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WP2-Experience design demonstrator

Page history last edited by klaus 9 years, 10 months ago

 

 

 

www.avalonlearning.eu

 

 

 


 

This document is licensed under a „Creative Commons Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Austria“ Licence (“Creative Commons Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Österreich”). Further details see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/at/

 

Autor: Barbara Kocher

 

 

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

Second Life is a registered trademark of LindenLab coorp., San Franzisco other mentioned trademarks are respected properties of their owners.

 

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Overview

 

 

Genre

 

UKnow is a typical guessing game, taking place within a closed game setting. (studio atmosphere). The game is suitable for use in a learning environment, where knowledge acquired by playing can be tested and completed. It will be implemented in English.

 

Target group

 

The game is mainly targeted at adults, particularly language students (eg. participants in programmes such as Grundtvig or Leonardo, for further information please go to http://www.lebenslangeslernen.at). It is intended as a study incentive, should mainly be a lot of fun and easy to use.

 

Game host

 

The quiz show takes place within the Second Life (SL) platform, to be exact, in the region Forum Europe (see figure 1), and the AVALON-Island. 

figure 1 (service point of AVALON Island)

 

Course of the game

 

UKnow represents a language acquisition game, which takes the form of a fun quiz available in several modes (see chapter 2.7 Playing modes). The game is designed for a minimum of two and up to eight players, who compete to test each other's knowledge. Certain modes also allow single player tutorials for practise.

 

The player enters an arena-like area, which can hold up to eight players. Each player is allocated a console with a buzzer. On the front of the console, indicator boards display that player's score (also shown on the console for the player). A canvas screen at the front of the arena displays the questions and may also show other relevant information. Depending on the selected playing mode, the centre of the arena is occupied by a corresponding object (Wheel of Fortune, Topic Wheel,…).

 

The language quiz contains questions from the categories geography, history, culture, idioms and grammar. The player mode is selected after the start of the game, followed by the playing mode. A selection of single modes or a combination of modes is possible. The player with the highest score at the end of a mode wins and is entered into a high-score list.

 

References/Inspiration

 

The game is based, on the one hand, on the PS2-game Buzz!, You Don’t Know Jack and on the other on various TV quiz shows (such as "Who wants to be a millionaire?", see figures 1.4 – 1.9).

 

figure 1.3 and 1.4

 

figure 1.5 and 1.6

 

figure 1.7 and 1.8

 

 

Specifications

 

Since the game takes place with the virtual world of Second Life (Region Forum Europe), it may be played on all operating systems that have Second Life installed. (Download at http:// secondlife.com/download). All specific settings (z. B. audio, video, graphics, ....see figure 1.10) can be activated via the programme itself.

 

A headset is required for communication, Skype (for independent communication) and Quicktime™ (for video streams) may be used optionally.

 

figure 1.9

 

Rules

 

Controls

 

Game control is achieved with the aid of a virtual character (SL Avatar). The avatar enters the playing area and can interact with the available objects (eg. Question marks, consoles, prizes,…)

 

Additionally, the player may place actions (gestures, instructions,…) via the Head-up-display (HUD, see chapter 4.4), whereby the HUD must be accepted by the player when the game begins and then appears at the top edge of the screen. Depending on the playing mode, the buzzer or the ABCD-keys or both may be used.

 

When a question is asked, the player must respond by manipulating the appropriate key on his console.

 

Start of the game

 

The player to first activate the game interface (question mark) starts the game. The main menu opens and offers the choice between single- or multi-player modes. Depending on the choice, various different playing modes or combinations of modes are presented and can be selected (modes see chapter 2.7).

 

After a mode has been selected and before the questions are asked, a brief overview covering the characteristics of the chosen mode is shown.

 

Joining the game

 

If the game is being played in multi-player mode and the START button has not been pressed, players may join UKnow by taking one of the vacant consoles in the arena. If the game has already started, there are two possibilities to join:

 

  1. The current game continues and the player has to wait for the beginning of the next round. If the inactive player tries to take a console, a dialogue box informs him that he cannot join the game at this point and must confer with the other players.

