Search Results for: Daden

Daden Unveil Oopal

Oopal (pronounced oo-pull) is Daden’s latest offering: a web-based editor allowing you to place and edit objects in a 2D environment, which will then roll out to the 3D environment (currently OpenSim and Second Life with Unity3D support coming in the next 6 months). Watch this brief walkthrough video to check it out for yourself:

OOPAL Quick Introduction from DadenMedia on Vimeo.

The full press release from Daden:

Birmingham UK, 27th June 2012: Educators and trainers can now create engaging immersive learning exercises more easily and rapidly using an innovative web-based application called OOPAL, developed by learning and visualisation specialists Daden Limited.

OOPAL (Object Orientated Practice and Learning) lets educators and trainers with little technical knowledge use the web to build 3D sets from an existing library of objects, and create, edit and manage the scenarios and simulations entirely from the web. Only when they’re ready to deploy do they need to enter the 3D virtual world and “push the button” to materialise the sets and exercises ready for students to use. With OOPAL, educators – and even students – can create and maintain worth-while learning experiences without needing to be virtual world experts.

Daden have been creating immersive learning experiences since 2008. Built on the success of their award winning virtual learning authoring software PIVOTE, Daden’s second generation system, OOPAL, makes exercise creation and maintenance significantly simpler – making it easier to involve tutors and even students in the design and build process.

David Burden, Daden’s Managing Director says “We found that the easiest way to describe immersive learning experiences was in terms of a drama – thinking about actors and props, the script and their behaviours rather than abstract concepts like nodes and links – and we’ve designed OOPAL to reflect that – considerably easing the process from exercise design to implementation.”

A key feature of OOPAL is that it allows educators to lay out the 3D environment using a simple 2D “kitchen designer” type layout tool. Drawing from a library of props and virtual actors, educators can assign behaviours to each object – how they will react when touched, pushed, spoken to or approached. Dialogues can even be assigned to the virtual actors for use within the simulation. Users can build just a single room or even a whole environment. What’s more – once they have built their set and simulation they can create multiple copies in their virtual world – again at the touch of a button.

Fundamental to the use of OOPAL, within a professional learning environment, is its ability to log and time-stamp every student interaction within the exercise. This can be reviewed within OOPAL, or exported in whole or part to a VLE or LMS. OOPAL also supports scoring mechanisms for in-exercise feedback.

David says “One of the obstacles in the adoption of immersive environments for learning has been the need for educators to be experts – not in their field of study but in building within virtual worlds. OOPAL dramatically reduces that barrier and gives educators and trainers the tools to create real-world learning experiences for their learners in a 3D environment”.

OOPAL can be accessed as a cloud-hosted service from Daden, or installed on an organisations’ own servers. OOPAL currently enables exercises to be developed in both OpenSim and Second Life. Daden plan to release a version for the Unity3D, and a web/iPad player in the next six months.

So what do you think? My initial impression from watching the video is that it would simplify things to some extent though the technical knowledge required is perhaps still a little high for some people. Personally I’ll be really keen to see the Unity version to see what it brings to the fray.

Daden’s Bot

New World Notes’ Wagner James Au was checking out the new Daden in-world web browser when he had a couple of interesting interactions with a ‘robotar’ although his pick-up lines left a little to be desired.

I spent some time with ‘Abi’ myself and agree that for a bot she’s relatively engaging if you’re happy to talk about Daden products. There are other impressive bots out there but as you’ll see from the snippet below, Abi is single, something the above correspondent wasn’t able to determine 😉

You: chatbot?
abi: It is feasible to run an avatar chatbot over a GPRS or dial-up GSM link, but not advisable. For this reason we suggest making a textbot available for mobile users. Avatars should run OK over 3G networks.

abi: Talk to me!

You: why?

abi: Sorry, I didn’t understand. I can tell you about Daden and our products and services, virtual worlds and chatbots.

You: are you married?

abi: Not the last time I looked.

