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Collaboratively improvising magic: An approach to managing participation in an on-line drama

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Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands


We describe how a behmd—the-scenes production crew managed participation in an on-Iine improvised dramatic performance In a shared vrrtual world that was broadcast to viewers We introduce the approach of collaboratively Improvising magic. where particrpants indirectly request interactions with objects through extended incantations. rather than manipulating them directly InVISIble stage~hands follow these participants around the world, monitoring their activities and granting requests when appropriate. We describe how this was realised in Avatar Farm, a two hour long Improwsed drama that Involved four members of the public, seven actors and an extensrve production crew We discuss the provrsron of technical support within the MASSIVE-3 system to realise our approach. Empirical analysis of interaction in Avatar Farm Illustrates some key Issues. We see how partrcrpants weave accounts of technical problems into the narrative
how actors vary the pacnng of the narrative to co-ordinate the timing of a local scene In relation to parallel scenes that are happening elsewhere
amongst other matters. We conclude With some general lessons from our approach for CSCW.


Drozd, