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Presentation

30-oct-2006
Sitearm Madonna

Kuurian Expedition Presents – “City Building in Virtual Reality”

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1 WORLD OF CITY BUILDING – MODELING ECONOMICS, ARCHITECTURE AND DEMOGRAPHICS IN VIRTUAL REALITY
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Hello all! I am pleased to be with you today
Our topic is City Building in Virtual Reality
Let me address a few logistics items first:
1. I am going to present in Chat
2. I am going to show slides as I present and I will try to allow time for them to rezz for you
3. I will be playing City Building Music and a few selected sound files as we listen The themes are Greece, China, Rome and Egypt.
4. I would like to introduce two fellow City Building friends of mine Dane Benford and Schmophitt Neruda
5. In the Walkthrough Demo we will have a chance for questions and discussion as we move through the builds

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2 DISCLAIMER
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. First a disclaimer city building in virtual reality is NOT a reality yet
. My goal is to present this concept for discussion and implementation over time
. I am here at Kuurian Expedition because Poinky Malaprop come to our first city building event here on Annenberg Island
. So I figure there is something in this concept that engages other’s attention as it does mine

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3 AGENDA
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. Here is our timeline: present the concept, show two demos, then discuss
. I invite you to look over the rest of the island at the end of the talk if you have not been here before

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4 SITEARM MADONNA VITA
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. A brief word about my background
. I am a listed LL developer
. My key roles are to consult and expedite selected Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects

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5 GOALS
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. Today we want to present the concept of city building in virtual reality
. And enroll those of you who are interested in helping us work out how to do it in Second Life

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6 TOPICS
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. To reach these goals we will understand the purpose of the sim we are in and why it is an appropriate host for this topic
. We will also look at what defines the genre of a city building computer game and how it might extend into a virtual reality platform

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7 ENABLERS
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. We will be looking at some builds today but there is also a web links notecard handout I will provide

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8 ANNENBERG ISLAND
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. The sim we are in is Annenberg Island owned by the University of Southern California
. The Center on Diplomacy runs a unique project called “Public Diplomacy and Virtual Worlds”
. This sim is therefore what I call a Concept Sim. It’s purpose is to present information in an engaging manner.
. It’s mission is to keep exploring how virtual worlds can help better connect people

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9 CITY BUILDING GAME GENRE
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. What is a city building game?
. Well the very first was SimCity
. Bottom line: you are the city planner  and you make the decisions where to invest workforce and finance to meet basic needs of your citizens
. The computer runs the citizens for you
. The fascination of a good city building game is in the combination of its logical intricacy and its people orientation
. You have to juggle many factors all at once. We will see some examples in a minute.
. Working to build a working city with satisfied citizens and high quality of life can be very addicting

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10 CITY BUILDING IN VIRTUAL REALITY
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. Now let’s discuss city building as it might be done in virtual reality

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11 CITY BUILDING IN VR – WHAT IS IT?
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. What would City Building in Virtual Reality look like if we had it?
. In current city building games you don’t get to BE one of your citizens, you don’t get to WALK IN the city you have created
. Therefore, in a virtual reality city builder, the City Planner should be able to be one of her characters, in world , in avatar
. In current city building games, you interact with computer City Planners for trade and economic cooperation, or war and economic competition.
. Therefore, in a virtual reality city builder, the City Planners should be able to interact online with other, live City Planners.
. Perhaps even walk your avatar in Their cities as well as yours
. Finally, a virtual reality city builder should be able to run 24.7 (barring Update Wednesdays 😉 ).
. Why? Because cities evolve and grow and trade whether the City Planner is awake and online or not 😉

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12 CITY BUILDING IN VR – WHY BOTHER?
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. City Building in virtual reality sounds abstract& why bother with it?
. First, current city builders are avid to walk IN their cities as one of their citizens.
. The newest games use movable 3D game engines instead of fixed Isometric god’s eye views.
. This has just served to whet gamers’ appetites even more
. Second, city building embeds major assumptions about economics and social dynamics.
. As in any simulation you learn a LOT from seeing how the assumptions play out.
. And third, it’s FUN!

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13 CITY BUILDING IN VR – ARE WE ALREADY DOING IT?
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. Are we already doing city building in virtual reality?
. Short answer: no
. Long answer: bits and pieces are coming into play

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14 CHECKLIST FOR CITY BUILDING IN VIRTUAL REALITY
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Here is a suggested Checklist for City Building in Virtual Reality
. It must have economics: costs to cover, income to earn, growth to fund
. It must have architecture: functional fun structures to do things in
. It must have demographics: model behavior because people are not robots
. And it must be rich enough to be fun and engaging

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15 DEMONSTRATION – SIMPLE CITY
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. Now I would like to direct your attention to the Scale Model city to the left of the slide screen
[POINTER TO FIELD]
. In this simple city builder model we start HERE with the one essential, food, represented here by a wheat field and the Farmer’s Barn
[POINTER TO CLAY]
. Over HERE we have another resource, Clay, with the Potter’s Shed located next to it
[POINTER TO SCHOOL]
. Over HERE we have a vital element, a School
[POINTER TO CLINIC]
. Over HERE we have a Clinic for the doctor to treat patients in
[POINTER TO WAREHOUSE]
. And finally HERE we have a Warehouse where goods are stored for exchange. This represents Mediation or Government

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16 DEMONSTRATION – ECONOMIC
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. Looking back now at the slide display, here is a display of the economic flow of skills between those five structures we just looked at
. Farmer exchanges Wheat for services such as instruction and health care
. Potter makes useful pots to put things in, in exchange for Wheat and other services
. A city builder must model the exchange of skills because advanced societies develop only when skills can be specialized and deepened

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17 DEMONSTRATION – FUNCTIONING STRUCTURES
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. Here on the slide display is a list of the structures we looked at in the scale model
. Notice that people need a place to LIVE in as well as WORK in
. And we have not even addressed entertainment or spirituality in this simple model

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18 DEMONSTRATION – DEMOGRAPHICS
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. Finally, on this slide, we hint at the demographics or people side of what a city builder must model
. Population and available workforce contrast with workforce demand (underemployment is not good nor is not having enough people for the work needed)
. Family relationships have been modeled in some city builders  Dad starts as a farmer but Daughter becomes a doctor, for example
. The intangible aspects of demographics are included in city builders as well, including morale and aesthetics

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19 RESOURCES
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. Before we go to the walkthrough portion of today’s talk, here are some web resources that provide more information on city building
. These links are available on a notecard as well
. If you are interested click the Notecard Giver by the screen, or IM me later
. Now on to the walkthrough demo

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CAESAR IV WALKTHROUGH
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Bust Garden
. aesthetics

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Fountain
. aesthetics

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Obelisk
. military victory
. morale

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Screenshots
. show different play styles from people all around the world that are brought together by the game
. virtual diplomacy!
. free demo of game is available for download

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Market
. supplies the citizens
. venue for trade with other cities

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Winery
. industry (luxury good)
. comments by Dane

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Temple
. spirituality
. comments by Dane

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QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION
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. Thank you!
. Notecard

Sitearm Madonna
sitearm@gmail.com
Second Life Virtual Worlds Projects

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