One of the projects on Democracy Island is the construction of a "3D wiki" (in progress) that will anyone to help prototype a public park (Landing Lights Park) that will be built for real in Queens, NY. This works by allowing people to arrange and save the location of 3D park elements (benches, walkways, gazebos, trees, etc.) on a scaled-down map of the park (see this Park Planner Flash game as a simpler 2D precedent). Tom Lowenhaupt (Tom Ramona in Second Life), a NYC Public Official guiding the project, was onhand along with lead builder Hiro Pendragon to lay out what's happening. Below are some excerpts. Continue reading below the fold for the full chat transcript. A detailed outline of the project can be seen on the Democracy Island wiki.
Tom Ramona: "The city recently signed a new lease withthe Port Authority for the Airports. As part of the agreement a $100,000,000 fund was established to asssit the communities surrounding the airports (Kennedy and LaGuardia). This space has been essentailly a grassland for 50 years. There are few if any real park facilities. Although it is officially owned by the city's Parks Department. It has a first (at least should have) a first call on those funds. So how to get the neighbors involved in the project became a big question. Obviously SL offered a modeling opportunity like no other. And the democracy island offers a possibility for asssiting the decision making process - which park. And we - the community board - want to get youth involved in thegovernance process. So here we are."
Hiro Pendragon: "What we're standing on is a 5:1 scale model of land nearr LaGuardia Airport, in Queens, NY... The problem, which Beth stated, is that most public meetings are the suck. As evidenced by SL's own chaotic town halls which are becoming way too crowded to handle. Add to that busy schedules and meeting times that may or may not meet community needs. The concept here - however - is that community members can, on their own time, do sort of a "build your own park." They can do it alone, or with their friends. And they will be able to save the design, photograph it for internet posting, and different plans can be compared. In addition, it's a much cheaper way to visualize how the park will look, than going to an architect and having the architect build several models out of balsa wood."
Hiro Pendragon: What we're standing on is a 5:1 scale model of land nearr LaGuardia AIrport, in Queens, NY
You: oop :)
Hiro Pendragon: Tom, care to speak how you came to seek out Democracy Island for this?
Tom Ramona: The city recently signed a new lease withthe Port Authority for the Airports.
Tom Ramona: As part of theagreement a $100,000,000 fund was established to asssit the communities surrounding the airports (Kennedyand LaGuardia).
MRAzoid Heaney: What kind of assistance?
Tom Ramona: This space has been essentailly a grassland for 50 years. There are few if any real park facilities. Although it is officially owned by the city'd Parks Department.
Satchmo Prototype: build build build!!!! oops I mean, yeye new park!
Tom Ramona: It has a first (at least should have) a first call on those funds.
David Jacobs: Hehe Satch. :D
Hiro Pendragon: Wal-park? :)
Satchmo Prototype: May lightning strike you Hiro
Tom Ramona: So how to get the neighbors involved in the project became a big question.
David Jacobs: It already has..
David Jacobs: Twice.
Hiro Pendragon: lol
Tom Ramona: Obviously SL offered a modeling opportunity like no other.
Hiro Pendragon: Tom, you were familiar with SL, how?
Tom Ramona: And the democracy island offers a possibility for asssiting the decision making process - which park.
Tom Ramona: And we - the community board - want to get youth involved in thegovernance process.
Tom Ramona: So here we are.
You: which brings us to doodads
Hiro Pendragon: doodads
You: what are they?
Jade Lily: haha
Tom Ramona: I attneded the first State of Play conference.
David Jacobs grins..Is a Youth Worker in the UK, we ran a similar project on an Acre of Grassland which we bought.
Jade Lily: hey, me too :)
Tom Ramona: RL?
Hiro Pendragon: The problem, which Beth stated, is that most public meetings are the suck.
Hiro Pendragon: As evidenced by SL's own chaotic town halls... which are becoming way too crowded to handle
MRAzoid Heaney: Indeed.
Dear Leader: No they aren't Hiro, I don't know why she or you would believe that, do you go to them?
Hiro Pendragon: Add to that busy schedules and meeting times that may or may not meet community needs
Dear Leader: Well they merely need to be moderated better.
