I. Brainstorming Inputs to the Design
- Discussion with Dr. Reed Riner on his requirements and vision of a visual SolSys.
- Round of inputs from attendees on their vision for visual SolSys
- Creation of requirements matrix: social/cultural define the space/interface
- SolSys Dreams
II. Fundamental Decisions Regarding the Design
- Fundamental decision on a single interface metaphor
- The Shape of the Sim
- Goals of the Sim
- High Level Architecture
- Attributes of the Sim
I. Brainstorming Inputs to the Design
1. Discussion with Dr. Reed Riner on his requirements and vision of a visual SolSys.
a) Social Features of a Visual SolSys Sim
- Earth team (alumni)
- Socio-cultural lego set
- Self-expression surfaces, i.e. graffiti wall
- Social isolation of programmers is a problem in MOOs
- Social interaction is fundamental
- Everyone has a home
- Create viable economy
- '2020 Vision' economy as model?
- Answer 'impact' questions
- Pros for 'handicapped' students, i.e. deaf
- Must deal with subculture prejudice against speech rather than sign language
- Discuss pros and cons of attempting to involve deaf culture
b) Technical Features of a Visual SolSys Sim
- Documents in 'file cabinets' in special room for instructors' projects
- Selective communication by group, i.e. 'page all instructors'
- Appropriate visual mailbox cues
- Check out Diversity University for good MOO mail
- Mail example: mini pine in the sim
- Group mail
- Standardized gestures and body language
- Avatar changes color to show emotion?
- Customized spaces
- All inhabitable spaces are buildable
- Building: on students' systems or as a group?
- Portable Objects
- Portable 'hole' (exit) to carry items
- Stock market (robotic?)
- On-line-accessible library with web access
- Method for keeping 'real' data separate from 'sim' data
- Removable 'sim' data
- Personalized Avatars
- System for tagging permanent vs. transient
- File possible for good stuff
- Replay scenarios?
- Log programs
- Faster running clock for sim-time
- Real-time modification of program code and features
- Must be extremely user-friendly
- Changeable clock for CONTACT (adjustable time)
c) Administrative Issues of a Visual SolSys Sim
- Educator as SolSys public figurehead
- Establish structure for how to do projects in the sim (lead, management, etc.)
- Every team has the option of completely recreating everything?
- Old town (historic site), new suburbs, etc.
- Architectural review board
- Study of comparative government structures in MOOs and MUDs
- Hierarchy analysis
- Build working model of Jim Brown's The Job Market
- Model UN clubs as Earth/UN teams: potential for funding?
- Need basic agreements among institutions
- Dragon and MOO codes available: analyze structures
- Jen Clodius' paper about DragonMud available on web
- Gaulledet University for the deaf: funding possible?
- Talk to 'Sid' in Dragon/SolSys (Josh Knapton)- he's hard of hearing
- Different worlds possible
2. Round of inputs from attendees on their vision for visual SolSys
- social pressure
- Reminder that the avatar we see is not the R.L. person, and that the body language displayed is conscious, calculated and artificial
- Sim visuals lull us into a false sense of security around emotional display: R.L. body language is mostly subconscious and therefore truer
- SolSys is Educational but can be a model for future non-educational sims
- Critical difference between education that is fun and game that involves learning (attitude and expectations)
- Don't let available technology drive us: vision should drive tech
- Develop Earth and history first, then let colonies develop
- Use '2020 Vision' world?
- Should we allow future users of similar 'MUDs' to edit out things that we feel are significant, i.e. graffiti walls?
- Start simple with system that works!
- Goal for SolSys Sim: visuals ('500 Nations' graphics, 'Dancer' avatar movement, 'WorldsChat' buildings and move-through) connected to an educational framework
- Students can't work in a vacuum, so enough structure must be created prior to start of sim for work to be done effectively
- Must have more than a skeleton
- Avoid danger of making projects too big in an industry that changes rapidly: try mini-projects, mini-prototyping
- Connecting SolSys Sim visual goals
- Integrate new students with previous timeline and world
- Continuity from semester to semester builds framework: would allow greater freedom and stability simultaneously
- Packaged start-up kit and manual for instructors
- Can't live with, can't live without admins
3. Creation of requirements matrix: social/cultural define the space/interface
- Free self expression
- Avatar construction kit
- Customizable rooms, personalized home-building kit
- Who am I and what do I do?
