I’ve been busy these past few weeks assessing students’ practical work submitted for this year’s Virtual Reality module. A lot of fine creative work, though perhaps overall there are few highlights to match the best of the client-based projects of previous years.
I suppose among the more important questions I want to ask myself (and ask of students) when evaluating their work are “What’s the point?” and “How successfully have to demonstrated your ability to work in the medium?”. There have been many notable projects this year, so my mention here of just one example should be read simply as indicative of what counts as a successful project on those criteria. His account dating back to May 2007, David Northmore is an old hand in Second Life; and he understands the medium. The model he produced–the Gewehr 43 semi-automatic rifle developed by Nazi Germany during World War II–is ostensibly a low-key and perhaps trivial product when set alongside grander structures such as Tower Bridge (again this year) and the Virtual London Eye, both excellent projects. What makes David’s work noteworthy is  the meticulous attention to detail and  the management of the work.
The model was a team endeavour (and I admit that until I read the report I won’t know how much of the production work is David’s own), with individual team members responsible for the animations (meticulously crafted in Qavimator), modelling, audio gestures, and scripting. The end product–including the built-in is startling realistic.