Saturday, September 24, 2011

JVWR Announcement: Volume 4, Number 2: Goverment & Military

We are happy to announce the publication of:
Volume 4, Number 2: Goverment & Military

The editorial team for this issue includes:
  • Paulette Robinson, National Defense University
  • Michael Piller, National Defense University
This issue includes papers from the 2010 Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds Conference organized by Paulette Robinson and her colleagues at the National Defense University.
  • Allen & Demchak ("Applied Virtual Environments: Applications of Virtual Environments to Government, Military and Business Organization") review the compact ways the components of virtual worlds, and how they create future value in various areas. This is a survey that will allow researchers and practitioners to review, use and design their experiments.  
  • Merge, Gardner, Broviak, and Greeves ("MuniGov 2.0, A New Residency Requirement: Local Government Professionals in Second Life") describe MuniGov2.0 – a group of municipal government professionals who regularly meet in Second Life. The goal of the group is  to support each others geographically distributed implementation attempts to incorporate new technologies in the public sector.
  • Ticknor & Tillinghast ("Virtual Reality and the Criminal Justice System: New Possibilities for Research, Training, and Rehabilitation") present an extensive review of the relationship between Virtual Reality and the Criminal Justice System focusing on new possibilities for research, training, and rehabilitation.
  • Cummins ("Avatars and Security Clearances: How can we reconcile the two?") asks a simple question: how will vetting agencies reconcile the border-less nature of virtual worlds with the requirements set forth for establishing and maintaining security clearances?  This paper proposes to outline some of the relevant issues involved in a rapidly evolving online community.
  • Maxwell, Aguiar, Monte, and Nolan ("Two Navy Virtual World Collaboration Applications: Rapid Prototyping and Concept of Operations Experimentation") expose how being able to optimally configure and reconfigure spaces is a critical step in the design process to ensure the end meets the necessary mission requirements. The paper show the value of rapid active prototyping specifically for command and control scenarios.
  • Hinrichs ("Avatars as the First Manifestation of Geo-Politically Unconstrained Global Citizens") concludes with a provoking idea: a global citizen. How can virtual worlds play a role in the construction of a global citizen?
Let me also use this email to remind you that of the on-going call for Guest Editors, Associated Editors, and Reviewers. If you are interested in suggesting themes for the 2011-2013 publishing cycles, or joining our editorial team please send an initial proposal to Dr. Yesha Sivan (yesha.sivan AT
Dr.Yesha Y. Sivan
Managing Editor
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Government & Military

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hebrew: קול קורא למנמ"ר המצטיין בממשלה

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review of Shaker... winner of TechCrunch award.. You must check it.

I'm after about 3 hrs of "play" with (shell I say perhaps "Visit to") Shaker... and I like it.
If you are a virtual worlds buff, check it out. You will be amazed at how real data changed the way you behave.

Shaker is a new virtual worlds. It is based on Facebook. It won the the TechCrunch 2011 competition.

I must admit I got few invite to Shaker before, and did not bother to visit. It was a mistake!
and I'm here to correct it.

First how it works, then what is special about it, then few reflective notes.

How it works?
You can enter Shaker only via Facebook (there is a web version but it seems dead.)

After few seconds, you find yourself in an entry screen where you select a room to go in.
(there is the main bar, and few more rooms based on ages -- I'm sure topical rooms will come soon).

After you select a room, you enter a Flash based 2.5 D room (similar to Habbo Hotel). After a short intro you get to see 20-30-40 avatars, with small images on them (the images are of the REAL user of the avatar!!!).  These avatars can be Green (your friends), Yellow (friends of friends), and Grey (new people). Simple. You get to hear bar like music (technically Sound Cloud). You can not select the music. But you can Pause it.

Now you can:
- Walk around the bar, and start chatting with people.
- Dance (your avatar starts to dance).
- Offer Drinks
- See the profile of all avatars (based on heir levels of Privacy).
- Join chats (the chat is visually marked).
- Send private messages.

and few more things...

What is Special About Shaker?
Compared with other virtual worlds: Entry takes 10 seconds. It is fast and you get the Social factor out of the box. Shaker asks you for access to all your Facebook details and it gets it. Every woman (or man) you see have their real details  -- you have three levels of privacy:
- "shy" (just your name and pic - minimum),
- "normal" (more details)
- "friendly" (even more details, like all your tagged albums).

Shaker is mostly used for, of course, dating... more like pick ups. I'm not so much in this market, so I could not fully appreciate what is going on in this regards. But it seems very lively (forgive the pun): Man hunt ladies.