 

  1. One of the active players manipulates the CANCEL button on the canvas screen and the game is restored to the main menu. All scores are set back to zero and a fresh game, which the new player may now join, begins.

 

Course of the game

 

Questions are asked from any given category (chosen by the player or a random generator) until the amount of rounds in the selected mode is completed. The questions and choices for answers (usually 4 possible answers, exceptions are Hurry up! and Knowledge Proof (see chapter 2.7), are displayed on the screen. The clock starts (displayed on either side of the screen) and when all players have entered their answers or time has run out, the correct answer is shown on the screen for approx 10 seconds (pause possible). The bottom of the screen displays the number of players who got the answer right and the corresponding scores. The next question is asked.

 

Pause

 

Generally, a pause in the game is considered as being counter-productive. However, a button to pause the game is offered, which may be manipulated by any active player. The pause function is activated during the explanation of the game and in the phase between two questions. Clicking on the button terminates the pause sequence, which may be done by any given player.

 

End of the game

 

The objective of the game (one of the modes) is to reach the highest score. When a mode has been completed, the winner receives a prize (see chapters 3.6 prizes and chapter 3.4 end scenario). This is followed by a display of the high score list, into which the top ten players are entered. Next possible steps are to start a new game (in the main menu) or to terminate the game.

 

Playing modes

 

The following table contains all available modes and their respective features. Each mode is then described in detail; the prototype only utilises the Easy-Points-mode, all others will be incorporated into the game at a later stage.

 

modi  buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
easy points  no  yes  yes  15sec  10  10 0 yes 
cash points  no  yes  no  10sec  10  10 - 80 -40  -20 no 
one versus all (single)  no  yes  yes  15sec  10  10 x player 0 no 
one versus all (team) no yes yes 30sec 10 100-200 0 0 no
hurry up!  yes  no  no  15sec  10  50 -25  0 no 
wheel of fortune no yes yes 10sec

2 x player / 10

10-40 -5 to -20 -5 to -20 yes
timeout no yes no 10sec 3min 10 0 0 no
knowledge proof  no  no  yes  15sec  10  50 0 yes 
push master  yes  no  no  30sec  10  20 .10  0 yes 
who wants to be millionair  no  yes  no  moderator  15  levels levels  - yes 

 

 

 

Easy Points

 

Description

At the start of the game, the group can choose (or beginning with player 1, should several rounds be played in the same mode) a category from the topic wheel. The selection is made via the avatar touching the relevant surface, offering each participant even chances.

The "Abzocker" awards points if a question is answered correctly. In case of an incorrect or non-response no points are taken from the player. The time limit of 15. seconds awards the player a further advantage. Abzocker is also available in single player mode.

 

 

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no  yes  yes  15sec  10  10 0 yes 

 

 

Cash Points

 

Description

This mode tests the player more thoroughly. The categories are chosen by a random generator and the time limit is more important: Whoever answers fastest, using the ABCD-keys, receives the most points. Incorrect answer or non-responses lose the player points. This mode is not available for single players.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no  yes  no  10sec  10 

1 -> 80

2 -> 70

3 -> 60

4 -> 50

5 -> 40

6 -> 30

7 -> 20

8 -> 10

-40  -20 no 

 

 

One vs. All - Single Mode

 

Description

The player selecting the category plays against all other players. A time limit of 15 seconds is at the player's disposal. The more questions are answered correctly by the opposing group, the less points are awarded to the single player, if he has answered correctly too. Non-responses or incorrect answers receive zero points. The possible high score can be deduced by the number of players multiplied by ten, e.g. six participants, or five to one, results in a possible high score of 60 points. If the single player answered the question correctly, but only three players from the opposing group did so too, the single palyer receives 30 points (on top of the 10 points for the correct answer, he receives 10 points per incorrect answer) and each opponent receives 10 points. If the single player answers incorrectly, each opponent having answered the question correctly receives 10 points plus a bonus of another 10 points. Since this mode is based on two opposing teams, it is not available in single player mode.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no  yes  yes  15sec  10  10 - player x10 0 no 

