This collaborative document is meant to aid students in the Building Virtual Worlds class, though it is also accessible to the public. The goal is to capture the collected knowledge of BVW classes past and present and build upon it in a structured way -- as the class evolves we will need to continually revise, trim, and expand this wiki to reflect new changes.
For more information on collaborative documentation efforts such as this, check out this article -- How (and why) to write a Company Bible | Theater for the Future
The BVW Knowledgebase acts like a semi-restricted wiki -- the infomration in the knowledgebase is viewable by anyone, and people involved with BVW can log in to contribute or modify content. Changes are tracked, so if important information is written over it's possible to go back to an earlier state of the page. Students and TAs should feel free to experiment with adding and editing pages to get comfortable with using the wiki. Ask the Head TAs or webmaster for help if you run into trouble or need a hand getting started.
Try to write clearly and concisely and provide information that is complete as far as it is pertinent to BVW.
Use the formatting options to create headers, italic text, bold text, lists, etc, to improve appearance and readability. See the Markdown documentation for more information about the formatting options.
These are our standard operating procedures.
I understand that as a student in the Building Virtual Worlds course, I have a number of responsibilities. Specifically, I acknowledge that:
I am responsible for filling out peer evaluations that will require me to numerically evaluate and rank the performance of my teammates. These evaluations will be used as part of these students’ grades in the course. In addition, I will provide anonymous qualitative feedback (i.e. free form comments) that will not be seen by the professor or used as part of the course grade.
I am responsible for working in a way that is constructive to group interaction. Specifically, I will do my work using computers in the Entertainment Technology Center. I realize this is an inconvenience and I accept that.
I am responsible for attending scheduled group meetings, and for reporting on peer evaluations when my teammates fail to do so.
I am responsible for accepting public critique of my work, and constructively critiquing the work of others.
I understand that ownership of work produced in this course is determined by standard Carnegie Mellon University policy. I grant Carnegie Mellon, its agents, and other students of this course the right to publicly display my work in various media, including the web, for educational and other non-profit purposes.
______ By initialing this space, I give up my ownership rights and place all my work for this course into the public domain, with a request that I receive appropriate attribution when my work is shown or otherwise used.
Name (please print) ________________________________________________
A file layout is vital to proper archiving, and also makes project organization easier.
<Root Directory> - Contains project files (Libraries and Assets).
<RootDirectory>/assets/Textures - Any texture maps associated with the world.
<RootDirectory>/assets/Models - Any FBX, Max, or Maya files associated to your world.
<RootDirectory>/assets/Sound - All sound effects and music, in mp3 format.
<RootDirectory>/Assets/Scripts - All scripts associated to the functioning of your world.
<RootDirectory>/Assets/Plugins - Any additional hardware associated scripts and DLLs.
Build- The final EXE file and associated folders for running your world.
Project- The final project file used to run world from within Unity
Fraps- Video recorded of your world for worst case scenarios.
The BVW pipeline describes the workflow that all teams should use for their projects. It gives each BVW role a framework for using Perforce efficently and makes it easier for that role's part of the project to fit with the work done by the other members of their team.
Now you guys have two rounds left before it's all over, and while Jesse has given you the BVW Tips for Working in a Group (which you all should read, again!), I'd like to give you some of my advice because looking back at BVW, I noticed a lot of these things after it was all over, and I’ve heard that some people are having the same sort of problems I had last year. So…
Take some time to reflect back on each round. If you feel that you haven’t been getting along with members of your teams or they haven’t been getting along with you, then you might be causing some trouble in the first place. It's easy to blame others, but remember that you'll be working with some of these people again next semester, and right now is your best chance to start changing your attitude.
Remember that this is not your virtual world; you're sharing it with three other people, so it's your team's world. If you want to do something with your signature on it, then you should buy some canvas and brushes and start painting by yourself. Seriously, most of the work in entertainment technology is collaborative, and this class is partially about learning to deal with this situation. Make sure that everyone is adding to the world idea, even if they like your idea the best.
If you have people in your group whose English is a second language and you speak perfectly good English, have patience with these people. Make sure that they speak; don't let them be quiet during a whole meeting, let them know that they're being quiet and that they should speak up. Sure, you may be stroking your ego with your great ideas that nobody is opposing to, but when part of the team seems to have no opinion on what the virtual world is going to be, team morale can seriously drop. Some of the rounds last year that I had more trouble working were with people who didn’t say much. They did some great work, but that didn't matter because I felt uncomfortable asking for anything from them in the first place.
