Group Simulator and Real Fake Avatars

SL Pic of group chat simulator

I’ve been taking peer support courses through the Guiding Lights in Second Life.  It’s been very interesting, with some great speakers, and a super group to work with.

To help with this sort of training, I am developing a simulated discussion group consisting of 4 fake avatars.

It has two modes.  One can run automated dialogs that demonstrate various issues and techniques that may happen during a meeting. This dialog can be stopped and continued.  Further, the dialog can pause itself to allow one to type in their own responses.  The other mode lets the various fake avatars puppet what someone else chats.  Thus, a trainer can control what each of the fake avatars say.  (One can combine both modes as well.)

I currently have 2 automated dialogs concerning healthcare support groups available.  The first is a general chat, demonstrating possible issues, and techniques.  The second addresses issues of tolerance and includes pauses for the trainee to come up with their own responses.

It would be easier to merely have a notecard, or web page, with the dialog all written out, but it wouldn’t capture the timing of events in a group, nor, possibly, the surprise.

It would be easier not to have the fake avatars, but it brings the experience closer to being a discussion group.  Actually sitting down, surrounded by avatars, helps make the training more real, and a better learning experience.

The simulator is in beta currently, but send me an email and I’ll get a copy to you.  I’m releasing it under a creative commons license with full permissions, so please feel free to change it around.

I think it will be useful to those training to lead group discussions in any setting.

#Update April 18, 2009.  My apologies, but earlier versions of the Group Simulator I gave out may not have all the permissions set up properly.  I intended to give it away with full permissions to the new owner.  If you did a fixed copy, please let me know.

About John

Interested in how information intersects daily life, technology, and art. Collaboration specialist, working in social and collaborative media. Biomedical Informaticist, focusing on patient/patient, patient/provider communication.
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10 Responses to Group Simulator and Real Fake Avatars

  1. John says:

    Since it has been asked:

    Changing the dialog is pretty straight forward, even if you have not done much scripting in Second Life. Here’s a few clues:

    The teacups have the dialog scripts.

    Each avatar is set to simply repeat what they hear in a sub channel into the main channel.

    There is a timing mechanism to pace out the dialog.

    The upper part of the script sets up the pause function as well as make it so other dialogs would not be launched. (Along with other things.)

    The “talking” part of the script looks like this

    else if(MessageNum==1)
    llWhisper(RobotChannel1, “Hello World.”);

    RobotChannel1 – tells which avatar will speak the line. 1 is for Ohni the monkey.

    “Hello World.” – is the line spoken

    SetTimerEvent(4.0) – is the amount of time until the next line is introduced.

    Feel free to email me or leave comments here.

  2. John says:

    I will be giving a demonstration of the group simulator at Guiding Lights Peer Training Specialists 7 PM SLT tonight.


  3. robin says:

    I missed the demo. darn. I would love a copy of the simulator. I am Nia Kenin at the Center for Cultural Competency in Second Life. Thanks!

  4. John says:

    The demo went great, and was attended by some super folks.

    I’ll send a copy over to you, or anyone else.

  5. John Campbell says:

    Hi John
    I am interested in your group discussion sim ulator for educational purposes – could you send me a copy please?
    My avi in SL is Nhoj Rang and my research space is here:

  6. This looks very interesting. It may help language learners by demonstrating conversations. By stopping and starting the conversations students could guess at what the next line or blank in the sentence might be.

    The ability to use notecards to deliver different conversations would really benefit this.

    Question. Are the fake avatars linked or are they on different listen channels?

    Can I get a copy of the script? I’d love to experiment with it. Thanks for your contribution to the community.

    Cypris Chat Group

  7. John says:

    Prof Merryman-

    The fake avatars are on different channels. Unfortunately it doesn’t read the dialog off of notecards, but follows a LSL script.

    I’ll get a copy off to you all shortly.

  8. Nia Kenin says:

    I would also really appreciate a copy of the script if you care to share it. It would be perfect to simulate a role play in cultural diversity skills!

  9. Leon Cych says:

    I also would appreciate a script to build up roleplay please.

  10. Pingback: Certified Peer Support Specialist in SL

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