Nara Malone isn’t happy; “It’s like being caught in your curlers” she purrs as I whip out my camera, but there’s a glint in her eye as she stands amidst the scene of an in progress exhibit from Fuscia Nightfire.
Nara is showing me around the build which is an interactive exhibit featuring machinima, which is playing on the floor and surrounding walls. The finished exhibit will feature the use of Non Player Characters (NPC’s) and Nara has been demonstrating to me just how easy they are to create in OpenSim.
Nara rezes a poseball and then explains the process to me : “I click the ball once it records my appearance, it runs the animation I put in the poseball. I can change those out or run a string. This is our simplest character maker.”
With that said Nara clicks the ball and few second later another Nara is in my view, this one sitting down tying her lace, which is the animation inside the pose ball. However how resource hungry are they? Nara explains that they are not that resource hungry at all : “Its just an animation running…very easy resource. We can have 20 or so at a time with 10 users online. We have more complex versions but this is the starter one. We can make them talk, Program them to interact so they are very helpful with storytelling and with the immersion. The characters draw readers in.”
Nara is a storyteller and of course her stories must be told. However she’s not alone and the exhibit she’s giving me a sneak preview of is part of her group’s work for the OpenSimulator Conference in November. Whereas the big names are keynote speakers such as High Fidelity’s Philip Rosedale and Oculus Rift’s Steve LaValle, many from the general OpenSim community will be there too and exhibiting their wares.
Nara explains to me that her group will have a total of eight examples of their work running at the conference. Whereas there’s a lot of storytelling, there’s also a lot of scripting involved and Nara tells me that scripting guru Fred Beckhusen is on their team.
So just what are Nara and her team working on? Nara passes me a note with some preliminary but rather ambitious details.