An exploration of the process and pedagogy behind establishing a non-linear narrative inside Second Life with the view to create a learning space rich in cross-curricular opportunities.

...there's been a murder in the Red Barn

...there's been a murder in the Red Barn
The "Red Barn" was a thatched timber out-building with a section of it's roof clad in red tiles.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

pushing the envelope

...I guess to push an envelope, one needs to know where the edges are first and that is my primary mission. I am investigating [well, in truth, I am only just beginning] the building process in SecondLife. I am trying to ask what I consider reasonable questions - to match funtionality [at least match is a good plan I thought] from lesser environments [like MUD and MOO] - let me explain.
  • I feel the need for NPCs - not to kill or anything quite as fun, but rather to be story elements - characters that exist to bring their slice of the story to life - A conversation engine would be nice and some rudimentary ability to key-word converse, scripted so they can do stuff [twitch, wink, cry] and useful actions like give you stuff when you ask for it, trade objects, sell and buy things from you. I would like them skinnable so I can decorate them with period costume ... doable? I want proximity to be a trigger - they strike up a conversation with you when you get close to them, perhaps react to an object you are carrying, wearing or have just eaten? Current conversation in SecondLife is 20m [if you are within 20m of a talker, you can strike up a convo - that is WAAAAAY too big - I was thinking like a couple of meters - that would involve using something other than channel0 for chat - can an object automatically create a new channel, sign you in and start chattering there? Dunno.
  • I feel the need for clothing [clothes maketh the man, right] so i thought it might be fun for your clothes to be part of the role-play experience - more than that, the clothes pre-decide your VIEW of certain evidentiary chains, and also provice/disallow access to some areas.
  • I want container objects, lockable, with keys, small enough to conceal a murder weapon, large enough to keep a Clydsdale [horse] in.
  • I want buildings with doors you can open, windows you can see through if you clean them down and wipe the dust off, found objects, animals [horses, chooks and maybe a few jersey cows], foot prints I can take plaster casts of, face and hand prints I can archive for comparison later on.
  • I want the activity to have many possible uses - a stand-alone capabilty so individuals can enter, explore, problem solve and make progress in the quest and COLLAB where a group of poeple come in and ROLE PLAY to learn, take on key roles in the scenario and explore the investigation that way.

I do not know if it can be done, and talking with Decka Mah [Lindy in FirstLife] and pushing my pooter to a new high [Skype Voice and MSN and SecondLife and MUD and MOO and Extranet all having separate conversations at the same time] by also SLconferencing with a new SecondLife scripter friend, some of this may be possible.


  • Play with the building tools in SecondLife, now I have my own SkyBox [a SL sandbox of my own]
  • Design the scenario space [need Mrs Noisy's help on this one]
  • Build it in MOO
  • Build it in MUD
  • Build it in Secondlife
  • Get a FirstLife
  • rinse and repeat
  • Compare, contrast, evaluate, consume chocolate

Sounds like a plan - looks like a plan of attack [looks like a nail - no it is a tack]


Anthony Massingham said...

The more you write, the more it sounds like a really interesting little project you've got going here. I've always been sort of curious about secondlife. There's something about it that seems, interesting. . .

wonko said...

I aim to explore - i am trying not to do so with pre-conceived notions of what are limitations, but I am finding it hard not to expect functionality that is in "lesser" places like MOOs and MUDs.

... has been fun asking can it be done? why not? can we find someone who can?

... will be interesting to track what compromises I have to make to tell my story in this environment, and just as interesting to see the shape it takes in the other spaces also.

thx for the comment

... if you could see what I can imagine