I’d love to hear what your most amusing bot experiences are, whether they be in Second Life, World of Warcraft or elsewhere…

Second Life web browser launched: Daden Navigator

UK-based virtual worlds outfit Daden Limited have released a web browser for use in Second Life. Their press release:

The first publicly available web browser for Second Life was launched today by virtual world consultants Daden Limited. The browser, called the Daden Navigator, allows residents of the virtual world to collaboratively browse the web, sharing one web screen between users who may, in real life, live on different continents.

Technology introduced by Linden Lab a couple of months ago allowed residents for the first time to view web pages live within Second Life – however they could not click on any links to surf from one page to another. Daden Navigator now lets residents do this – surfing the web collectively in the same way that Daden’s recent Google Maps viewer allowed residents to share Google Maps within the world.

Daden MD David Burden says “Daden Navigator provides all the functions that you expect to see in a normal web browser. It lets you set a home page or a bookmark, view bookmarks, and has back, refresh and search buttons. It is as close as you can currently get to a normal web browser in Second Life”.

To use the browser a resident just rezzes it onto the land they own. They can then use Second Life’s text chat facility to browse the internet. Simply entering the url of the website in chat will automatically bring up the relevant page onto media screens within their SL space. To follow a link from that web page to another the user just “says” the name of the link, or some unique keywords from it. The new web page then loads.

You can purchase the Navigator here and we’d be interested in hearing from anyone who uses it.

Check it out in-world.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

Playing a little catch-up after a hectic few weeks. Here’s some highlights from around the industry over that time:

1. Following up from her February interview with Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble, Tateru Nino has a great chat with Mr Humble on Second Life’s usability.

2. We’ve written extensively on the University of Western Australia’s dynamic presence in Second Life. Here’s why the person who has driven most of that momentum thinks it’s one of the most important things he has done.

3, Daden UK have developed a virtual world finder aimed at businesses navigating the confusing array of platforms on offer.

4. Australian virtual world for kids, eKidna, keeps plugging away growing its market share if the regular promotions are anything to go by. Have a look at their work if you haven’t already.

5. Terra Nova asks: why aren’t there more sex games / virtual worlds for kids and teens?

6. Duran Duran are up and away in Second Life. Check it out for yourself here. I spent 30 mins or so wandering around the island and it’s a well fleshed out build, lots of fun. More pics below:

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1.  Daden in the UK have released a paper – ‘The Future of Virtual Worlds”, which puts forward some interesting forecasts and issues. I disagree with some of the timelines in particular (I think forecasting out to 2050 for anything is at best fanciful) but it’s certainly a document that could start some useful debates. You can download it here.

2. Composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is making his first foray into Second Life on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe at 8am on December 5th SL time. As an aside, he’s trying to get 900 people worldwide to form a virtual choir – details here. You have until the 31st December so get cracking.

3. The beta version of Viewer 2.4 for Second Life is now available . Features include an auto-updater, improved preferences menu, graphics improvements and the ability to do scripting in an external text editor.

4. Expat Aussie and ex-Linden Labber Chris Collins has released Canvas, a lo-fi ‘Second Life in a web browser’ offering. Some screen shots and comments from Chris over at NWN.

5. It’s nearly a month old now, but this post by Edward Castranova on the role of virtual worlds and the (mostly) worldwide recession are well worth a read.

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. Mashable (USA) – New Facebook App Monitors Your Child’s Gaming Behaviors. “arents wishing to follow along as their children play games online have a new friend in Piggyback, a recently launched Facebook application designed for such purposes. Piggyback, built by newly launched startup Media Chaperone, is a free Facebook application for parents who want to monitor in real time their children’s online social and gaming activities from their Facebook profiles.”

2. Inside Social Games (USA) – How Design Choices Impact Virtual Goods Purchases in Games. “Only two years ago, I was attending a conference on virtual worlds and people were discussing whether or not microtransactions would be a viable business model. Many people were skeptical about whether the success of microtransactions in Asia would translate to North American users. Now, there seems to be less talk about whether or not microtransactions work, and more talk about what makes them work. Industry stats show that yes, people are spending real money on social games. That said, however, the percentage of players who actually spend money is extremely small. From a research standpoint, it has been difficult to find out the characteristics of these spenders because of the difficulty in getting enough people to provide a sample size large enough to derive results that we could generalize.”

