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Nearly a year ago, I posted on a possible way to get Sketchup models into Second Life. Today I received a note alerting me to ‘SketchLife’, a plugin you can start using right away for this very thing (thanks for the heads-up, Anthony!).
From the SketchLife website:
What is Sketchlife?
Sketchlife is a system which allows you to model for Second Life using SketchUp.
Most 3D modelling tools use meshes (vertices connected by edges which define faces), whereas Second Life has adopted solids, referred to as primitives, to be their indivisible building blocks. This guarantees that there won’t be any stray polygons flying around, but it also prevents mesh models from being imported automatically.
The in-world modelling tools in Second Life are quite good, but they are stone age compared to the 3D modelling power tool that is SketchUp. SketchUp is free. (Thank you Google.)
Therefore, if we can’t bring SketchUp to Second Life, we’ll bring Second Life to SketchUp.
Colleen, this might be v. useful for all of your projects…!
There’s a video on the site, and a screen shot of a build, made with Sketchlife:
Archaeologically, I can see how this tool will make life a whole lot easier for recreating sites, excavations, reconstructions… if I only had a better net connection, I’d be in there right now…
There’s a new issue of the JVWR out, well worth a look-see:
This edition of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is dedicated to exploring the breadth of designs, pedagogies and curricular innovations that are actually already being applied to teaching and learning in virtual worlds. We encourage participation from a broad range of academics, researchers, educators, and educational practitioners from across the disciplinary spectrum – including, but not limited to: curriculum development, educational administration, distance education, information and knowledge management, instructional technology, e-learning, communication and education, sociology, art education, and visual culture. We strongly encourage submissions that illustrate key findings with examples and case studies; experimental research; pedagogical innovations; and best practices for the integration of virtual worlds technologies into the learning experience.
The second edition of Brock’s Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conference is taking place this summer. Registration is now open. I was able to attend last year, and it was the highlight of my conference season. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this year, so I’m going to miss out on some brilliant sessions.
Interacting with Immersive Worlds
An International Conference presented at
Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
JUNE 15-16, 2009
Register to attend at: http://www.brocku.ca/iasc/immersiveworlds
Focusing on the growing cultural significance of interactive media, IWIW will feature academic papers organized along four streams:
-Challenges at the Boundaries of Immersive Worlds features creative exploration and innovation in immersive media including ubiquitous computing, telepresence, interactive art and fiction, and alternate reality.
-Critical Approaches to Immersion looks at analyses of the cultural and/or psychological impact of immersive worlds, as well as theories of interactivity.
-Immersive Worlds in Education examines educational applications of immersive technologies.
-Immersive Worlds in Entertainment examines entertainment applications of immersive technologies, such as computer games.
The IWIW conference also features 4 keynote speakers:
-Janet Murray, Director of Graduate Studies, School of Literature, Communication and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology
-Espen Aarseth, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Communication, IT University of Denmark
-Geoffrey Rockwell, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Humanities Computing, University of Alberta
-Deborah Todd, Game Designer, Writer and Producer, and Author of Game Design: From Blue Sky to Green Light
Visit the conference Web site at http://www.brocku.ca/iasc/immersiveworlds
Jean Bridge, Centre for Digital Humanities, Brock University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Danahay, Department of English Language and Literature, Brock University,
Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights, Catharines, Ontario, email@example.com
Barry Grant, Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hutchison, Faculty of Education, Brock University, email@example.com
Kevin Kee, Department of History, Brock University, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Mitterer, Department of Psychology, Brock University, email@example.com
Michael Winter, Department of Computer Science, Brock University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip Wright, Information Technology Services, Brock University, email@example.com
Get your Moodle and Second Life mashup tools, make your LMS immersive!
From Serious Games Source
Founders of the SLOODLE project have announced the release of SLOODLE version 0.4, a toolset that will assist educational presentations in Linden Lab’s virtual world application Second Life. The project integrates Second Life’s classroom areas with Moodle, an open-source e-learning environment.
From Andrew Reinhard, a report on the recent short conference detailing the nascent Classicists-discover-computer-games movement:
A revolution is happening now and the flashpoint is Scandinavia. Both Sweden and Norway have fought and won to keep Classics as a vital and viable subject of study at the secondary school and university level. Activist bloggers like Moa Ekbom in Sweden (see her Latinblogg), and activist students like Magnus Eriksson in Norway have been responsible for rescuing canceled Classics programs while at the same time finding ways to resuscitate Classics, promoting and publicizing both Latin and Greek as important for contemporary audiences, not just relating to scholarship, but also to popular culture, stripping the stigma of elitism from Classics and proving that Classical Studies is indeed essential for anyone.
The Greek and Roman Games in the Computer Age conference was organized by Classics professors Thea Selliaas Thorsen and Staffan Wahlgren, both of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology just outside of Trondheim, Norway. The first of its kind, this conference sought to survey Classics in computer games and virtual worlds as presented by fifteen speakers from Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Full report here. I note one of the games mentioned is Caesar IV, which I’ve written about a number of times on this blog. Another series of blog posts from the conference floor live here. I look forward to future iterations of this conference, and hope they come to this side of the pond so I stand a chance of attending.
When I was a grad student, I remember coming to the common room to find a friend of mine, tearing out his hair. Apparently, someone in his native Norway had just published a substantial article on the exact subject of his MA thesis, meaning he had to change his direction.
I was reminded of him when I opened my in-box this morning to discover that somebody has beaten me to the punch re the archaeology of second life. This is, actually, a good thing. For one, it shows that I’m not out to lunch with this project, and two, that archaeological journals (or at least, the Journal of Material Culture) will publish such work.
So congratulations to Rodney Harrison of the Open University, for his paper:
Excavating Second Life
Cyber-Archaeologies, Heritage and Virtual Communities
Rodney Harrison The Open University, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
While the anthropology of online communities has emerged as a significant area of research, there has been little discussion of the possibilities of the archaeology of virtual settlements, defined here as interactive synthetic environments in which users are sensually immersed and which respond to user input. Bartle (in Designing Virtual Worlds, 2003: 1) has described such virtual settlements as `places where the imaginary meets the real’. In this sense, an examination of the role of heritage in virtual settlements has the potential to shed light on the role of heritage in both `real’ and `imagined’ communities more generally. This article develops the concept of `cyberarchaeology’ (originally devised by Jones in his 1997 article, `Virtual Communities’) to study the virtual material culture of the settlement Second Life, and in particular, its explicit programme of heritage conservation. A survey of heritage places in Second Life suggests that the functions of heritage in virtual settlements may be far more limited than in the actual world, functioning primarily as a structure of governance and control through the establishment of the rationale for (virtual) land ownership and the production of a sense of community through memorials which produce a sense of `rootedness’ and materialize social memory. Such functions of heritage are consistent with recent discussion of the role of heritage in western societies. Nonetheless, this study of heritage and cyber-archaeology provides insights into the ways in which the notions of heritage are transforming in the early 21st century in connection with the proliferation of virtual environments, and the challenge this provides to contemporary society.
Key Words: community • cyber-archaeology • heritage • Second Life • virtual settlements
I look forward to reading this!
Some progress seems to be occurring in the struggle to make design easier in Second Life – see this post.
Thanks to James O’Reilly for pointing me in this direction!
A small review piece of mine, on Second Life & Archaeology, is now available from the latest issue of the European Journal of Archaeology:
Special Reviews Section: Second lives: online worlds for archaeological teaching and research: Linden Labs, Second Life, http://www.secondlife.com
European Journal of Archaeology 2007 10: 77-79. [PDF]