Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Leeds voice session

I did an hour long talk to staff at the University of Leeds earlier today. Most of them were fairly new to SL. The talk was done in-world on Education UK island. The original plan was to use one of the teaching spaces on the island but I noticed there was a large sandbox area, so decided to use that and build my own presentation space, more or less on the fly in front of the attendees.

This is what I came up with. Basically we walked round the tree, looking at each display board in turn, with me dragging new slide textures onto display boards as and when necessary. I also used the 'full bright' option on the texture of the current slide, to highlight what I was talking about.

I think it worked reasonably well.

The session used in-world voice chat and I encouraged participants to ask questions via text chat - which some of them did. We had the usual teething troubles of echo and so on at the beginning, followed by some problems with sound as the talk progressed. Note to self - remind people to keep their camera position close to the speaker. I suspect this is the most common cause of people not hearing properly.

Overall, I remain mildly skeptical about the value of voice in Second Life. I still feel that it destroys much of the immersive quality of the experience. However, in the context of giving a presentation like this one, it is very useful and (just about) works well enough.

1 comment:

PeteJ said...

IIRC, I think you can toggle the "hear voice from camera position"/"hear voice from avatar position" setting in the client voice preferences i.e. if you select the latter it varies with the distance between the speaker/listener avatars' positions rather than (with the former) with the distance between the speaker's avatar position and the listener's camera position.

So in a "lecture" situation, if the avatars aren't moving much that option might mean less potential for variation.

Which is "best" depends a bit on the context, I guess.