Virtual World Competitions

Winning an award for a virtual world is awesome. 2b3d just won third place in the category of Education Familiarization in Virtual Worlds in the Federal Challenge of Virtual Worlds. I’m not really sure what familiarization is, but I can assume it was an important category. One thing that is needed in challenges is to truly understand the criteria for winning. Virtual worlds must be engaging. And we won in the category of engaging the learning. As these awards develop over the years, the criteria for engagement will become clear. I want to offer one up now.

What does engaging mean? I just edited a book with Charles Wankel, the book mogul. Charles has written so many books that he is like John Grisham, pumping out what hit after another. This particular hit is called Engaging the Avatar. The avatar is the first neutral, geopolitical representation of who we want to be when interacting on the 3D Internet. We have the opportunity to represent ourselves in any way we choose – we can pick our ideal, our antithesis and experiment in various habitats. We can venture into places unfamiliar, sometimes even scary or dangerous, and not endure the consequences as intensely as we might in the physical world. There is a certain liberation in engaging the world via the Internet as a 3D character who wanders about seeking any kind of experience or information available. The fundamental element of a virtual world is that there is a physical person behind the cursor. Each person, be they a student, teacher, businessman, librarian, salesman, politician, entertainer or any profession, enters into the virtual world prepared to participate. The persona may or may not represent themselves as their true self, but they engage in the virtual world looking for some action. If they do not find any, they leave.

This volume has a bold agenda, in which academics create immersive worlds where the avatar is the center of the universe. As the virtual world grows, avatars move away from quasi-human interactions within virtual domiciles, gardens, and businesses to being blood cells in the blood stream, or to be firing neurons in the human brain, or creatures competing on the ocean floor or the surface of Mars or just about anything that can be imagined using the magic of photographic and artistic images, programming, narrative and avatars. What are the frameworks and strategies for building these environments? What are the things the avatar adapts and learns from in its environment? This book will examine such frameworks, strategies, used immersive worlds and 360 feedback systems to explore what it takes to create a global education environment for immersive learning.

We share a bold agenda that starts with engaging your avatar and is completed in a transformation in how you interact with the internet. Whether using the visual internet to learn or to interact with a customer about a product or service, a 3D immersive interface is on the way. How you learn to use it will be much how you learned how to use a mouse, set up a DVR system, architect a webpage, and create your own Facebook and LinkedIn profile. Avatars are poised to become your secured open identity over the internet. If it looks like you, knows what you like, does what you do, reflects your culture, is it you? Imagine all of your data residing in your avatar’s portfolio, available to be rezzed out right in front of you with its full functionally. This is done by the authors already, and as we encourage more faculty and students to build like environments, soon they will come together as an educational metaverse. And imagine having the power to click the mouse, or tap your tablet, and your 3D avatar generates an entire world around both of you for complete enjoyment. And they do it wearing a pair of goggles that incorporates the world around you.

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