“A Social Metaphor-based 3D Virtual Environment” by DiPaola and Collins

  • ©Steve DiPaola and David Collins




    A Social Metaphor-based 3D Virtual Environment



    Our design goal for OnLive Traveler was to develop a virtual community system that emulates natural social paradigms, allowing the participants to sense a tele-presence, the subjective sensation that remote users are actually co-located within a virtual space. Once this level of immersive “sense of presence” and engagement is achieved, we believe an enhanced level of socialization, learning, and communication are achievable.

    OnLive Traveler is a client-server application allowing realtime synchronous communication between individuals over the Internet. The Traveler client interface presents the user with a shared virtual 3D world, in which participants are represented by avatars. The primary mode of communication is through multipoint, full duplex voice, managed by the server.

    We examine a number of very specific design and implementation decisions that were made to achieve this goal within platform constraints. We also will detail some observed results gleaned from the virtual community and virtual learning user-base, which has been using Traveler for several years.


    The authors would like to acknowledge Ali Ebtekar and Rod MacGregor, Henry Nash, Dave Owens, Stasia McGehee and James Grunke for their participation in designing and implementing OnLive Traveler. We would also like to thank the long time community members of the Traveler worlds for their support and insight.


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