Archive for Virtual Worlds

What are Virtual Worlds?

In the article ‘What are Virtual Worlds?’, Richard A. Bartle addresses the definition of virtual worlds and the sometimes confusing terminology and acronyms surrounding them. This article is excerpted from Designing Virtual Worlds by Richard A. Bartle.

Some terms and definitions that grabbed my attention –
1. Virtual worlds are places where the imaginary meets the real.
Real. That which is.
Imaginary. That which isn’t.
Virtual. That which isn’t, having the form or effect of that which is.

2. In this context, a world is an environment that its inhabitants regard as being self-contained. It doesn’t have to mean an entire planet: It’s used in the same sense as “the Roman world” or “the world of high finance.”

3. Most virtual worlds adhere to certain conventions that distinguish them from related non-real spaces such as chat, table top roleplaying games, first person shooters.

This is must read article for anyone wanting to understand what virtual worlds are.


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