- Pedagogical resources
- Technical resources
- Virtual resources
- Virtual world viewer (Firestorm)
- The OpenSim platform
- The NTNU TELL Lab
|NEW FULL REGION OAR FILE as @ 21 December 2016 (see below)|
A range of resources can be downloaded from this page, including the latest full VEL Demonstration region OAR file (which contains all of the virtual resources available in one file). We are continually adding new resources to this page, so please check back regularly to see what is available.
We sincerely hope that if you find our free shareable resources useful you will be willing to contribute anything you develop or modify from resources obtained here back to this site so that we can all benefit. To contribute resources back to the VEL project, please contact the VEL team by email (see Contact US) and instructions will be sent back on how to make your resource available.
To download a resource, click on the specific resource below that you want. A new webpage will open with a link to download the specific resource.
For more information about accessing the resources below, please contact us via the Contact US page.
Exemplar lesson plans:
Text chat based lessons
- Asking For Directions And Shopping
- Exploring A Chinese Restaurant
- Purchasing A Railway Ticket
- Seeing a Doctor
Voice based lessons
- Greetings, self-introduction & simple description
- Family Day – eating out and shopping
- Location & directions
Cross reference table for exemplar lesson topics and commonly used textbooks:
NPC Chat resources:
Learners converse with NPC*** interlocutors in the virtual environment via text-chat in Chinese characters. Each NPC*** has an embedded chat engine with pre-set key input words or phrases that are matched with learner input that, when a match occurs, trigger pre-set responses output in the form of Chinese character text chat. The dialogue content can be tailored to cover any Chinese character content (the system will not recognise pinyin or English) from any textbook / topic.
The “dialogue script editors” are Excel spreadsheets into which you can conveniently enter specific dialogue content (both anticipated student input, or key words, and pre-set dialogue responses) for each of the different NPC interlocutors. In addition to dialogue content, action flags (in the form of numbers) are also added to each corresponding line of dialogue so that a particular student input can, in addition to triggering the pre-set response from the NPC interlocutor, also trigger an action (e.g. give something to the student). In the latest update (September 2016) audio file links to each line of the pre-set NPC response so that learners receive a response in both text chat and audio format can now be added (the NPCs in the current full region file all have audio responses included).
Once entered into the relevant spreadsheet columns, copying the content of each column into the relevant “list” in the dialogue scripts (the small programs that are the engine of the dialogue chat system embedded in the NPC characters) is a simple process.
**NPC = Non-player character, a programmed character in the virtual environment.
Dialogue Script Editors
- Doctor – before med history card
- Doctor – after med history card
- Market seller – main dialogue
- Market seller – purchasing script & dialogue
- Nurse – main dialogue
- Nurse – payment script
- Pharmacist – main dialogue
- Railway station ticket seller
- Waitress – pre-order food (sample)
The chat engines are the “nerve centre” of the NPCs in terms of dialogue. They are small programs coded in LSL (Linden Scripting Language), which is has similar syntax to C. The chat engines are embedded in the NPCs in the virtual environment and the dialogue content is copied from the Dialog Script Editors above into the relevant “lists” in the chat engine program.
The sample chat engines below can be downloaded and opened in any text editor, however, Notepad++ is probably the best one to work with (free download here). Once opened in a text editor the content of the chat engine programs can be copied directly into a “script” in OpenSim/Second Life, which is then placed (embedded) in the body of the NPC model.
Virtual environment viewer:
Chat program for NPCs
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Complete environment in single OAR file:
Individual items for use in larger environments:
Non-player characters – NPCs
**Please note: these files are in IAR format. This means that they have been stored as an Inventory item within the VEL virtual environment. To restore the NPCs in these files, you will have to load the files into the Inventory of your avatar using the region control panel. Commercial grid hosting providers like Zetamex allow direct uploading of IAR files through a custom designed panel. If you are using SoaS (Sim-on-a-Stick), you will need to type the load command into the window opened when you activated OpenSim.32BitLaunch.exe in your USB stick directory (see here for more details on using SoaS). For detailed instruction on command syntax see here. Once the IAR file has been uploaded to your avatar account the items contained therein (the fully animated NPC with dialgoue script included) will be available in your Inventory. You will be able to rez (drag the item out of your Inventory and place them on the ground) the NPC in your home environment.
These NPCs are also available in the online VEL Demonstration region. If you have an account with a hypergrid enabled grid provider, you can hypergrid (travel) to the VEL Demonstration region on the Zetamex grid and simply copy any of the NPCs you see in the region into your own Inventory, after which you can take them back to your home region and rez (drag them out of your Inventory and place them on the ground) them up.
