Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Virtual University Twente

A local project tickled my interest, while nothing to do with SL, it is another step towards the virtual enhancing the real.
To entice new students to their University, the Univeristy of Twente has created a virtual campus in a Habbo Hotel style.

You can walk around with a avatar and click the buildings to get basic information about what they are dedicate too, find out at what bus schedule is, learn about their sport facilities, etc. My first reaction was why not using something like Google maps and overlay all that information, seeing the RL layout would be more useful. But considering the target demographic,16-18 year olds, it is understandable. They have grown up with virtual places like these.

After exploring the campus I did notice that it had a lot more stickiness then the usual 2D maps have. Partly because of added game elements, like preventing moles from digging up a yard, teleports to farther off areas or a naked pixelated avatar in the woods.(It is The Netherlands after all.)
All these added things wouldn't be as easily possible in a 2D map, but in a 3D world they invite you to explore more. And now if I ever would be there and a flat tire on my bike I would now know where to go to get a pump or where the campus market is to buy some supplies.

If this would help people decide to go this University or not, i don't know. I hope quality of the University will still be the determining factor. It is certainly a interesting way to learn in a playful way more about the campus you are about to spend your next 4+ years on. But it might also be a indication of how virtual worlds will enhance the way of providing information about real world places.

Towns and Cities could do something similar and with some polishing and added community tool like myspace who knows what will happen.

1 comment:

  1. I love these isometric environments. I find Habbo Hotel very dull as a place, but the design almost makes up for it. I'm quite fond of the old SNES-style environments as well but isometric worlds give you another whole side of everything, and, well, the stylised nature of the design and the perspective is something I find rather attractive. There is real craftsmanship in creating the individual items down to the last pixel as well.

    I would love it if the proposed Fallout MMO were to be isometric, though I expect it won't be.