“He’s Behind You”: The Experience of Presence in Shared Virtual Environments
In this chapter we seek to develop an understanding of the nature of presence in virtual environments from a real-world exploration of first, how presence is manifest in practice within virtual environments and second, the means by which everyday users experience virtual environments. The ethnographic study presented in this chapter is part of a multidisciplinary approach to the design of online large-scale collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) undertaken by the authors in a range of projects. Over the last few years a large number of systems to support online virtual worlds and CVEs have emerged. These include 3D environments: MASSIVE (Greenhalgh and Benford, 1995), DIVE (Dix, 1997), AlphaWorlds, Blaxxun, VWWW; 2D graphical systems: ThePalace; and textual environments: MUDs (Edwards, 1994).
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