And for those of you with English as your second language and feel that you're not being heard, then you might not be speaking enough. It is very important for the team to know what you think because it might look like you really don't care or that you're shy. Stand up and draw on the white board if you can't really say your idea if you have to… find a way to communicate. If you don't have any new ideas, add to the ideas that already exist! The most important thing is to let your team know how excited you are about the ideas discussed. English is my second language, too, and when I first got here I felt that no one was listening to what I had to say, until I started speaking much more... and that's also how my English got a lot better.
And showing that you care is very important. I found, especially during a brainstorm meeting, that being indifferent about ideas is not helping anyone. If you don't participate, even if you can do excellent work in scripting, art, or sound, the team is not going to be as comfortable with you because it comes off as that you don't really want to participate in the first place. Remember to say constructive things as much as you can, not "I like this", "I think this is o.k.", "I don't like this", or "I’ll do whatever.". Remember from Brenda's class about "yes, and...". It's not "yes, OR..." or "yes, BUT.." or "NO! How about"... those three are really not going to get the team anywhere.
If you think all these things I said are pretty obvious then make sure that you're actively pursuing them. Don't just agree with me and move on because it's easier said than done. If you feel that you are doing these things already, then good for you! Now make sure others are also doing these things as well. There are a lot of people from last year who are completely ignorant of these things, or are too proud to admit their own flaws, and we know who they are, and some of us don’t want to work with them, ever.
Finally, remember to have fun. You're making entertaining things, and you're pursuing your dreams by being here (hopefully). Encourage others as well, and they will encourage you!
First, check out BVW inventory. A great variety of equipment, props, and costumes from previous years have been saved for future use -- these may meet your needs.
If the item(s) you need do not exist in BVW inventory, talk with Michael Tsai, Wai Kay Kong, or Jing Jin to see if the ETC already has (or has recently ordered) similar items. You’d be surprised what the ETC has lurking in storage.
If the equipment or prop you want does require a new purchase, use the Equipment Request Form, which is available in the 5th floor mail room or on randon at \randon\etc\projects\internal\student_project_template\Accounting.
As most worlds are only shown 1 or 2 times in the year, the ETC encourages the use of thrift stores and recycled goods, rather than buying new all the time. So don't buy a 700 dollar surfboard that will never get used again after your world -- a piece of thick plywood (~$20) would have worked instead. Keep the cost down and try to reuse as much as you can. Anything over $10 must be approved by the instructors.
Fill out the form and have one of the BVW instructors sign it for approval. Then, decide with Janice or Caitlin (for props and costumes) or Steve (for technology-related items) to whether you or the ETC will make the purchase. Purchasing the item yourself may be faster, but if you go this route you will need to save the original receipt and fill out an expense report in order to be reimbursed. See Janice or Caitlin and they will help you fill it out correctly until you are comfortable doing it yourself. Remember, CMU is tax exempt and will not reimburse for tax.
There are several mailing lists associated with BVW.
email@example.com mails all BVW students, TAs, and instructors. This list is used for general announcements.
firstname.lastname@example.org mails BVW TAs and instructors. All of students' tech and support questions should be mailed to this list to ensure a quick response. This list is also used for internal communication within the TA/instructor team for coordinating the course and show.
There is a separate mailing list for each BVW team (such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc) which are recycled every round. After teams are assigned for a new round, students should remove themselves from their previous team's distribution list and add themselves to their new team's d-list.
TA compensation takes the form of either pay or academic credit. Due to their increased time and energy commitment, head TAs receive both credit and pay.
Those who want to TA for pay need to get themselves added to CMU payroll before they begin work. In order to do this, go to Payroll Services in the UTDC Building on 4516 Henry Street and complete an I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) there. See the attached documents (I-9 Form Instructions.doc and I-9 Acceptable Docs.pdf) for more information on where to go and what to bring. If you are interested in having your CMU paychecks deposited directly into your bank account, you should bring a voided check to the payroll office as well. After filling out the paperwork at the Payroll office, you need to stop by Vicki Poklemba's office on the 5th floor of the ETC and give her a copy of your completed I-9 so she can actually enter you onto the payroll.
When filling out your timesheet, you should claim 10 hours of work per week.
Those who want to TA for credit need to email MaryCatherine Dieterle
<email@example.com> early in the semester and let her know of their intention. She will put you down for an independent study, which will take care of the academic credit.
