You may recall that we ran a competition to add to our collection of avatars a while back. Well, I’m happy to say that this great event gave us not one but four new avatars! I thought you all might enjoy this story, so here it goes:
We had great input from young patients when pilot-testing the BE community this spring. A need for different expressions in avatars, other hubs for identification, was one of the issues that surfaced from that test. Our users basically liked the existing avatars but wanted more choice.
Being on a shoe string budget we talked about how to accomplish this. Over at OurBricks our technology partners at Katalabs were running design competitions. The idea is basically that you state what you want made in a design brief, and put up a prize for the winner. We managed to scrape together $250 in prize money and the competition went live.
One week in, the first submission arrived. Quite a nice model that made us optimistic about the level of quality we could achieve. About a week later the submission period was over. After some deliberation we ended up going with OurBricks user TiZiana’s “Little Kid” model. There was a sense that her playfulness and very stylized approach would complement our existing avatar collection well.
TiZiana turned out to be a really good choice in ways that went beyond the high quality of her work. She liked our project so much that she totally free of charge made 3 additional skins as well as creating sit, idle and walk animations for them. This is an awesome contribution to the BE Community project and we are very grateful – and it’s also the reason I am able to present these four fully fledged members of the BE Community avatar family today!
Ps. As a nice bonus the runners up in the design competition were shared under an open license, so we are thinking to bring them in later, to add even greater variation to our avatar selection.
Submissions are up for the avatar design competition the team at OurBricks are running for the BE community. There are some great entries to choose from.
Let us know your favorite(s) by hitting those Like buttons at the competition website.
Stay tuned when we announce the winner in a few days…….
We are running a contest to get us some more 3D avatars. For this we are teaming up with OurBricks; a 3D content service built by our technology partner Katalabs. Together we are putting out a call to creative 3D artists everywhere:
The BE Community is an online 3D environment for young people fighting cancer. Their community have asked for some more choice in avatars. Now we are asking you: “Make an avatar you think would get them excited!”
Check out the contest and please help us spread the word on this. We will be back with an update as the submissions start to come in to enlist you to help us choose the winner of the $250 prize!
After having spent several months in Denmark establishing contact to clinical partners and young cancer patients and initiating the first pilot-testing of the BE community, Mette is heading back to the U.S. next week to present the first preliminary, qualitative data on testing the BE community with young patients, at the 7th Annual Games for Health Conference in Boston: http://www.gamesforhealth.org/index.php/conferences/gfh-2011/
The conference runs a whole track on May 19th concering ‘Social Games, Communities, & Virtual Worlds’, where Mette will be present and speaking. Henrik will join in on video-skype from San Francisco to discuss some of the technological implications.
If you are in the neighborhood - do join in. It’s a great conference – discussing and show-casing some of the newest work in the field of health games – so you can be sure to take away some excellent new insights.
Today the first two young patients tried out navigating and chatting in the BE community! It’s an important milestone for our work. We have a lot to learn from the young patients and how the see the community. Their ideas poured out as soon as the got into BE, so we’ll have a lot of new features to work on and try out based on this pilot test.
Mette will be at the University Hospital Aarhus throughout the next month to get young patients interested in testing the BE community. We’ll do a few in-world events and develop our understanding off how this virtual environment may come to be used.
Today we got our approval from National Danish Data Protection Agency to start pilot testing the BE community with young cancer patients at major oncology wards at two Danish hospitals. This great news is bringing us closer to building the important, independent evidence on how BE is used by young patients and how this affects their outlook on life with cancer.
The top-of-the-line programmers and developers at Katalabs have been working hard and focused on getting all the research logs and secure profile log-ins in place for testing, and it all looks great and works well to secure that we get all the data we could ask for.
We’ll be blogging about the pilot-test from the start in mid-February and are very excited to share the news of how the young patients welcome BE. Mette will be in the field and meeting the young patients throughout Spring.
So stay tuned for that……
Two days ago Katalabs, who is developing the software for the BE community, made a public release of the browser based virtual environment KataSpace. This is the environment we envision BE community to be running in very soon, so it’s very exciting for us to see people interacting in the space right now. Gives us a sense of the strong potential this virtual space will have for the BE community when we bring young cancer patients in to test it before long.
From Katalabs we hear that the space is holding up really well the the huge interest from people purring in to try it out. So that’s a great stress test for the stability – and the accessibility – of the system that will benefit the BE community.
Ars Technica covered the release yesterday – so you can read more about the technical features here:
Kataspace: browser-based virtual worlds built with WebGL and HTML5.
Want to see a little preview?
Feels very exciting to start to be able to have our meetings inside what we are building. Much more to follow!
The interesting Scope blog delivers medical news and conversation from Stanford School of Medicine. The people behind it got in touch wanting to write about us. It turned into an interesting piece that can serve as a good little intro to our project:
The pain and isolation of dealing with a cancer diagnosis are challenging emotional experiences for adults. Now imagine getting that diagnosis as an adolescent.
Link to the article