 

 

One vs. All - Team Mode

 

Description

The player selecting the category plays against all other players. In each round the single player and the opponents have 30 seconds to answer a question, this comparatively long time limit allowing the opposing group to confer via a separate chat channel. All players enter their answer and all members of the opposing group must answer correctly in order to score a point. If a group member has not entered an answer it directly affects the entire team (and its score). If the group and the single player have both answered correctly, each group member and the single player receives 100 points. If either party get a question wrong, the opposing side scores 200 points. If both parties get the question wrong, neither receives any points. This variant is not available in single player mode.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no yes yes 30sec 10 100-200 0 0 no

 

 

Hurry Up!

 

Description

The buzzer is of central importance in this mode. Whoever knows the correct answer and is fastest buzzing may put forward his answer, which must be entered correctly into an input field via the keyboard and HUD (synchronised with the screen). The clock starts when the buzzer is operated. If the answer is correct (also spelt correctly) the player receives 50 points. If the answer was wrong, 25 points are awarded and the player is eliminated for that round. The remaining players may now try to answer the question. When a question is answered correctly, the next follows. This variant is not available in single player mode.

Alternatively or additionally, the entry of the answer can be substituted by displaying the possible answers and allowing the use of the ABCD-keys.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
yes  no  no  15sec  10  50 -25  0 no 

 

 

Wheel of Fortune

 

Description

Each player gets to turn the wheel of fortune. Apart from the categories, additional fields that influence the game are added:

 

  • Double: doubles the points for a question - gain as well as loss. Player selects category on topic wheel.

 

  • Half: halves the points for a question - gain as well as loss. Player selects category on topic wheel.

 

  • Free: awards ten points, the next player gets his turn

 

  • Choose: player may select category on topic wheel.

 

Once the category has been chosen, a question is asked and the clock starts. Questions and possible answers are displayed on the screen and questions may be answered with the ABCD-keys on the console. A correct answer garners 20 points. An incorrect answer or non-response loses 10 points. The ten rounds of wheel of fortune are suited for single player mode.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no yes yes 10sec

2 x player / single 10

10-40 -5 to -20 -5 to -20 yes

 

 

Timeout

 

Description

This mode does not boast a choice of category, a random generator selects these. The first player begins this rather hectic round, which lasts 3 minutes overall. A question appears on the screen, which must be answered within the time limit of 10 seconds, using the ABCD-keys. If the answer is correct, the player receives 10 points and may answer the next question. This is repeated until an answer is incorrect or time has run out. It's the next players turn, who can use the remaining time on the clock.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no yes no 10sec 3min 10 0 0 no

 

 

Knowledge Proof

 

Description

A category is selected by any given player (chosen on the topic wheel).

The question appears on the screen, but no possible answers are displayed. Similar to

Hurry up!, players enter their answers via HUD simultaneously. There is no synchronisation with the screen, awarding equal chances. When the time has run out, the correct answer is displayed and the bottom of the screen shows which players answered correctly and which incorrectly. Correct answers receive high scores, incorrect answers or non-reponses do not lose points. This variant is very suitable for single player mode.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no  no  yes  15sec  10  50 0 yes 

 

 

Push Master

 

Description

Pictures relevant to the question or possible answers are flashed for a period of 30 seconds. Players may operate the buzzer at the correct picture. If successful, this awards 20 points. A wrong answer garners 10 points and the remaining players may continue. If the solution was not found within the time limit, no points are lost and the game proceeds to the next question. Suitable for single player mode.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
yes  no  no  30sec  10  20 .10  0 yes 

 

 

Who wants to be a Millionaire?

 

Description

This mode is based on the TV-Show "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" and is included into the thesis by Ruth Wagner. The rules (ascension, jokers) are identical to the original.

