Thursday, June 07, 2007

Media Grid call for participation: Immersive Education and Virtual Learning Environments

BOSTON, MA - June 04, 2007 - launches the Immersive Education initiative with an open call to educators, students, and professionals who have experience using virtual learning environments or video game technologies (such as Second Life, Croquet, Extensible 3D [X3D], Panda3D, Quake, Unreal, Torque Game Engine, and so forth). Individuals and organizations can visit to select the next-generation Immersive Education platform, contribute to best practices, and establish standards for virtual learning environments and game-based learning platforms.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Metaverse for Businesses

The idea of a unified Metaverse may still be off in the distant future, but it looks like Sun Microsystems has come out with a solid intranet solution. They called their metaverse MPK20, which is an implementation of Project Wonderland. You can check out a tour here.

I built a copy of Project Wonderland on my PC and, after a few bumps in the road, finally got my server and client up and running. The first thing I noticed was the presence of non-player characters (NPCs). In every day Second Life its nice to know a real person is behind each
character but in education and simulations it would be more cost effective and consistent to have an NPC.

First, I must admit that I’m a Java guy so there may be a bit of bias with this being a 100% Java solution. The following is my review of Wonderland and its uses for Second Campus:


  • Open source server
  • Open source client
  • Customizable 3D objects are built in Maya, 3D-Max, etc*
  • Incorporated audio chatting
  • Audio is stereo and uses Doppler
  • There are sound proof walls
  • The entire server and client is 100% Java*
  • Java’s 3D rendering engine
  • Clients running x11 (Linux/Unix) can allow read or r/w views in world*
    • Interactive Applications
  • Java functions can be wrote on the backend to manipulate the environment*
  • Supports streaming content
  • The driving force behind this initiative is collaboration, telecommuting, and working
    in different locations (Sun is currently using this with a team in Russia and others spread throughout the United States)
  • Supports NPCs
    • Which would be amazing for simulations and other educational activities

  • Only simplest level of client controls are built out
  • Would require a strong understanding of Java to extend the world
  • Only supports application sharing with clients using X11
  • There is no in-game scripting
  • There is no in-game building tool
  • The interface is industrial, clunky, and not appealing
  • The characters are strange looking and by default are limited on how they can
    be adjusted
  • Features and improvements are slow going
  • Does not run as well as Second Life on lower end computers (CPU and RAM seem to
    make a larger difference than quality of the video card)
*Denotes both a Pro and a Con

There are a few questions that I still have up in there air such as the maximum number of users per server and how easily one can update after they’ve tailored both the server and client. Wonderland would require a good deal of work from a team of Java developers to be Second Campus' metaverse and who knows what options we'll be presented with tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Integrated Voice comes to SL

I've been clamoring for this for a long time, and now it is here! And now I am bummed... For businesses and such it is great, for messing around, voice is definitely something that is a little personal to be giving away. Oh well, for better or for worse it is here.

Read the Linden Blog post [HERE] for more info.

Taking a Break

Old Cliffordb will be taking a break for a few days and then next week I'm headed towards GDC in San Fran. I will try to post notes from the conference here for your review. There are several serious game sessions that look good. The mobile sessions look interesting too but most of them are so short that I don't see them imparting any real knowledge. It should be interesting, this is the first year I've been able to stay the whole five days and I'm excited.

So, check back next week.

Coffee Shop hits the Cubicle

Interesting article about "co-working". I've used a few coffee shops in RL around my office and home as a virtual office and I love it. The idea of blending people together who are "floaters" into some sort of social environment is key. I love working at home but I find I'm more productive sometimes if people are around. Not even so much to interact with, but just to have in my proximity.

Anyway, enough about CliffordB. Check out the article [HERE].

HBO in Second Life

Millions of Us and HBO are hosting a U.S. Comedy Arts Festival feed into Second Life tomorrow March 1st.

Read more about it [HERE].

Originally found on

Friday, February 23, 2007

Technology in Education

Daniel Livingstone's Blog Learning Games references two reports worth mentioning. One is a report from the New Media Consortium dealing with Educational Technologies coming into play. The other is a best practices manual for cooperation in education using virtual mobility...whatever that is.

Check them out.

[NMC Horizon Report]
[EU Report]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SL on a Phone?

I've been fooling around with SMS and Second Life for a while in my spare time. Looks like somebody has taken things to the next level though. Read Technology Review's article on Second Life on a phone [HERE].
I just hope Second Life gets stable again so all this creative effort doesn't go to waste. I love Second Life, but
geez, lately things have been bad.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Second Campus Blogger Contributors

For the Second Campus looks like you have to upgrade your blogger accounts if you want to post on the Second Campus blog now. See Cliffordb if you have any questions.

Game Tap

Old Cliffordb has been pretty down and out lately so I haven't been posting much. There is still a lot of things going on with Second Life, but much of it not earth shattering. I would like to pass along one thing though. Our IT manager at work bought 7 licenses to Game Tap for his crew to research what makes a good game with. He gave me a license which was a nice gesture. I've looked at Game Tap for a while with skeptical eyes, but I have to tell you it is pretty cool. I'm an old school gamer, and the beauty of Game Tap is that they have some of my old favorites like Ultima III and Might and Magic II, as well as many newer games, some of which I was suprised to see on Game Tap so soon. The cool thing is that you download these games directly from Game Tap AND THEY WORK. Try downloading Ultima II from an abandonware site and getting it to boot up on a Windows XP or Vista machine. Good luck, it can be done but it is not easy. Game Tap handles that all for you. There is enough content in Game Tap to keep me busy for a long time. So thanks David for the license, and I highly recommend that every gamer checkout Game Tap if they haven't already.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Another Pro-Business in SL Article

Check out the article [HERE].

Interesting Debate

I've been quasi following this debate for a while. It is essentially a pro/con debate about Second Life's value for education in particular and immersive environments for education in general.

Follow the latest [HERE].

Another Gaming Report

Another report sighting the potential of educational gaming in immersive worlds.

Check out the report [HERE].

Read Learning Game's summary of the report [HERE].