Creative Collaborative Virtual Environments

Creative Collaborative Virtual Environments

Luís Eustáquio (Universidade do Porto, Portugal) and Catarina Carneiro de Sousa (Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch359
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Abstract

The authors propose to define Creative Collaborative Virtual Environments (CCVEs), as platforms for collaborative and distributed creation in online communities. This will be established by examining virtual worlds as agents of change towards new creative and collaborative models. CCVEs are grounded on three key elements: creation, collaboration, and distribution. These relate not only to the technical, but also to the social layers of virtual online communities. Shared creativity and distributed authorship are approached as examples of specific dynamics rooted upon these three elements. The concept of CCVE is important to the design of emerging virtual worlds, specifically regarding the preservation of affordances for collaborative creativity. Discussion based on these observations demonstrates how collaborative creation of new content and meaning takes place in CCVEs, and how they transform communicative and creative agency in digital communities.
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The Creative Approach To Cve

A collaborative space enables dialogue and exchanges between users, but is not required to enable content creation at its core. On the other hand, a creative environment does not strictly require online collaborative features to afford creativity. As noted by Lévy (2001), the distinction between read-only and read/write virtual worlds is not an opposition. Many virtual environments are able to digest “offline” processes to some extent, importing or exporting content. Others may allow some degree of self-expression, through limited customization options. However, limited presets do not empower users to create or reinvent their own virtual world. To achieve this potential, users must be able to create, modify, transform and redistribute media assets that constitute the very fabric of the virtual world: notably, audiovisual components (including 3D data, if applicable) and program code.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Distributed Authorship: Term coined by Roy Ascott (2005) to describe interactive and remote authoring. The same term was later used by Axel Bruns (2010) to refer to projects in which a large number of participants contribute to a common pool of artistic material.

OpenSim: Open-source multi-user 3D application server, used to create digital environments enabled by network technologies, experienced through the use of avatars that represent the user in the environment, on multiple protocols. This software enables developers to create and customize virtual worlds, using their preference of technologies. These worlds can be hyperlinked with each other, using the Hypergrid as an additional resource ( OpenSimulator, 2014 ).

Feature: Designates specific characteristics and programs of action, found in software, artefacts and processes. In this sense, a feature is understood to exist as part of a virtual object, a software application, or a workflow, irrespective of its employment by an actor in a given environment.

Affordance: The concept of affordance is somewhat variable across scientific areas. Its mutation from verb to noun occurs in Gibson’s Theory of Affordances ( Gibson, 1986 ), referring to environmental actionable properties, but ultimately designating relationships between environments and actors therein. Affordances have been ascribed a functional role in active cognition, in an attempt to deconstruct our perception of such relationships, as when Donald Norman (1999) discusses real versus perceived affordances in interface design. Currently, affordances are strongly related with interaction processes, designating a range of action possibilities ( Xenakis & Arnellos, 2013 ) emerging from engagement between actor and environment or artifact.

Second Life (SL): Digital, multi-user, 3D world, enabled by network technologies, experienced through the use of avatars that represent the user in the environment. This world is entirely created by its residents.

Produsage: Term coined by Axel Bruns (2007) to describe a work process where participants shift from users to producers and vice versa, originating a hybrid role in between, the produser.

Participation: Describes a user’s level of engagement in a specific platform. This notion is borrowed from contemporary art theory, analyzing recent transformations in the role of the audience, from simple viewer to co-producer or participant ( Bishop, 2012 ).

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