 

buzzer  ABCD buttons  topic choice  time  rounds  right answer wrong answer  no answer single player 
no  yes (moderator) no  moderator  15  levels 100 to 1.000.000 step back a level (or to 100)  0 yes 

 

 

3. Content

 

This chapter contains a list of assets and their physical manifestation (appearance, textual content,

...), which need to be designed for UKnow. The complete questionnaire can be found in the respective Excel file. Generally, objects should be designed using as little Prims (Primitive in Second Life) as possible. On the one hand this is due to the fact that only a limited number of Prims may be used within a certain region, on the other it saves on loading times.

 

Where applicable (e.g. object does not require special action), the creation of objects with the aid of

sculptured texture” is more desirable, as this method saves on the number of Prims.

 

Environment

Description

A studio ambience is to be created within a closed quiz environment, whereby the presence of an audience does not seem necessary (see sketch in figure 3.1). When required, a raised auditorium can be erected based on the studio wall design or the audience members can be seated at either side of the studio. The presence of an audience may be simulated by sound design aspects.

The arena should hold up to eight contestants (see example in figure 3.2), offering each participant an unobstructed view of the screen.

 

List of assets

  • The quiz environment requires the following structural elements:

     

  • a large canvas screen (for displaying questions and general information)

     

  • a curved wall

     

  • a round rostrum in the centre (for use see chapter 3.4 scenarios)

     

  • further relevant design elements (see chapter 3.3 objects)

     

  • sketches and conceptual art

 

sketches

figure 3.1 and 3.2

 

figure 3.3 and 3.4

 

figure 3.5 and 3.6

 

 

Effects

Apart from the usual pan movements of the spotlights, e.g. at the start of the game, at the beginning and end of a game mode, a narrow-beamed light effect is produced behind each contestant when he answers a question correctly.

 

At the end of each mode, when the winner has been determined and the prizes appear on the rostrum, a rain of confetti will be released from a ceiling rig.

 

Characters

 

Description

The players create their own SL avatars, eliminating the need for a choice of characters or an adaptation tool. Only pre-determined gestures will be offered to players via the HUD (which will be run by scripts); these can be used either when a player is thinking, winning or losing.

 

List of assets (gestures)

 

The following gestures will be available to the player:

 

Contemplative

 

  1. scratching head

  2. hand on hips and head tilted (or hand propping up chin)

 

Success

 

  1. hands raised

  2. "strike" gesture with right hand

 

Failure

 

  1. hands clasping head and head shaking

  2. shrug and head hanging

 

 

Objects

 

Static

 

Description

Static objects are those that form an integral part of the arena and remain unchanged in all playing modes.

 

List of assets

 

  • contestant's seats (8)

  • contestant's consoles (8, with buzzer)

  • spotlights (animating crucial moments (lighting effects))

  • shafts of light (approx 4 on each side of the screen, see figure 3.4)

  • clocks (2, visible at top on either side of the screen, see figure 3.4)

 

sketches

 


figure 3.7 and 3.8

 

Dynamic

 

Description

Dynamic objects will be deployed according to playing mode.

 

List of assets

  • Question Mark (Point of entry into game, see figure 3.10 Start scenario)

  • Topic Wheel

  • Wheel of Fortune

  • Hot seats (2 for contestant & presenter, see scenario for "Who wants to be a millionaire?")

  • Input console (similar to contestant's console, without buzzer and with added screen for presenter and ABCD-keys)

  • Columns (2, for prize display, see figure 3.15)

 

sketches

 


figure 3.9 and 3.10

 

Scenarios

 

The scenario at the start of the game will vary slightly according to the selected playing mode. In general, only the central area (containing dynamic objects) is altered - contestant's consoles and the screen remain unchanged (static objects).

 

The following six scenarios exist to date:

 

  1. Start scenario (see figure 3.1): A large questions mark hovers above the rostrum in the centre of the arena, enticing contestants to click on it. After a click, the game starts - the questions mark disappears and the main menu materialises.

