Current edition: Vol.4, No.12, December 2001

Active Worlds News

Holiday Specials
3D Homepages
Bot of the Month
Worlds to Watch
Tech Support Tip
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Hot Spots to Visit
AWEC Calendar
Christmas Hunt
Tic Tac Doh
Winter Wonderland
Get to Know Your Neighbors


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Bot Of The Month Club

This month, we look at Young Shamus' SlideBot.

The SlideBot is simple in concept. The idea of the bot is to run a slideshow that is shared-state. That is, everyone in the world sees the presentation without the need for them to click on anything.

Hamfon & The Hambots

The host can give a lecture using chat text or - if they are really ambitious - real audio, while the audience views the slides and web pages presented by the bot. The viewer can have a passive experience, taking in the information presented just as they would in real life.

The focus of the show is the display object, where the bot will place commands from a given script. The commands can be anything - you can have the object display a picture, play a sound, send the viewer a web page, or anything else you could put on a normal object. It is also a good idea to have each slide trigger the download of the next slide in the sequence, so that when the host advances the show the next image is already downloaded and can appear instantly. This is usually done with the "bump" trigger, since it is unlikely that anyone will be bumping into the movie screen during the presentation. So, a typical command might look like this:

create sound click.wav, picture slide1.jpg, url; bump picture slide2.jpg

As you can see from this command, when the user sees the new slide appear, they will hear the "click" sound, see slide1.jpg shown on the display object, have their web browser sent to, and begin downloading slide2.jpg. Each time the slide changes, the bot builds a new object with the appropriate command from the script and then deletes the old object.

On the technical side, the bot is controlled by four other objects in the world. The person giving the presentation simply clicks on one of these four objects to advance one frame, rewind one frame, jump to the last slide, or jump to the first. Control is simple and lets the presenter focus on the lecture, instead of the interface.

The bot could also be used for things besides slideshows and "Power Point" presentations. For example, you could build a "public information terminal" or a list of places to teleport. The user could scroll through a list of possible destinations while seeing a screenshot of each. When they see one they like, they could simply click on the image to go there. The interesting thing about this would be that others could see the user changing the image, and could see where they went once they disappeared.

You can see the bot in action in aw3dliv2. Please check with an AW Staff member to get an invitation first, though!


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