The goal of Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) is to take students with varying talents, backgrounds, and perspectives and put them together to do what they couldn't do alone. The BVW class is divided into an introductory round (Round 0), and team-based Rounds 1-5. At the beginning of every new round you will be placed in a different team of four students, each with one of the following assigned roles:
Every student will be assigned a primary role and a secondary role. We assign roles to guarantee that every team has every skill needed to complete a successful world. You are responsible for filling the role you are assigned in a team, but you are NOT constrained to working within your assigned role only. There will be a few cases where, due to "talent shortages", some students will need to make use of their secondary roles on teams. We will make every effort to make sure no one gets stuck in roles they are not well-suited for, but students should expect to have to make occasional sacrifices, and step up to unexpected challenges. Although we hope to allow students the opportunity to perform each role they qualified for, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. The TAs and faculty have final decision-making powers over teams and roles.
The team programmer is responsible for the programming for that team's world.
The programmer should be able to:
Load models Load textures Load actors/animations Load sounds Play animations Play sounds Use intervals (coroutines and smoothdamp) Use guest input (keyboard, mouse, whatever) Use lights Use collisions Multiple Scenes Build project
Advanced Unity features Animation Events Integration of hardware (ask TAs)
The team modeler/animator is responsible for the modeling and animation for that team's world.
The modeler/animator should be able to:
The team texture artist is responsible for the textures and 2D art for that team's world.
The texture artist should be able to:
The team sound designer is responsible for the sound design for that team's world. Sound designers are responsible for making sure a world sounds good. If a world sounds as a naive guest would expect it to sound, then the designer has done a great job. Good sound design seamlessly completes and polishes a virtual world!
Sound design is important for a variety of reasons:
Some basic tasks a sound designer should be able to do are:
All information on platforms is documented on the unity3D wiki and then add links for each platform to the wiki equivalent.
For information on working with these platforms in Unity3D, see the ETC Unity Wiki.
Perforce is a commercially available version control system used in BVW and many other ETC projects. It tracks and provides control over changes to source code and project assets, helping integration within multi-developer projects. The ETC now uses P4V, the Perforce Visual Client, which has a yellow "P4" as its icon. More information about P4V (including tours, downloads, and documentation) can be found on the Perforce Visual Client website.
Once perforce is working you can add files by navigating to the U:/Working drive on YOUR computer and finding or creating the folder where you want your file to be located. After that create your files inside that folder.
Back in Perforce you should be able to find the files you create in your workspace tab. To submit a file to Perforce, right click the file and select "Add," then right click the file again and select "Submit."
You can find the official Perforce guide to getting started on the Perforce website here.
Audition does not accept your movie file into the timeline This is a common problem when your computer does not have the latest codecs installed. To solve this:
When I export a video with sound, no sound plays in any media player
This may occur when you export a video using the default Apple Lossless encoding. To solve this:
When I playback sound from inside Audition, there is no sound (or sometimes, only in the left or right channel)
A more 'permanent' fix for this problem follows:
I used a .mov file for a video, but experienced stuttering & lagging during playback
File Formats and Types
The sample rate denotes the number of samples per second taken from a continuous audio signal to create a discrete digital version of that signal. The higher the sample rate, the more "accurate" the representation of the audio signal. The sample rate corresponds to the audio's frequency range.
8kHz - telephones, walkie talkies, intercoms 44.1kHz - CD quality audio 48kHz - digital sound used for miniDV, digital TV, DVD, and films 96kHz - DVD-Audio, BD-ROM (Blu-Ray), HD DVD audio
Generally, your sound effects will be 44.1kHz, and you should be recording at either 44.1kHz or 48kHz in the sound booth. Downsampling to a lower sampling rate will greatly degrade your audio quality.
Bit depth describes the number of bits of information recorded for each sample. It directly corresponds to the resolution of each sample in a set of digital audio data. The bit rate corresponds to the audio's dynamic range. CD audio is generally recorded at 16-bit.
Wav files are uncompressed audio, whereas mp3 files are compressed. If the mp3 file is of a good enough quality, the difference can be mostly inaudible. However, you can run into noticeable artifacting and degeneration, especially when many mp3s are layered on top of each other.
Keep in mind: you can compress a wav into an mp3, but you cannot "de-compress" an mp3 back to a wav in an attempt to regain lost sound quality.
FraPS (derived from Frames per second) is a benchmarking, screen capture, and real-time video capture utility for DirectX and OpenGL applications. BVW teams are expected to record FraPS footage of their worlds, creating a record that the world ran successfully. This can be used as gaming footage to give a sense of the world experience or, in some cases, as fallback material in the case that a live performance of a world should go awry.
