Where virtual learning environments emerge at the speed of your imagination

What are the underlying technologies?

RezMela™ is an advanced application supported by a number of underlying technologies. We list here some of the most important ones that we use as leverage to speed up the production of virtual learning environments. 

Cloud hosted solution and highly scaleable virtual learning environments

RezMela ™ opensim® regions are currently cloud hosted on Kitely . We are able to duplicate as many RezMela ™ regions as needed in order to match class size. The way RezMela ™ is set up allows instructors to create breakout sessions trivially. Different groups of students can participate in scenarios on dedicated regions. This approach will ensure a good user experience even if the number of exercise participants is large. This is because the pressure on resources gets distributed among regions running as different instances on the Amazon EC2 cloud.

Directly manipulatable RezMela library of advanced interactive objects

In computer programming, layering is the organization of programming into separate functional components that interact in some sequential and hierarchical way, with each layer usually having an interface only to the layer above it and the layer below it. We have implemented a technology layer on top of OpenSim, the Malleable Linkset©, that allows users to directly manipulate through point and click library objects as needed. This allows users to change or augment existing RezMela virtual library content in a more natural way.

Damage Engine

The RezMela™ library of advanced interactive objects are programmed to simulate damage to various extent. The following snapshot illustrate buildings which have been hit by projectiles and which have caught fire. In a similar way, buildings will sustain damage if a user decides to unleash a storm or flood (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Damage engine
Non player characters that can be deployed and controlled at a click

In our context, non-player-characters are similar to avatars that represent users in the virtual training environments except that they are controlled by a computer program that shapes their autonomous behaviors. Our system can accommodate hundreds of non-player-characters that may function as bystanders, members of a crowd or virtual standardized patients to increase the realism of our training environments. Users can also control the behavior of each non-player-character through a streamlined user interface. In the following example, two non-player characters are carrying a third one to a drivable ambulance (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Non player characters carrying an Ebola patient on a stretcher

The following clip is another example demonstrating how a user avatar can control the behavior other non-player characters (Clip 1). 

Clip 1: Interacting with non player characters

The following clip illustrates how non-player-characters can be generated on the fly to make a virtual environment more engaging. This recording is a live capture of a playful session where a user was generating a group of NPCs to demonstrate the capabilities of our system (Clip 2).

Clip 2: Creating an army of non player characters

Physics Engine for vehicle simulations

The  RezMela™ library provides a diverse range of vehicles that users can inject at a click into scenarios and that users can drive to transport peer users or even other non-player-characters. We find that having drivable vehicles in a simulation increases the depth of engagement in our training simulations and certainly makes the experience more fun (Clip 3).

Clip 3: Drivable vehicles that can transport non player characters

Saving, sharing and reusing custom Virtual Learning Environments created by subject matter experts

Once a user has created a virtual scenario, they are able to save it and share it with other peers if need be. We think that this is an important aspect of our approach and will play a major role in building a community  of RezMela™ users who will build on each other's work in order to advance training approaches in virtual environments (Clip 4).

Clip 4: Loading a previously saved virtual learning scenario

Support for Immersive 3D Virtual Reality using VR Headsets such as the Oculus Rift

We are pioneering the field by being the first to start building virtual worlds from within. With this approach, designers or users with the Oculus Rift will be able to create their own environments from within a virtual world and watch it transform into a world they need. Our building interface being inworld by its very nature makes it directly and automatically accessible through devices like the Oculus Rift ™. The left section of the clip is what is projected to the left eye and the right section of the clip is what is projected to the right eye in order to create the total stereoscopic immersive effect (Clip 5).

Clip 5: Creating custom virtuall learning environments while being totally immersed with the environment itself

This clip is a live capture session of a user demonstrating the creation of a small group of non-player-characters to represent a family while being completely immersed in the virtual environment (Clip 6).

Clip 6: Another example to illustrate immersive 3D content