AoIR Robbins


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Applying a Faceted Classification to virtual worlds.

The first few slides are there to explain why this talk was presented remotely. :-)

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AoIR Robbins

  1. 1. Using a Faceted Classification Scheme to Predict the Future of Virtual Worlds Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins-Bell AoIR 2008
  2. 6. What is a virtual world?
  3. 7. text?
  4. 8. visual?
  5. 9. avatars?
  6. 10. persistent?
  7. 11. a game?
  8. 12. <ul><li>Richard Bartle: 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>The world has underlying, automated rules that enable players to effect changes to it (although not to the rules that grant them this ability). This is the world's physics . </li></ul><ul><li>Players represent individuals &quot;in&quot; the world. They may wield partial or total influence over an army, crew, or party, but there is only one game entity that represents them in the world and with which they strongly identify. This is their character . All interaction with the world and other players is channeled through characters. </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction with the world takes place in real time . When you do something in the world, you can expect feedback almost immediately. </li></ul><ul><li>The world is shared. </li></ul><ul><li>The world is (at least to some degree) persistent. </li></ul>
  9. 13. <ul><li>Raph Koster:2006 </li></ul><ul><li>&quot; a simulation of persistent space connected to via a network, wherein users are represented by proxies often termed avatars.&quot; </li></ul>
  10. 14. <ul><li>Aaron Delwiche 2007: </li></ul><ul><li>immersion in a synthetic world created entirely through computer-mediates representations </li></ul><ul><li>user embodiment in the synthetic world in the form of game characters called avatars </li></ul><ul><li>co-presence of multiple users in the synthetic world </li></ul><ul><li>the ability of user-controlled avatars to make persistent changes to the shared world entirely as a result of their in-world behaviors. </li></ul>
  11. 15. my definition
  12. 16. <ul><li>Persistence: A virtual world can’t be paused; it exists whether or not a user is logged in. </li></ul>
  13. 17. <ul><li>2. Multiuser: A virtual world must be populated or at least have the potential for population. </li></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>3. Avatars: Rather than offering an icon to represent a user, a virtual world allows a user to create an agent that takes action, an avatar. This representation of the user can perform actions that the user requests, such as fighting, expressing emotion, or simply moving through a space. </li></ul>
  15. 19. <ul><li>4. Wide Area Network: A virtual world is facilitated via a wide area network rather than a local one. Freed from the limited access of a locally hosted space, virtual worlds have the potential to be global and large. </li></ul>
  16. 20. VWs Operational Definition <ul><li>Persistent </li></ul><ul><li>Multiuser </li></ul><ul><li>Avatars </li></ul><ul><li>Wide Area Network </li></ul>
  17. 21. so what’s the difference?
  18. 22. what’s the difference?
  19. 23. why are the differences important?
  20. 24. not defining the differences flaws our research
  21. 25. examples <ul><li>Yee 2006 “The Psychology of MMORPGs” </li></ul><ul><li>Compares user motivations among Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and Star Wars Galaxies without taking into account that the world mechanics effect what is possible and thus, how users feel about why they play </li></ul>
  22. 26. examples <ul><li>Whang and Kim 2005 “Comparison of Online Game Experiences” </li></ul><ul><li>Deduces that players in one world are more engaged in game play while the players in the other are more engaged in socializing…without taking into account that one game allows more socialization than the other </li></ul>
  23. 27. how do we move past basic definitions to defining the differences?
  24. 28. My approach <ul><li>Faceted Classification </li></ul>
  25. 29. <ul><li>Faceted Classification is used to categorize and analyze objects such as data points, library books, and other objects that need to be easily sorted, compared, and differentiated. </li></ul>Ranganathan, S.R. 1962. Elements of library classification . New York: Asia Publishing House.
  26. 30. Spiteri’s approach to classification <ul><li>Differentiation : &quot;when dividing an entity into its component parts, it is important to use characteristics of division (i.e., facets) that will distinguish clearly among these component parts” </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance : &quot;when choosing facets by which to divide entities, it is important to make sure that the facets reflect the purpose, subject, and scope of the classification system” </li></ul><ul><li>Ascertainability : &quot;it is important to choose facets that are definite and can be ascertained” </li></ul><ul><li>Permanence : facets should &quot;represent permanent qualities of the item being divided” </li></ul><ul><li>Homogeneity : &quot;facets must be homogeneous” </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual Exclusivity : facets must be &quot;mutually exclusive,&quot; &quot;each facet must represent only one characteristic of division” </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental Categories : &quot;there exist no categories that are fundamental to all subjects, and ... categories should be derived based upon the nature of the subject being classified” </li></ul>
  27. 31. 75 worlds, which fit the operational definition of a virtual world, were studied to define common facets among them
  28. 32. 10 facets emerged
  29. 33. <ul><li>1. Dominant Content Form : </li></ul><ul><li>Text dominant </li></ul><ul><li>Image dominant </li></ul><ul><li>mix </li></ul>
  30. 34. <ul><li>2. Dominant User to User Communication form </li></ul><ul><li>Text </li></ul><ul><li>Voice </li></ul><ul><li>Mix </li></ul>
  31. 35. <ul><li>3. Stigmergy : </li></ul><ul><li>Stigmergic </li></ul><ul><li>Non-stigmergic </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional stigmergy </li></ul>
  32. 36. <ul><li>4. Object Ownership : </li></ul><ul><li>Private </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional stigmergy </li></ul>
  33. 37. <ul><li>5. User Identity Formation : </li></ul><ul><li>Static </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional </li></ul><ul><li>Custom </li></ul>
  34. 38. <ul><li>6. Access : </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><li>Fee </li></ul><ul><li>Limited/Private </li></ul>
  35. 39. <ul><li>7. User relationship with other Users (U2U): </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul>
  36. 40. <ul><li>8. User relationship with Environment (U2E): </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive </li></ul><ul><li>Conditional </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul>
  37. 41. <ul><li>9. Access to groups : </li></ul><ul><li>Private/Invite </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><li>None </li></ul>
  38. 42. <ul><li>10. Number of groups : </li></ul><ul><li>Many </li></ul><ul><li>One </li></ul><ul><li>None </li></ul>
  39. 43. Classification can pivot on the relevant facet WoW = image content, text U2U communication, non-stigmergic, limited sharing, fee access, conditional U2U, conditional U2E, one group, limited group access, conditional identity
  40. 44. The Facets are Powerful
  41. 45. Facet WoW SL Content Form Image Image U2U comm Text Mixed Stigmergy Non-stigmergic Stigmergic Object Ownership Private Limited Sharing U2U relationship Conditional Collaborative U2E relationship Conditional Collaborative Group # One Many Group Access Permission Open World Access Fee Public Identity Conditional Custom
  42. 46. Facet WoW SL Content Form Image Image U2U comm Text Mixed Stigmergy Non-stigmergic Stigmergic Object Ownership Private Limited Sharing U2U relationship Conditional Collaborative U2E relationship Conditional Collaborative Group # One Many Group Access Permission Open World Access Fee Public Identity Conditional Custom
  43. 47. So what do WoW an SL have in common? <ul><li>Persistence </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-user </li></ul><ul><li>Avatars </li></ul><ul><li>WAN </li></ul>Image-based content This limits how they should be compared in studies
  44. 48. Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins [email_address] Skype, AIM, Gchat, Flickr, Second Life: Intellagirl For more info and discussion check at