Tom Ramona: We're going to have RL meetings for sure. How SL meetings fit in has yet to be determined.
Jade Lily: i agree with dear
Hiro Pendragon: The concept here - however -
Hiro Pendragon: is that community members can, on their own time, do sort of a "build your own park"
Hiro Pendragon: They can do it alone, or with their friends.
Tom Ramona: The more neighbors that become engaged and assuming they can agree on a model. Their wishes will most likely be adheard to
Hiro Pendragon: ANd they will be able to save the design, photograph it for internet posting, and different plans can be compared.
Hiro Pendragon: In addition, it's a much cheaper way to visualize how the park will look, than going to an architect and having the architect build several models out of balsa wood
David Jacobs: Considering it is right next to the Airport, would it not become very Touristy if it is very developed?
Hiro Pendragon: TOm?
Dear Leader: Well couldn't tourists go to a park too?
Benny Pirandello: thats not a touristy area
David Jacobs: I never said they couldn't Dear..
Benny Pirandello: and its out of manhattan
Dear Leader: people don't walk out of the airport tho, so you don't have to worry, they take cabs away form it
David Jacobs: Ah right, ty Benny. :)
Tom Ramona: You must understand that this is landing lights park. There are 6 20' high lihg towers that guide very noisy planes into the aiurport.
Tom Ramona: The neighbors have a huge burden they need to be catered to. We
Tom Ramona: We don't want to make thsi a destination park for otsiders. More a asset for the csurrounding community.
You: hi skyllar :)
Hiro Pendragon: Thanks, Tom.
David Jacobs nods..
Skyllar Skidoo: hey everyone
Jade Lily: :)
Hiro Pendragon: So what we've done is come up with a list of common items that are usually included with parks,
Hiro Pendragon: and I've started by making many of them
Hiro Pendragon: as time goes on, we'll have a kiosk of sorts where new items can be submitted.
Hiro Pendragon: We call these items "doodads"
David Jacobs: If I may ask, would the park provide a safe place for young people..And indeed adults/the older generations to go? To then hopefully [Not sure on it's crime rate standings] reduce crime rates..?
MRAzoid Heaney: Okay... can you point out these items please?
Hiro Pendragon: Each doodad is a 5:1 scale model of common things - a picnic bench, a walkway, a basketball court, etc.
Hiro Pendragon: Let's head to the corner
Hiro Pendragon shouts: Over here, folks!
Hiro Pendragon: OKay
Hiro Pendragon: So basically, some items that I've created so far
Gwyneth Llewelyn: lol cute — RL miniatures in a SL simulation of RL... :)
Hiro Pendragon: trees, a fountain, restrooms
Hiro Pendragon: Yes, it's sort of surreal :)
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Indeed :)
Hank Hoodoo: we need to get some tinies in here
Hiro Pendragon: Totally.
Hiro Pendragon: like TINY tinies.
Gwyneth Llewelyn: rofl!
David Jacobs: Teenie tiny tinnies
Satchmo Prototype: yea nanoies
Hiro Pendragon: I also hope to film some godzilla machinema here in my free time
Satchmo Prototype: lol
Hiro Pendragon: It's fairly self-explanatory.
David Jacobs: Who'd get the starring part?
Hiro Pendragon: People will be able to get the doodads
Hank Hoodoo: HIROZILLA!
David Jacobs: =P
Hiro Pendragon: We're looking at different interfaces that are user friendlier than SL
Hiro Pendragon: like perhaps a HUD that has just buttons with pictures, that rezzes the doodads
Snakeye Plisskin: Lol! turn everything physical and get the breath particles going
Hiro Pendragon: lol
Poinky Malaprop: will it be possible to somehow navigate the model from the ground level? So you can be immersed in it rather than looking at it from above?
Hiro Pendragon: Poinky, how do you mean?
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Use the camera?...
Poinky Malaprop: I want to walk throgh the model, and see how it will look like
Hiro Pendragon: tell linden lab to allow llMoveCamera() :)
Tom Ramona: There's a lot about the history and plans for the projet on the Democracy Island wiki.
