World Building – A Test of Preview4

Today’s Wonderland Wednesday World Building session served three purposes: to help people learn some world building techniques, to start the process of creating of a new Wondertown community space, and to test the build candidate for Open Wonderland v0.5 Preview4.

The group decided at the end of the session that the build was just about ready to release. Two of the major bugs – the web server hanging problem and the terrible flickering on Windows clients – both seemed to be resolved. A third fix, to improve the way turning gravity on and off behaves, wasn’t quite right, so Jonathan is going to take one more stab at fixing that before creating the final Preview4 release in the next day or two.

In terms of the session itself, we began with a Wondertown Planning Board meeting, brainstorming about the layout of the “town” and the types of content we might want to include.

First Wondertown Planning Board Meeting

First Wondertown Planning Board Meeting

We also reviewed some world building tips, including:

  • Look for “blue ribbon” models in the Google 3D Warehouse – these tend to perform well in Wonderland
  • For best performance, only use models that are 1MB or smaller
  • For models that do not include a .kmz download link, download the most recent SketchUp version and then use File –> Export –> 3D model to save as .kmz.
  • Most SketchUp models look best when you uncheck “Lighting Enabled” in the “Model Component” property sheet
  • Use the Top Placement module to quickly arrange models
  • Use the “Details” pane in the Edit tool palette to precisely place models

We then broke up into three groups, each working on a different type of content. The “Higher Ed” team spent most of their time learning and practicing world building techniques, so they didn’t get too far along on the design of their space, but they did find a nice university building to experiment with.

Beginning of Higher Ed team's space

Beginning of Higher Ed team's space

The “Space” team got started on a Solar System simulation, finding models of all the planets and placing them the correct distance apart. They made good use of the Poster module for labeling the planets.

Start of a Solar System simulation

Start of a Solar System simulation

The “War Room” team found an interior space to use as a war room and placed it on an island in an isolated mountain terrain. They used the Poster module to hang a sign above the door.

Entrance to Wondertown War Room

Entrance to Wondertown War Room

They also used the Top Placement view to move around the terrain so that the building was centered in one of the lakes.

Top view of Wondertown War Room

Top view of War Room

This yielded a nice view out of the windows.

War Room interior with view of mountain terrain

War Room interior with view of mountain terrain

In under two hours, the group made a great start on building out Wondertown. We saved a snapshot and will periodically do more group building sessions to continue to develop this new virtual space. Others are more than welcome to join these follow-on sessions. Please visit the events portion of the Open Wonderland Facebook page to find announcements of these and other events. If there are groups of community members in either Europe or Asia who would like to participate in a world building session, let me know and we can arrange some sessions at more convenient times.

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