Assets for the Land Grant Program

Through our research collaboration with Intel Labs, Fashion Research Institute is overseeing the ScienceSim land grant program, as announced in this blog post.  A critical part of developing the program was the need to explain to users how they can use the grant and what our expectations are of users’ behavior. We opted for a combination of a legal agreement and a covenant.  The legal agreement is made with the principal holder of the grant and holds them responsible for their use of the grant.  The covenant explicitly defines a code of behavior by all users towards the ecology of the virtual environment and the other users.  The covenant  is based on best practices drawn from managing tens of thousands of user experiences on our islands in Second Life.

Part of the covenant deals with the body of rich content we’re providing for the users of ScienceSim.

“Selected content is provided for the use of land grant recipients, including premium avatar content, default avatars, textures, office equipment, and buildings.  This content is provided only for the use of residents of ScienceSim under various licenses, and may not be removed from Sciencesim or otherwise used to develop derivative works anywhere except in ScienceSim.  Users are encouraged to create their own content as well.  Pirated content will be removed immediately.”

This content was developed using our patent-pending Black Dress methodology and the provenance of each piece is known and has been tracked.   This is original content and has been created in situ in the ScienceSim grid as opposed to our own development platform.  We opted to develop in this way because it provides us with records of everything that was done to create the work on ScienceSim.  We have mixed licenses depending on how the content was developed, the creator’s intended permissions of the content, and how the copyright ownership is assigned.

Our content base includes more than 170 prefab buildings, in six styles, each style developed in six color options, with multiple sizes for each style.  We have extensive avatar customization content available for both male and female avatars. We have created a library of high-quality seamless tiling textures.  We provide landscaping content such as trees, shrubs, fountains, sculpted flowers, and bits of whimsy such as animated water, sun dapple and spider webs.  Our script resource includes scripts optimized for OpenSim.  We have sculpted animals, birds, and marine life.

All of this content is delivered through our special content management vendors, which track who accesses this content and when and puts that information in our usage database.

We also provide sandboxes where users can create their own work or change the content we’ve provided.

Our intent is to provide a rich nucleus of content for new users, who can take what we’ve provided and use it as a foundation for their projects and programs. It is a broad but by no means comprehensive resource.

As one of the grant recipients put it, “This is a very grown-up way you’re going about the program.”

We think it is important to be able to provide the users of the land grant program with content with a clean provenance and pedigree.  We equally think it is important that we set a functional standard for curating content into a significant body of work.  We set out to define standards for quality, for the development and for the management of a content collection.  We think the content of a virtual environment is critically important to the success of the programs conducted within them. To that end, we invested considerable time developing standards with which we comply in developing and curating content.

We are currently providing overview presentations through next week.  The program is filling rapidly.  We would encourage interested parties to attend one of the overview presentations and to get their applications in early.  We are accepting applications and assigning parcels on a firt-come, first-served basis. Our next presentation is Wednesday, January 6th at 3 pm PT/6 pm ET in our Second Life Shengri La Hope region.  We will be providing a formal tour of the land grant regions in ScienceSim on thursday, January 7th from 1-2 pm ET.

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