Hiro Pendragon: Unfortunately that feature isn't open to us yet.
David Jacobs: Would it be possible to create a Terminal with buttons etc on, so people can simply click a button and it rezzes an object..They then move the object useing the terminal [Directional buttons maybe?]..That may be easier then someone coming in game and
Gwyneth Llewelyn: *sigh*
David Jacobs: learning to build.
Poinky Malaprop: what about a vehicle that puts your head at ground level
Hiro Pendragon: We could potentially build this on a larger scale should NYLS / NY Parks board approve budget for more land
Ordinal Malaprop: You can move around and go into closeups - it's all very cute at that scale.
Hiro Pendragon: We could even make it so that smaller models will save the setup, and be rezzed ont he larger model
Hiro Pendragon: There's definitely a lot of possibilities.
Ordinal Malaprop: Camera use is something that takes a bit of practice though, not so easy for newbies.
Hiro Pendragon: That's correct, ordinal.
Dear Leader: Can I ask something basic about this? Why didn't you put this on land, with terraforming, and trees, using SL's capacity to make really realistic 3-D immersive models?
Hiro Pendragon: full size?
Dear Leader: You know, SL land, in square meters.
Gwyneth Llewelyn seconds Dear's question.
Ordinal Malaprop: Hiro: yeah, record all of the details of each prim and then multiply, shouldn't be too hard
Dear Leader: In a scale size.
Hiro Pendragon: Mostly limited space
Dear Leader: with buildings you can walk in, so it doesn't seem like a cardboard mock-up
Poinky Malaprop: not as cute..
Hiro Pendragon: Plus the ability to control color of the land, textures, etc.
Dear Leader: otherwise wouldn't people say, well you can just make this in first-life architect's office
David Jacobs agrees with Poinky..
Dear Leader: why SL then?
David Jacobs: It's the cute factor.
Hiro Pendragon: Dear Leader, you could
Dear Leader: you can control land textures on islands
Hiro Pendragon: But for a whole lot more money.
Dear Leader: ? why more money?
Hiro Pendragon: And, it's not interactive with other people
David Jacobs: And it takes alot longer..
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Because of tier issues?
Ordinal Malaprop: Models cost a load to have someone design them
Hiro Pendragon: This is free for people to come in and use
Dear Leader: you just measure out the square, rez out some trees and benches, costs nothing
Hiro Pendragon: A real architect requres real salary per hour that they spend with you
Ordinal Malaprop: And if you need to radically alter something it's much cheaper virtually
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Oh, the "realism" bit is not the question — just the size, Hiro.
Hiro Pendragon: That's right, Ordinal
Ordinal Malaprop: plus nobody needs to come to your office to see it.
Dear Leader: Hiro, you're not hearing my point, is that a real architect could spend 30 minutes making the same thing using existing SL tools on land itself, not in the air
Hiro Pendragon: Real offices mean real travel
Ordinal Malaprop: Architects... not cheap.
David Jacobs: I know from past experience we paid our Architect for the Park for 3 hours work over £750
Hiro Pendragon: In theory, this can scale using sharding
Hiro Pendragon: If tons of peopel come
Dear Leader: I know all that, that's not my point, the point is the LOOK and FEEL of the thing
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Wait wait
You: i don't understand the difference between this and land
Hiro Pendragon: we can put multiple copies of this on multiple sims
You: true too
Dear Leader: um, this looks like a cardboard mock-up but SL land looks like land?
You: it's flat
David Jacobs: This is easier to use..
Gwyneth Llewelyn: Hiro, I think that you're not understanding the question: why use 5:1 models *in SL* and not 1:1 models *in SL*? prim usage is the same.
Dear Leader: you know land with flowers and rocks and stuff
David Jacobs: It's manageable..
Tom Ramona: What you end up with is one model that is a take it or leave it situation.
Hiro Pendragon: There's only so much detail you can cram in and still have it be customizable
You: god's eye view
David Jacobs: And more people can rez this then buy a sim
Hiro Pendragon: HOld hold
Hiro Pendragon: let me answer :)
You: seeing the thing in compact form
Dear Leader: it's not about buying a sim
You: my 2 cents :)
Dear Leader: you could take 8192 and make a model too but it would have a more lifelike immersive feel
Hiro Pendragon: SNoop is correct in one respect - the ability to zoom out and see the whole picture
David Jacobs: You could also rez this in a sandbox..
