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Co-presence and beyond: Spatial configurations of communication in virtual environments


Meyer, Nathalie; Jucker, Andreas H (2022). Co-presence and beyond: Spatial configurations of communication in virtual environments. In: Jucker, Andreas H; Hausendorf, Heiko. Pragmatics of Space. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 579-608.

Abstract

Users of electronic communication tools in the form of stationary computers, laptops, mobile phones or similar devices interact both in physical and in virtual spaces, and the two worlds are often not clearly separated. The electronic device is part of the physical surrounding, and the physical surrounding impacts in multiple ways on the communicative activities on these devices. The virtual communicative spaces themselves are multi-layered and provide levels of constructed (interactional) spaces. In this contribution, we survey a large range of research that has been carried out on spatial configurations of communication in virtual environments with a special focus on immersive virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, Minecraft or Second Life.
On the basis of the existing research, we develop both a model for the spatial configurations of virtual game worlds displayed on a computer screen that is situated in a physical environment and a model that accounts for the interactive doing of space. Users sitting in front of their (physical) computers interact with each other via characters and their avatars in virtual worlds. This poses specific problems for establishing co-presence through co-orientation, which is a prerequisite of co-ordination and co-operation in the game world. As an illustrative case study, we analyze a Minecraft UHC teamplayer game as an example of a collaborative video game play in which players have to co-ordinate their actions. They use their avatars and virtual objects within the spatial configuration of the shared virtual environment to establish a quasi-physical and virtual co-presence, which allows them to co-operate successfully and to jointly perform the tasks set by the game.

Abstract

Users of electronic communication tools in the form of stationary computers, laptops, mobile phones or similar devices interact both in physical and in virtual spaces, and the two worlds are often not clearly separated. The electronic device is part of the physical surrounding, and the physical surrounding impacts in multiple ways on the communicative activities on these devices. The virtual communicative spaces themselves are multi-layered and provide levels of constructed (interactional) spaces. In this contribution, we survey a large range of research that has been carried out on spatial configurations of communication in virtual environments with a special focus on immersive virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, Minecraft or Second Life.
On the basis of the existing research, we develop both a model for the spatial configurations of virtual game worlds displayed on a computer screen that is situated in a physical environment and a model that accounts for the interactive doing of space. Users sitting in front of their (physical) computers interact with each other via characters and their avatars in virtual worlds. This poses specific problems for establishing co-presence through co-orientation, which is a prerequisite of co-ordination and co-operation in the game world. As an illustrative case study, we analyze a Minecraft UHC teamplayer game as an example of a collaborative video game play in which players have to co-ordinate their actions. They use their avatars and virtual objects within the spatial configuration of the shared virtual environment to establish a quasi-physical and virtual co-presence, which allows them to co-operate successfully and to jointly perform the tasks set by the game.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
06 Faculty of Arts > Zurich Center for Linguistics
08 Research Priority Programs > Language and Space
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:5 September 2022
Deposited On:11 Oct 2022 12:58
Last Modified:20 Jun 2024 03:44
Publisher:De Gruyter
Series Name:Handbooks of Pragmatics [HOPS]
Number:14
ISSN:1877-9611
ISBN:978-3-11-069355-3
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110693713-018