1st Edition

Virtual World Design

By Ann Latham Cudworth Copyright 2014
    405 Pages 200 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    405 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    Learn How to Create Immersive Virtual Environments

    Written by an award-winning designer with 20 years of experience designing virtual environments for television and online communities, Virtual World Design explores the intertwining disciplines of 2D graphics, 3D models, lighting, sound, and storytelling. It illustrates how these disciplines come together by design in the creation of an accessible virtual environment for teaching, research, and entertainment. The book gives anyone the tools and techniques to design virtual environments that support their message and are accessible by all.

    With 200 illustrations and 12 step-by-step projects, the book delivers hours of creative challenges for people working in public virtual worlds or on private grids. Using the modular components available for download on the author’s website, readers learn by building such things as a virtual classroom, an "all-access" terrain, and a sound-based game.

    This book can be the foundation for class work in distance learning, simulation, and other learning technologies that use virtual environments. It shows both novices and advanced users how 3D composition, color, lighting, and sound design are used in the creation of an immersive virtual environment.

    Introduction to Virtual Worlds and Designing for Them
    Welcome to the Infinite Visualization Tool, a Virtual World
    A Short History of Virtual Worlds
    How Do They Work?
    Who Uses Virtual Worlds and How They Use Them
    Virtual Environments from a Designer's Point of View
    Designing in a Preexisting Virtual World or Making One Yourself

    How to Use This Book and Start Doing Virtual World Design
    How to Use This Book
    How to Get and Upload the Content for This Book into Your Virtual World
    Operating System and System Configuration for Your Computer
    Who This Book Was Written For
    How to Pick Your Viewer for a Virtual World

    "Build It Once" Optimizing Your Design Workflow
    Overview: Reducing Repetitive Building and Increasing Creative Design Time
    Five Basic Steps to Set Your Standards and Practices
    Lines and Arrows and Charts, Oh My!

    Concepts in 3D Design for Virtual Environments
    Introduction to 3D Design
    Design Elements in Virtual Environments
    Compositional Methodology for the Six Basic Elements in Virtual Environments
    Using Similarity and Contrast in 3D Design
    Designing "Flow" in Virtual Environments
    Education, Serious Games, Virtual Environments
    Project: Assembling a Modular Virtual Classroom

    Virtual Terrain and Designing Landscapes
    Terrain Is More than Just Dirt
    Methodologies for Terraforming Using Inworld Tools
    Methodologies for Terraforming Using Height Maps
    Making Wheely Island, a Wheelchair-Accessible Virtual Park
    Adding Terrain Textures to Your Landscape
    Other Applications for Creating Landscapes
    Designing Access for All
    Making an "All-Access" Element: The Basic Sign
    Planting Trees and Other Landscaping on Wheely Island
    Making Your Own Trees for Landscaping

    3D Modeling, 2D Graphics, and Data Visualization
    Spatial Perception and How that Applies to Three-Dimensional Modeling and Virtual Environments
    Picking a 3D Modeling Program and a Methodology for Building
    Building with the Inworld Prims (Objects)
    Meshes and How These Can Be Imported
    Sculpt Maps (Sculpties) and How They Led to Mesh
    Concepts in Texture Creation, 2D Graphics
    Utilizing the Texture Menu in the Build Editor
    Specialized Textures: Animated, Transparency, and Baked Lighting with Ambient Occlusion
    Project: Designing a Data Visualization Environment: Your 3D Timeline or Résumé
    Art and Data Visualization in a Virtual World

    Color, Particles, and Sensory Spaces
    The Impact of Color and the Power of Particles
    Understanding the Basics of Light and Color
    Color from a Designer's Perspective
    Color, Colored Light, and Perception
    Color and Design for All: Working toward an Accessible Palette
    Particles and Their Uses in Design
    Project: Designing a Colored Light and Particle Effect

