Using Virtual Worlds to Assist Distributed Teams

Using Virtual Worlds to Assist Distributed Teams

Clint Bowers (University of Central Florida, USA), Peter A. Smith (University of Central Florida, USA), Jan Cannon-Bowers (University of Central Florida, USA) and Denise Nicholson (University of Central Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-893-2.ch029
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Virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games are becoming a useful tool for distributed teams. From providing a common working place, to allowing members of the team to interact in a physical albeit virtual form, virtual worlds are setting a new standard for tools to facilitate interactions between members of distributed teams. This chapter explores the ways in which virtual worlds could support interactive teams at a greater fidelity then that of the previous generation of groupware tools using a popular virtual world, Second Life as an example. While providing specific examples of how Second Life’s current and planned feature sets could already support distributed teams, that is, teams whose members are geographically disbursed. New features that would provide additional support for these types of teams are also discussed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Second Life: Second Life is a popular MMOG developed by Linden Lab. It allows users to edit the world and their own characters to their own specifications.

Virtual World: A Virtual World is a persistent virtual environment in which all users login from their own computers to exist in a world in which there are no specific goals or rules to the world.

MMOG: A Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) is a game in which the players all login from their own computers to a persistent environment to play a game with a rule set and specific outcomes.

Resident: The name used to describe the real world player or user in Second Life.

Distributed Team: A team in which all the team members are located in multiple locations.

Collocated Team: A team in which all of the team members are located in the same location.

Avatar: The digital representation of the user in a Virtual World or MMOG.

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