CVEs: a Review
This chapter presents a review of the field of collaborative virtual environments. This focuses on multi-user virtual reality and in particular two issues which are central to this thesis: scopes of interaction (which is equivalent to awareness management) and communication architecture. Section 2.1 situates this work within the broader context of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). This situates CVEs (at least of the form considered here) in the area of “Same-time/Different place” collaboration, i.e. synchronous distributed interaction. Section 2.2 then reviews and explores the issues of interaction scoping and communication architecture in CVEs. The consideration of interaction scoping in section 2.2.1 identifies a number of dimensions within which current systems and approaches can be classified. It is apparent from this review that work is needed to develop support for social factors in interaction and expressiveness. These are key areas addressed in this thesis: support for social factors is central throughout this thesis, while expressiveness is a particular focus of part II. The review of communication architectures in section 2.2.2 provides necessary context and background for this thesis. In particular it considers the utility of the peer-to-peer networking approach which is adopted for both of the prototype systems described in this thesis and introduces and explores the use of network supported multicast communication which is a key element of part II.
KeywordsVirtual Environment Multicast Group Computer Support Cooperative Work Communication Architecture Group Decision Support System
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