Thursday, October 30, 2014

2014 HELP: NEW: Virtual worlds, the myth of the steep learning curve.

Virtual worlds, the myth of the steep learning curve.
It was a steep learning curve back in the old frontier days of virtual worlds.  But that was back when people were learning how to use virtual worlds.  Now people have developed some valuable uses for virtual worlds.  People who come into a virtual world to benefit from those uses need only a small set of skills for that purpose. Here I suggest a short list of skills and how to find out about them.

Basic skills you need in a virtual world when you start 

  • Walk around
  • Look around
  • Talk to people you meet (talk=typed text or voice)
  • Click on things (to get notecards, open doors, etc)

News and Notes

What you already know

  • You click on things the same way you click on web links
  • Put the cursor on the thing and press the left mouse key
  • You type to people the same way you do in Facebook
  • Find the message box and type.
  • Walk around with the arrow keys
  • Much like you move the cursor in editing text.  Try it and see what happens
  • Look around with Alt and the left mouse key pressed.  
  • Put your cursor on what you want to look at.  
  • Hold those keys down.  
  • Move your mouse and scroll wheel.  See what happens.

Places where you can learn more about doing those things

        These skills are enough to let you use a virtual world for these purposes*

        • Attend a class
        • Attend a meeting or conference
        • Attend a musical event
        • Explore an instructional build
        • Explore an artistic build
        *Some additional skills may be needed for particular classes, but instruction will probably be provided in the location or via help from other people there.

        Next level for explorers and learners

        • Click on an object, get a note card.  
        • Usually, the note card will appear on your screen
        • If not, look in your inventory
        • Find a note card in your inventory
        • Find recent assets in your inventory
        • Find a named item in your inventory
        • Rename something in your inventory

        How to do this in Firestorm

        • Firestorm Inventory window
        • All the info about inventory is here.
        • The trick is to find what you want. 
        • Part of the trick is Search on page.
        • In Google Chrome:  Click Ctrl+f
        • Look upper right for the search box.  
        • Type in the word you want (recent, for example). 

        Is this all there is?

        Of course not.  But the rest depends on what you want to do.  Maybe you already know.  
        Maybe you need to explore virtual worlds, find some friends, chat with some people, and try a few things before you know what you want to do.  
        When you decide what you want to do you will be able to decide what you need to learn.  Then there are lots of ways to learn  what you need.  Ask your friends.  Or look in some of the resources below. 

        How long does it take to learn a new skill?

        Suggested steps in the above article, revised to apply to newcomers entering virtual worlds.

        1. Define the level of proficiency you want your 
        newcomers to achieve.
        2. Deconstruct the skill into sub-skills and present them as manageable units.
        3. Identify the sub-skills that are essential
        4. Remove barriers to practice.

        Resources for newcomers to virtual worlds 

        Newcomer Help 

        Advanced help


        Contests and dated calls/invitations/events


        The Machinima 48 Hour Film Project

        Weekend of 14 - 16 November 2014
        Filmmakers from all over the variety of virtual worlds and games will compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world.
        Entries Close at Midnight SLT 31st October 2014. Winners will be announced in December 2014.   
        UWA Art & Film Challenges 2014 with L$1.03 Mil in Prizes, early entries 
        Visit the UWA Challenge Gallery  to view the submissions so far:
          Note:I am running some submitted videos in this blog, but only those posted on YouTube.  Vimeo sometimes removes videos and so ruins the post. 

          Newcomer Help in Virtual Worlds


          How to handle a Hypergrid address 

          From any Hypergrid-enabled grid, paste the address into the address bar of Firestorm and press enter. Or paste it into the world map search bar of any viewer, search, and click Teleport when the destination is found. If it doesn't work, don't give up. Try again later. Some hypergrid destinations are offline part of the day. 
          If you get an address that looks like this: 
    paste it into the address bar of Firestorm, see if it takes you to the exact coordinates. 

          Entrepreneurs call


          Video-Machinima in virtual worlds


          1. I agree with you that things are a bit easier nowadays, up to a point, but for a complete Noob, it's still a steep curve. Especially as some of the people I help aren't particuarly computer literate. Just walking in a straight line can be a challenge and don't get me started on sitting and standing, teleporting and getting stuck in walls, then you have rezzing and voice problems, being a cloud, and wondering what all those buttons do, clicking on the wrong thing and losing all your clothing. :)

            I really wish someone would create a scaled down viewer for Open Sim, aimed at people who simply want to take part in virtual experiences, complete with a set of outfits and skins / shapes that can help people easily get their own "look", and that they could scale up later if they get a taste for creating and building.

            If you know of such a viewer, please let me know. :)

          2. I wish someone would make such a viewer, but I don't know one.