Visit the official FraPS website for more information about the program.
Quick note: FraPS is only good for capturing live hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. To capture other things, like a Flash game, or a window on your desktop, try Windows Media Encoder.
Double Click on the Fraps 2.9.8 icon.
Click on I Agree.
Click on Next.
Click on Install.
Click on Close.
FraPS will now be installed in your machine. Unless you have changed any of the locations, it will be available in: Start --> All Programs --> Fraps --> Fraps.
You will know if Fraps can record your game if it shows the frames per second (fps) at the top left corner of your screen.
Start FraPS -- an icon will appear in the lower right-hand corner of your monitor:
Press the video capture hotkey to start and stop your recording. The yellow framerate number at the top left corner of your screen will turn red whenever FraPS is recording.
Your recorded videos will be saved in the same folder you installed Fraps in, unless you change it.
Please make sure that you select the Half-size option button. Fraps videos can be surprisingly large – often in the range of Gbs!
Do not put FraPS .avi files on Perforce under any circumstances -- not only do uncompressed FraPS files take up too much space, every file submitted to Perforce is compressed on the back-end. Compressing a multi-gigabyte file takes a lot of time, plus video doesn't compress well with lossless compression (which is what Perforce uses). So doing this will really slow down the Perforce server for everyone using it. For that reason, it is required that you compress your FraPS videos using lossy (but very high-quality) compression, as described below. Normally you can achieve a 12:1 compression ratio.
To turn in your FraPS, first, compress the FraPS file to WMV:
(instructions duplicated from Compress FraPS to WMV without compromising quality)
You will not need to install the Media Encoder if you are running Vista 64-bit. Just go to Start Menu > All Programs > Windows Media > Windows Media Encoder > Windows Media Encoder X64 edition
Launch Windows Media Encoder 9 ( Start Menu > All Programs > Windows Media > Windows Media Encoder )
In the New Session box, choose "Convert a file", and click OK...
The New Session Wizard box will appear. Click the top-most Browse button and choose the FraPS file you want to compress. The name of the new WMV file that the encoder will create is filled in automatically in the second text box. If you want something different, enter it in the second text box. Otherwise, click Next. Windows Media Encoder may appear to freeze/crash, but this is normal, as it is reading the enormous FraPS file, which takes a while.
At the next screen, choose File Archive, and click Next...
At the next screen, choose Next...
At the next screen, fill in the appropriate information, then click Finish...
The encoding process will begin. Depending on the size of the file and the speed of your computer, this process will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. You can use the buttons at the top to Pause or Stop the encoding.
Delete the source FraPS AVI file.
Then, submit the WMV to Perforce.
Make sure the FraPS program is installed on the machine you are using. You need to install FraPS to play/convert FraPS-captured video because they use their own codec.
The Bullpen is in ETC room #5404. It seats 52 students.
The Dugout is in ETC room #5208. It seats about 27 students.
The ETC Library/Video Conference Room is located in room 5321. From time to time you may need to use the Skype Station in the 5th floor library to have video conference meetings with BVW instructors regarding your world and assignments.
The 5th floor Skype Station has its own account, called etc-pgh-conf-1. This is the account name that instructors should be looking for within Skype in order to talk with you.
This account is set to log in automatically when the computer starts up. DO NOT log out of this name and into another Skype account. The password is secret and held by the ETC and it may take a while to have the proper person log the etc-pgh-conf-1 account back in.
In case the etc-pgh-conf-1 has already been logged off, you may use the BVW-specific Skype account, called bvw-pgh. Ask a TA to sign you in or tell you the account password for the bvw-pgh account.
Skype is a video conferencing software that utilizes a camera and microphone for its main methods of communication. In the 5th floor library, the microphone and camera systems are set to automatically connect to Skype - you do not need to adjust any settings.
First, turn on the television by hitting the power button on the lower left side of the unit. It acts as a monitor for the computer it is hooked up to, which is always left on.
There is a wireless keyboard and mouse which can be placed on the conference table and used to navigate the computer.
You should not need to log into Skype from the 5th floor station in the Library. As stated above, it should already be logged in, and once finished, DO NOT log out.
Usually, when you set up a Skype conference call with an instructor (by signing up for Skype office hours, for example), the instructor will call you. You simply need to wait for him or her to buzz in.
When he or she calls in, a dialogue box appears along with a melodic tone. Three options appear in this dialogue box: Answer, Reject or Chat. Click on Answer.
