Author Topic: General design issues  (Read 8389 times)

Offline Dan

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General design issues
« on: December 18, 2006, 11:23:09 AM »
Hi folks,

I've designed and deleted plenty of work over the weekend, the result of which is me thinking that I should raise a few design issues.

An example, I created a building for the reception area that housed some information signs, very much the equivalent of an information kiosk or welcome desk.  Now bearing in mind that a visitor arriving at the reception zone, the north west corner of the island, would have a view of the entire island infront of them, it suddenly struck me that a large 'brick' building that took this away from them would be very silly design.

However, the location of an information building being infront of new arrivals is entirely sound.

Thus one of my suggested guidelines is as follows: where a large construction threatens to obscure views of the island, consider the use of transparent surfaces.

In the above example I believe the kiosk really must be in the reception area, yet using transparent walls instead of solid ones we can place it where it is best suited without diminishing initial impressions.

Clearly I'm not saying we should not have any 'solid' structures on the island, just to think carefully about why you are building things a certain way.
SL: Woop Superior (MG) / Woop Kamachi (TG)
RL: Dan

Offline PeterT

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2006, 01:02:02 PM »
Also bear in mind - as I found out over the weekend - that if you are inside a building the walls can do really odd things to your views.

eg I put the discussion benches inside a nice blue cylindrical 'room' - but when you sat on a bench you couldn't move your view back far enough to be able to see everyone cos if you did you moved out through the wall.

Also - buildings in the real world serve a real function - they keep us warm and dry and stop things blowing away. In SL they don't serve those functions - though they may serve other ones - but it means we can think a bit differently about what our 'buildings' should be like.

So do buildings need outside walls - other than to hang things on or mark out areas? Are there other ways of doing those things that would work better for us?

I'm experimenting here - I don't know the answers - maybe we do need buildings (make us feel safe or something).

PeterT
PS Do you like the pathway I've started building around the island? I decided that having it up in the air would:
  • give us more space on the ground to do stuff
  • give people a better view of the island
  • challenge people's ability to walk around the island - linking with Level 1 SL skills

Offline Dan

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2006, 01:07:12 PM »
Indeed this follows my point preceisely.  I think one great reason for having buildings is so that the world is not overly unfamiliar, however they need to be used carefully and thoughtfully.

'Walls' are most likely to be useful for delimiting areas rather than serving any architectural function.
SL: Woop Superior (MG) / Woop Kamachi (TG)
RL: Dan

Offline mgaved

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2006, 01:47:32 PM »
Could I flag up the paper I've linked to in the wiki?

Boyd Davis, Stephen, Huxon, Avom, Lansdown, John - The Design of Virtual Environments with particular reference to VRML (Middx University 1996)

http://www.agocg.ac.uk/reports/virtual/vrmldes/title.htm

(it's all online)

It does talk about VRML so skim over that bit but there's a lot of good thinking in there about designing spaces in virtual reality environments, e.g. "There are a number of attributes of the perceived world which, rather than copying slavishly, we may be able to 're-use' for our own purposes, in order to clarify or enhance meaning. Examples include focus, distance, atmosphere and scale".

The authors come from computing and architectural backgrounds and refer to the history of art and architecture, as well as computing. I know the paper's ten years old but there's some great stuff worth reading and maybe reflecting in our design work?
Teen Second Life: Mark Sparker / Second Life: Redmark Hax

Offline PeterT

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 11:46:02 AM »
I worked with Stephen on the SoURCE project back in 1998-2001 - I've emailed him to ask if he'd like to play (or get some of his students involved) ...

Offline kieron

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 01:05:53 PM »
yup, I agree about walls and buildings. Rather than completely transparent walls I'd go for largely glass with some non-intrusive frames.  It is easy for new people to get trapped in transparent buildings. I like 'platform spaces', unless one is going for a recreation of a type of RL building, or very big strutted hangers. Easy to access, easy to leave and fewer prims.
I'm deleting my 'messy lump in the sky' tonight  and will be trying out my big prims instead.  I have already deleted the rap records from the wall of sound because I just figured out what they are saying !  Only bland music remains.
On this note, what sort of sounds do we want (if any?) on the island. Some places have natural e.g cows and birds, others spooky undernotes and most nothing. Do we want a nice welcoming sound -or perhaps schomusic f.m. sounds. The better islands do have a sound background I reckon (although ISN didn't).


  

Offline Dan

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 01:12:21 PM »
The plaza fountain has a nice relaxing water running water sound  :D

I'm not going to ask what you discovered on your rap records  ;)
SL: Woop Superior (MG) / Woop Kamachi (TG)
RL: Dan

Offline mgaved

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why walls?
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 01:59:45 PM »
Dan says:
Quote
'Walls' are most likely to be useful for delimiting areas rather than serving any architectural function.

Very good point. I am wondering if floor surfaces can be used to achieve this purpose? I think the entry area to the island does this very nicely, also aided by the 'beachfront rails'.

If this is the case, then what are walls for in SL? Maybe we therefore don't need them?

Or perhaps they are used for -

(1) to stop outsiders looking into a space? (privacy)
(2) to stop insiders looking out (distraction)

I can't think of a situation where we need (1) - can you? I can think of teaching or work situations where we might want (2).

Didn't one of you find some one way transparent walls? would this be something to use in our space?

Just trying to come up with some rationale for the architectural choices we make... I'd welcome your thoughts...
Teen Second Life: Mark Sparker / Second Life: Redmark Hax

Offline kieron

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2006, 10:49:16 PM »
yes I can make one way transparent walls. Just stick a clear texture on one side and hey presto! No one can see in and I can't find the door to get out.
Yes, walls are interesting. I went to an exhibition of Zepplin Photo's yesterday. The photo's were mounted on the inside walls of a house/gallery.  You walked around and looked at them. It had a nice ambience. But in terms of function I wondered bout other ways of presenting the same pictures. In this setting the walls/gallery gave a kudos to teh palce and it fitted with the theme of teh palce (victorian-1930s).
   

Offline mgaved

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2006, 10:09:04 PM »
cheers kieron! could you put up a link to the Zeppelin house? where is it?
Teen Second Life: Mark Sparker / Second Life: Redmark Hax

Offline kieron

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Re: General design issues
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2006, 10:56:15 AM »
The Gallery is at Caledon 167, 58, 23 - Hope you like it. Caledon is a good island to browse for things Victorian -1930s. I have a steam train from there and wish I knew how to script it to run on tracks.
There are also some free airships (balloon type not very zeppelinish at the Illusion Factory).
Kieron