21 July 2016

Easy Prop Editing in Fieldscapes

This new feature in Fieldscapes is probably better covered by a blog post rather than a video. With Fieldscapes one of the things that we are trying to do is create a 3D immersive learning environment, player app and authoring app that build on all the good parts of systems like Second Life and Unity, whilst avoiding some of their downsides. One key example with this is prop editing.

In Second Life scripts are associated with objects/props. The only way that you could edit the script was to find and go to the prop, and then click on it to view and edit the scripts. Lots of time wasted! With Unity you always have a list of props available, and can edit any prop directly from the UI, but you've lost the sense of spatial context as you only have a god-like camera.

With Fieldscapes we're trying to implement a best of both worlds. As previously shown you place props by just rezzing them in-world, in front of your avatar, just like Second Life. You can then clcik on the prop to edit its behaviours (just as in SL and sort of Unity). But what we've also now implemented is a Props list, accessible from the left hand Control menu (that might get a better name before release). This builds up a list of props used in the exercise, and at any time you can open the window to see the props list. But also against each prop are a couple of actions:

  • Edit - This immediately opens the behaviour window for that prop, so you can edit any prop from anywhere
  • Teleport (TP) - This immediately jumps your avatar to just in front of the selected prop - so you can remind yourself of its context, and optionally tweak its location or click on it to edit it.

The screenshot below shows the Behaviours window opened for an off-screen prop.

Now that we have the props list we can also begin to change our approach to exercise creation. The most effective way now is to start by just laying out your props, not setting any behaviours, but do name them all. Then you can go and sit your avatar up on some high bluff and just click through each prop in turn to edit it - and with all the other prop names which it may want to reference already being in place.

One by-product of this is that we no longer need a separate location bookmarking system to help with editing. You can just use the props list to jump to anywhere in the exercise, and if you want you could even add some invisible, inactive props at locations that you can to get an edit view from (perhaps an aerial view) but which you don't want to be active elements of the exercise.

We may find other actions to add to the props list in due course (deletion is an obvious one), but even as it stands it significantly speeds the time to develop an exercise.

No comments:

Post a Comment