segunda-feira, novembro 17, 2008

Third Assignment - Coming in to land / Terceiro trabalho - Vir até terra

Well, the text said:

Select two orientation spaces that you will analyse, from the list below:
  • Orientation partly interactive, Virtual Ability (135, 124, 23)
  • RL Student Orientation Area, Campus (172, 90, 24)
  • NMC Orientation (107, 114, 39)
  • Orientation Stations, Dore (32, 99)
So I chose the RL Student Orientation Area at Campus, and the Orientation Stations, at Dore. Basically, my reasoning was that I was already acquainted with NMC Orientation, and other members of my work group had looked into Virtual Ability's from the post I've seen in the course forums. So I picked the path less treaded.

For starters, I will not fly nor use Alt-Click until I am instructed to do so in an obvious way. No point in burying that information in the middle of a notecard. Most people coming in to SL want to start right away, and if they were patient enough to read notecards and long instructions (something any seasoned RPG player does, but that's a small subset of the population), they wouldn't have any trouble in virtually any orientation island.

Here is what I'm seeing, reporting as I go.

The arrival is nice. There is enough candy to make it pleasant, and the sign "Welcome" | "Touch for Notecard with Instructions" is clearly in front of you, at a decent height.
The tribal sounds are nice, too, but if I recall, people will probably have them off. So perhaps a sign (with a picture) showing newbies how to turn music on would be in order?


One issue is that if you move forward (which is only natural) you'll be travelling AWAY from the main area. You'll find a stone with a painted skin saying "Tour SL: Touch for Notecard", and that seems to be a task for students, but I wonder how many miss the small text?


Pretty soon, the newbie faces a "No Entry" area, and probably doesn't know where to go, because if he/she turns around, all to be seen is vegetation and lots of confusing elements:


Assuming people go to the right, they will end up facing the work area:


But if they go to the left, they will be facing another "No Entry" and a steep wall. Eventually, they will reach the work area.


In the work area, a nice touch is that a plain sign offers advice on lag problems (ableit perhaps "slow" would be a more generic name for non-English speakers). The notecard text is short and readable, ableit technical, as one would expect.


If you start by the left side you'll find a couple of boards for posting pictures, which is nice. but the instructions are way higher then the default zoom. It's worth remembering that people at this stage probably won't know how to zoom, and most definitely won't know how to Alt-Click.


Another example is at the corner of the work area: a readable sign says "DO NOT build with this prim". There is smaller green sign that say "(...but please try clicking on it!)", but how many newbies will be able to read it without Alt-Clicking or zoom?
Also, note the overall confusing panorama that you see from the work area. Would you know where to go, if you weren't someone with initiative?


Going all the way back, I tried to go around the work area, into the rest of the area. But soon after, I was stuck (literally) below a blue car. My head was stuck there, I couldn't move easily. An overall idea from this is that sandboxing should be a restricted zone, not the entire parcel.


Getting rid of that, I went forward, and found out that the most visible element (a terrace) wasn't accessible from where I was coming:


Around I went, again, and came across a pond... which I fell into (remember: I haven't learned how to fly yet).


I think I've got the overall idea fo this location: use it alongside a mentor or experienced user, not on your own. Just now I've found a chair. It was saying "Sit", so clicked it and it said:
".Zugzwang Adirondack 2: Andabata Mandelbrot, say '/1 Hide' to hide me, or '/1 Show' to make me show. Or just right-click and sit on me to use me."

Why would I want to hide a chair? Nevertheless I tried saying it (notice that I still hadn't said anything, so I needed to know that I should press Enter to open the chat line), and nothing happened. Eventually, I reached the end of that long line of instructions and sat on the chair.
Of course, I was left to my devices to notice the new button to get up, that the SL client produces.

Another example: in the middle of the screen in the first of the following photos, it says "touch sculpture to change". Can you see the scupture? I swear I clicked often on the black cube, until I noticed the thing lines in the sky and realized it was a wire sculpture! Then it changed, and the next one was something more obvious, but I'm not so sure the wireframe one should be part of this.


Turning to the terrace entry, it is a narrow staircase. I have no problem climbing it, but I'm sure newbies will not have the same opinion. Well... at least there is a deep pool in front, ready to welcome those less able to coordinate their new avatars!


And so I reach a small auditorium, with some billboards suggesting blogs, and other information, but all in the same vein: you should first take part in a class or mentoring session about how to use SL, only then should you look into this. This in general feels like a souped-up sandbox.

There were always one or two people there, so in the next post I'll tell about my experience chatting here.

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