  2. General scenario (see figure 3.2): This scenario does not require an object, hence the rostrum remains empty.

  3. Topic selection scenario (see figure. 3.3): Five different playing modes (see overview in chapter 2.7 Modes) allow the player to select a category with the aid of a topic wheel on the rostrum.

  4. Wheel of fortune scenario (see figure 3.4): A wheel of fortune appears on the rostrum. The player whose turn it is can spin the wheel by touching it and setting it in motion. If the wheel has stopped at either Half, Double or Choose fields, the topic wheel appears to accommodate selection (see chapter 2.7.6 Wheel of fortune).

  5. "Who wants to be a millionaire?" scenario (see figure 3.5): Two hot seats and an input console are presented in this mode. This scenario is designed to recall the eponymous television quiz show. One contestant and a presenter conduct the game from the rostrum.

  6. End scenario (see figure 3.6): Upon the successful completion of a playing mode, a column rises from the centre of the rostrum, presenting the winner with a prize. Added features are a soundtrack of audience cheering and confetti falling from above.

 


figure 3.11 and 3.12

 


figure 3.13 and 3.14

 


figure 3.15 and 3.16

 


figure 3.17

 


figure 3.18 and 3.19

 

Questions

 

Questions and corresponding answers are displayed in English from one of the following categories:

 

  • geography

  • history

  • culture

  • idioms & slang

  • grammar

 

 

In general, each question has four possible answers (see 3.19, exceptions e.g. Hurry Up! and Knowledge Proof- see chapter 2.7 Modes). The main aim of the questions is to consolidate studied material and to increase knowledge that is not part of the material covered in lessons but still of interest (see example category history).

 

Here are some examples from the various categories:

 

Geography

Questions from this category are related to the geography of English-speaking countries, e.g.:

 

Which country was never a British colony?

  1. Australia

  2. Greenland * (autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark)

  3. Canada

  4. Mauritius

 

History

Questions from this category are concerned with the historical background of the English language or English-speaking countries:

 

When did French become the official language spoken in Britain and thus exercised a major influence on English?

  1. 1046

  2. 1066 * (following the ascension of William the Conqueror)

  3. 1906

  4. 1856

 

Culture

This category comprises several topics including music (e.g. acoustic song recognition or completion of lyrics, see television show "Sing & Win")), film, theatre and literature, again focussing on English-speaking countries:

 

Literature/Theatre: Which family is Juliet a member of in Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet?

  1. Capulet *

  2. Montague

  3. Portos

  4. Gounod

 

Literature: Hamlet claims his country is a prison - which country did he refer to?

  1. Denmark *

  2. Australia

  3. UK

  4. Ireland

 

Theater: Andrew Lloyd Webber is a renowned:

  1. Actor

  2. Composer *

  3. Movie director

  4. Theatre critic

 

Film: Robert DeNiro appears in the screen adaptation of which Mary Shelley novel?

  1. Taxi Driver

  2. Frankenstein *

  3. Sleepers

  4. Brazil

 

Idioms & Slang

 

This category contains questions pertaining to turns of expression and common parlance:

 

What is the meaning of the idiom “Lose your marbles”?

  1. losing money

  2. becoming insane *

  3. losing courage

  4. losing focus

 

Grammar

In this category, questions concerning vocabulary, tenses, form of words and syntax are included:

 

Which of the following is not an adverb?

  1. friendly *

  2. quickly

  3. barely

  4. hardly

 

Prizes

 

The winner of each round within a mode wins a material prize (see list). If the player touches the object, he is asked whether or not he wants to accept it. An answer in the affirmative results in the item being deposited in the player's inventory.

 

Some examples for material prizes:

 

  • headwear

  • jewellery and accessories

  • items of clothing

  • art objects (such as pictures, sculptures…)

  • gags (see Buzz! e.g. jet plane, knight's castle ...)