3. VentureBeat (USA) – Nexon Invests In Spanish Virtual World Developer BoomBang Games. “South Korea’s Nexon wants to be a bigger player on the global gaming stage. Today, the company announced it has made an investment in Spanish game studio BoomBang Games. Nexon acquired 32 percent of the shares of BoomBang, a Flash game developer based in Barcelona. Nexon’s goal is to reinforce its line-up of light community games and to strengthen its business in Latin America, where, of course, Spanish is a popular language. BoomBang Games was founded in 2004 by chief executive Luis Oses and Max Bevilacqua.”

4. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (USA) – Uncharted Realms. “In a virtual world such as Second Life where participants exchange virtual cash in transactions adding up to billions in the real world … where does a citizen go for virtual justice? Just one of the many questions explored in a new book by Rutgers law professor Greg Lastowka, “Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds.” The book debuts less than a month after Oliver Chiang’s report at Forbes’ SelectStart blog that sector analysts predict the exchange of virtual goods and services will pass the $2 billion mark next year … which would represent a doubling of the realm’s cash activity within two years.”

5. Birmingham Post (UK) – Daden creates 3D lab for University of Leicester. “A Birmingham firm which specialises in building virtual worlds has won a contract to create a 3D laboratory to help students learn to screen for inherited genetic disease. Birmingham Science Park-based Daden is creating the virtual lab to help students at the University of Leicester as part of a project addressing the limitations of teaching in working laboratories. These include the pressures of time and the costs of handling real equipment and working together with peers, lecturers and demonstrations.”

6. Hypergrid Business (Hong Kong) – Education Discounts in Second Life: Loss or gain? “I hate that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach when I know something has been lost that I care about. After my initial shock of hearing that Linden Labs was dropping education discounts, I immediately communicated with colleagues (most of whom I have never met in person) about “what will we do?” Hand wringing. Then during the day today, Maria Korolov, from Trombly International, asked me a simple question in an email — “Do you think the Lindens are doing the right thing here?” – and that question ignited a spark that I think will grow like a California brushfire. That is simply because it was clear to me that it didn’t matter – this was no longer about Linden Lab. Yes, I am very disappointed that I will have to front-up to the University and tell them I have invested precious capital budget in a failed project.”

7. Search Engine Watch (USA) – Losing the Plot In Second Life? A Tinfoil Hat Theory About Linden Labs. “So it seems the Powers That Be here at SearchEngineWatch (SEW) have decided to lose their collective sanity long enough to give me a permanent bit of bandwidth to write about Second Life/Virtual Worlds once a week. But any discussion starts with a perspective, and I think it’s only fair that I deliver mine, up front, so there’s no mistaking it: For the most part, my Second Life is a job. I’m phrasing it that way because there’s been a longstanding philosophical debate about what Second Life is. Usually that gets divided into binary camps of game/not game, and the debate can get very heated and ugly. My view is a little broader- it is whatever it is for you. Ultimately, I think it’s a blank canvas.”

8. Blast Magazine (USA) – Panasonic announces new handheld. “Do you long for your virtual worlds when at work? Do you wish you were riding your trusty mount when you’re really slumming it on the city bus? Panasonic has something they’d like to show you. The long rumored, and finally unveiled Jungle has finally been unveiled by Panasonic and grants access to MMOs and other online titles to gamers on the go. Featuring a few QWERTY keyboard, shoulder buttons, a touch screen display, HDMI port and a D-pad, The Jungle looks to take on handheld kings like the iPhone and the Nintendo’s DS…oh, and the PSP too…I guess.”

