I am so excited to get another chance to share my passion for Second Life with the great members of the eLearning Guild. It was truly humbling to be so well received at DevLearn08 and to be able to have three opportunities to work with you (DemoFest, Breakfast Bytes, and a session).
January 29th & 30th are the dates for an Online Forum put on by the Guild. I am honoured to be able to teach more specifics on the use of Second Life as a true 3D tool rather than an application.
I have used Blender 3D extensively and it is an excellent program, but is very steep to learn (all keyboard driven, but that makes it very fast once you learn it). I have also used tools specific to Flash such as Swift 3D. Blender can yield great results (comparable to Maya) but is not designed for online delivery as in eLearning. Plus the rendering times are long (for examaple, a 90 second chess match with only the board and pieces took 20 computers two weeks running 24 hours a day as a render farm). Swift 3D is intended for web delivery via Flash and is faster to render, but I find it has a “stronger” niche look than Second Life.
My approach is easy to learn in short order, renders real time, and yields animation similar to virtual agent software. The total cost (money and time) is very low and the results are more tied to your imagination than any hard to achieve expertise.
Resources will be available in the form of video tutorials (even no frill mp4 versions for your iPod) and PDF guides. More to come and thank you for looking at this as an option and possible tool for your toolkit. :)