David Jacobs: Sorry Hiro.
Hiro Pendragon: Sure, but then you have no control over the environment.
Hiro Pendragon: Here, we can set the sun
Hiro Pendragon: we can keep out griefers if needs be.
David Jacobs: Hiro, it was in awnser to a person buying land.
Ordinal Malaprop: If it weren't for all you giants standing here, I could take a picture from any point and have a realistic view of the area (within reason)
florenze Kerensky: in rl, this land relatively flat anyhow yes?
Ordinal Malaprop: You can't do anything like that with a balsa wood and card model.
Hiro Pendragon: Absolutely falat, Florenze
Hiro Pendragon: flat*
Hiro Pendragon: Also there's programming shortcuts to consider
florenze Kerensky: been a while since i took a flight out of ny, thought mostly flat
Dear Leader: Ordinal, why couldn't you do that *on land* with trees and such?
Hiro Pendragon: keeping it on a single plane considerably decreases development time
Tom Ramona: ALos, we're looking to engage youth in the process.
Hiro Pendragon: Dead Linden, there are trees here
Tom Ramona: BOth design and decision making.
Ordinal Malaprop: Leader: what do you mean, on land? Real land?
Hiro Pendragon: These don't sway. What's the difference?
MRAzoid Heaney: So... to rephrase, Hiro's answer to 'why not rfullsize in SL' is: that it is easier to handle and easier to view in miniature...
Dear Leader: well Tom that was my point, that engaging youth in the process might work better if the world was immersive and like a world, a park, not a model on carboard with boxes you cano't walk into
MRAzoid Heaney: Is that it?
David Jacobs: Tom, the Youth are the next generation..It'll be their park in the future so it is good to get them involved.
Hiro Pendragon: Dead Leader, I agree as well
Dear Leader: because it will *feel* different
David Jacobs: Plus their ideas will no doubt look kick ass in SL
Hiro Pendragon: and as I said, should there be more budget, we could do a larger model as well
Ordinal Malaprop: Oh yeah, it would be much better to do it 1:1
Ordinal Malaprop: but try telling LL to give a public works discount :)
Gwyneth Llewelyn: So, why not 1:1? Because of tier?
Tom Ramona: This is 1/10 size. Don't think it would fit on one island.
Hiro Pendragon: But within the constraints of budget, as well as the advantage of scaling a model down, a smaller map is necessary.
Hiro Pendragon: 1/5 size, Tom
Dear Leader: Hiro, do you have 8192 or 16k here? you do -- you could easily make a very cheap park with Linden trees and Barnes' benches and such
You: 1:1 is a difficult way to start a 3d wiki project
You: ideally you could design on the small map and tehn scale up
Dear Leader: I'm talking about *the medium* of the work not the *design*
You: that'll have to come
Dear Leader: it's about *the medium*
Ordinal Malaprop: The medium is SL.
Ordinal Malaprop: You would prefer models?
Dear Leader: This isn't SL, this is cardboard, a model.
Tom Ramona: And the budget for the project does not yest exist. Only way we're getting one is to bring people here and say - LOOK. Thi sis what the community has decised on.
Dear Leader: Sl is land with Linden trees.
Ordinal Malaprop: This is SL, this is just tiny SL>
Hiro Pendragon: Dead Leader, just because it doesn't follow the default rules of SL
Hiro Pendragon: doesn't mean it's invalid
Dear Leader: Im' not saying it's invalid, don't be silly, I'm saying there is a more rich opportunity to make a more immersive model to attract people
Ordinal Malaprop: It's not real-size scale but the advantages of camera work are still there.
Dear Leader: that's all
Hiro Pendragon: Please, I'd like to move on to other questions, so let me answer once more and move on
David Jacobs: The default rules of SL would say using ones imagination, and yet most of us live in 4 walls with a roof above us I bet?
