StoryCafe’s Web Interface



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StoryCafe’s Web Interface

Note: more changes coming to the web interface (e.g. replying to stories, grouping same stories together, etc)

Summary
We built a website that offers another way of accessing the story database. Through this website (http://storycafe.media.mit.edu/Secondlife/index.html) users are able to make stories and browse through stories others have created. They will be able to build stories as well, just as they do in Second Life. The stories are currently being stored in a MySQL database in the media lab server (See database setup.doc)

The website uses php to read and write on the database.



Picture Story Game
The main page for this game shows the database of the picture (URL) and words the users uploaded and then the Stories they generated using randomly assigned pictures.
The user can “Start another story” which assigns the user a random picture and the words associated to that. The user will then add the story and post it. The user can also “Tag another picture” which allows the user to give a URL of a picture and words they would like other users to use to make the story.

Card Game
The main page of this game also shows the saved cards (characters) and the stories that were saved by users.
The game itself can only be played by one player currently. The person is assigned a random card and is asked to create a story using the characteristics given.

Difficulties
The primary difficulty with our project was setting up and getting access to the database and server. Using phpmyadmin we were able to control the mySQL database with ease, though it isn’t setup securely.

Another difficulty exists in that with the web it is hard to host a multiplayer game just using HTML or PHP without resorting to browser-supported languages and programs such as Java or Flash. This flexibility of the browser, however, is one of the strongest points of


Differences in Interfaces


Categories

SecondLife

Browser

Ease of UI design

The UI is the standard blue box that appears on the top right corner. As for what the user sees, the 3D world is pretty easy to model (for what it is). Connecting to a database can be a little frustrating.

Setting up a workable page is easy. The developer has a lot of choice when presenting, aided with languages such as CSS, HTML, PHP, etc. and a myriad of other third party softwares.

Flexibility of platform

Linden Script has a lot of limitations, and the 3D platform itself also has limitations, such as not being able to import 3D models. Quicktime is, however, supported for a number of multimedia experience.

From plug-ins to web-based languages, the flexibility of the browser has been growing. Much has to be done with browser-based 3D worlds, and the ability for people to see and feel others presence at the same page.

Accessibility

SecondLife software is required to access the virtual world

Any of the many browsers that exist on every computer needed. Various plug-ins might be needed, too


Speed

Slow(er)

Fast(er)

Ease of use

Many features and controls must be learnt. Not quite intuitive compared to the browser. Considering it’s a 3D world, though, not too bad

Click & read.

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Listing of the files used for the web interface with descriptions







    • cardgame

      • index.html

      • cardgame_add.php Adding URL

      • cardgame_add_story.php Adding stories

      • cardgame_view.php

    • mix

      • mix_stories_retrieve.php (aborted game)

    • picturestory
      • index.html


      • secondlife_database.php Views the PictureStory db

      • web_add_story.php Takes user’s story

      • web_add_story_func.php Adds the story to the db

      • web_add_URL.php Takes user’s image URL

      • web_add_URL_func.php adds URL to db





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