Friday, October 23, 2009

Nov, 2009 Journal of Virtual Worlds JVWR Special Issue:Technology, Economy, and Standards

We are happy to announce the October, 2009 publication of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (http://www.jvwresearch.org). The issue focuses on “Technology, Economy and Standards.”

This issue was designed to give voice to leading theoretical and practical players working in the realm of standards for virtual worlds. The issue editors specifically chose to emphasize the disciplines of economy and technology as critical harbingers to the endeavor of standards. The co-editors Yesha Sivan (From Metaverse Labs), Robert Bloomfield (from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University) and Jean H.A. Gelissen (from Philips Research), looked to explicate some of the deeper corners of the field.

The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is published by the Virtual Worlds Research Consortium, and is funded, in part, by the Singapore Internet Research Center and the Department of Radio, TV & Film, University of Texas at Austin.

The papers in this issue look at the state of standards via four points of view: Technology, Economy, Standards, and Use Cases.

Key papers include:

· An overview on the state of standards” that sets the scene, define virtual worlds and standards as well as the potential link between them.

· Philip Rosedale reflects in his short paper “Virtual Worlds, Collaboratively Built” on the process and intention of past, current and future Second Life.

· Jon Watte presents his perspective to the development of virtual worlds: “Let Use Cases Drive Design.” His main claim: “serious” virtual worlds will be the initial market that drives true virtual world interoperability because of its particular needs.

· Kai Jakobs cover in depth, in his seminal paper “Real Standards for Virtual Worlds - Why and How?” the necessary background to those who would like to pro-actively participate in the setting of standards for Information and Communication Technologies.

· Ludvaig Lindman (Real-Avatar®), one of the most creative content makers in Second Life, describes his “Virtual World Experiences” as a business person in virtual worlds.

· Anna Salmasi and Lee Gillam, in their paper “EthiCasino: Machine Ethics for Gambling in the Metaverse” discuss the combined legal and ethical issues of gambling online and in virtual worlds, and discuss the construction and evaluation of a system with computational oversight: an ethical advisor.

· ArminasX Saiman (Real-Avatar®), a leading business owner in Second Life, shares with us his reflection on “Barriers to Efficient Virtual Business Transactions.” The author has owned and operated such a virtual business for over two years, beginning from sales of a single virtual product on a web-based sales service in 2006, growing to a large in-world operation selling over 200 unique products today.

· Jean H. A. Gelissen, a co-editor of this issue, presents a short review of “MPEG-V.” MPEG-V (Media Context and Control), ISO/IEC 23005 is a new effort under ISO in the MPEG Working Group, the exact label is ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11. MPEG is a deadline driven process (final deadline for MPEG-V is Oct, 2010 for publication of the ISO International Standard, IS).

· Robert Bloomfield, a co-editor of this issue, sketches the features required of a platform, “World of Bizcraft,” that supports virtual worlds dedicated to research and education on business-related topics. His discussion leads to some advance features that could really benefit real virtual business and not just “research and education.”

· Lastly, in a sharp and valuable critique, D. Linda Garcia and Garrison LeMasters, in their paper “Synthetic Excellence: Standards, Play, and Unintended Outcomes” provide us with some critical view about standardization of virtual worlds, with a special focus on MPEG-V. Their main point: “This [MPEG-V] is an alarming trend, which could give rise to a number of unfortunate and unforeseen consequences.”

[PR / blog posts can stop here, the next is for more info if needed]

The complete list of papers includes:

The Technology point of view demonstrates specific examples to places where standards are needed:

· Philip Rosedale reflects in his short paper “Virtual Worlds, Collaboratively Built” on the process and intention of past, current and future Second Life.

· Alex Juarez, Christoph Bartneck, and Lou Feijs, discuss “Standards for Interaction Between Robots and Virtual Worlds.” They propose: creating a standard platform that enable the seamless interaction between these heterogeneous, distributed devices and systems.

· Sigurd Van Broeck, Mark Van den Broeck and Zhe Lou, discuss “Content Level Gateway for Virtual Worlds.” They propose a solution to guard virtual worlds from counterproductive content in the form of 3D models, avatars, textures, animations, or any other type of content commonly used by virtual worlds.

· Samuel Cruz-Lara, Nadia Bellalem, Lotfi Bellalem and Tarik Osswald, discuss in their paper “Immersive 3D Environments and Multilinguality” some Non-Intrusive and Dynamic e-learning-oriented Scenarios based on Textual Information. Their paper includes a review of some of the leading standards for localization.

· Jordi Janer, Nathaniel Finney, Gerard Roma, Stefan Kersten, and Xavier Serra discuss “Soundscape” aiming to framework under for the automatic sonification of virtual worlds.

· Jon Watte presents his perspective to the development of virtual worlds: “Let Use Cases Drive Design.” His main claim: “serious” virtual worlds will be the initial market that drives true virtual world interoperability because of its particular needs.

