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The Dinner Party Virtual Tour

Following up on this earlier post, I’m happy to say The Dinner Party Virtual Tour has just gone live on our website. The launch of the tour took an awful lot longer than any of us ever expected. Back in March, the tour was done and the kiosks were installed in the gallery — everything was working just fine until, of course, the day of the Center’s opening.
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Suddenly, on some computers the hotspots within the tour had stopped working. There are hundreds of hotspots in the tour, each leading to an appropriate page in our Dinner Party Database which profiles each of the 1,038 women represented in artwork. With all those hotspots broken, on opening day we had a really nice picture, with zero content. Turns out, the night before, Apple had disabled Javascript support in the latest version of QuickTime. As computers auto-updated, the hotspots would break.

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We had to start over. Using the same photography, the VR was re-built from the ground up using Flash and it took a while to get all the kinks out. The Flash Panorama Player is not as good at rendering panoramas as QuickTime, but our consultants working on the project tirelessly tweaked and tweaked until the difference was slight.

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As it happens, Flash is a bit better for us. More web visitors have the Flash Player already installed, it loads faster than the QuickTime version and we are using an XML file for the settings and hotspots (which means we can easily edit them later if we ever need to).

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There’s a plain-text browse version to maintain accessibility for those who don’t want or can’t install the Flash Player. The full screen version of the tour is now running on kiosks in the gallery. Special thanks to Jook and John at 360VR.com and Matt over at Photospherix for sticking with this to the very, very end!