Accommodating minors

Posted March 6th, 2011 by wonko

So our cybernauts will enter Minex5 (or “Oresome World” … yeah, don’t ask) and learn a bit about geological scienceportal

They will meet, greet, investigate some mineralogy and geoscience the head off to learn about environmental consequences of miningmineralscienceQuite happy with this structure – modelled on the Maritime Museum in Sydney, it has a multi-level atrium and some funky spaces that will be kitted out with activity boards.ecohutThe “Eco Hut” is on a small range “One Tree Hill” overlooking the potential mineral bed, has a funky fan roof and is built around the one tree there.surveyfield

Then they undertake an aerial survey of a large area mineral bed, interpret the results and build models of what they have found. I have placed ultralights around (all that tiresome walking gets a bit monotonous over such a large area) – you can see the aerial survey above, sector markers and boreholes in place. I may have to add some grid markers to make sense of the space – the rez distances are a pain – objects phase in and out of existence because they are so far away – nothing I can do about that unfortunately – is an Activeworld “feature” apparently.

Quite happy with the weekend’s progress – lots more to do but shape and sense beginning to emerge.


Posted February 20th, 2011 by wonko

So, after designing components, I have begun placing them in-situ; the effect is to create a gridded area that contains core samples you can click on to shift out of the way, each shaft contains 12 mineralisation readings:

bore shaft, with workings exposed

bore shaft, with workings exposed

The exploration field spreads over 20 x 25 bore holes, grouped in bunches of 5×5 to make a grid reference scheme that can be used to record data in the field:

bore hole layout

bore hole layout

Punching holes in the landscape is fairly simple, and fitting caps is important so cybernauts do not fall through into the underworld (a bewildering experience even for me). It took a while to get the cap texture to wrap around the cap geometry acceptably so it blends seamlessly into the surrounding dirt, and also including a topsoil layer before the first core plug took me an age – the lighting model in-world differs from the modelling program (Wings 3D) so I am learning the manual adjusts necessary to make them inter-operable.

I have also begun to establish the exploration campsite (“Explorers rest”) which will contain some information about the exploration process, and have allocated space closer to ground zero for a resource district so that cybernauts can learn about mining science as part of the world experience.

Explorers Rest

Explorers Rest


Posted February 17th, 2011 by wonko

modellingNow one activity cybernauts will have to complete is a collection of bore-samples, detecting mineralization according to depth. The need arose for a scenic object that performs the function of a bore-hole cap.

I fired up wings, experimented with scale to determine the appropriate size to fit an entire grid point, then sculpted a hole that tapered so it would join to a tube primitive I made earlier.

Testing their placement was fairly straight forward – with the scale correct, they move and position modularly, and it allows me to manage how they will manage taking readings at depth – I thought about sliding core samples with meta information that would slide out of the way to reveal a deeper sample.


If the movement is not “global” then it will appear to move ONLY to the cybernaut that clicks on it, meaning multiple students can work on the same spot at the same time without interfering with each other – an important consideration if there is a class worth in at a time.

boreDetailWorking out how to texture, colour and so on, then on to layout of the mineral bed; progress being made.

On a purely practical matter, vestiges of the sample are still visible when they are rolled out of the way, so students can still access the data stored in them (you can see the brown fragments still emergent from the shaft wall) .

I think this will work well – what do you think?

Airborne Markers

Posted February 6th, 2011 by wonko

So I have started work on a new world, full of mining science, called MinexV (or Oresome World … no, don’t ask). In it cybernauts will perform a mineralogical survey and then construct a scale model of the ore body they encounter.

Balloon Model

Balloon Model

First phase of the survey is a MACRO survey from the air, in a grid they will take gross conductance readings so as to better identify what sectors are worth exploring further.

The aerial survey points need to be indicated somehow, so I thought of meteorological balloons, and made one. Well, yes, in truth it looks more like a party balloon, but the intention was there.

As cybernauts will need to be organised I began to think through ideas for controlling their search pattern, and came up with the idea of a paper plane (inspired by my 356 Origami Project) suspended from the balloon pointing in the direction they should travel.

Paper Plane Model

Paper Plane Model

The idea, in-world is whimsical and should be useful, as I can use different colours to mark out grid locations.

In-World Air-borne Marker

In-World Air-borne Marker

I am still working out drill shaft appearances, and the mechanics of core sampling, but I think that can be done tidily so that multiple people can use the same resources at the same time without interfering with each other.

Tutorial Zone complete?

Posted October 31st, 2010 by wonko

…so I got to thinking about the overall “sense” of the tutorial zone – never a good thing when I have lots of other things to do, but the new procrastination plugin kicked in and I ignored my streaming head cold symptoms and began tweaking…

Object market re-worked

Object market re-worked

It seemed to me that the tutorial “shells” were facing the wrong way (they faced the road and had their backs on the internal lawn area) – by rotating them 180 (and re-arranging the foliage) it feels a lot more inclusive, like the tutes and the object market relate to each other – they are ALL about the art of building so that was settled (at least in my own fevered brain).

I added a campfire talk circle, with a “cone of silence” around it so private group discussions can go on there, re-jigged the guided tour a little so it made sense and I think I am pretty well done here.

Tut Zone overview

Tut Zone overview

Looking at it from above, it looks like there is very little here, but I know how long it has taken me to make, and feel pretty proud of it.

In the one compact u-shaped area we learn how to make, move, rotate, scale, colour, texture, script and select objects, how to film them afterwards and share our plans for doing so – nice, compact, accessible and … yeah, I know, talking to myself, you get that.

What is missing? Suggestions gratefully received.