Hiro Pendragon: 1. Budget constraints means that 1:1 is not available
Hiro Pendragon: 2. There is an advantage of being able to work on a smaller model
You: especially between many ppl. it's the way to start
Hiro Pendragon: 3. It's a good idea if both models would be made, and both advantages of small and large could be utilized.
Hiro Pendragon: Thanks, another question please?
You: it's exciting to think of what other things can be designed this way
David Jacobs: [Maybe lots of small models then a suggested larger model implimenting all designs]
You: thinking about this as a tool for many collaborative design jobs
Poinky Malaprop: Are there constraints on the park layout based on rules and regulations (such as certain number of restrooms must be available, no playgrounds in rocky areas etc)?
Tom Ramona: It's also difficult to grasp the full4/10 of a mile RL park in SL. Can't see end to end.Can barely see this one. But full size has its advantages.And if we see a budget as possible, we might look to X10 it.
Hiro Pendragon: Poinky, excellent question. Currently, the restrictions are the doodads that are available, but we could probably hard-code some of the other rules.
Poinky Malaprop: Also would be cool if a model could calculate its cost
Tripod Dangle: Are the locations of the lights for the airport known?
Hiro Pendragon: POinky, Tom had pointed me to an online "park builder game" where that precise thing was done
Ordinal Malaprop: Poinky - that's a terrific idea
Tom Ramona: Sorry.
Hiro Pendragon: There's no reason why price can't be attached as metadata.
Ordinal Malaprop: That would really impress the bean counters
Ordinal Malaprop: and you'd get more funding...
Hiro Pendragon: I think right now we're focusing on making the tool functional, and not limit user's imaginations... yet.
You: hiro, what's happening w/ the idea to let ppl creat their own doodads
You: and upload them to the wiki set
Hiro Pendragon: I'm thinking of a kiosk that accepts user suggestions
Hiro Pendragon: and perhaps if people want to make their own, I might have people send them to me directly.
Hiro Pendragon: me / DI / you / etc
Hiro Pendragon: If they fit in with what's possible with Queens, there's no reason we can't add most things within reason
Hiro Pendragon: We won't want to go overboard... like we probably don't need 50 types of trees.
Poinky Malaprop: Maybe allow unreasonable things too, as a brainstorming tool
Hiro Pendragon: too many doodads and the users will be overwhelmed, I think
You: not until someone creates the universial 3d wiki constructor :)
Hiro Pendragon: Poinky, they certainly can place things on the map too
Hiro Pendragon: this build area will be parceled off with a larger auto-return time.
Hiro Pendragon: So they could customize something, take snapshots.
Hiro Pendragon: But simply allowing anything would be not scalable
Poinky Malaprop: so, the models will disappear? and only exist as snapshots?
You: tom, can talk about how the board recieved sl when you showed them?
Hiro Pendragon: They'll disappear
Hiro Pendragon: but they will be saved
Kitten Lulu: are you going to have a way to save the design, once one is satisfied with it? Snapshots aren't gonna be v ery satisfactory when you can have 3D snapshots...
Hiro Pendragon: and there will be a tool that goes and loads a saved setup, and rezzes all the doodads.
Kitten Lulu smiles
You: like a holodeck set-up :)
Gwyneth Llewelyn apologises but has to go now — will be around later
Tom Ramona: Mostly it was jaw drop time. This is a giant step for the community board.
Hiro Pendragon: cya Gwyn
Ordinal Malaprop: SNOOPY - yeah, I'd be very interested to hear how it was received
Tripod Dangle: Most airports I've seen with the landing light systems don't allow people to be very close to them
Tom Ramona: We're a very small organization - 4 FT employees, none very technical.
Tripod Dangle: is this figured in?
Hiro Pendragon: Tripod, Tom is responsible for getting me any info regarding regulations that I could hard code in like that
Tom Ramona: And 50 board members. Fittingthis into our operation is almost as difficult task as Hiro's.
Tripod Dangle: oo ok
You: 10 minute warning
Hiro Pendragon: for instnace
Hiro Pendragon: if you try and rez a doodad too high, it'll give you warnings
Poinky Malaprop: sounds like this could be generalized for other purposes too
Tom Ramona: Thisis open space at this point. No restrictions as to access.
