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The ultimate virtual environments course

To those of your studying or teaching computer science or any applied information technology topic:

What would you have in your ultimate virtual environments (VE) course?

  • Computer-generated animation (CGA)?

  • Applications to games such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs)?

  • Virtual reality?

  • Teleimmersion?

  • Intelligent agents?

  • GUIs and human-computer interaction?

  • Fictional case studies from popular literature, film, and television?

  • Something else?

I'll collect responses and summarize them in a later post.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2005 09:28 am (UTC)
All of that sounds fun!
May. 2nd, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Fun topics in VE
Thanks. I've been asked to teach a required course at the 500-level (juniors and seniors). I asked for CIS 501 (Software Architecture, a third programming course) and it's been suggested that I might get CIS 560, the DBMS course.

Right now it looks as if might not happen until fall 2006, though, so I thought I'd take the time to revamp my spring CG course and maybe start a couple of seminars: one on machine translation and one on VR/VE (which would be primarily built around massforge.

Apr. 27th, 2005 10:24 am (UTC)
I don't know where to begin with the topics, but the CompSci course at Cambridge starts with Turing machines -- so why not start with the Turing Test?  I think, in a handwavey way, it would have to be the foundation concept of a virtual environment -- the idea that you are aiming to recreate certain key features of an environment, but not necessarily the whole environment.  So, 3D animation is a great display technique, for example, but it's like having a great voice synthesizer on an AI you're testing -- it's important to distinguish between testing the AI and testing the synthesizer (unless the aim is to test how well an AI changes the inflections on a synthesizer, of course).

Just a thought.  Hope it's useful!
Apr. 27th, 2005 11:22 am (UTC)
I'd have Zarniwoop's office window. An entire virtual universe to play around or test situations out in, whenever you want it, right here. Overlaid on the real world, like alt-tabbing between universes. Could give parts of each different transparency values and phase between them, to give information from one to the other. Every sense engaged in both real and virtual worlds.

In short, the mind's eye, digitized.,
Apr. 27th, 2005 11:34 am (UTC)
Like a Matrix (or Matrices), except with individual free will. Users could have private Universes, or share some with others, like the public net. In full application, the brain's sense centers would get direct digital input from the virtual universes at the same time as regular sensory input from the real world; like a game system being able to override the regular cable input when it needed to. You could be just a brain, not even have a body, but interact in the real world with an artificial body, like a shell or real-world avatar, with artificial senses. Just as good as the real thing, but no personal danger if your shell gets damaged. In fact, that sounds so weird, I bet it might be an option someday.. keep your real body at home, behind your defenses, while your shell roams the Outside... could write an interesting story on that topic.. lemme write that down.
Apr. 27th, 2005 11:39 am (UTC)
In fact, to go to the ultimate extreme, eventually there may be little distinction between the real world and all virtual worlds except that it takes a bit longer to get a new avatar in the real world if the working copy gets damaged or destroyed... and of course, real Death would only be possible in the physical world. Death would still come, eventually (depending on how good we get at keeping flesh bodies alive for long periods.. I wonder if there's any organ that can't be replaced?... the brain, maybe, but if you just kept adding new cerebral stem cells as the old ones died off, their information copied into the new ones (I believe I've read that newly-grown brain cells can actually take over the function and connections of their aging neighbor cells).

So, death as we think of it today would be a dim faraway idea, and people might think of it simply in technical terms, as "exiting and rebooting the whole system," if you believe in reincarnation, or to use a game metaphor, picking (or being given) a different character to play...
Apr. 27th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
open croquet! without a doubt! have you tried this baby? yow, i am having fun!
Apr. 27th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
VE Course
CGA - Yes, recently worked on Baldisync which is an animated head that talks to you (it was part of my Open University course) and although it was a bit basic it made the system a bit more human friendly if that makes sense.

MMORPGs - Spin offs from gaming applications can become useful in none game environments, plus there is money in gaming which is always an incentive.

VR - I'm still waiting to see a convincing VR setup (I have one idea about how VR could be useful in office environments but I'll not post it to an open area in case it worth money!)

Teleimmersion - What in soap? Not familiar with this one.

Intelligent agents - Yes

GUIs & human interaction - This is important, I've recently been looking at voice interfaces and its shocking how poor they are still (I want that Enterprise computer - I want it!)

Fictional case studies - such as? Is this how real is HAL....

Something else - applicability, how the students can put it all into use in the real world (something thats often forgotten); and the history behind VE.

Apr. 27th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
Maybe a bit about early attempts at modelling languages? VRML, etc? I remember that being the hottest thing when I was first checking out the web in 95-97, and as far as I can tell, it's all but dead now.
Apr. 27th, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)
Gibson's global Matrix. PLEASE find a way to make it work! C'mon Bill! If anyone can do it, you can!
Apr. 27th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
MMORPG could be the most interesting if done very carefully, this however has little application outside of gaming (possibly could be useful in one of those super heavy flash theme sites, but barring that...)

GUIs and human-computer interaction - This would be the most helpful I think.
Apr. 27th, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I recently took someone else's class in relationship management and the virtual organisation (the topic for the week was virtual organisation architecture and design). Some of the topics we discussed were video-conferencing and the idea of space, both physical and virtual and the interconnexion of them. But one thing I think is important is the representation of the self in these environments, particularly simple environments like blogs (this, I think, comes under the GUIs and HCI).

My research has revolved around the simple end of virtual learning environemnts and how individiuals negotiate that. I like to watch people (particularly those without extensive computer knowledge) find their way around a GUI (although some help desk technicians are also an education). The ways of working are endlessly fascinating.

I'd suggested starting there then building up through the increasingly complex and immersive environments and end with the fictional accounts of what could be ( ... to boldly go?).
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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