- Total list of jobs, bios
- Personal resources (library, tools, money)
- What is my relationship to the community?
- Unique characters
- Mechanism to limit anonymity
- List matching R.L. to avatar names
- History or biography that others can access
- Groups and affiliations
- Community rewards and punishments
- Thank you notes that all admins know about
- Acknowledgment for actions (praise or admonishment)
- Only one name and avatar available (no duplications)
- What spaces and services does my community provide?
- Complaint and Help desk
- Walls for public expression
- Meeting spaces
- Social spaces
- Private spaces
- Customizable people-movers
- Inter-colony communication
- How do I tell time?
- Sim clock
- Real time clock
- Task oriented "telescope" clock
- How do I perceive my avatar's world?
- Stay in the metaphor
- No abstraction outside the avatar
- See the room my avatar occupies at all times
- Maps (scales) "you are here"
- Mirror: see myself (avatar)
- No "godlike" views
- No disappearing: home is the only teleport
- Are there metapeople (gods/wizards)?
- Two characters for alums and admins (one with no power to be in the sim, and one with power who is invisible and voiceless)
4. SolSys Dreams
- A world already existing but somewhat modifiable
- Dynamic, living world
- 'Play it again Sam' mode
- Real-time model, very sophisticated
- SolSys now:
- Anthropology/Engineering course
- Utilizes communication by e-mail and MUD
- Build and inhabit virtual space
- Explore communication and cultural problems
- Use of networking in education
- Anthro goals for V-SolSys:
- How does a community work? (best way to find out is to build it)
- Multi-disciplinary learning experience
- Theoretical aspects of building electronic community: transition of past to present to future communities that no longer depend on physical presence
- How do new communities perform positively for their members?
- How have we adapted to the telephone/etc. and how will we adapt to the newest innovations?
- How can technology enable communities previously based on physical presence to move toward not relying on physical presence?
- What does it mean to be a virtual person?
- Laws of physics must be followed
- Built-in system of explanation: "You can't do this and here's why"
- Library of NASA images, history, legend, mythos, technical stuff, etc.
- Make it attractive to all disciplines, including availability of any subject matter that a class or instructor may lack.
- Expert system
- Limits on on-line time (you must sleep!)
- Emphasize distance learning and Sim as excellent learning tool
- Sim within a sim for experimentation and building purposes
- Vehicle for teaching a variety of things (physics, astronomy, etc.)
- Keep it charming: something more or deeper than glitz
- Need for storytellers
- Visual and auditory aesthetic
- Make experiences truer to reality: journey to mars is a journey and takes time (stuck in ship if traveling, with notice beforehand)
- A story needs to be told (2020 Vision?)
- Selectable stories, history?
- Use rooms for actual purpose: experiment rooms, labs, etc.
- Jail? Aggression rooms?
- Media, virtual security cameras, roving reporters, group photos, historians
- Stay in character
- Job assignments and descriptions
- Social pressure to accomplish these assignments
- Social interaction (jobs) to maintain things in sim world
- Multiple levels of contact
- Off-sim room for out of character interaction, with time limit
- Rooms with clearly defined purposes: social pressure to keep people in line (work/play)
- Undersim = Administration, Oversim = Player
- System of social approval and social control
- Emphasize that sociopathic behavior can occur, but is not normal primate behavior
- SolSys needs a system of normal social pressures because it lacks the normal consequences of real life
- On-line ethics through storytelling, starter kits, etc. (elders?)
- People need to know what others have done (good and bad)
- No switching avatars or names
- Bouncer gorillas
- Golden rule
- Teach by example
- Emphasize that the main advantage of a society is cooperation
- Encourage care for the community
- Decay cycle?
- Chore chalkboard
- Breakable things that know who broke them
- Give people means to do the right thing
- Reward honesty, volunteer help, etc. with public acknowledgment/thank-you notes
- Welcome new neighbors
- Wheelchair with choice of colors (faster?)
- careful about people's cynicism with rewards and punishment
- Emphasis on internationally oriented outlook (multicultural)
- Reward people who are responsible by giving them more trust/responsibility?