– Waitress (includes chat engine & pre-set dialogue content – see Exemplar lesson plans)
– Seller (town market) (includes chat engine & pre-set dialogue content – see Exemplar lesson plans)
– Seller (village market) (includes chat engine & pre-set dialogue content – see Exemplar lesson plans)
Plants and trees
The Firestorm viewer
To be able to enter the virtual environment of OpenSim you need to have what is known as a “viewer”. A viewer is similar to an internet browser except that it is a standalone program that only interfaces with virtual environments like OpenSim and Second Life.
One of the best viewers that gives access to both OpenSim and Second Life is the Firestorm viewer. You can download a dual OpenSim/Second Life version of the viewer from here:
- Be sure to download the following version of the viewer:
- For SL & Opensim 32bit OR For SL & Opensim 64bit
- Once downloaded you will need to install the viewer. You can do this on your computer or install it on the same USB stick as your version of Sim-on-a-Stick (see below for details).
- Once installed you will need to start up Firestorm and then do the following setup:
- Video – setting up Firestorm for SoaS
When you first log in to the VEL Demonstration region in SoaS (i.e. on your USB stick), you will appear as a very basic avatar. If you would like to upgrade your appearance to something a little more aesthetically pleasing, there is a small clothing shop in the region with free complete avatars and clothing. Maybe this could be your first task in exploring the VEL Demonstration region!
The OpenSim platform
- This allows you to run an OpenSim region in standalone mode completely on a USB stick without having to install anything on your computer
- To install on a USB stick:
- Copy this file onto a USB stick (a minimum 4GB stick).
- Double click on the file called “SoaS08PF-Setup.exe”.
- Choose to install on the USB stick.
- The file takes a couple of minutes to install.
- To run the SoaS version of OpenSim:
- Open the folder “SoaS08PF” on your USB stick.
- Double click the .exe file “mowes.exe” and allow to run.
- A small window will open with the MOWES logo on it.
- It will show that on-board Apache server and MySQL server are running (green colour).
- Back in the “SoaS08PF” folder on your USB stick, open the following folders:
- “diva-r25084” then
- In the “bin” folder scroll down until you see the .exe file “OpenSim.32BitLaunch”. Double click to activate.
- The OpenSim control window (a black MSDOS -like window) will now open.
- You will see a lot of text running down the window. This will take a couple of minutes to finish.
- When you see the words “LOGINS ENABLED” you can start up your Firestorm viewer and log into the OpenSim region on your USB stick (see below for the latest region OAR file & installation instructions).
- The username and password for the SoaS version of OpenSim are:
- Username: Simona Stick
- Password: 123
Latest complete environment OAR file (click link below to download):
- OAR files contain the complete virtual environment and all of the virtual assets (buildings, virtual characters, roads, igns, etc.) and scripts (the mini-programs that make objects interactive) within that environment in one file. They can be easily uploaded to an online grid or into SoaS (Sim-on-a-Stick) on a USB stick for immediate use.
After you have downloaded this OAR region file, copy it on to your USB stick into the following folder:
- SoaS08PF > diva-r25084 > bin
Once the file has copied across, you will need to complete the following steps to activate the region for use:
- In the OpenSim control window type the following commands:
- load oar FILE NAME
- The OAR region file will take several minutes to load into the OpenSim program on your USB stick.
- Once loaded you can start your Firestorm viewer and log into the region.
Choosing a commercial online grid provider (host)
For an excellent run-down on how to go about choosing an online hosting service (grid provider) for your virtual environment, please see the following article:
As a National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) Research Laboratory, the NTNU Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) Laboratory conducts research on using technology effectively in education, aiming at improving the use of state-of-the-art technologies for teaching and learning. The Lab was founded in 2009 by Professor籃玉如(Yu-Ju LAN) who is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Chinese Language and Culture at NTNU.
Currently, the areas that constitute the core of the work performed at the NTNU TELL Laboratory are virtual realities and mobile learning. Research at the Laboratory includes projects in SecondLife, MyWordTools, CoolChinese and M-learning. The Laboratory takes projects from the initial concept stage, through design, data collection and finally to research conferences and international SSCI journal publications.
The NTNU TELL Laboratory projects involve cooperation with domestic and international research institutions. The Laboratory is divided into groups of work: research, teaching and administration. While each division has specific tasks, the Laboratory’s research-oriented work involves all members aiming for collaborations, helping each project to succeed.
For more information on the work being done by the NTNU TELL Lab, please watch the following video: