Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great Future Neighbors: Inspiring Orientation

You might have seen that recently the MadPea sims has been rearranged and Madpea Islandnow is called Harpers. And you may wonder what is happen there, as there is just construction so far. Madpea ist very happy to have “The Inspriring Orientation” soon in their neighbourhood, with a new, interesting concept. We interviewed the creative head of the project, Arrehn Oberlander. He is  developer of SL viewers and founder and head of the artist and builder group MetaHarper.

Arrehn Oberlander

MadPea: You started to build “The Inspriting Orientation Project”. What is that?

Arrehn: Thank you for asking! The idea for an "Inspiring Orientation" has been evolving for many years in my head and within a circle of creative friends. We believe the new user experience in SL doesn't do enough to show what makes SL unique among virtual worlds -- rich, free-form, resident-generated content of all kinds. SL's Welcome Island experience can be re-imagined to demonstrate SL's virtues as an accessible, creative medium. Resident creative works can be used to make the educational part of orientation more engaging, more interactive, and more immersive. We plan to invite artists to submit designs for interactive exhibits which demonstrate viewer skills. This allows us to make both a functioning orientation, and a long-term gallery of creative art at the same time. The Inspiring Orientation aims to be a more fun way for new users to learn SL skills, while at the same time demonstrating the kinds of content that makes SL unique.

Madpea: Is that location only meant for newbies or also for advanced users?

Arrehn:  We're planning to build Inspiring Orientation in stages. The first stage is aimed at complete new users and encompasses basic viewer skills only. Later stages will focus on intermediate and advanced viewer skills, particularly information that is under-documented, or where current viewer technologies outstrip information from the usual web sites.

MadPea: Tell us about the design.

Arrehn: There's a few different designs concepts that we could talk about-- to start I can give an overview of how people will experience the basic training part of the orientation: For the first basic training stage, you'll appear in an open welcome area, and from there follow an enclosed path that will take you on a linear path through a handful of interactive learning stations. Each station will be dedicated to demonstrating a particular viewer skill such as flying, or using the camera. The idea is that each of these stations will be under the singular control of a particular creative artist or art group, so in a sense the basic training course is like a gallery of exhibits, as well as a training course.

MadPea: You are developer of SL viewers. Will the use of viewer be a main topic of the tutorials?

Arrehn: Viewer use and familiarity is the main focus of the Inspiring Orientation, but looking forward into the future we'd like to include some starter tutorials and resources for various types of content creation.

MadPea: Who is the financial force behind the project? 

Arrehn: I've raised enough funds to keep Inspiring Orientation available for at least two years. It is envisioned to be a lasting orientation and exhibit for creative art in SL. The art appreciation group I started a few years ago, "Metaharpers", has been continually funding a small number of public art resource areas in SL, and Inspiring Orientation will join that list. Other groups have also been very helpful-- Kiana Writer at MadPea Productions has greatly helped us with land acquisition, and we're looking at possible partnership with LEA and various third party viewer projects down the road.

MadPea: When will be the opening?

Arrehn: We're aiming to open the basic training area of the Inspiring Orientation as an art concept exhibit in the late spring timeframe. Shortly afterwards we'll convert the area for practical use as a fully functioning orientation area. 

Madpea: What are the future plans?

Arrehn: We're going to have our hands full filling out the basic training stations for opening. Once that's done, we'll build out intermediate-level training stations and more tightly integrate tutorials into the viewer.  Beyond that, there's a number of advanced level tutorials we can create. Right now we're taking the project one step at a time, but there's a great deal of potential.

MadPea: Thank you, Arrehn!

by Quan Lavender

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