- Computer screen/window/film/etc. = 2-D: CD-ROM for higher resolution stuff
- Random generator
- Statistical information, i.e. how much time do students spend in the sim
- Brief weekly overview of events available for instructors, etc.
Students should spend little time creating timeline because most of the timeline is given; then more social stuff can be added to the timeline like personality of colonies, rivalries, etc. upon which future interaction can be based.
- Option of signing avatars
- Project for creating software for sign language
- Get help on best range and type of gesture from sign language experts
II. Fundamental Decisions Regarding the Design
1. Fundamental decision on a single interface metaphor
Avatar-View of the world
No popping out to menus or use of arcane commands
A long term vision
2. The Shape of the Sim
a) The Off-Sim
time-out for emergencies
a sim within a sim
b) The Under-Sim:
Artificial Intelligences, backups, programming, expert knowledge:
c) The Over-Sim:
Roles for Admins, Alums, instructors, gods, Virtual Experts:
Goals for the Sim itself
3. Goals of the Sim
a) Educational Goals
- Social science discussion of how a community works
- Provide structure to take student from little or no knowledge to understanding
- Steps with levels for presenting learning (test, essay, etc.)
- Enjoyable, hands-on lab
- Provides easy way to move from education to entertainment
- Must fit requirements and formats that institutions are used to recognizing
- Also work toward revealing or building a need for this type of education
- Revolution in education
- A way to utilize and develop distance learning
- Allow interaction between students and experts
- Students must pull, not experts push, information (research)
- Virtual board?
- Students can study themselves
- On-line tutorials and general learning as selling points
Science, math, history, economics, politics, sociology, engineering, anthropology, etc.
Personal communication skills
Critical thinking skills
Work in a multidisciplinary team
Computer and Internet skills
b) Socio-Cultural Goals
- Culture as a basic human survival system
- Human ecology (how the environment is used)
- Economics (how the resources are used)
- Social politics (law, social control)
- Religion (ethics, belief systems)
- Communication (verbal, body, etc.)
- Show link between biology, culture, and environment
- Address the question of what the students become
- Give students tools to operate within all communities, not just on-line
- Students must write biography
- To function in the sim, students will necessarily become part of an on-line community and will learn to communicate effectively therein
- Allow students to build their own ethical structure (students should learn to be more flexible)
- Define set of values which will enable one to appreciate diversity, multicultural views, etc.
- Set up series of universal questions to define sociocultural framework
- Ethics and values: we do not necessarily have the right to impose our views on the participants of the sim
- See problems through playing the role
- Questions for any species, alien or otherwise
- Dealing with aliens/being an alien
- Learn to empathize better with others
4. High Level Architecture
- General discussion of what the system will do
- Educational goals and logistics are a priority
- Writing is required of the students
- Set up teaching modules: a series of universal questions for a cultural category (ethics, etc.)
- Interactive database resource: library, on-line tutorials, etc.
- Major components: people, information (references and expert advice), creation process (labs for testing), actual sim environment (universe), and actual sim process (interaction)
- Actual sim process:
Plot line beforehand
Food shortages, etc. should be at the colony level, not the individual level
Checklist: if specific list of things is done, then everything is fine; if not, random things go wrong
There should be certain challenges to the individual and the colony as a whole in order to keep people from getting bored
- Avatar construction set
- Human interface with machine
- Library: info backbone which can compensate for lack of instructor information and participation
- Series of questions in lab to create personalized model
- Ready-made module will have questions and answers so that student will know who he/she is
- All info should be in the library (but under various categories, i.e. reference, history, archives, sim-specific, etc.) flagged for levels of permanence
- Labs or builders' school for the creation process: define and test assumptions
- What is given and what is built and how the program chooses to run it (including modifications in the lab) = context = universe
- The universe obeys the known laws of physics
5. Attributes of the Sim
- Sort of do job of instructor
- Answer basic questions
- Use library information
- Effective for experimentation in social and technical fields
- Off-sim and on-sim?
- meta-library vs. sim-library
- Students and instructors set access according to need (part of instructors' manual)
- Universe: physical, biological, technological, ecological, ideological, cultural
- Challenges built in: see GURPS office for bibliography
See Requirements Matrix for additional attributes
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