• What is it?
  1. Virtual World (VW) is a computer-based simulated environment that allows multi-users to interact each other in social, economic and political aspects.
  • What platforms do it un on?
  1. Mac/PC, cell phones (iphone, ipad, androids, etc), Xbox 360, Play Station, navigation, etc
  • What does this involve?
  1. Games, Web, Movies, Presentation, Maps (ex. Google Maps), Navigations in cell phones, etc
  2. Ex. Watch a video about Samsung's 3D Camera
  • Origin/History

-Technology and Science

  1. In 1967, the Canadian Geographic Information Systems was created online. This was the world's first operational computerized geographic information system (GIS), built by Roger Tomlinson at the Canadian Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.
  2. In 1978, MUD (Multi-User Dungeon/Domain) by Essex University's Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle emerged. MUD was the first "1D" (text-based) chat world. It provided popular text-based virtual communities run on servers. In the same year, Adventureland was created by Scott Adams. It was the first text-based themed virtual world for home computers.
  3. In 1984, the Apple Macintosh came out with a graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse instead of the then-standard command line interface.
  4. In 1987, the first 2D chat world, or "graphical MUD," Habitat, by Lucasfilm's Chip Morningstar and Randy Farmer, was launched. an avatar (a character), which means "incarnation of a higher being," represented the user.
  5. In 1993, Mosaic became the first widely distributed web browser (multimedia graphical user interface), compatible for the Windows operating system. It began the modern Web era.
  6. In 1994, Japan adopted hardware-accelerated 3D and dedicated graphics/polygon processors into console games like the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation (1994 Japan, 1995 U.S.), and Nintendo’s cartridge based Nintendo 64 (1996). This moved us from planar 2D worlds and 2.5D sprites to true 3D games.
  7. In 1996, Nintendo’s, Super Mario 64 was introduced, allowing players to explore and interact with a virtual world in 3D without restriction. In the same year, first 3D MORPG (multiplayer online role-playing game) Meridian 59, by Archetype Interactive, came out.
  8. In 1997, Ultima Online (UO) was created to be the first 3D MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing games). The number of subscribers was 250,000 in July, 2003.
  9. In 2003, Second Life came out. It was the first 3D persistent virtual world that allows its users to retain property rights to the virtual objects they create in the online economy.
  10. In 2005, Google Maps, a free web server GIS application that can be embedded on any website using the Google API, and Google Earth, a free downloadable virtual earth simulation based on satellite imagery, came out.

-Business and Economics

  1. In 1997, users of MMOGs began exchanging inworld game items for real world economic value.
  2. In 2002, Project Entropia (now Entropia Universe) created the first virtual world where virtual currency can be exchanged for US dollars. It also seeked to attract the advertisement of real world services within the game world.

-Social, Legal and other

  1. In 1981, True Names was published by Vernor Vinge, which was probably the earliest story to demonstrate the concept of cyberspace as an alternate world.
  2. In 1985, the term "avatar" was introduced for computer game Ultima IV (the winner becomes "the avatar").
  3. In 1992, Neal Stephenson included the term "metaverse" in his science fiction novel Snow Crash for immersive 3D online worlds, and also popularized the term "avatar" for 3D simulations.
  • Earlier tools
  1. Apple II microcomputer in 1977
  2. IBM PC in 1981
  3. MUD (Multi-User Dungeon/Domain) in 1978 as 1D chat world
  4. CBBS - the first privately operated BBS (phone in community) in Chicago, IL. It was run by "SysOps"
  5. Apple Macintosh with keyboard and mouse
  6. Sony PlayStation (1994) and Nintendo 64 (1996)
  7. GeForce 256 by Nvidia, the first PC card build around a GPU (graphics processing unit) a microprocessor that brought parts of the geometry rendering pipeline into specialized silicon.
  • Today’s version - mobile phones, computer software, 3D printer, 3D television from Samsung, etc.

-Technology and Science

  1. Web 2.0 (Participatory Web) - led by innovative social networks, browsers, and search platforms, are accelerating the use of 3D and other rich media. The Participatory Web is tools and platforms that empower the user to tag, blog, comment, modify, augment, select from, rank, and talk back to the contributions of other users and the world community. (Ex. Wikipedia, Google Maps, MySpace, Youtube)
  2. Software and story are today the prime indicators of success in online virtual worlds. Hardware (speed, graphical realism) and interface intutiveness remain important, but they are not the primary drivers of game success, as originally envisioned by virtual reality pioneers.
  3. Location-based games (LBG), or "locative games," for mobile phones are now emerging on GPS-equipped cell phones. In 2004, GloVentures demo game RayGun pushed current GPS technology "to its limits," updating the players position once per second and making the player's "next three steps matter."
  4. Creation of 3D worlds from 2D photos and video - ex. Mova's Contour, a system for live action volumetric performance capture in video, mapping the performance to 3D and eliminating much of the post-production work in 3D animation.
  5. IPv6 and next generation internet (Internet2, etc.). In December 2003 the U.S. Dept. of Defense announced one of the first large-scale deployments of IPv6. IPv6 adoption will be an enabler of such 3D web advances as internet television and geospatial platforms, particularly in the longer run, once people are using a mobile geospatial web in five or more years. Likewise, next generation internet will bring HD videoconferencing, 3D television and other data-intensive services, possibly beyond the 10 year horizon for this roadmap.


  1. Real-money trading (RMT) (also known as virtual asset trading), the purchase of virtual game items and virtual currency online, through such online enterprises as IGE, MOGS, and TEKGaming, is a major global annual business, with the 2005 market size estimated at somewhere between $200 million and 1.5 billion.
  2. 2D Avatarized IM and chat worlds are popular and profitable, more so than 3D. Ex. Playdo, Habbo Hotel.
  3. While 2D+ social networks (Cyworld in Korea, MySpace, LiveJournal, many others in the US) have gone mainstream, 3D worlds have yet to do so.
  • Identify a case studies (one per person in group)

Go to Ryan's Case Study

Go to Min Jik's Case Study

  • Individual Projects:

Go to Min Jik's Individual Project

Go to Ryan's Individual Project