Today we will be looking at how to ‘look at’ and evaluate a ‘build’ and I want to spend some time talking through some of the things that you should be looking at. I will probably use the SLENZ Hyperdome build to illustrate what I mean. My suggestion is that we then spend the rest of the class exploring either that build or others of your choice and writing it up as a blog post which could either be a trial one for you or could be one of the ones that you submit for your assignment. If you have already done your posts on ‘builds’, you might like to reassess them in the light of what we discuss and make any additions if you feel it is needed. If you are happy they are complete then you can either work on other aspects of your assignment or take the time to practise your building skills!
What follows are some guidelines that I put together for a previous course and it would be a good idea to have a read through to remind yourself of what I am after before you start your blog post.
A critical evaluation of something is a purposeful, reflective summary of what the thing is, how and why it was created, who it is for, how is it used and what appear to be its strengths and weaknesses. Of course it isn’t possible for you to know everything about a ‘build’ just by looking at it – you need to explore it, test out the functionality of it, investigate the various elements of it, such as the textures, the use of different kinds of prims, the scripting, investigate who uses it and why and provide your observations on the aesthetics and design of the build. If it is a large build it may not be possible to look at the entire ‘build’ it may make more sense to make some overall comments and then look in detail at just a couple of aspects of it.
For your assignment I will be expecting to see at least two such critical evaluations.
You are free to do your evaluation in whatever manner seems best to you but if you would like guidelines then I suggest that you follow the process below.
1. Write a description of the build including first impressions of it, the approach to it, the overall design and ‘look and feel’ of the place. Don’t forget to provide information on where in SL the build is and provide a SLurl. I would also expect to see at least two photos of it. This description should also include details of the different parts of the build.
2. Write a description of the community that uses the build. For example if you are looking at one of the SLENZ builds you may need to search on the internet for information about this – the SLENZ blog is a good place to start. Imagine what it would be like to be a student in a class that used this build – how do you think it would feel? This video may help in your understanding.
3. Write a short description of each of the following aspects of the build:
- the shape and type of prims used (look at the complexity of shape, the size, total number of prims, use of transparent prims etc.)
- the textures
- interaction and scripting
4. Write up your observations of the build – how does it feel to be walking around it? do you find it aesthetically pleasing? What aspects of the design work for you and which don’t? Does it feel like a ‘real’ place or is it total fantasy? (Is it important to have private changing rooms for example? why do you think they were built?) Is it somewhere you would wish to spend time in or is it just for a purely functional purpose (like The Particle Lab for example?).