Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Designing a birth unit in Second Life

After a rather slothful Christmas, I had my first meeting with Aaron Griffths and Deborah Davis yesterday to discuss the design of the virtual birth unit in Second Life, as part of the SLENZ project.

Back to basics
The very first thing Deborah and I need to do is provide Aaron with a detailed architect's plan with dimensions etc. I just wanted to get straight to the juicy stuff like what curtains or style toilet to have, but we have to do the 'boring' stuff first.

Originally we thought we had access to plans, but unfortunately that access has fallen through. Whilst this is not a story I want to get into, I am finding that it is really interesting that whilst in some professional and academic areas open, free access and collaboration is being encouraged, in other areas there is still a very protective attitude to resources and intellectual property. I wonder if and how that will ever change.

Floor plan

So to get this things going so that Aaron knows what he has got to do, Deborah and I have to provide:
  • a full set of plans to scale for the birthing unit, remembering that that we need to have room for the avatars to move around;
  • ideas about colours, features, textures etc.
I have to admit to feeling slightly overwhelmed now that crunch time has arrived. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the unit, but now the time has arrived to make it 'real' I have a sense of not knowing where to start. At the same time, it's good to get things off the ground.

I think the key to this project is to take one step at a time. But I tell you what, you invited to the opening party once the birth unit is up and running.


Pamela Harnden said...

If there is going to be a party, there better had not be carpet on the floors! Plus one unit I worked in they thought that it was a good idea until the first PPH!

Sarah Stewart said...

Funnily enough, Deb & I had an argument about floor covering - she wants a wood floor & I want carpet. But Deb has won - getting blood out of a carpet is difficult at the best of times.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sara,

Just a note about camera views in your design. It is tempting to try to scale rooms to RL, but I advise against it for SL. If you intend to allow students to operate in anything but mouselook, you will find that they have great difficulty with camera views (eg, turning around when close to a wall...and suddently finding their view is outside of the room).

Thinking outside the square, I am working on a design that doesn't try to create a "building", but instead create individual rooms on platforms that can only be accessed by tp. Then, I make the exterior wall one-way view, so that even when an AV is close to a wall, they still see the room (visible from outside). Happy to consult on this if you are interested. Warmest regards

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Scott, thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate your offer of help-I'm sure we'll be taking you up on that at some stage.

The issue of camera angle is one of concern for me. I think that it is going to be problematic to make the unit look cozy & 'cave-like' when we have to make the room big enough for a number of people to be in, plus make allowances for camera views. It may well be that we have to take the same approach as you have in your PPH scenario - ie people watch whats going on behind a transparent curtain.

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