Saturday, July 31, 2010

OpenSim: the kids love it

Back in September 2007, I installed my first OpenSim instance, and my kids - and their nieces - have been experimenting with it on and off ever since. With the release of OpenSim 0.7, I decided to upgrade my installation, and keep it online for a while. Frankly, it was the kids who triggered that: they asked me to start 'our Second Life' again because they wanted to play.

And playing they did! For the past two days, they have been hard at work on a new camping site - probably inspired by the summer vacation season - and I am, once again, impressed with what they've made. It has everything: a reception, a terrace, shop, sanitary facilities and cabins to stay in. The cabins are decorated to each owners' taste, too.
OpenSim: the camping terrace

What really amazed me, is the quality of work these kids deliver, without any training. Sure, last year I tought them the basics, such as creating shapes from prims, linking them and using textures, but once they understood how that worked, they pretty much did the rest themselves. Today I got them started on using scripts, and that is again giving them a whole new area to play with. The first really usable chairs are appearing here and there, and my daughter is working on a revolving door! Of course they didn't write these scripts, they downloaded them from wikis, blogs and such. But, I am eager to see whether they'll get an interest in scripting in general.

Obviously, these are kids. There's plenty room for improvement in their work; especially aligning prims is sometimes hard to do. Frankly they often aren't that concerned when prim alignment is a bit off; for their play purpose it's usually good enough. Although my daughter deleted her entire shop today, as she wasn't satisfied with it anymore due to the walls and floors being aligned improperly!

I have never really worked with sculpted prims, and I'm not sure those render well in OpenSim - I think they do but I'm not sure. But after scripts, sculpties is probably the next thing I'll point them to. I wouldn't be surprised if they become more proficient with them than I was!

Many of my OpenSim snapshots at Koinup feature work created by this next generation of virtual world users. Take a look! OpenSim @ Koinup


iliveisl said...

kids do understand this very well and that is one reason that i am in OpenSim - to let kids access what we make

this is very cool that you installed this for them =)

Maria Korolov said...

My kids love OpenSim as well. They've been terraforming, creating objects, and getting their friends into it -- they're now talking about making role playing weapons and opening a virtual store.

I've got my family grid hypergrid-enabled, so they use it as a jumping-off point to explore the other OpenSim grids.

I'm a little worried about some of the creepy types you find online -- but you get these folks anywhere -- but my bigger concern is that this will only add to the hours my kids spend on their butts in front of their computers. At least it's more active and engaging than watching YouTube!

It will be interesting to see how parents handle the 3D Web. Are we going to see Net Nanny software that monitors to ensure that kids don't go to x-rated grids?

-- Maria Korolov
Editor, Hypergrid Business

Marcus Llewellyn said...

Opensim does sculpts very well! I routinely make them and use them in OpenSim. :)

If you're interested in easy, kid friendly software for making basic sculpted prims, you might take a look at PloppSL. It really doesn't get any easier than this, it is available for Windows and Mac, and its free. Plus, there's even a link to a video tutorial on their site.

Sered Woollahra said...

@iliveinsl - you are right, they understand it very well!

@Maria - those creeps, yes.. that's why I haven't hypergrid enabled this sim yet. I have experimented with a separate sim for the kids and a hypergrid enabled one for myself, but I got lonely ;)

@Marcus, thanks for the pointer! I have installed PloppSL and am testing now. The first exports didn't translate too well to OpenSim 0.7, though. The fish nose went inside the fish instead of protruding from it, for instance :) But I'll test a bit more, at least it's easy to use.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm twelve and I'm looking for open sim to use, but I can't find any which are under 18 friendly. :(
Can anyone help me? My mum uses second life a lot so I would like to give it a try. :)