what should n00b starting resources contain


over the last few weeks, we (you, DreamWalker, and i) have touched on tutorials and eLearning for OpenSim users and most of us just figure it out by either clicking on everything (what DreamWalker likes to do) or by looking online and Googling things (that tends to be what i do – clicking things makes me think that i’ll break something)

both methods have their good points and both can lead to a balanced education about OpenSim

OpenSim has some additional challenges for the n00b that Second Life does not have. for one, you have to download a viewer that does not directly belong to a grid – Second Life uses the Second Life viewer and both your account creation and viewer download happen on the same website. educating n00bs for SL is a bit easier for Linden Lab since they “own” all the parts you need (account, viewer, and grid) and their education can be a bit narrower in focus

the education path for OpenSim gets more complicated for the total n00b because you have a choice of places to create accounts (OSGrid and Reaction Grid, for example, since an account at either one would work with the other using hypergridding), a choice of viewers, and a choice of grids!

with Second Life, you can tell a n00b to go to, make an account, download the viewer, and log in. Linden Lab can force everyone into Orientation Island to make you to learn the basics before you explore (remember when you had to do the four major tasks before being free to TP off of OI?)

making effective online tutorials for OpenSim can be challenging especially if you want them to have some shelf life. we are facing this challenge for Enclave Harbour as we look to the fall for student access and i figure we need to include both approaches: 1) clicking on stuff and 2) online stuff (how is that for fancy terminology? sure beats talking about Constructivism, Piaget, and other learning modalities and methodology) =)

online stuff can form the initial n00b eLearning experience because you have to assume they don’t know what a viewer is and you also have to tell them how to configure it and tell them they also need an appropriate account

clicking on stuff happens after you figure out how to log in and keeping that to “just enough” is what Linden Lab has struggled with for the last 5 years – that magical first hour experience. unfortunately, Second Life and OpenSim-based worlds are a bit too complicated to be introduced without some form of in-world instruction. that’s where great design becomes challenging and that is also what separates a creative tool from an entertainment tool to an extent

farmville is a game and for it to be successful, it has to be very simple to start playing and be designed so that you can learn while you play. but . . . you don’t have to teach too much because it is a game and has a very specific way to play it. virtual worlds are creative tools and don’t have narrowly defined game play and are much more open-ended. when i was an SL Mentor the first things many n00bs asked was “what’s there to do here” and “where do i go”. they were often looking for things that would entertain them or things that would tell them what to do (like “build a farm”, “buy a goat”, or whatever farmville directs you to do)

in looking at some online resources to point our n00bs to, i am quickly seeing that there really isn’t a concise set of instructions anywhere

i found this blog post with a downloadable PDF that is geared to teachers and schools for doing virtual worlds (he did a nice job of it for his target audience). he goes into much more than i think you need for an online n00b resource and starts at page 19 and goes to page 30 – that’s 11 pages – just to get a viewer, make an account, and log in!

holy cow, i don’t think many people will read through 11 pages for this! especially if some of those people are 11 to 14 year olds!

a few people mentioned that some of these challenges are alleviated by customizing a viewer to show only your target grid and that would be a great help. but there is still a certain amount of confidence you need to instill to a n00b to trust installing an application like a viewer. creating an account is no big deal to most people and is just like most other online account creation (albeit, having your kids create an account does require a bit of explaining). once they are logged in, i think in-world learning takes over (ie, is there really a need to talk about “page up to fly” in an online resource?)

once in-world, what do you think are the bare bones to cover to have someone ready to start?

i tend to think in terms of walking and flying, then appearance editing (seems like this is the first thing almost everyone wants to do), and then interacting with things (like sitting and clicking stuff for notecards or to start a media presentation or change a radio station which means having media turned on in the viewer). building is an entirely separate learning endeavor and if someone is motivated enough to build things then a sandbox and some video tutorials seem like a good fit (especially since you can do media on a prim at each sandbox learning station)

am i missing any huge topics?

  • create an account
  • get a viewer (if necessary, configure it)
  • log in
  • learn to walk, fly, and use the map to TP
  • edit yourself
  • click things to sit, get notecards, and play media

after this it becomes wide open and can include viewer preferences, taking snapshots, etc

Click for Dr. Deeds' PDF

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written by Ener Hax

June 18th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

posted in OpenSim,virtual worlds

tagged with , ,

7 comments to 'what should n00b starting resources contain'

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  1. I would make alt-zoom camera manipulation, friending and chat/IM priorities.

    Graham Mills

    18 Jun 11 at 4:26 pm

  2. the camera! derr, i overlooked that! thanks and that is vital *makes list* and i’ll do that in-world with billboards (that seems unimaginative but . . .)