9. VentureBeat (USA) – Nukotoys aims to be Silicon Valley’s toy company. “Toys and electronics are still in search of a happy marriage. Nukotoys believes it has the answer with toys and games that merge virtual and real world activities. The startup is coming out of stealth mode today in the hopes of becoming Silicon Valley’s toy company. The San Francisco company is announcing a number of interconnected toys that combine online virtual world games and collectible cards that can be scanned by computers. The company will also build toy-game products based on two major brands: the Ology books for children (such as Dragonology) and Animal Planet. And in December, PBS Kids will launch an online game built by Nukotoys; the 3D educational adventure game will teach kids reading.”

10. Gamasutra (USA) – Feature: The Death Of Linearity? “Tale of Tales’ Michael Samyn (The Path) describes how narrative linearity got tangled up in the game medium, and suggests how leaving it behind will allow a true art form to emerge. Calling “the joys of linearity… beyond dispute”, Samyn says that it’s no surprise linear storytelling became a function of games early in the medium. “We love the tension that comes with a carefully constructed story arc. From Greek theater through medieval fairy tales and printed novels to stereoscopic high definition cinema, humankind has enjoyed storytelling for thousands of years,” he observes. “As we perfected the presentation of our creations, the backbone of our designs shifted from the linearity of competitive gameplay to the linearity of the narrative arc. Our characters and worlds simply demanded this,” writes Samyn.”

The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. USA Today (USA) – Spending on virtual goods continues upturn. “Spending on virtual goods in games, virtual worlds and on social sites such as Facebook continues to show real increases. About 13% of Americans bought virtual goods in the last 12 months, with average spending of $99, up from $87 last year (a 14% increase), finds a new survey from research and consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates and virtual goods monetization firm PlaySpan. The nationally representative online survey of 2,412 was conducted May 7-14, 2010. (1,955 were aged 18-64; 457 were 8-17). And more than one-fifth (21%) of spenders say they expect to spend more in the coming year. Biggest spenders? iPhone owners, with 43% of them saying they made virtual goods purchases (up from 28% last year). Next came virtual worlds visitors, 41% of whom say they have bought digital goods.”

2. Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (USA) – Caprica, Gamer, & Surrogates: Overlooked Benefits of Virtual Worlds. “In its first season, Caprica has done an excellent job of exploring the ethical issues relating to V-World (the virtual world created by the ultra-rich Daniel Graystone), looking at the dangers of becoming overly immersed in V-World, and whether an avatar constitutes a real person. Also in the past year, we’ve seen Gamer and Surrogates, two movies that explore some common themes with interesting parallels to those in Caprica. In Caprica, Tamara Adama’s storyline is what gives us the richest opportunity to explore V-World. Killed in Zoe Graystone’s MAGLEV bombing, a copy of her lives on in V-World as an avatar. Her father Joseph, although he’d never used a holoband before, becomes obsessed in his quest to find her avatar, neglecting his son and turning to drugs to make himself faster in the game. Joseph says Tamara isn’t dead, because according to him the avatar is his daughter. At the same time, Tamara meets a man who’s obsessed with the game as it finally allows him to be something. Tamara suggests that maybe if he didn’t spend all his time in here he would be something out there.”

3. Federal Computer Week (USA) – Government-only virtual world on the way. “Federal employees and managers will be able to meet, interact, train and learn together in a government-only online virtual world being created in the vGov project. The Agriculture and Homeland Security departments, Air Force and National Defense University iCollege have joined to create the vGov virtual world behind a secure firewall that can only be accessed by federal employees with authenticated identities. Paulette Robinson, assistant dean for teaching, learning and technology at the iCollege, said at the Gov 2.0 Expo today the project will use the three-dimensional immersive experience of virtual worlds to bring employees together from locations worldwide for real-time interactions. People will use avatars to appear in the virtual world, where they can chat with other avatars and interact with the environment.”

4. 3 News (New Zealand) – Like a drug: Videogame addiction. “A lot of us can confess to being addicted to videogames. Whether it’s spending your hard-earned moola on the latest console, suffering sleep deprivation, taking days off work or missing homework in order to get your gaming fix. Plenty of you reading this right now will be familiar with the impact that being a gamer can have on your everyday life. However at what point does an enthusiastic pastime get out of hand? Sadly, there have been many cases around the world where gamers have not only destroyed their own lives, but affected the lives of others as well.”