 

Interface

 

Main Menu

 

The main menu is called up if a player has started the game by clicking on the question mark.

It is segmented into three major sections (see figures 4.1 – 4.3):

 

1.Select player mode - the contestant can choose between single- or multi-player mode

 

2.Select playing mode - the contestant can choose any available modes, regardless of single- or multi-player selection (or he selects a combination - all except "Who wants to be a millionaire?").

 

3.Start, high score and help - after selecting the player and playing mode, the contestant can now start the game.

 

figure 4.1 and 4.2

 

figure 4.1 and 4.2

 

 

HUD

The HUD (see figure 4.4) allows each player to view the game descriptions, gesticulate and - for certain modes (see chapter 2.7 Modes) - facilitates keying. If the game was started via the question mark, the consoles have been activated. If a player takes a seat, he receives the HUD object, which is deposited in the inventory and can be activated by executing the wear command. Clicking on the tabs presents or hides the respective tab. The help section supports browsing and contains information on UKnow in general and the descriptions of the various playing modes.

The category Input must be activated for the modes Hurry up! and Knowledge Proof.

The player can animate his avatar by using the gesture category (see chapter 3.2 Characters). A click on any of the six available gestures executes it immediately.

In case the pause/cancel buttons should prove unpractical at their current position on the screen, they could be moved to the HUD.

 

figure 4.5 and 4.6

 

figure 4.7

 

In-Game

The game can be paused or terminated by clicking on the corresponding buttons at the bottom of the screen (see figure 4.5) and are accessible to all players. It is advisable to confer with all game partners via the chat function before pausing or terminating the game.

The pause button is activated only during changes of mode in a combination, the transition from one question to the next and the explanation at the beginning of each playing mode, which is displayed on the screen and serves the purpose of briefing the players. These instructions fade after 5 seconds or can be bypassed by using the skip button.

 

figure 4.8

 

Feedback

The screen displays which players have already given an answer and when the solution is presented, who guessed correctly and who incorrectly. Additionally, if one answer is right, a sound bite of audience applause is played. The correct answer is marked and visible for another 10 seconds and the respective answering button on the console remains illuminated until the next question is asked, allowing the player to recall which answer he chose. A light effect is executed behind each player who answered correctly. A pleasant addition could also be messages exchanged via the chat function, e.g. "Well done, player 1" or "Next time lucky, player 4".

 

Sound

The sound should be similar to that of a real studio and as such the audience assumes an important role in creating this soundscape by applauding and cheering. Furthermore, the music should create an atmosphere of tension and excitement. Artistically, the sound should be based on that of television quiz shows; Buzz! would also be a good template for the sound design.

 

Music

  • Start: Short Jingle denoting start of game and start of mode.

  • End: Short Jingle denoting end of game and end of mode.

  • Background: During the display of the main menu and the game itself an unobtrusive melody should be played.

 

Sound Effects

  • Buttons: typical clicking sound - in main menu and HUD

  • Success: applause and cheering in case of correct answer (multi-player mode: first correct answer)

  • Failure: Sympathetic sounds from audience in case of incorrect answer.

 

Voices

To complete the illusion of a real studio, a presenter would seem necessary, a role which could be assumed by one of the players (voice output in Second Life possible).However, since this might not always be the case, certain announcements should be pre-recorded:

Start of game: “Welcome to UKnow! Please select a playing mode and test your knowledge of English! Have fun!”

  • New game: “Let's do it again!”

  • Failure: “Next time you will shine!” (single-player mode)

  • Success: “Well done, keep at it!” (single-player mode)

  • End of Game: “Bye for now! Until the next round of UKnow!”

 

Sound system

Sound files can be uploaded to Second Life and incorporated into scripts.

 

Tools

 

SL-Program building mode

To be allowed to construct at the forum Europe, one has to receive a building permission from the architectural firm. All objects in "Second Life" are created and configured through the construction menu. Textures and scripts are also added to the individual objects at this point.