    Ener Hax

    18 Jun 11 at 4:27 pm

  3. Good list!

    The only thing I might add would be the recommended hardware requirements (or maybe just a link to the LL pages

    OpenSim curious peeps might not realize that a cheap laptop usually makes for a horrible OpenSim/LL experience, or that older lappies (or ‘puters without dedicated graphic cards) might not run OpenSim/SL at all.

    Oh, also maybe some links to shopping sites.

  4. I would like to see a nice starter OAR file that you can upload to a new grid. There’s a ReactionGrid OAR that David Deeds is giving away along with his quick-start e-book — something like that.

    Maybe with a built-in tutorial for basic functions, a little freebie store with some open source avatars and clothing, a complete set of Torley Textures, a boxed-up copy of the VCE convention center and the KatiJack conference center, some basic plants and furniture, a hypergate from The Hypergates, and a one-way walk-through gate so you can connect directly to your favorite destinations.

    An OAR file is easy to use — especially with Kitely.

    And if a vendor sponsors this and gives it away, they can put their branding over everything and put up a gate to their grid — or a signboard with their website (depending on what they’re selling).

    Kind of like the way Web designers promote themselves by giving away free WordPress templates — you download it, like it, then want to do some stuff with it, or upgrade it, and you go to the template’s designer.

    Maria Korolov

    19 Jun 11 at 1:28 am

  5. ThinkBalm Storytelling Series Issue #3: How To Give New Users A Good First Experience

    Immersive World Newbie Help Desk

    Soon Immersive World Newbie Help Desk will monetize Kitely and offer introductory training workshops for start-up Newbies: “The VW manager can have each person cover costs – so people can actually earn money this way, so say you are a doctor providing service in virtual clinic, and want to charge people to come and ask questions… ”

    Eurominuteman Jameson

    19 Jun 11 at 5:55 am

  6. Great article.

    For me, not coming from SL, the issues weren’t so much technical like what viewer to download or how to create an account. it was more practical and operational things like:

    How do you teleport from one region to another?

    How do you teleport from hypergrid like OSGrid to another grid?

    How do you acquire/import/export inventory?

    How do you change you look?

    How do you build?

    In the days of USENET, you found countless HOWTO articles that were geared to provide direction and instruction on specific topics. Some of these were short, sweet documents that provided laser-precise instruction, while others were more voluminous spanning literally hundreds of pages of verbosity.

    All-encompassing guides are certainly useful, and I am grateful for them, but short posts or articles providing the answers to frequent issues are also most helpful.

    Jim Barr

    19 Jun 11 at 7:19 am

  7. good tip on hardware requirements, just a few sentences should deal with that effectively

    lol, Maria, i swear i did not see that you posted abut David Deeds book on Friday! i had a google alert Saturday and know him via LinkedIn! it’s a good book for tech-oriented people and gives the kind of anecdotal mixed with fact perspective i like (my way of saying a bit corny but lovable)

    the starter OAR is a great idea and i would see that as “advanced” like building tutorials. having the OAR contain the items you mentioned is a splendid idea and you know that i like that branding concept (ie, everything would for sure say Ener this and Ener that!!!) =)

    hey Euro, that thinkbalm PDF is a great one! it’s also very well written and formatted beautifully. that is a great resource for the person wanting to dig in deeper (exactly the stuff i like to read). the facebook group is a great idea because it gives n00bs a very familiar and easy way to ask questions. great links, thanks!

    nice perspective Jim! that’s really valuable insight because i don’t have a frame of reference for a non-SL background. teleporting is a concept that can be hard to understand at first. the way i interpreted it inSL was like a website bookmark but it has special considerations, like you will always teleport to ground level, so you could end up inside a structure – had i known that from the start, i would not have been confused some of the time!

    the hypergrid issue is one that is also important but i see that as a second level introduction, post-toatal noob =)

    acquiring inventory is a good one, if you don’t know to right click on stuff and don’t know what “take” or “buy” means, then you are at a loss. things like acquiring and item, rezzing it out and opening it, then copying to inventory would be total n00b things and that is a bit complicated and different than web activities

    editing appearance for sure makes the list for total n00b – both for sake of how much time to invest – i see people do that for even a few hours right away, rather than making some initial changes and then getting a feel for virtual worlds and then spend time, later, fine tuning yourself

    i’m with you, short and direct guides for total noobs

    the L Word inSL a few years ago had an awesome “learning path” that took anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes to do but when you were done, you have a concept of the very basics

    Ener Hax

    19 Jun 11 at 8:37 am

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