Once you do, a connection will be made and the video conferencing begins. You will see the caller's video and your video as well as hear the caller.
To make a call, click on the receiver's name in the buddy list and click the green 'Call' button on the bottom of the screen. It's as simple as that!
When you are done with your session, just hang up by clicking the red hang up button. If you are signed in as etc-pgh-conf-1, DO NOT exit Skype or log out! If you are signed in as bvw-pgh, log out when you are finished.
Also, do not log out of the computer or turn it off. Only turn off the television by hitting the same power button in the lower left of the screen.
Please remember: DO NOT LOG OUT of etc-pgh-conf-1! DO NOT LOG OUT of the Computer! DO NOT turn off the Computer!
Randon (an amalgamation of the names of the ETC's two founders, Randy Pausch and Don Marinelli) is a shared virtual space for ETC students, staff, and faculty to store files.
BVW has a folder on randon at \Randon\etc\classes\current\bvw\
Most BVW-related work should be managed through Perforce rather than placed on randon. Randon is used for some BVW files, however, such as movie trailer videos for the Round 0 sound design assignment and students' BVW Show t-shirt design submissions.
The sound studio is located in ETC room 2403. You need the sound room key (a key attached to a tiny shovel) to access the room -- this key can be found in the mail room next to the Sound Room Check Out sheet. Be sure to sign out the key when you use it and return the key when you are finished so other people can use the space.
The sound room has a keyboard for composing music and a recording booth for recording your own audio samples. Audio software available in the sound room includes Audition, Garageband, Digital Performer, and Cubase.
The plugs behind the equipment in the sound room should never be changed or moved under any circumstances without TA supervision. Also, should the configuration fail to work please let a TA / Support know ASAP.
The box with the green lights shows that the keyboard is sending signals, which can help to rule out any computer to keyboard connection issues.
For access to the wood shop and any help with development please contact our shop TA or David Whitewolf.
BVW Show branding has three main parts -- printed material (save the date, invitations, posters, badges, and show programs), t-shirts, and digital branding (website theming, the desktop wallpaper on the BVW Show computers, any animated logos, etc).
Save the Date is an email that is sent out to any VIP guests that we would like ot invite. This email should give the date of the show and after party and should indicate that they will be receiving a formal invitation in a few weeks. These should be sent out as early as possible, preferably the moment you confirm the actual date of the BVW Show. Coordinate with Iris and Caitlin to determine the content of the email and who should get it. Iris should be the one sending the emails.
The design for BVW Show invitations is chosen by contest. The content info is generally sent out around week 6 or 7 and the deadline for submissions must be no later than week 10. The objective of the contest is to create an invitation postcard for the BVW show, but the invitation design is generally remixed to create the look for other print and digital branding material as well. This remixing is usually performed by the original artist at the request of the TAs.
The following information must be on the invite:
ETC logos can be found here: http://www.etc.cmu.edu/presskit/
The postcard needs to convey a feeling of "You're invited to the BVW show," though it doesn't need to have this in text if you can communicate this message without words.
The dimensions of the postcard are 6x8in. The look of the invite will also carry over to the BVW posters, programs, and DVD label, so art/design entries need to be flexible enough to be remixed for other formats. Let students know that if their art is chosen they may be asked to make some changes to it.
The creator of the entry that is chosen receives a prize (ex: a $25 gift card) in addition to having his/her work appear on all that BVW show publicity material and put on permanent display in the ETC. A lot of people from the industry come to the BVW show, so this is a great way for students to get their names and work out there. All entries need to be original work by 1st year ETC students currently in BVW. Up to two people may collaborate on the same entry.
Designs can be in PDF, EPS, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, INDD, or PSD. If a student uses any special fonts, he/she should make sure to include them as well. Files should be submitted to:
Multiple entries or entries with extra fonts should be in a folder with the student's name on it. Otherwise each student should put his/her name in the file name of the submission.
The winning entry is chosen by Janice, Ruth, the BVW faculty and the TAs. Ruth is good at giving students specific feedback and advice on how to improve their designs so that the branding for the show is of as high a quality as possible.
The following items are all based on the winning BVW invitation:
Every BVW show has an accompanying t-shirt -- you can see all the previous BVW show t-shirt designs in the bullpen, above the windows furthest away from the door. The designs often (though not always) feature a variety of characters from worlds created in BVW that year.
