Archive for the ‘Tours’ Category

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Discover Babylon

August 28, 2008
Me and a drooling donkey.

Me and a drooling donkey.

Last Spring I ran into Tristan Saeed, a collaborator with the Federation of American Scientists who is helping build Discover Babylon, a re-creation of ancient Mesopotamia.  There’s a blog post about the project from last April on Dispatches from the Imagination Age which reminded me to go back and visit.

The floating, rotating information sign posts.

The floating, rotating information sign posts.

The project is coming along nicely, with more of the town filled out and and information sign posts that link to outside content to explain what is going on.  I’d love to see the web stats on how many people actually follow through to this outside content.

As I had effused to Tristan before, the textures they have produced for the sim are outstanding with peeling plasters, baskets, pottery, and ovens.

They also have the option of “priestess wear” that you can kit yourself out in.  The sleeves are a bit wonky and the belt didn’t fit quite right, but I was able to stretch it into place.  Integrating these bits of roleplaying are vital to creating a more interactive, compelling user experience of the site.

I came to see a rock show!

I came to see a rock show!

The only criticism I have of the module is the one that I highlighted in my recent WAC paper: GET REAL: A Manifesto for Virtual Reality in Archaeology, that is, no Non-Player Characters or NPCs.  These fake Mesopotamians are clunky, add little to the sim, and do not encourage interaction.  There are small scripted dialogues with some of the street vendors that do not make much sense, and it would be more interesting to encourage users to adopt these various roles, rather than interact with these various limited simulations.

I’m excited to see what else the Discover Babylon team comes up with, and I highly recommend visiting their lovely site:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/FAS/196/115/27/

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