Virtual habitat

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1 Definition

  • A virtual habitat is a place where people can live and do things through some form of avatar.
  • Todays most popular habitats are probably "Massively multiplayer online role-playing games) (MMORPG)s.

2 History

  • Habitats started in the 1980's in the form of MUDs.
  • Some may argue that - at least in the mindes of people - Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) (see also forums) also were a kind of virtual meeting place where people did things. (Rheingold)
  • By the end of the 1980's we had 2D environments, in particular the pionneering "Lucas Film Habitat" than ran on Commodore 64:

The essential lesson that we have abstracted from our experiences with Habitat is that a cyberspace is defined more by the interactions among the actors within it than by the technology with which it is implemented. While we find much of the work presently being done on elaborate interface technologies & DataGloves, head-mounted displays, special-purpose rendering engines, and so on & both exciting and promising, the almost mystical euphoria that currently seems to surround all this hardware is, in our opinion, both excessive and somewhat misplaced. We can't help having a nagging sense that it's all a bit of a distraction from the really pressing issues. At the core of our vision is the idea that cyberspace is necessarily a multiple-participant environment. It seems to us that the things that are important to the inhabitants of such an environment are the capabilities available to them, the characteristics of the other people they encounter there, and the ways these various participants can affect one another. Beyond a foundation set of communications capabilities, the technology used to present this environment to its participants, while sexy and interesting, is a peripheral concern.
(Morningstart & Farmer, 1990).

3 Links

4 References

Morningstar, C. et Farmer, F. R. (1990). The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat. On-Line Publication, (also published in: M.Benedikt (ed.) Cyberspace: First Steps, MIT Press, 1991). txt

Rheingold Howard, The Virtual Community, online version in HTML