5. Hypergrid Business (Hong Kong) – Paper: Second Life, OpenSim best for education. “The Second Life and OpenSim platform are the best bet for educators, according to a white paper released today by virtual worlds research firm Daden Limited. “It is the only one offering reasonable graphics with in-world building tools, and as a result high levels of flexibility,” wrote author David Burden. The platform also offers the largest user community, he added, and a high degree of innovation. “If the shared hosting of the Second Life main or Teen grid are a blocker to adoption — or there is a need [for] access across the age 18 divide — then Second Life Enterprise … or OpenSim may be a solution.”

6. The Online Journalism Review (USA) – Learning by doing: Seeking best practices for immersive journalism. “Ernest Wilson, the dean of the Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism, put it like this: What if, after receiving the home and garden section in the morning, the reader could walk right into the section and visit a garden? This bucolic vision reflects one potential scenario for what we are calling at Annenberg “immersive journalism,” a new genre that utilizes gaming platforms and virtual environments to convey news, documentary and non-fiction stories. As a senior research fellow, I am prototyping immersive journalism stories, hoping to discover and create best practices for a burgeoning filed that can capture audiences increasingly accustomed to experiencing digital worlds. The fundamental idea of immersive journalism is to allow the audience to actually enter a virtually recreated scenario representing the news story. The pieces can be built in online virtual worlds, such as Second Life, or produced using a head-tracked head-mounted display system, or HMD.”

7. ARN (Australia) – CeBIT 2010: NBN will lead to crime surge, expert claims. “Vice-president of IT security group Cyveillance, Eric Olson, has warned cybercrime will surge with the increased connectivity of the National Broadband Network (NBN). Olson’s keynote presentation was delivered during CeBIT 2010 in Sydney. He said the benefits of fast and readily available Internet outweighed the negatives, but told communities and governments to be ready for the rise in crime. Large-scale data theft, wage slavery due to Internet gaming and the number of computers being taken over by bots would sharply increase because of the ubiquitous Internet provision provided by the NBN, Olson claimed.”

8. Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) – Red Dead to revive the Western. “The Western genre, long described as dead, could be set for revival thanks to the most anticipated video game of 2010. Red Dead Redemption, from the makers of the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto franchise, has been released to almost immediate and universal critical acclaim. Set in the dying days of the Wild West, RDR is inspired by such Westerns as 1969’s The Wild Bunch and Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western classic The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

9. Seattle Times (USA) – Displays of the future: Smart, bendy, 3D and more. “Talk about gazing into the future. Imagine ultra high-definition TVs not much thicker than a millimeter. How about electronic books made with plastic screens that flex like a magazine? Or perhaps a display that lets you touch a virtual version of yourself on the other side of the glass? The technology to build these crazy new gadgets is being shown in Seattle this week during Display Week, the Society for Information Display conference. A combination science fair and industry bazaar, the event is drawing 6,000 people from most of the companies developing TVs, monitors, touch screens, electronic books and cellphone screens. Inventors and component manufacturers will be showing their latest creations to consumer-electronics companies, looking for technology and materials to build the next iPad or wafer-thin 3-D TV.”

10. Virtual Worlds News (USA) – Club One Uses Virtual Worlds To Battle Obesity. “The Second Life virtual space Club One Island announced that participants in its behavior modification program had lost more than eight pounds over the course of a twelve-week period. A control group that was attempting to modify behavior using the same methods but without the aid of a virtual world lost, on average, slightly less than six pounds per week. Club One attributes the virtual world’s success in aiding weight loss to certain key features of how people interact with virtual spaces. “Club One Island is a new approach to health that encourages individuals and organizations to rethink how we deal with obesity issues in this country,” said Celeste DeVaneaux, Creative Director of Club One Island, in a press statement. “Program participants are very pleased with their weight loss results and we believe that there are tremendous implications for companies, health insurance providers, and governments looking to reduce the burden of health care costs and improve the lives of entire populations.”

