Friday, February 13, 2009

Zoning Richmond Island

Zoning Day

Location: RL office of "Kevin Galbraith"

When Kevin told me that we'd be having a zoning meeting, fears of a clampdown danced through my ever-suspicious mind. I'm not the sort to live in a planned community of any sort, in a real or virtual world. But Richmond Island is not all about me, damn it :)

Two colleagues who also have avatars and projects on Richmond Island joined us. Luckily, our zoning work clarified, in one meeting, ideas we'd been considering for over a year. Our short talk showed me the power of planning well.

Right now, our virtual campus is a hodgepodge of all sorts of materials and parcels set to various groups. We decided that given the low prim-load on the island, we could develop a second "story" on a floating platform that would house semester-long student projects. Our ground-level builds would be permanent features and would include:
  • An orientation point in Richmond's current gazebo. The gazebo would remain, as a visual cue, like the brick walkways, from our real-life campus.
  • A Showcase (garden or building) for the best projects from Richmond classes
  • Long-term projects (I've a literary simulation in mind...that's all I'll say for now)
  • A meeting space to hold larger group-events (Montclair State's Amphitheater comes to mind)
  • A Sandbox area for faculty and students to use for play and prototyping not connected to classes.
Some issues unique to SL design came up:
  • Should we turn flying off in some parcels, and not others, for the purposes of simulation particular to a project?
  • Where should we build relative to the SL sun? If we put a video screen with the sun behind it, it would blind avatars watching a presentation at sunset.
  • How often should we have seasons? In RL Richmond, we've had a typically wimpy winter. On SL Richmond Island, the snow, like that found by Good King Wenceslas, is "deep and crisp and even."
  • What roles and powers should go to those who use the island? How can we insure that students can build for classes without wrecking items that are supposed to stick around for the duration?
We will emerge with a better island. And, as more classes use SL on our campus, we may need a second island.

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