Just back from presenting my paper at the VS Games IEEE conference in Coventry. Overall I felt that the conference was pretty successful for its first year. The keynote speakers were excellent. Alan Chalmers of Warwick talked about multi-modal sensory virtual experiences and the use of helmets fitted with all sorts of sensors – that’s something we would love to play with for games or educational virtual worlds. Steve Benford from Nottingham spoke about his blended context, live action experiments. Of particular interest to our research group were his ideas about trajectories through a dynamic narrative space. Some of these ideas may have interesting applications within the MMO context.
There was quite a focus within the conference on Second Life which remains a popular context for academic research in virtual worlds and business appears to be interested in exploiting it in different ways. I still remain skeptical about the importance of the “3rd dimension” in the use of virtual spaces for education, as a meeting place, or virtual representations of the real world. Personally, I believe that Second Life is still too complex for student use and I prefer to continue to focus on Metaplace for now.
Second Life is quite good as a host for virtual conferences. Below is how James looked when he was presenting his paper – from within Second Life. Great news from the conference was that we received the prize for best paper for this particular paper!