I started with a basic shell, converted some of it to sand, some to grass, did the hill for the turkey, made the walls transparent, then, after quite a long time working, having put the peagreen boat , cat, owl etc. into place I decided that the grass area of the base could do with being a fraction higher than the sea, 3 seconds of foolishness as I grabbed the base prim and dragged it up a little destroyed the whole morning’s work – it was a mega prim and restored to normal size – why no undo button?

Second Life has the most amazing capacity to make me look and feel a complete idiot most of the time :-)

Back to the reading room - I started from scratch a third time, spent the whole morning making note card books to replace the four books that I wanted to use but would not work, finished the build rezzed it and one whole side of furniture, all linked, installed to the wrong side of the room along with the right furniture for that side – failed!!

Started from scratch a fourth time, everything is created, built, made or whatever so very quick this time, apart from the fact it failed to rez one little group of objects at all it is fine. I am not sure that I have the patience to do it a fifth time to get my little group of objects back ( though I know at some point I will) but frustrated now at the fact I cannot share my finished resource with a colleague on the same project! Ademdum - In fact further investigation has shown that scripts I made to give out the notecard texts do not have full permissions - that is why it cannot be shared! I have to build it for a fifth time :-)

Maybe it is just me that cannot find a way to edit created scenes. The instructions are sadly lacking and no amount of playing so far has offered the answers.
Not convinced of the value at the moment and going to do a real study of the Builder’s Buddy which seems like a free, very simple version of the same thing.

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