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What is a virtual world?

26/02/2011
Virtual reality uses multimedia content. Appli...

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What is a virtual world?

According to KiwiBelma: It’s a world in which you could do virtually anything!

According to wikipedia: A virtual world is a genre of online community that often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects[1]. Virtual worlds are intended for its users to inhabit and interact, and the term today has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others graphically[2]. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations, although other forms are possible[3] (auditory[4] and touch sensations for example). Some, but not all, virtual worlds allow for multiple users. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_world)

 

The interesting thing(s) about virtual worlds, for me, are:

  • distance is not an obstacle – can meet people (avatars) from anywhere in the world, and can travel thousands of miles without living my home, office or classroom (rather important in the current world of ‘carbon footprints’)See:  http://www.trainersofschoolpsychologists.org/Forum/Vol29_No4.pdf#page=23
  • scenarios or simulations in the safety of a ‘real-pretend’ world. For example, simulating a safety drills in case of fire or natural disasters, running a business with real concept of money without breaking the bank
  • imagination – creating a world where a dream can become a reality. See: http://airccse.org/journal/jma/3111ijma09.pdf
  • communicating behind a character (which is not expected to be a replica of its creator, just an  ego) but communicating with ‘real-life’ people may be daunting for some (you can just mute the avatars you don’t want to talk to 🙂

How important do you think virtual worlds are now?

  • Virtual Worlds (VWs) are no longer merely the domain of youthful “gamers” operating on the edges of the communications envelope. On the contrary, VWs and their associated avatars are taking a central place in the way that millions of people spend their time undertaking a wide variety of activities including socialising, commerce, business meetings, staff recruitment, testing and model-building, and yes, acting out their fantasies as well! A range of training and development activities also take place in VWs, with academic institutions and companies exploring the benefits of an immersive environment in which participants can interact with each other as well as with their instructor, even if they are thousands of miles apart physically.” (Wankel & Kingsley, 2009)
  • I think we’re on the edge of another technological revolution – feels great riding the wave

How important do you think virtual worlds will be in 5-10 years?

In 5-10 years’ time, 3D virtual worlds will become ‘mainstream’, just like television, telephone, computers have…It will be the accepted form of communication, just like the telegram was, and it’s likely to be overtaken by another form, e.g. 4D, just like the telegram was [overtaken by email ;-)]

 

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