 

Linden Scripting Language

The Linden Scripting Language is necessary to create scripts and therefore is the most important Part in creating the game. A script editor is integrated in the game client.

 

Graphics software

Interface-content and textures are created by using Adobe Photoshop CS3. 3D elements, like sculpting textures are created with a blender.

 

Audio programs

By using Apple Pro Logic 8, the processing of music, voice- and sound effects is achieved.

 

Documentation

Adobe InDesign CS3 is used for documentation and game design.

 

 

Workflow

 

Implementation

 

General

 

Structure

 

The Linden Scripting Language (LSL) is used to implement the game. You can create scripts by right-clicking or going through the menu, which features the following basic structure.:

 

LSL is not an object-oriented scripting language, but is rather situational based, which means that the draft of the state machine is an important part of LSL. The basic structure has all the important properties depicted. Therefore default is a state, state_entry() on the other hand an event and llSay(...) a LSL provided function. It is also possible to create multiple functions (normal use of parameters and return values possible). In doing so it is important to define those parameters outside the statesblock.

 

Variables can be defined outside of stateblocks and are then seed by the respective script as "global. In other cases, they just exist within the respective block (local). LSL also provides predefined constants (http://lslwiki.net/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=constants).

 

 

Nice to know

Every script (and object) must be published for the architectural firm at the forum Europe, so all rights are carried on the that group to copy the object, modify and pass it on to others (see illustration 7.1)

It is very important to save the scripts on a regular basis, because the data can be lost in accidents (SL server shutdown or maintenance, deletion of prims, ...)

 

figure 7.1

 

Scripts live in objects, so it is not possible to administer them centrally and update all objects carrying that script. If a script has been changed, all objects using it also need to be updated. This is done by deleting the old script and adding the new afterwards (inefficient and often exhausting).

 

If a new object is created ("rezzed" - in SL "rez" basically means to create a new object, for instance also the event on_rez(integer start_param) does), so it is advised to reset the script to reload the object with the default-state (event on_rez by llResetScript()).

 

After a script reset, all variables are set back to their original values. If it is necessary to preserve some of the values, you have to use note cards and readout their values (it is not possible to write note cards) or use another script to send all required values through a channel.

 

It is important to notice, that the processing of script code does not always work atomically, so if a function call occurs, the function itself is indeed processed, but all following code below the function call is also executed. That can lead to unwanted results, for example it can lead to sending data at will.

There is nodatatype "bool" or "boolean". You always have to work with integer-variables, which can of course assume the values 0 and 1. LSL does provide constants TRUE (1) and FALSE (0).

 

State Machines for Uknow

To have a better view over the coding and state of things, important object state machines have been visualised via UML:

 

 

figure 7.2

 

figure 7.3

 

figure 7.4

 

figure 7.5

 

figure 7.6

 

figure 7.7

 

 

Asset creation

 

Prims

By prims, you refer to primitive objects (cube, ball, cone, cylinder, torus, .... - see ill. 7.8), with which you can build things in Second Life. It is possible to link multiple prims together, whereas the last prim is always referred to as root-prim (important regarding translation and scripting). If you do not explicitly select "edit linked parts" on the menu, then you always edit the linked object as a whole.

 

As with scripts, prims also have to be published at the forum Europe and all rights regarding

copying and modifying have to be granted (see example ill. 7.8. object description).

 

figure 7.8

 

Under the menu entry object, a prim can be translated, rotated, scaled and in addition warped (i.e. rotation, applying a hole, cut paths, ...).

 

The graphical illustration can be changed under the menu entry texture. There are some textures provided in the inventory, but it is possible to upload self-made textures for a fee of L$ 10,- (Linden Dollar - L$ 1000,-, are roughly €3,-). (see chapter 7.2.3. for more information about textures).

 

The menu entry features provides physical properties and lighting. Scripts, textures, sound and/or other objects can be added under the entry content.

