By Nicole Yankelovich
As many of you know, we held a series of Open Wonderland meetings recently to discuss the future of community meetings along with a number of other topics.
Fall Meeting and “Code-a-thon” Schedule
The major new idea we discussed was holding longer weekend “code-a-thons” approximately once a month rather than weekly one-hour coding sessions. A code-a-thon is where developers come together and work on a project from start to finish in one day.
Instead of coding during the weekly meetings, we talked about cycling through a number of other types of meetings. First, we’ll move the monthly release meetings into a regular meeting time slot. The other weekly meeting slots will include planning for the code-a-thon sessions, hosting community showcase events, and having discussions on topics of interest to the community. The showcase events will involve a person or team providing a presentation and / or a tour of their Open Wonderland virtual world. The discussion topics will primarily be non-technical, but we may occasionally include developer-oriented content.
Open Wonderland Fall Schedule
All Wednesday meetings start at 1pm US Eastern time and run for 1 hour and all Sunday code-a-thons start at 1pm US Eastern and run for 5-7 hours.
Wed Sep 19 Monthly Release Meeting
Wed Oct 24 Monthly Release meeting
Wed Nov 28 Monthly Release Meeting
Everyone in the community is encouraged to submit discussion topic ideas and volunteer to showcase their project.
The Open Wonderland Meeting Calendar is now available as a public Google Calendar with the calendar ID:
You can add it to an iCal application using this URL:
Webcasting and Recording Meetings
Over the past year we have gotten quite a few requests to webcast and record meetings. After brainstorming about this topic, someone suggested we try Livestream. Since this costs $45 a month, I decided to experiment with the free version of UStream first. We now have a UStream Open Wonderland Community Meeting channel. It has a few drawbacks, but I would like to try it for a few meetings and see how we like it. The drawbacks include advertisements and what may be an inability to capture both microphone and computer audio. I don’t think either of these are show stoppers. We can capture in-world audio, so someone will have to set up the capture computer as a “camera,” but do any talking on another computer.
An additional topic we covered was listing priorities. Different people had different opinions about importance, but most people agreed that these items were significant areas to focus on:
- Avatar improvements or a whole new avatar system
- Audio improvements
- Updating OWL graphics
- Addressing firewall issues and tunneling
- Creating additional developer APIs to make development easier
- Improving stability
Recruiting New Developers and Other Community Members
Another topic we discussed was how to grow the community in terms of both developers and non-technical community members. For the more technical people, we discussed coming up with a preliminary code-a-thon project that was glitzy enough to make a demo video and post it on developer sites to inspire interest in Open Wonderland. We also talked about putting time estimates in the issue tracker so that new developers could find small projects to volunteer to tackle.
For both technical and non-technical people, we should do a better job of publicizing our meetings in places like Hacker News, the agile software development community, and LinkedIn groups related to virtual worlds, distance education, serious gaming, collaboration, or software development. In addition, we should get people already in the OWL community to publicize the event to their local colleagues as well as to their social networks. For that purpose, it would be great to have a PDF flyer that people could either email to friends or print out and post on a physical bulletin board.
To attract more students, it would be helpful to update our student project list and then send the list to as many Computer Science departments as possible.
For a general audience, we talked about launching a “Do it in Wonderland” campaign.
All of these publicity ideas require some additional volunteer help. We’re hoping to get a work/study student volunteer from St. Paul College to help out during the semester, but it would be great if community members would volunteer to take the lead on some of these publicity items.