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Bits and Bobs about Dan

Woop Superior on Cetlment Island

Job: Business Project Leader for the Calendars and Student Tracking & Reporting projects on the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). My background is in the software development arena (having worked at various times as software tester, software developer and technical lead), but I'm now focussed more on the business analysis side of things. Special interest areas include user experience/usability, and with regard to teaching in SL creating immersive learning environments. Another interest in SL is the Sloodle project, looking at combining the strengths of Moodle and Second Life, particularly relevant now that the university is deploying Moodle.

Other interest: Guitar player, badminton player and qualified coach, mountain-biker, skiier and long-running games player (which is another reason for me being so interested in Second Life, I believe this kind of environment can be a very powerful educational tool).

I can be contacted via email at Also visit my blog, simply titled, Dan's Blog.

Site map - Main Page - Second Life

Recent Work and Events

26th March, 2008

Forum stats

Not been overly 'visible' of late, but been chipping in here and there (conferences, publications, meetings) nevertheless. Also there have been a few major personal changes, including resigning from the OU to take on the role of Producer at a games company. Exciting times.

In advance of this evenings meeting I decided to graph two key metrics with regard to Schome forum usage, namely new topics and new posts. This data is publicly available via the schome forum, but I thought it was nice to have it visualized. Click on the image for a full-sized version.

I notice that new posts and topics increased when the island(s) were closed..which is expected I suppose, but still good to prove that people didnt think "Oh, no Schome Park for a while. I'll just forget about it for a while." KitKatKid Schomer 14:06, 26 March 2008 (GMT)

7th February, 2008

Recently I've simply been relaxing and recovering from all the work that went into building the new island. I've been in-world very briefly once or twice for various reasons. A few days ago I put up 'Texture' and 'Script' signs in Schome Central. I believe these areas may be used in the way the old Scho-Op was. If so more signs will clearly be required!

I've also been in the process of moving my blog, which can now be found rebranded simply as Dan's Blog. Not only that, I've collated images from concept and build phases of the Schome Park Beta construction, put a few thousand words outlining the process and thinking behind the build, and put them up on the blog as a separate page. Something I felt was worth recording and publishing. This report can be found here.

22nd January, 2008

Woop revels in his favourite japanese garden to date

The island is scheduled to reopen today. Is it finished? Not to the degree of polish I would have liked, certainly there have been many compromises in terms of the original design, and in many cases due to the way SL works (either in terms of building or more often the scripting). Olly and I were tearing our hair out trying to get a key function of the island to work last night. Literally looping through and through fixing and resetting 'something' only for SL to rip our hearts out time and time again and destroy it. As of this moment it is working (for how long?). Huge thanks to Olly for the long hours on last nights job in particular. Nice one.

I just removed one small sentence, as i thought it might give the wrong impression of SParkers LOL! Although Olly was so tired by that point that he was starting to laugh manically at the computer for no reason.... --Beccaw 14:08, 23 January 2008 (GMT)

I'll be putting a full review of the design and build process including many screenshots up on this wiki. Once I've had a long lie down and recovered my breath at least.

So the island should be open later, not as finished as it should be but pretty smart. I hope the schommunity enjoys the new space, and I really look forward to seeing how SP Alpha develops given the additional control that students will have.

16th January, 2008

Very very busy on the new island. I'm not sure of the total hours spent, especially when you include all the work that happened outside SL (pen and paper design, texture work .etc.) but the figure is substantially larger than previous phases. Still, it is all starting to fall into place now and it will be good to finally get the first preview screenshots onto the wiki. Hopefully in the next couple of days.

8th January, 2008

Another year rolls in and Second Life is not playing ball. Substantial development work is taking place on the new Schome Park island for phase three of the project. This however is not helped by far too many problems with Second Life. Asset servers have been a big problem, causing issues whilst inworld, and the servers have been taken down by LL to resolve these (albeit not with any permanent level of resolution) which has led to lost development hours on several occasions in just the last week.

Nevertheless progress is being made and with a modified opening date of Jan 22nd I'm confident we will have reached an appropriate state of redevelopment when the doors open. I'm also hoping at that point or shortly thereafter to move appropriate pages/notes/images from the staff wiki to here as a public record of the development process. No screenshots just yet though ;-)

11th December, 2007

sun and snow

More of the same, odds and ends, texture uploads, some minor build bits and pieces. This included a chat with Elsa regarding a few issues and ideas. Plenty more distance to be covered however.

Plus a few more snaps whilst chilling out with other folk, using the lovely Windlight client. There's simply no getting away from it, the Windlight features really do give SL a much needed graphical makeover.

10th December, 2007

Old style, flat
Bloom with Windlight

Heck, I've been keeping these notes for over a year now. Well, whilst busy working on aforementioned top secret stuff ;-) I took a few minutes out to have a look at more Windlight features. Having remembered that I hadn't tried what I know as a 'bloom' effect (or 'glow' as it's called with Windlight) I dragged out a stained glass window texture that I had lying around and took a snapshot using the SL release client (see picture on the left) and then another in Windlight with a small amount of 'glow' on the window prim (see picture on the right). Lovely, makes all the difference. Glow will notch up to silly settings where the prim texture just disappears altogether.

Having tested this I can see one place it will be used in my current work. No more details just yet, but it should really add an extra dimension.

6th December, 2007

Testing the Windlight SL client (see snapshots on Spii Bliki). Turned out to be stable enough, and the picture was great. Smoother, nice lighting, great water, and it will run at 1600x1200 resolution (at last).

Also more work, ideas and design in the direction of Phase 3.

5th December, 2007

Very busy doing all sorts. Unfortunately it's all top secret at the moment so no details to make public. Rest assured though the amount of ongoing work is vast, and is only going to get greater.

19 Novemeber, 2007

A minor update. Not been too active on Schome Park in recent months. That said I've been involved in a lot of 'peripheral' activities with regard to strategy and funding and as ever have been keeping abreast of issues to do with Second Life, Linden Labs and other virtual worlds that are out there or on their way.

Most recently I've been beta testing a MMORPG called Tabula Rasa (I'm Woop Kamachi on there as well). That's served as a partial source of inspiration for some ideas that might come into effect in or around SPii in the not too distant future. More on that I am not at liberty to say just yet.

Past Work in Second Life and Schome

These entries have now been archived. You can read them at Dan's Past Work