Virtual environment

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This is a short overview entry with pointers to more specialized articles in this wiki. It also includes some general links and reference.

(Note: Maybe all these articles ought to be reorganized at some point - Daniel K. Schneider 25 August 2008)

A virtual environment is a "place" containing things that can be manipulated and people. It conveys a sense of presence.

Types of virtual environments (internal links you can follow up in random order):

See also related conceptual issues, e.g.:


See Raph Koster's excellent Online World Timeline

Typology of virtual environments

There is no real consensus on what constitutes a virtual environment. See also Benford's categorization of shared spaces.

Here is a picture made by DSchneider that shows a variety of such environments and their potential for education:

Virtual environments typology.gif



  • Association of Virtual Worlds publishes the free green (business guide) and blue (consumer) books.
    • The blue book has a good long list of virtual environments (including ones for educational use). All kinds of technical environments are considered, most are desktop 3D. As of April 2009 its latest edition was: 5th Edition Jan 2009.


  • Dieberger, A. (1999) Social connotations of space in the Design for Virtual Communities and Social Navigation. In Munro, A., Höök K. & Benyon D. (Eds), Social Navigation of Information Space, pp. 35-54. Springer: London