Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Virtual World Applications: Roger The Avatar Tours the University of Michigan Campus with Blue Mars Lite

Roger Visits The New Michigan Business School - Where I Earned My Degree
Although the virtual world of Blue Mars has closed development of its PC Platform client (it still exists if you want to create an avatar to visit ), the Blue Mars Lite application still offers one very interesting feature- integration with Google Street View. Your Blue Mars avatar (you can see mine, Roger, in every image in this article) can visit every destination in Street View that has been uploaded to Google Maps. If you want to, you can walk across an entire city seamlessly, or in the case of Roger, walk across my alma mater, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, which Roger does in these photographs. (Note: If you wish to try this out, make sure you use classic Google Maps for a link to plug into the Blue Mars Lite Client (below)  -- I have yet to figure out where the link is in the new version of Google Maps).

The Easy to Use Blue Mars Lite / Google Street View Interface

I wanted to visit the new Michigan Business School complex which opened about two years ago. You can see Roger in the top photo and the photo below visiting this new modern structure. I was surprised to see how massive it was. One thing about using an avatar is that the size visualization of a structure becomes much more apparent.

It would be easy for Linden Lab to build a similar application for usage by registered Second Life accounts. This is a perfect application for a mobile pad device and has a very light weight client. It also has chat capabilities. I think it would be beneficial  for growing usership inworld if they were to do so.

Another View of Michigan Business School. 

Many new structures have been built in at the Michigan Campus in the past four years or so since my last trip. I show a few of these towards the bottom of this article. Although many are modern (such as the glass and brick Michigan Business School), what I am more impressed with is how new construction has been built to blend in with the older structures on the central campus (there is a more modern campus in Ann Arbor for the university which I did not visit, the North Campus). The old central campus was built of red brick and stone in a collegiate gothic style from around 1910 - 1935.
I show some of the buildings built in this period below.

I also did a You Tube video on the old campus a while ago that you can see here:

The Student Union -- Where President Kennedy Announced the Peace Corp in 1960

Hill Auditorium - For Concerts and events

A Look Up the Central Campus Mall at the Main Library

The new construction -- which has been designed and built with great care (and expense) makes a good effort to blend in with the old buildings. The new brick and stone will eventually age like the buildings above. Once the trees and ivy grow, in about 20 years time, the campus will have a clean coherent look.  The impressive Gothic Law Quad, built in the 1930's, has a new extension that is matches the original school almost identically.

The Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy

An Addition to the Law School- not the old Law School on the far left. 

The Old Law Quad. The new Law Building can be seen in the back to the right. 

North Quad. Dorms and Classrooms built in a modern gothic style

Another View of North Quad
I show some new modern architecture on campus below. Not everything is done is a classic style -- but all structures blend in well with their environments.

The Art Museum Extension  (In the Center behind the sculpture)

A New Medical School Building

Rebuilt Michigan Stadium - The Largest In the USA (seating 109,901)

You can see the Blue Mars Lite client below. You can design and customize your avatar just like you do in Second Life (with a much more limited selection).

I did a machinima which shows how the Blue Mars Lite client works here:

The Blue Mars Lite Avatar Interface

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