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Reader Comments (4)

Posted: Nov 3rd 2008 10:14AM (Unverified) said

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They should have thought a bit harder about the acronym that is going to be problematic since it is generally better known for describing combat settings.

Posted: Nov 3rd 2008 10:42AM (Unverified) said

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they should call it "simstim" from Gibson = simulation stimulation measure heartbeat etc on users. Higher the simstim the more engaged the participants. PVP is dopey.

Posted: Nov 4th 2008 7:23AM (Unverified) said

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immersion... tis important... and particularly for folk adopting a new technology...

There's a geek way of explaining it that may help geekish folk understand (seeing they write these often awful systems). And to explain i'll use the Ruby language (look it up). This was a computer language that popped onto the scene fairly recently and took the world by storm.. it didn't change the world, but well it was adopted by lots of web2.0 folk. But why?

Well these geeky coders had many computer languages to choose from, so Ruby entered the market at a disadvantage (many competitors) but somehow looked good. This was because a clever japanese fellow designed this new language by... as he called it "the principle of least surprise".

In short that meant when you learned the basics this geek computer language stayed pretty pure to it's roots as you learned more stuff. Geeks loved it - insanely.. and it got a lot of attention.. in fact ruby on rails (a kinda geek methadology that linked code to outcome) became a brief fad that was pivotal in the development of the web 2.0 economy... it was shallow and failed mostly.. but i digress.

To get a whole bunch of people to do a thing (such as hang out in virtual worlds) you need to find a way of not surprising them. Having taught folk from postgrad to developmentally delayed children I've noticed this.. folk like stuff to make sense. If it doesn't it's an impediment to basic survival.

So for folk to live in virtual worlds they need to be immersed... that means they don't think about the virtual world, they just act in it.

Teaching an old person to use a computer is a similar process - the mere abstraction of the thing is an impediment to it's use. They need to absorb new rules of behavior, new abstrations... new distractions to just doing the job.

The less surprise the better.. the more immersion - ie.. the more stuff just works how you think it should - the more you ignore the medium and work thru it.

Sometimes when the geeks design this stuff that gets lost. When social scientists analyze it it also gets lost. The basic principle though is a constant.. the more you can forget the medium the more powerful it is.

Hopefully business and academia will figure this out at some point and start aiming for a nice solid middle ground where folk aren't hand-held, nor dictated to by the system, and can just get things done.

My background was in user interface design, and if I learned anything it's that you can't idiot proof a system - and for a complicated system such as virtual worlds the mere idea is absurd. You can however create a toolset that lets people do what they want and forget (for the most part) they're doing it in a strange way...... you can make the tools intuitive and sensible.

I could say more.... but i've already spent my two cents today.. Sincerely.. Pav.

Posted: Nov 4th 2008 8:31AM (Unverified) said

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Indeed, if you're spending all your time thinking about how to take action in the world, rather than acting in it, your efficiency is vastly reduced.
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