Hiro Pendragon: absolutely.
Poinky Malaprop: are the tools going to be available for others?
Hiro Pendragon: Once they're at a point where it's fairly error-tolerant and user-friendly.
Hiro Pendragon: We foresee an easy use of this would be for say ... planning private islands in SL
Poinky Malaprop: also layout for floorplans in houses
Dear Leader: SL architects would like tools where they can work offline then upload to SL.
David Jacobs: Dear, many Architects get inspiration from around them..
Hiro Pendragon: Both are valid.
Poinky Malaprop: Is there an issue about people having to have access to computer with broadband in order to participate?
Tom Ramona: One of the project's objectives is to engage area youth. SO anyone from NYC is invited to participate. Especially needed will be people to train local youth in using the SL and the Hiro tools.
Dear Leader: David, many architects complain about constant IM and p2p distractions and want to work offline.
Hiro Pendragon: Poinky, that was one of my questions to Tom
Dear Leader: Hirotools (R)
Hiro Pendragon: Tom, what's the status on providing the community with free access terminals for this?
Hiro Pendragon: or rather
Tripod Dangle: will these tools be propriotory or open?
Hiro Pendragon: what's the possibility?
David Jacobs: How old are the young people Tom/
Hiro Pendragon: Tripod, as SNoopy said, this'll be open sourced.
Tripod Dangle: k
Hiro Pendragon: How far NYLS funds the projects and how flexible it becomes while open source is another discussion.
You: yep, spread it out for other apps
Hiro Pendragon: Right now the focus is getting the Park people up and runnning
Tom Ramona: There is a college adjacent to the park area. And it's hoped we can get their space for training and access.
David Jacobs nods.
Tom Ramona: Vaughn College of Aeronautics andManagement.
Hiro Pendragon: Tom, can you point it out on the map? :)
You: lets get to any last questions and wrap up
Tom Ramona: It's just off the map. Near LaGuardia.
Hiro Pendragon: perhaps we'll need to add that, Tom
David Jacobs: So, you're looking at the ages of 18-19+?
Dear Leader: Tom did you have an estimated cost of this project itself and did it need to get approved by your board?
David Jacobs: Because if it is any younger you'll need Blue Cards..CRB checks..Alot of paperwork.
Hiro Pendragon: David, we can certainly talk to LL about putting a copy in the TG when done.
Hiro Pendragon: any younger than that and it becomes a bit too complicated.
Tom Ramona: It needs the neighbor's approval.Then the board's parks committee. then the board's. then the city council. then the funding organization.
Hiro Pendragon: TG = teen grid.
Tom Ramona: 8 and over.
Hiro Pendragon: Tom, I think Dear Leader meant THIS project - the Park wiki
Tom Ramona: 18 and over*
David Jacobs: Oh..
Dear Leader: I mean THIS yes
David Jacobs wipes brow.
David Jacobs: I had visions of everyone being CRB checked.
Hiro Pendragon: lol
Tom Ramona: What's CRB?
Dear Leader: It's some British thing don't worry about it lol
Dear Leader: Community Relations Board?
Dear Leader: Commitee on Reviewing Budgets?
David Jacobs: Criminal Records Berau
Dear Leader: something
Dear Leader: there!
David Jacobs: You were so close.. :)
Dear Leader: but is that in the US or UK?
David Jacobs: Both.
Dear Leader: well are you overstating the concern about all this background checking?
David Jacobs: You have to have a Blue Card to work with Young people..
Open Porsche Project 0.3.5: You are not the owner of this vehicle ...
You: we need to wrap up up here everyone
You: any last comments or questions?
David Jacobs: No..I was just looking at it from a practical p.o.v
Kim Anubis: Nice job, Hiro
You: thansk tom and hiro
Hank Hoodoo: yeah, this rules, hiro & tom
Tom Ramona: Thanks Hiro and Snoopy.
Tripod Dangle: great ideas
You: get in touch w/ these two about the 3d wiki and all the processes involved in ushering it into the design rl community design process