So what is unique:
Well it is the first virtual world that I see that connects the real and the virtual in such a simple and "aggressive" way. Simple, because all your data are imported from Facebook. I'm not sure all Shaker users really understand that they are talking with people who can get to see all their details. Shaker goes one step further and show each user common things with other avatars: Do you live in the same city, what groups you have in common, etc.

Shaker does not have yet all the usual features (design your own room, buy your own music, avatar changes, but I'm sure it will all come). The link of the real and the virtual is the key innovation here.

The uniqueness of this world, can be easily copied to similar worlds. In fact, Second Life already have an option to use your real name.I'm sure IMVU is thinking about connecting your Facebook data to your IMVU data.

The potential here is high. Shaker needs to move fast to capture mind share and users. It should quickly develop its virtual goods (look at IMVU, if you look for user create content, or just do your own). I, for one, will continue to follow them and see how they progress.

P.S. I want to thank the 3 cool avatars I spoke with ... and mention one critical value point:
"the cool thing here, is the fact there is NO SMOKE."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research: Volume 4, Number 1: Metaverse Assembled 2.0

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Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
We are happy to announce the publication of:
Volume 4, Number 1: Metaverse Assembled 2.0

The editorial team for this issue includes:
  • Kathy Keeling, University of Manchester, UK
  • Nadia Papamichail, University of Manchester, UK
  • Debbie Keeling, University of Manchester, UK
  • Enchi (Katherine) Chang, University of Manchester, UK
This issue include papers from SLACTIONS 2010 organized by Kathy Keeling and her colleagues at the University of Manchester.  
The issue also marks the Journal's move to a new website, it is a minor visual change, and a major infrastructure change that will provide a foundation for the Journal to continue to grow over the next couple years.
Articles include:
  • Alrayes:("Students’ Attitudes in a Virtual Environment - SecondLife") takes a methodical approach to measure student's attitudes towards learning with virtual worlds. If you are planning to teach in Second Life (or other virtual worlds) you should review this paper to gauge some critical parameters. 
  • Silva & Coelho ("Procedural Modeling for Realistic Virtual Worlds Development") review the PG3D modeler, a solution for procedural modeling of virtual urban environments. This is a good technical intro to the field of Procedural Modeling in virtual worlds.
  • Cruz & Fernandes ("Journalism in Virtual World") cover the interaction of an old business and a new domain. The authors ask hard questions about Journalism when it comes to reporting on events that are partially real and partially imaginary.
  • Gilbert ("The P.R.O.S.E. (Psychological Research on Synthetic Environments) Project: Conducting In-World Psychological Research on 3D Virtual Worlds") describe the interaction between Psychology and virtual worlds. This is both a review on PROSE project and a review of some of the studies conduced since 2008.
  • Sung, Moon, Kang, and Lin (" Actual Self vs. Avatar Self: The Effect of Online Social Situation on Self-Expression") explore the relation between the owner and its avatar. It starts with this research employs the Big Five Inventory (BFI) and its 44 personality traits to examine the level of agreement between individuals’ actual selves (i.e., evaluation of themselves) and avatar selves. 
  • Tonéis ("Puzzles as a Creative Form of Play in Metavers") explores the relationship between the logical-mathematical reasoning developed through the existence and experience in the puzzles into metaverse and creativity or creative thinking. This paper reflects on the unique value of virtual worlds in generating environments that stimulate the mind in new ways.
  • Nosek, Whelen, Hughes, Porcher, and Davidson ("Self-Esteem in Second Life: An inWorld Group Intervention for Women with Disabilities") discuss self-esteem enhancement intervention in Second Life  for women with physical disabilities. With a concrete goal in mind, the authors adapted a curriculum of a previously tested workshop intervention to include features unique to virtual environment. Results of the beta test were very positive. Intriguing paper to any person looking to use virtual worlds for treatments.
Let me also use this email to remind you that of the following call for Guest Editors, Associated Editors, and ReviewersIf you are interested in suggesting themes for 2011-2013, or joining our editorial team please send an initial proposal to Dr. Yesha Sivan (yesha.sivan
Dr.Yesha Y. Sivan
Managing Editor
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Metaverse Assembled 2.0
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

ITEA Metaverse1: Bringing Reality to Virtual Worlds

This is a 2-page paper on the Metaverse1 project, that describes its structure, partners, and outcomes. For a scanned PDF version see here .

 For more detailed various aspects of the project see the special issue on MPEG-V and other standards at the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research (