    Lighting in Virtual Environments: Second Life and OpenSim
    Lighting Is Crucial
    Three Main Jobs that Lighting Has to Do
    Spectrums, Color, and Light
    Space to Color to Light: Forming a Lighting Methodology
    The Three Basic Elements Involved in Lighting a Scene: Lights, Shaders, and Baking
    Environmental Menus and Shaders in Second Life and OpenSim
    The Importance of Shadows
    Help Your Design Look Great in All Sorts of Lighting
    Project: Lighting Three Basic Scenes

    Cameras and Collaborative Spaces (the Ideagora)
    Overview of Cameras, Narrative, and Social Spaces for Meetings
    Presenting and Collaborating on Ideas in a Virtual World
    Description and Functional Aspects of Virtual Cameras in a Presentation
    Designing for the Future and Mobility
    Project: Building an Ideagora for Your Team

    Virtual Goods and Design for Virtual Shopping Environments
    Why Do People Buy Virtual Goods?
    Consistent Brand Identity from Your Logo to the Architecture of Your Shop
    The Physical Aspects of an Effective Inworld Store Size and Virtual Store
    Setting Up Your Shop in the Online Marketplace
    Using Social Media and Games to Popularize Your Content
    Performance Spaces Added to Retail
    Project: Designing and Building a "Pop-up" Shop

    Sound Design for Virtual Spaces
    Discovering Sound in Your Environment
    Just a Bit of Sound Theory to Deepen Your Understanding
    Basic Qualities of Sound in a Virtual World
    Building Basics for a Sound Environment
    How to Control Sound in a Virtual World
    Where to Obtain Sound for Your 3D Spaces
    How to Edit the Sound for Your Virtual Environment
    Project: Making an Audio-Based Gaming Environment

    Avatars and Nonplayer Characters
    Avatars and Our Sense of Self
    The Importance of Avatars
    Designing the Look of Your Character
    Animating Your Avatar
    What Are Nonplayer Characters?
    Types of NPCs and How They Can Be Used in Virtual Environments
    Designing the Environment for the Inclusion of NPCs
    Setting Up and Designing the Look of Your NPCs in Second Life
    Setting Up and Designing the Look of Your NPCs on an OpenSim Region
    NPCs and Their Future Development
    Project: Setting Up a Basic Avatar in a Virtual Environment

    Prototyping the Real World in a Virtual Environment
    Prototyping and Workflow: Where and How Do Virtual Worlds Fit In?
    Introduction to Worldwide Group Collaboration and Why You Should Use It
    Math, Molecules, and Military Engineering
    Entertainment Environments: Prototyping the Performance Space
    Prototyping Games in a Virtual World
    Project: Prototyping a Virtual Space and Making a 3D Print from It

    Scripting Basics for the Designer
    Introduction to Scripting in LSL
    Design Thinking and Scripts
    An Overview of How LSL Scripts Work
    About the Script Text Editor
    Breakdown: Finding the Parts of a Basic Script
    Do It Yourself or Hire a Scripter?
    How to Talk to a Scripter about LSL Scripts You Need
    Scripting and Various Performance Pitfalls
    Debugging and Testing and the Importance of Those Tasks
    Moving on to More Complex Scripting

    HUDs in Virtual Environments
    What Are HUDs?
    Types of HUDs
    Design Considerations
    Some HUD Design Ideas and How They Have an Impact on Immersion
    Some Things to Remember When You Use HUDs
    Tools to Make HUDs
    Project: Creating a "Favorite Links" HUD

    Machinima in Virtual Worlds
    What Is a Machinima?
    Defining Your Narrative and Presentation Style
    Visual Narrative and the Camera
    Tools Needed for Machinima
    Machinima Policy and Your Work
    Camera Tools and Phototools in Firestorm

    The Future, Design, and Virtual Worlds
    Some Predictions for the Future and Their Impact on Your Design Outlook
    Emerging Technologies and New Design Methodologies
    How the New Technologies Are Intertwining
    When Do We Get the Holodeck?


    References appear at the end of each chapter.


    Cudworth, Ann