Prims have a maximal size of 10x10x10m. If bigger objects are needed to save on prims (megaprims i.e. for huge ground plates), then the use of HUD SALT is advised, which only provides the needed prims (purchase at: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=712605).

 

 

Sculpted prims

Most of the objects can be created by using primitive forms however, if objects do become more complex, you have to use the so called sculpted prims (also called "sculpties"). (see example ill. 7.9.). A sculpted prim is mainly built by the texture (sculpt map/texture). (exception: scaling)

 

A sculpt map is a pure RGB texture, whose values are mapped on a X,Y and Z space in SL. (see example ill. 7.10).

 

figure 7.10

 

The desired object first is created in a 3D-Program (ideally blender, for it is free and provides good support plugins - see below chapter 7.3. Machinimatrix).

If no predefined mesh is used, it is important to see to it, that the result is a nurbs mesh (it is difficult to create sculpties out of polygon meshs), the LODs (more than 3 are not necessary) are correct and consists of not more than 1024 vertices (highes LOD in SL is a 32x32 vertice grid - more FAQs regarding sculpted prims unter: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Sculpted_Prims:_FAQ).

 

figure 7.11

 

It is possible to create a sculpt map out of the completed 3D-object by using an export script. The perfect size of this texture is 64x64 px (if the texture is not generated with the script).

The sculpt texture can be uploaded (File > Upload > Image (L$ 10)) and seen in a preview (Preview image as: sculpted prim, see ill. 7.11). CAUTION! The illustration can sometimes look warped - that problem can be solved by scaling the prim.

Sculpted prims can not be bigger than the predefined maximum size for prims, 10x10x10m.

 

Textures

As a matter of principle, a texture size of 512x512 px is always preferred (min. 8x8, max 1024x1024 - higher solution leads to surplus use of space and longer loading time in SL. All textures in SL are square.

Pictures can be saved in the following formats: jpg, png, tga and bmp. If you want to apply a transparency effect to your objects (i.e. windows, doors, round edges etc.), the best format used is png. But keep an eye of the alpha-channel, so your textures do not become light-transmissive.

 

Prims

 

If a self-made texture is needed for a prim, it is advised to first set the size of the object (in SL x(width), z (height)) before you start (see building menu entry - object). That size or at least the proportions are used to create a new Photoshop document (width and height must not be smaller than 512 px). The texture is now created in the real proportion. To export a texture to fit in SL, two steps are necessary:

 

1. The workspace must be adapted to a 1:1 proportion, (i.e. 1024x768 > 1024x1024). Free space around the texture emerges (unless otherwise defined).

 

2. The picture is then resized to 512x512 (max. 1024x1024).

 

After the texture has been uploaded, it is added to the submenu entry texture and the prim. If you do not explicitly select "select texture" in the upper menu, the texture will be mapped on every page. If you apply at least to textures to a prim, the texture field shows "multiple" (see ill. 7.12). Moreover you can adjust transparency, glow, UV position and UV size of the texture.

To save expenses and guarantee faster loading times, different textures can be conjoined within one picture (i.e. digits for the time-display - see ill. 7.13). The positioning is arranged under the menu entry or within the script by llOffsetTexture().

 

Sculpted prims

For the modelled object, a UV-layout is created, which can then be used as a template in Photoshop. The created texture is again imported in blender and can be applied to the object as a material. Last but not least, the texture can be baked, to receive the correct texture for the SL sculptie.

 

For further details view the tutorial at Machinimatrix (http://blog.machinimatrix.org/2008/05/12/blender-surface-textures/).

Upload and assignment is the same as with normal prims.

 

 

Literature and useful links

As an introduction in creating objects and in LSL, the book "Introduction to Linden Scripting Language for Second Life" by Jeff Heaton is recommended. The book shows the basic principles of the building system and explains the use of LSL.

As a reference book for LSL regarding the most popular functions and events, the small and compact book "LSL - Programming in Second Life" by Günter Henke is recommended.

 

The following links are also advisable:

 

 

 

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