Lakewater Project How

The project began to evolve slowly since the fall of 2003.  Planning the project and writing the text accompaniment for the age is done in the traditional way with a keyboard, pencil, pen, paper and restaurant napkins.

The world creation (age writing) is accomplished by using several tools.  Most are cost effective, cheap or free.  It is the author's purpose to storybuild without a major investment in tools.  Not because she does not enjoy tools like 3D Max, Adobe Illustrator or Zbrush.  She does, but she can't afford to use those tools and believes any costly tool wouldn't be used enough to justify the cost.  While she is researching tools and resources for, she often uses trial versions of several resources.  The materials list that follows includes only the tools she uses everyday to build quality worlds that require readers to add a graphics card to their computers, but do not require any other high end equipment.  The author's computer is a souped up gamer computer, but rendering polygons will overheat domestic desktop varieties.  If a storybuilder plans to work in mesh there will be an initial investment in a good desktop with a hardworking graphics card and lots of air coolers (fans).

Part 1 Materials List 
Note:  This is what is used to create worlds for the Lakewater Project.  By no means is this list intended to be used like a recipe.  Workarounds, other technology and more costly tools should be used whenever desired.  This is strictly a looksee kind of basic list.  it will be updated from time to time. 

In general the best choice is usually the generic equivalent. Google open source.  Find a good downloader like SourceForge, so that you don't get spam, viruses, something squirmy along with your tool.  Use trails when you can.  Organize your tool library and save all the tools you can to your stick, flash driver, jump drive, whatever, so that its portable.  Author's suggestion:  Keep a SOAS (Sim on A Stick building world, Local Host) and a portable apps on one stick that you hang on your neck.  It is geeky, but very convenient.  An age writer always has tools anywhere.  Even when there is no applicable graphics card computer, textures and 2D graphics can be worked out.

Part 2 Technique

World building takes practice.  The best way to start is to work with textures and apply them to a block.  Galleries are common in Open Sim worlds.  A gallery can even be worked into a story.  A perfectly interesting and acceptable storybuild can be built in a moderately developed terrain world.  If the photo or illustration is good and promotes the story, it is a start to building and inspiring discussion, a basic element in storybuilding.  It is better to see a beautiful or authentic graphic on a block, than a poorly textured complex build that looks sloppy and poorly executed.  Nothing is worse than a stretched texture.  Practice texturing first.
Then look at simple shapes.  Start with primitives (prims) in open sim.  There are dozens of tutorials about how to work through the shapes.  Most of Uru's beautiful scenery is done with simple shapes.  There are some complex organic shapes thrown into the mix, but an age writer can get to those later.  Practice with shapes next.

It is a challenge to buy what is needed, but sometimes it is necessary.  Don't waste time with reinventing what is already plentifully built.  Start telling the story with purchased objects, if the budget will allow.  Later these objects can be replaced.  At one time it was difficult to find objects for Open Sim.  Now objects and full oars are available at many places.  For more information about where to buy objects, oars and terrain helpers, check out the Kitely forums and Hypergrid Business. 
Study shapes and visit worlds where you can study objects.  Take photos and study them.  Learn how to use what you need to learn in Blender.  It was difficult to ignore all the tools available in Blender, but the author only uses about 10 buttons in Blender daily.  In addition to all the tutorials available to view and study, a video about using Blender for its simplicity is forthcoming here. 

The style for the Lakewater Project is "bigger than life, more fantastic than life and slightly more incredible than life."  Background information is researched, so that the building symbolism is authentic, but any consideration made for size and color is motivated by story.  There is a homage to Alice in Wonderland everywhere the reader looks.  It isn't supposed to be real.  It is supposed to be real enough for the reading explorer to suspend their beliefs about what they can touch and not touch.  Could it be that virtual worlds, like parts of an atom are simply too small to feel with our clumsy clicking fingers? 

Opinion:'s basic premise is that education need not take place     in a perfect copy of the institutional school setting.  In many cases the elaborate architecture of a building gives way to budget.  Who wants to sit in a classroom that is neither inspirational or immersive.  While doodling on a page is a worthwhile  endeavor nearly anywhere at anytime, edummersiveworlds educators would rather it not be done in their classroom, unless its done to study later. There are many educational worlds built in open sim or Second Life that put students into seats, present  slide shows and provide lectures like those in a real life classroom.  Neither edummersiveworlds or the Lakewater Project plan to follow that norm.  If an  amphitheater is erected it is going to be built outside under the stars, and only the introduction will be provided by slide.  The rest of the experience will be provided by trek, horse, mule, airship, telephone booth or portal.   The student is expected to participate, not only spectate.

Part 3 Collaboration

Much of what an age builder does requires privacy.  There is nothing better than a dawn breaking with coffee at the ready, and build coming together after a remembered dream.  Storybuilding is poetry.  All that compare and contrast between language and objects is crucial and addictive. 
Then there comes a time when a question needs to get asked, or a build needs to get sorted out.  Artists are nuts.  It goes without saying that art is personal, and artists are finicky, but there are times when another lens is a valuable critic.  For this purpose The Lakewater Project proudly acknowledges how much was and continues to be learned through its association with the Devokan Trust.  Like Lakewater the Trust came about during the natural progression of leaving one story to start another.  For awhile the Trust wrote stories about "what if" ages related only to Uru, but over the years it reached out to members like Ruby O'Degee, asking her to join their troupe in the effort to learn more about quality world building. 

Recently it took on the genre of storybuilding as it main objective. 
It was a best benefit for the Lakewater Project to become part of the fictional Trust, because it brought Ruby into contact with mature age builders, who could answer her questions when she asked them.  The Trust is somehow a non-judgmental, inclusive group that encourages character inspired stories, high quality textures, and unique builds.  Not all Devokan Trust stories are built with an accompanying text.  Some are like wordless books or picture books that tell stories without no more text than a cryptic title.

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