The t-shirt design is selected by contest. Typically a sheet of blank lines is posted on the door of the bullpen for students to write names of BVW world characters that they would like to see incorporated into that year's t-shirt design. Design entries do not have to include all (or any) of the characters on the t-shirt list -- the list is for reference only. Designs that do incorporate characters should make sure to have some characters from Round 5 worlds. Previous t-shirt design contests have been started around week 6 of the semester and concluded around week 13. Janice, Ruth, the BVW faculty and the TAs weigh in to select the winning design.
Designs should be in black and/or white only -- ultimately they will be printed over a t-shirt color of the class's choosing. The designs should be roughly 8 1/2 x 11. This isn't a hard and fast restriction -- they will probably be sized down or up to fit the shirts. File type is flexible -- photoshop files or vector images are nice, but as long as it's a file type the t-shirt printer will take (or can be converted with little loss of quality) it's all good.
All entries need to be original work by 1st year ETC students currently in BVW. If you choose, two people may collaborate on the same entry. The creator of the entry that is chosen receives a prize (such as a $25 gift card) and their work lives on in the memories of all.
Designs should be submitted at:
If a student is submitting multiple entries or the entry includes extra fonts, he/she should make a folder with his/her name on it. Otherwise students should include their names in the file names of their submissions.
There are three stages to the jury process: jury submissions, jury practice, and finally the actual jury.
First, students decide which worlds they wish to submit to Jury. They may submit any world that they've created from Rounds 1 through 4 that they'd like to have in the show. Generally all Round 5 worlds are automatically entered into Juries, but this can change depending on the circumstances of the schedule. As part of submitting a world to Jury, students need to provide information about that world.
TAs should set up a student-editable webpage or google spreadsheet for Jury submissions. To enter a previous world into Juries, students should fill out this form by a clearly-specified deadline (in past years, midnight on the Friday of week 12). Worlds that are entered after that date cannot be considered. TAs and staff need lead time in order to reformat computers and analyze logistics for Juries and the show. TAs should stress that agreement from ALL teammembers is needed for a world to be submitted to juries. The TAs don't check for this, but it does remind the students that this is again a team effort.
The Jury submission spreadsheet should ask for the following:
This information should be gathered well in advance so that the TAs have contact information for each world and can take all worlds' technical needs into account when figuring out Jury setup. You may need to request addition information -- for example, if more than one version of Panda was used over the course of the semester, you will also need to know what Panda version each world needs in order to run.
Although entries must be submitted by the deadline, students have until Juries to work on the world (polish, change things, etc).
In general, due to the extensive logistics involved with the JoD these worlds are not eligible to be submitted to juries. This of course can be overridden in a case-by-case basis by the BVW Faculty.
Additionally, students DO NOT submit worlds for consideration for the after party. This should be considered a curated event with worlds chosen by the BVW Faculty. If students feel that a particular world is well suited for the after party they need to discuss it with the BVW Faculty.
Attached is the jury practice schedule that was used during the Fall 2010 BVW class. This may be a good file to use as a template for your show.
Second, students test and practice their worlds. The specific jury set-up will be determined by the unique needs of that year's entries. Generally speaking, though, there are three main show computers: the HMD Left computer, the HMD Right computer, and the Playmotion computer. In addition to the two HMDs and the Playmotion, one or more of these computers are set up to support the Audience Interaction (aka Capture Card) and Beyond Question platforms.
Jury practice is split up into two different types of rehearsals, assigned and free. Each world that is submitted gets around 2 practice slots that are assigned to them and there are a number of free practice slots that should allow each team to have a total of 3 practice slots overall.
In Fall 2010, the TAs implemented a system that had varying practice lengths, 10 minute, 15 minute and 20 minute slots. Each team got one 15 minute and one 20 minute slot assigned. The free practice slots were then made up of 10, 15, and 20 minute slots distributed as evenly as possible over the course of the Jury Practice week. This system allowed for the more complex worlds the time they needed to setup and practice.
When the TAs assign each world/team a practice slot, they should assign them to a specific computer and publish a webpage or Google document with this information. This is the computer that team will be using for jury, and the computer that they should test on. Students should not switch HMDs, cameras, or Beyond Question setups).
All Jury/Show computers should be completely reformatted, and all unnecessary programs removed. In the past students were made aware that the Jury computers do not have pype and you couldn't change your code. You cannot sync perforce. You cannot email yourself anything. The only thing you would do was run your world. During the Fall 2010 class, this restriction was found to be unnecessarily restrictive and not enforced. Instead students were reminded that this was their testing slot and they should use it wisely. Students were also informed that the testing slot times would be strictly enforced and if their time was up they would have to give their spot up to the next team no matter what. This seemed to make things run much smoother without so much grumbling.
