Wikitecture 3.0: Open Architecture Network Competition
The 3rd experiment, of which we just finished, was centered around a competition hosted by the Open Architecture Network.

Since the Network’s mission is about open sourcing architecture for humanitarian purposes, we thought it would be a good opportunity to submit an entry for this competition, composed in the same collaborative and open fashion they are known for.

But for this experiment, we we wanted to go beyond just mashing up existing technologies and actually develop a unique Wikitecture platform. So based on what we learned from the first experiments, we teamed up with the software designers from i3dnow, and developed a kind of inworld interface which is really in its essence a 3D Wiki. In addition, an external website was created to continually communicate in real time with the inworld interface.

So inworld interface, which we call the 'Wiki-Tree', is comprised of that 'tree-trunk' looking thing and the 'canopy' of colored spheres hanging above it.

From the Wiki-tree's trunk, you can choose from the standard menu of prim types to build with. We asked designers to build with these prims because each prim had a embedded script that allowed each piece to communicate with the wiki-tree... all the permissions were properly checked as well.

Of course, once the design has been seeded with these scripted prims, it's no longer necessary to come back to the tree as you can just copy a prim already located in the evolving design.

Once you're done designing, you simply take your objects into your inventory and submit them to the tree. Above the tree, there's a canopy of leaf spheres - each containing a different design submission. When you submit a design, the tree automatically adds a new leaf to the canopy.

If you look up in the see that in addition to just storing the designs, the canopy visually conveys how the different designs evolved from one another.

For example, the animated texture 'shooting' between two ‘leaves’ indicates the direction the designs were derived from one another; that is, it shows how one design was born from another.

Viewing the canopy holistically then, someone can assess the 'evolutionary' history of the design at quick glance.

The leaves derive their color from their popularity in the community. Visitors can use the tree, or the corresponding web interface, to cast 3 positive and 3 negative votes. The designs that aren't doing very well are red, the popular ones are bright green.

After a while, the tree will actually prune itself of the lowest ranked designs, leaving only the most popular ones as options for further refinement.

When designs are submitted, the tree communicates with the web interface, which automatically creates a corresponding area on the site where designers can upload snapshots and descriptions of their ideas. It is also another way for members of the community to vote on the design, and leave their own comments as well.

Here's a quick time lapse video of how the design evolved over time.

Watch video...
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