Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing with Processing, Pachube and Second Life

Continuing my play with pachube - which is really handy if you want to quickly prototype something that connects SL and RL stuff.

A Camera tracking script in Processing, updating info in Second Life, to rez a prim at similar position.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing with Pachube

Finally had a little time to investigate a web-based service called Pachube. For those that have not heard of it, Pachube is a service that enables users to share and connect real time sensor data from objects, devices and environments both real and virtual.

The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. Apart from enabling direct connections between any two environments, it can also be used to facilitate many-to-many connections: just like a physical "patch bay" (or telephone switchboard) Pachube enables any participating project to "plug-in" to any other participating project in real time so that, for example, buildings, interactive installations or blogs can "talk" and "respond" to each other.

It is currently in beta, so I had a little play to get an idea of the fundamentals. To make full use of the service you need to be given an API key, to allow you to access outputs and create inputs.

Playing with Pachube in SL

This windsock object in Second Life, is connected to an Output feed from a Weather Station in Grimsby, that returns data as a comma seperated values.
The windspeed data, is used to effect the tension of the flexiprim that makes the windsock, making it visualise windspeed in a more familiar fashion.

Anyway, this was a simple exercise to see how Pachube works with an object in SL.

Using this principle, Second Life environments can be controlled or respond to realworld realtime data through Pachube, for example an Arduino Microcontroller, that allows for some physical interactive object/wearable computer to control Virtual Content. The reverse is true, and objects in Second Life can be used to send data to a Pachube feed to be shared, allowing for an avatar - to make a realworld installation change.

In my experimentation, I had a play with Processing, and created a simple sketch that was effected by Second Life data on a input feed I created. It is important that if you are using Pachube with Processing you download the EEML Library.

Whilst Pachube is in beta, data is refreshed every 5 secs, so GET(ing) and POST(ing) data to a feed, can't be any faster. So for the moment, don't expect to create dynamic updating several times a second... ( which would be great if I was pulling Avatar data into some Motion Graphics program in Processing )

Whats great with Pachube though, is that its a community of shared data, so many users could take the data and use it in different ways.... particularly for myself, I may take real world information simply to be part of some generative artwork in SL, whilst others may want to visualise the same data in another way. From this, interesting and unexpected results could happen..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

UCreative - Second Life Island

UCA Campus (under construction)

Back in Summer of 2008, I was asked to build a Second Life presence for University of Creative Arts - (a specialist art uni, which is an amalgamation of five UK based colleges in Kent and Surrey ). As the campus was split across several towns, SL was being explored as a potential way of creating a virtual community of practice, where graduate and post-graduate students could get together.

UCreative SL Island

I was commissioned to create a basic low prim scaffolding for an interdisciplinary island of arts, and also create something that gave a imaginative flavor of what could be achieved in virtual worlds, rather than slavishly re-creating the realworld campus.
The build was designed to get people navigating and around a 3D space fast especially by flying, but a teleport system was also in place to get around quicker, or those still learning to control their avatar.

UCreative SL Island

The approach I went for, was to create a Giant Tree, where the foundations of its base, formed the main lecture theater spaces, as well as public areas of exhibition and marketing - a scuplture/art garden, a more traditional white cube gallery space, and a sandbox area, on the ground.

UCreative SL Island

Very simplified tree branches formed platforms, that would be given over to specific areas, eg. moving image, fashion, communication design, and also staff development. Finally high up above the clouds was a private sandbox area.
This use of height within a sim, was to make efficient use of the island, rather than everything flat on the ground.
Hopefully this system also keeps information/areas apart, but not completely compartmentalised. As it was a shared island, discpline areas could share space and resources - creating opportunities for students to work across courses.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Avatar Skin and Clothes Map

Avatar Skin and Clothes Map

Avatar skin and clothes map for workshop in content creation in Second Life for 1st Years. Feel free if you think its useful.


Avatar Attachment Points

Avatar Attachment Points

Map of Avatar Attachment Points... for workshop teaching SL content creation to 1st Years. Feel free to download a copy if you find it useful.