A while ago, Jon wrote about his first World Builder world, which is a lecture hall. Since then, this has become a standard part of our Wonderland "demo tour". What’s nice about the lecture hall, apart from the fact that it showcases how easy it is to build spaces using our web based World Builder application, is that it’s packed with cool features that make for a really great demo.
Let’s take a quick tour:
Let’s start with where I’m standing.
First notice the floor mounted microphone, just in front of me and slightly to my right. This is a functional in-world microphone. It’s not just a prop. If I stand on the white square by the microphone, my voice will be amplified so that everyone in the lecture hall hears me at the same volume. Having a microphone in this space provides virtual world users with a familiar real world model for addressing questions to the presenters. The microphone enforces a one-at-a-time mechanism by requiring proximity to the microphone. Of course we could have done away with this completely and given everyone the ability to address the room at full volume, but the virtual microphone allows us to use social mediation to control question asking. Why create a new mechanism when, there’s already an established solution we can bring from the real world?
If you look carefully there’s also a white square on the stage which works in the same way for the presenter.
On the far wall of the lecture hall are two collaborative applications.
On the left is a PDF viewer. This allows a PDF document to be displayed in-world and can be used by the presenter just like they’d use a laptop and a projector to give presentations in the the real world. Unlike the real world, though, audience members can un-sync from the presenter and flip through the slides on their own. Each user can do this independently, and when they’re done, they can re-sync with the presenter to go back to the slide they’re currently on. All without interrupting the presentation. Try doing that in the real world!
To the right is a video application. Presenters can use this to load videos to show during their presentation. The video application supports recorded videos in a wide range of formats courtesy of the fobs video library which provides Java bindings to native video and audio codecs. The video app can also be used to stream live video from Axis webcams, courtesy of the jipcam library.
New in Wonderland 0.4 is a heads up display (HUD). You can see the control panel for the video application in the bottom right. The button that looks like a chain is the sync button. Just like the PDF viewer, individuals can un-sync from the presenter and play the video at their own pace.
Finally, there’s one more interesting component in this feature packed space. On the far left there’s a table with a phone. This phone allows us to dial out from the virtual world to real world phones and have so-called "out worlders" (thanks, Jordan for coining that phrase!) join the meeting in the virtual world. This phone acts like a conference call, people can also dial into the meeting from their phones.
So, that’s Wonderland’s virtual lecture hall. I hope this encourages you to use the features we’re building into Wonderland to create really effective collaborative spaces of your own. We’d love to hear about your projects. Better yet, invite us into your worlds for a show-and-tell. We’d love to meet you!