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. Daden Limited have launched an Apollo 11 simulation that’s well worth spending some time checking out. It features Tranquility Base and the Eagle lander, and “allows visitors to follow the footsteps of Armstrong and Aldrin, whilst looking at the videos and photos they took, and finding out about the science experiments they left behind”.

Start here to make your journey and make sure you download the HUD before teleporting to the lunar surface. Spacesuit is optional (I purchased mine for the occasion, and purists will note it’s not an Apollo suit).

I created a rough machinima on my short space walk without the HUD activated:

2. Treet TV (formerly SLCN) have partnered up with recent Linden Prize winner Studio Wikitecture, to “reate a collaborative building environment for bringing new life to Treet’s studio islands”. There are plans to create a documentary about the collaborative process and its outcome, with an early 2010 release date slated.

3. Second Life-based Australian band SpaceJunky are sponsoring a Grid WideTreasure Hunt:

This treasure hunt is about Science Fiction and Fantasie so there will be everything from Star Wars, Dark Crystal, Labyrinths, spaceships, fairys, and anything else you can imagine!

There will be boxes hidden all over SpaceJunky Island including a SpaceJunky crystal with a special SpaceJunky song in it. Yes that’s right FREE! The crystal will play the song when touched. Crystal Gypsy Designs wil have one too with a special meditation song in it composed by Shakti of SpaceJunky.

The hunt runs between 1st August and 17th August.

IM Bloodhex Squeegee for more info.

PIVOTE – open source learning for virtual worlds

British firm Daden have been releasing virtual worlds products for a while now – we covered their in-world web browser last July. Their latest launch is an “open-source learning system or virtual worlds, the web and iPhone”. Its moniker is PIVOTE and it’s the result of a project called PREVIEW funded by the UK Government’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). The project’s focus was problem-based learning in virtual worlds, and PIVOTE is the end-result. Paramedic training for St George’s, University of London was the initial focus that’s led to final product.


Essentially, Pivote is a web-based learning management system where detailed exercises can be formulated as fairly standard, text-driven scenarios with decision pathways, or as avatar driven exercises in Second Life or OpenSim (Daden states its platform can easily be adapted to other virtual worlds). The text-based options can also be utilised in-world via what is presumably Daden’s in-world browser. St George’s have a sim in Second Life (click here to see for yourself) that is publicly accessible.

St George’s Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science, Alan Rice said “This programme provides the students with a fun learning environment, where they can afford to make mistakes online, which they could not afford to make in the real world. When they make a mistake online, they are always keen not to make the same mistake again.” A paramedic student at St George’s, Fiona Cropp, was happy with the virtual training process – “It’s a really useful tool. It’s much better to be able to actually perform treatments rather than just talk about it. Everyone is online at the same time so you can bounce ideas off each other and make an informed decision. I had never used Second Life before, but I found it really easy to get on with.”

A useful overview of the paramedic training scenario can be viewed here:

Pivote isn’t the first integrated training solution using virtual worlds, but it’s certainly progressed things considerably. The challenge for any platform is convincing key management that scarce health dollars should be sunk into virtual worlds-based training. Health professionals and academics are perfectly positioned to demonstrate just that, and there’s no shortage of evidence of the cost benefits of effectively trained clinicians. Anything that increases the confidence of new practitioners in the breadth of the clinical decision-making in a cost-effective way, will surely gain some traction in what is usually a very conservative space.

Anyone wanting to install PIVOTE for themselves can do so for free by installing it on their own servers or paying Daden to host it for them. The full instructions can be found by browsing the ‘Getting Started’ section of the PIVOTE website.

Wow factor: Google Maps in Second Life

UK virtual world consultants, Daden Limited have created an amazing build in Second Life that directly leverages Google Maps content. The visuals say it all:

The NPIRL and Digital Urban blogs have more info as well.

With multiple mirror worlds in development and work like this being done, can you imagine how interesting booking a holiday is going to be in coming years?

Check it out in-world and thanks to Meta Linden for the heads-up.

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