Sunday, March 30, 2008

Current projects: Sculpture Garden, WikiHUD, Tesla

I have not been writing the last few days because I have been busy working on the information kiosks for the Yedo Sculpture Garden, a new sculpture called "Tesla," and an update to wikiHUD. These are related projects.

The kiosks have simple text on prims. Nice, but not really useful. However, I am also writing articles for the Second Life at Wikia wiki, so that wikiHUD will be able to read them. But that's where the update to wikiHUD comes in.

Two requested features for wikiHUD have been the ability to "walk" through an article, and the ability to have article URLs sent to local wikiHUDs so that people can have self-guided tours that are also updated regularly by updating an external wiki page
. So my programming project for the moment is to write this update to wikiHUD. As usual it will be free and fully open source. How this feature will work is that the wiki HUD can be set to listen, by the wearer, for chat on channel 7777. If it hears a URL, it will then either say this, or, if the wearer has it set not to, merely inform the wearer that a URL is available.

The other part is to add simple buttons to step through an article, so that people can read the article at a more measured pace. This is particularly useful for larger articles.

The purpose of this is to replace the "HUD filled with bloatcards" design that is currently used, and to make updates easier. The idea is to make it so that galleries , museums, and educational facilities, or anyone else really, to have information available to avatars, in world, at at the right pace.

(I'm also going to note that one thing that drives me crazy about Second Life flags is that they don't flap, so I added a timer that puts in some negative gravity every now and again to create that effect.)

I am testing the wikiHUD update today, but it will probably not be finished until later in the week.Thank you for everyone who has been sending comments and suggestions for wikiHUD.

Tesla is my latest sculpture, and it is the first collaboration. When Parsec was introduced, I called a "break through" work, and my mind was filled with ideas for using the same technology in a sculpture. Tesla is the first result of this thinking. It is still being worked on, but it uses the same basic approach: people wear gestures, the gestures translate sound of voice chat volume into chat, and the sculpture listens for these chats. Tesla is based on sine waves and damping, and I am waiting for the sound design to be delivered, which is really the important part of this project. I'll update people on the progress of this one, but I still need to do more work on my end of things.

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