Friday, June 12, 2009

King Tut in Second Life: A Teaser

Wall Paintings
Location: Kings Rezzable Region

I began my educational review of Rezzable's Tut creations with Second Life, if only because it does give a preview to the much larger features to be found on the Heritage Key OpenSim grid. Teleport over to the starting point at Kings Rezzable and have a look. What I've seen so far is very impressive work.

Some initial observations:
  • The Starting Point: nicely arranged. It was an excellent idea to have the survey in several places for visitors who do not return to this point. My students will, of course, hop into the balloon. Then they will stand and fall out and try to walk back to the starting point's platform, which means they’ll fall again, through the desert floor, and plummet thousands of meters, to my great amusement. The balloon should do something if it can be sat in.
Above Rezzables Tut
  • Howard Carter’s Camp: Here is an area where my students could have a lot of fun fleshing out the material culture of the world when Tut was discovered. I’d like to know more about the motivations of the archeologists of Carter's era, as well as those of a wilder earlier period briefly mentioned. Students know these larger-than-life figures through Indiana Jones, so why not give them a diary and some materials about the questionable legal arrangements made to secure some digs? Why not have a hunt for clues to discover Carter’s motivations? What about an assignment over the provenance of many antiquities?
  • The Mummy's Curse: Since Carter knew about the legendary “curse,” and Rezzable notes it briefly in the audio here, why not play that up as a way to get students to think and write about the ethics of what the archaeologists were doing?
A Kings Treasures
  • The Tomb: The artifacts are drop-dead gorgeous, the best primwork I've seen in SL. I’d like to know more, however, about their use in ancient times. Could we have notecards that would appear when an object is touched? Again, some beta-testing students might really enjoy developing these for Rezzable. Finally, the step back into the first room will be difficult for a noob.
  • Room with Wall Paintings: I can see my students playing here, in a writing exercise that asks them to study the images and guess at the meanings before they hear the audio. I like to have students do close image analysis anyhow, so this room would play along nicely with several earlier assignments. The North wall never rezzed for me and the doorway beyond was so short I could not get through it. Should the wall be a phantom texture? Given that the room beyond is empty, that may not be an issue.
My next dispatch will take me to the other parts of the Rezzable build, before I teleport off to OpenSim as "IggyO Heritage" and continue my dispatches. Speaking of...
Carters Camp in SL
Coda: Shades of Ozimandius. As I looked over Tut's tomb, I wondered about the hubris of the Egyptian monarchs--and the occasionally pharaonic ways of Second Life's makers. Huge costs would be incurred to host half a dozen regions in SL, which Rezzable can easily do on their own grid. My one peek so far into OpenSim confirms that the content there equals what I saw inside SL, and it certainly exceeds it in scope.

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