Thursday, May 12, 2005


The effort to bring Cory Doctorow's next book in-world along with Doctorow himself continues. Falk Bergman was the first to bring me by to have a look at his prototype in development, a giant book positioned next to a seat. Sitting on it automatically fixes your camera position in place, to give you the best possible view of the book.

"The viewer in-world itself is very simple," Falk tells me modestly. "It is basically a shopping agent with two displays that hooks into Page Up and Down [on the keyboards] for changing the pages." The real trick here is converting every single page of an entire book into .jpegs, then uploading them into SL, so they can be displayed on his "pages" as textures. When I arrive at Falk's demo, he's done just that to the first few pages of Alice in Wonderland. For the upcoming book prototype Expo, I proposed displaying all of Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom in a discrete, readable form. (Since it's available under Creative Common license, and is, after all, the book he discussed with us in-world, last time he was here.)

Hours later, Falk has figured out how to do that, as well. ""I gotten myself the .PDF file of Down and Out, I feed this into Finereader-- this takes awhile-- then I save the output to .jpeg files," he explains. Uploading those images incurs a L$ fee, so I finance that process myself, and also extract each of the 160+ .jpegs' UUID code-- a texture's unique, in-world identifier code, which enables any Resident to stream it at will, by invoking it. (And if you're working on a prototype and want to try using these files or the UUID list in your own version, contact me in-world, and I'll send it to your inventory.)

Falk Bergman has seen other prototypes in development. "Some of the books are really good," he says, impressed. I muse about the feasability of a truly giant, book where the words are big as school buses, and you literally have to walk across the page, to read it. "Cory himself says he wants people not to feel like they have to make it look like a book," I note.

"Some of the prototypes are on that scale," Falk tells me, "using the resources of an entire sim, that is."

Trouble is, Falk's prototype is still the only one I've actually seen, myself. So if you'd like to be featured in the upcoming Expo competition, and you're already hard at work building one, send me an IM or e-mail me, so I can check it out, and make sure it'll be included in the contest to publish the Second Life edition of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.

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Actually I switched from useing the PDF as a source to the HTML Version with a custom CSS file. The fonts the PDF rendered proofed just too blurry no matter what viewer I used to print it. I can describe the process in more detail if anyone wants to make their own renderings.

Hopefully having the book pages ready as textures will kick start the competition a bit - I have enought ideas to build at least 5 different types of viewers, but I rather see a couple of others show some creativity.

Posted by: Falk Bergman at May 13, 2005 12:43:09 AM

I was privileged to take a glance at Falk's creations, and he was very nice to show me the several "prototypes" he designed before coming up with the last solution - where pages are cleverly "preloaded", reducing both "flickering" and the waiting time for them to rez in. The end result is a book that you really can *read* - it's really very legible, even at an angle - and you can flip pages quite fast.

It really looks cool :) :)

Posted by: Gwyneth Llewelyn at May 13, 2005 1:29:49 AM

I was privileged to take a glance at Falk's creations, and he was very nice to show me the several "prototypes" he designed before coming up with the last solution - where pages are cleverly "preloaded", reducing both "flickering" and the waiting time for them to rez in. The end result is a book that you really can *read* - it's really very legible, even at an angle - and you can flip pages quite fast.

It really looks cool :) :)

Posted by: Gwyneth Llewelyn at May 13, 2005 10:37:03 AM

You can get your copy of the Texture UUIDs for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom from a dispenser at secondlife://Louise/177/176 (Louis 177,176). You can also take a copy of the dispenser if you like.

Posted by: Falk Bergman at May 13, 2005 8:51:17 PM

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