For Jury practice time slots, the team members should come downstairs at least 5 minutes before their time slot. This rule is enforced even if the schedule is running behind. They are to check in with the TA in charge. The TA will have already logged into perforce on every machine and you'll need to sync with that account. You may not use your perforce account or access the internet - this will mess with the show settings on the computer.
Some additional notes:
Students may not test without a TA present. This is because the setup for BVW is extremely finicky. We have specially formatted these computers for the show, and if any changes are made, it could risk not only your world but the worlds of everyone else on that machine. This also means that your fellow TAs need to help monitor the worlds during juries. They don't need to be all programmers, however the platform TA should review the basic setup with all of the TAs so that everyone is familiar.
The students also need to be reminded to sign up for only the time that they need, and to remove themselves if they find they have extra slots they are not using.
If a team has submitted a world to jury and would like to withdraw it, they need to inform the TAs by sending an email to bvw-pgh-support stating the round and team number of the world they want to withdrawn. Due to the complex scheduling that is necessary for juries, the students themselves should not remove themselves from the list.
The day of juries can be a chaotic event. The BVW Show TA needs to confirm with the BVW Faculty how many and who the jurors will be. This is to coordinate lunch and dinner for the group. Lunch is also provided to the TAs running juries. In the past lunch was provided to the students, but in Fall 2010 this privilege was not given. Who is fed during this day should be approved by the BVW Faculty.
In addition to this, jury sheets need to be generated. Attached is a base file that was used during the Fall 2010 BVW Juries which can be used as a template.
Lastly the schedule for jury needs to be generated. There are a number of factors that go into the planning of the jury schedule, but in general you'll try to schedule it so you don't have to do as many switches screen wise throughout the day. For example you should probably schedule the playmotion worlds all together so you're not putting the screen up and down all the time. For HMD worlds you'll want to schedule the worlds to play staggered on the two HMD computers. This allows the other team to setup while one is currently showing their world.
To generate this schedule, you'll want to work with the Head TAs and the platform TA. These people know everything there is to know about these worlds.
The FRAPs and final worlds for all rounds are due at 11 pm the night before Jury. At this time, perforce will be frozen. On the day of Jury the TAs will sync the show computers to the current state of the perforce folders at 11 PM the night before.
During jury, the student running the world will open the folder, click 'runworld.bat', which must be located in the root of the world folder on perforce, and the world will run. If your world crashes, the BVW Show TA will make the call to run fraps or not. Due to the time constraints, we are not able to offer you a second chance to run your world. Take this into account and plan accordingly.
The technical setup for Jury should be as identical as possible to the planned setup for the BVW Show, so that Jury can act as technical practice for the show.
The technical diagram from BVW 08 is attached to this page as BVW08-tech-diagram.pdf.
In general, a splitter allows a single VGA feed to be split into multiple feeds. It looks like this:
It can have EQ controllers and amplifiers to create better signal.
A switcher takes in multiple vga feeds and allows you to choose between them. It sends only one on. We have 2 8x1 switchers which we use for the show, which look something like this:
Some notes on the diagram:
Start looking at the diagram from the top. We had three main show computers – HMD Left, HMD Right, and Playmotion. Each of these computers was located onstage, with associated peripherals. You can feel free to assign peripherals to each of these computers as your show requires. Next to each computer is a backup computer with exactly the same setup, just in case.
Located near these computers onstage is:
In the control room, each computer has:
The Fraps and Interstitial computers are located in the control room, with their peripherals.
From the primary monitor splitter comes several feeds. The first goes to the primary monitor, so the programmer can see what’s going on in the HMD or the playmotion. The rest go to each switch which might need to show that feed. In general, it’s best to send each feed to all switches, just in case. So the SL switch should be able to show any computer, as should the SR switch and the playmotion switch.
Each switch should have its own monitor (so you can see what is being shown on the projectors. The output of the switch runs from the control room up to the cmuTV control room at the top of the stairs. There it is run through one of our scan converters, which looks like this:
cmuTV also provides us with a VGA feed of the output of its cameras, so we can play the video feed on the screen live, if we like.
By necessity, jury has a significantly smaller set up than for the actual show -- we rent and borrow a lot of great lighting and sound equipment for the show, but generally much of this is not available for jury. TAs should make clear to students what technical resources will be available for jury and what will be available for the show.
