There are a few ways to learn how to do things in Second Life. Trial and error, reading another users blog (how to) or take a class. I’ve been doing the first two.
I took a class, mainly to see how the tutor did it. I am getting more interesting in LSL which is Linden Scripting Langage.
Once you’ve wandered around SL, made a few objects in the sandbox, then you will want to add some scripts to the objects – scripts allow interaction. They animate, calculate and automate virtal life.
For example, if you rez a door object, then you are going to want it to open with an animation when it is touched. You might want to make the door only open to people on a list. To do that you need to write a script.
LSL is event driven scripts, similar to java, C or action script. As the programming and development workplace that some of our students may work in will be concerned with event driven languages. In school right now we tend to limit ourselves to Visual Basic and Logo in IST or even SDD. We tend not to explore Event Driven.
I like Scrath from MIT as a good introduction to the concepts of programming … but I also see value in LSL. Lets face it, event driven worlds are what we are building – from Flash and Java Games to online applications. LSL is a nice ‘written’ way of moving from the concepts to basic scripting languages.
Because the scripts work ‘in world’, students can design anything they like to do pretty much anything they like.
Learning HTML to me is a little pointless, as it is not a ‘skill’ that is valued in Industry as a special skill. You can do it in a Blog, power up Front Page or Dreamweaver faster. It is not a complex language and most students can cut HTML once they’ve grasped the idea of ‘nested tags’ – then its just a matter of learning more vocab.
Next up … a report on the class I took, from a teaching and learning perspective. Gotta go, it’s time to build a quick seat and take my place in the class.