The Economic point of view demonstrates diverse angles to virtual worlds:

· Tuukka Lehtiniemi, discusses “Measuring Aggregate Production” of virtual worlds. He proposes the concept of GUP (Gross User Product), with concrete data from EVE Online extensive log data collected by the operator.

· Evan W. Osborne and Shu Z. Schiller, discuss “Order and Creativity” in virtual worlds. Guided by the economic modeling of order and creativity, they discuss two types of behavior, constructive and destructive, to provide some guidelines for establishing limitations on the freedom of action of virtual-economy participants.

· Markus Falk, Daniel M Besemann, and James Bosson discuss “Payback of Mining Activities” focusing on the payback of mining activities within the virtual world Entropia.

· Ray op'tLand discusses “World of Warcraft, AOL, and the Disneyization of a Niche Market.” The main trust is to look at virtual worlds (such as WOW), using the process of Disneyization, as proposed by Bryman (2004), occurs within four dimensions: theming, hybrid consumption, merchandising, and performativity.

The Standards point of view focuses on specific aspects of standards in general and in virtual worlds:

· Kai Jakobs cover in depth, in his seminal paper “Real Standards for Virtual Worlds - Why and How?” the necessary background to those who would like to pro-actively participate in the setting of standards for Information and Communication Technologies.

· Marco Otte and Johan Hoorn, in their paper “Prevention of False Hope and Undue Fear” propose standards to measure people’s hopes and fears during online transactions and connect this to a decision support system that estimates the probability that the user’s expectations are right. They use theory development through the reconciliation of technology acceptance, hope formation literature, risk perception and problem solving.

· Melissa de Zwart, in her paper “Piracy vs. Control: Models of Virtual World Governance and Their Impact on Player and User Experience,” claim that current models of governance of virtual worlds evolved from the Terms of Service developed by the virtual world content creators based upon intellectual property license models. Increasingly, however, virtual world providers now seek to accommodate both the needs and interests of owners and users in order to respond to the evolving needs of the virtual world.

· Blagica Jovanova, Marius Preda, and Françoise Preteux discuss “The Role of Interoperability in Virtual Worlds, via the Analysis of the Specific Cases of Avatars.” They provide a detailed survey of research for avatar appearance modeling, deformation control, and animation.

· In a related work, Gustav Verhulsdonck and Jacquelyn Morie, discuss in their short paper “Virtual Chironomia” the need for Non-verbal Communication Standards in Virtual Worlds.

· Jean H. A. Gelissen, a co-editor of this issue, presents a short review of “MPEG-V.” MPEG-V (Media Context and Control), ISO/IEC 23005 is a new effort under ISO in the MPEG Working Group, the exact label is ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11. MPEG is a deadline driven process (final deadline for MPEG-V is Oct, 2010 for publication of the ISO International Standard, IS).

· Lastly, in a sharp and valuable critique, D. Linda Garcia and Garrison LeMasters, in their paper “Synthetic Excellence: Standards, Play, and Unintended Outcomes” provide us with some critical view about standardization of virtual worlds, with a special focus on MPEG-V. Their main point: “This [MPEG-V] is an alarming trend, which could give rise to a number of unfortunate and unforeseen consequences.”

The Use Case point of view demonstrates specific cases where standards are needed.

· Will Farr, Piet Hut, Jeff Ames, and Adam Johnson describe their “Experiment in Scientific Visualization of Self-Gravitating Systems.” They push to identity what should be defined as parameters of virtual worlds (e.g., Gravity), as well as what does it mean to “store” an experiment in virtual worlds.

· Alice Krueger, Ann Ludwig, and David Ludwig, in their short paper “Universal Design: Including Everyone in Virtual World Design” challenge us to think about accessibility design within virtual worlds. Clearly, this is a place where standards could make a real difference.

· Ludvaig Lindman (Real-Avatar®), one of the most creative content makers in Second Life, describes his “Virtual World Experiences” as a business person in virtual worlds.

· Anna Salmasi and Lee Gillam, in their paper “EthiCasino: Machine Ethics for Gambling in the Metaverse” discuss the combined legal and ethical issues of gambling online and in virtual worlds, and discuss the construction and evaluation of a system with computational oversight: an ethical advisor.

· ArminasX Saiman (Real-Avatar®), a leading business owner in Second Life, shares with us his reflection on “Barriers to Efficient Virtual Business Transactions.” The author has owned and operated such a virtual business for over two years, beginning from sales of a single virtual product on a web-based sales service in 2006, growing to a large in-world operation selling over 200 unique products today.

· Robert Bloomfield, a co-editor of this issue, sketches the features required of a platform, “World of Bizcraft,” that supports virtual worlds dedicated to research and education on business-related topics. His discussion leads to some advance features that could really benefit real virtual business and not just “research and education.”