For the BVW 08 jury we had:
For the BVW 08 show we had:
Teams whose worlds' needs exceeded the simple list of default jury capabilities (ex: they needed DMX or special lighting during jury, required special sound, wanted to use pyrotechnics, confetti cannons, fog machines, ANYTHING not on that list) were required to talk with the Stage Manager ahead of time to set up special accommodations. When the jury schedule came out, it was these teams' responsibility to double-check the list of special needs and accommodations to make sure it matched with their expectations.
There are lots of worlds for juries that include the use of props and costumes. During the semester, teams bring these down on the day of critiques.
For juries and the show, things are a bit different.
Each team should bring down their props, costumes or set pieces for Juries the weekend before, where the person in charge of props for the show will set up a costume rack and various prop tables in the hallway outside the RPS. Each team will have a designated space on the table for their props.
You must label all costumes, props or set pieces for your world with a piece of tape and the following information:
-Name of world
This makes things easier for everyone. It also makes the move to the theatre that much easier.
Please bring your props, costumes and set pieces down to the RPS on Saturday or Sunday, labeled and ready to go.
The 2009 and 2010 BVW Show took place in the Philip Chosky Theatre, located off of the main lobby of The Purnell Center for the Arts. This was as a favor to the ETC and is negotiated by Don. If you are using this space please review the following.
Prior to this the BVW show was held in Mconomy Auditorium, which is located in the University Center on Main Campus. If you are using this space please review the info located below the Chosky info.
Chosky Theatre seats 500, and a 45' x 10' electromechanical orchestra lift can be used as an orchestra pit, at audience seating level for additional seating (up to ~35), at stage level for a deep apron, or at any position in between. The proscenium opening width is variable (from 34' to 50'.) and the house side "box-boom" walls pivot to provide a variable playing space. The stage house is 86' wide by 40' deep with a full working gridiron 72' above the stage. In addition, a thrust is available. The space is permanently wired in a dimmer-per-circuit arrangement and has catwalk and tension-grid access for many of the lighting positions.
In Fall 2010, the drama department was much more involved in the BVW Show than the previous year. This allowed us to use some more of the chosky theatre's abilities including the use of advanced lighting. This coordination was started early in the semester by contacting __________. He was instrumental in coordinating with the facility. He emailed the drama student body and a number of individuals offered their services, including lighting, stage management and props. The only payment they recieved was a mini-course credit which can be approved by any of the ETC faculty. You'll need to coordinate with MaryCatherine in order to get the mini-course put into the system.
Some basic rules about the theatre:
For more information, check out these external links:
Info coming soon ...
Much of this information is dependent on Caitlin, Janice, Iris and the BVW Faculty and is subject to change. The VIP policy is for the guests of the students and for industry guests.
If there are two shows then the first show is usually for general audiences on a first come first serve basis. You may want to section of a group of seats for people who can't make the second show. These guests are NOT invited to the after party.
The second show is for invited guests only. These include parents of students, 2nd year students (they are encouraged to go to the first show), industry and CMU guests. All of these guests are also invited to the afterparty.
The type of people who are considered VIPs are:
In Fall 2010 the students were each allotted 2 guest passes to give to whomever they wanted. Students must inform Caitlin who is using their two passes before the invitations are sent out. Horsetrading of passes is allowed, but both the student that gives up the seat and the student who uses the seat MUST inform Caitlin about who is coming. Students should also tell Caitlin if they don't plan to use their seats at all.
All guests must RSVP for the second show. This information is needed for ordering food and security for the after party.
All first year students will have a seat for both shows and are required to attend both shows.
At the show, guests will pick up their badges in the lobby and be directed where to go by ushers.
Jury & Show jobs There are a number of different positions that need to be filled in order for the BVW show to be a success. Three positions are filled by the BVW Faculty:
Generally the BVW show manager has a support team that he/she has chosen. Those support positions are:
These positions are given at the beginning of the semester and generally report to the BVW Show Manger save for the lighting TA who helps with lighting down at the ETC as well as the show venue. They are not paid TA positions because the amount of work necessary is negligible. The only reason they are chosen at the beginning is to allow for early planning and the occasional meeting.
Beyond these positions there are a few for the show only positions that need to be filled as well:
In addition to these positions there are a number of positions that first year students need to fill. The number of people needed should be decided by the BVW Show Manager and the After Party TA. The positions necessary are:
Every year students are required to attend a lecture concerning hazardous materials and general safety information. At the bottom of this page you can find a PDF version of the lecture slides.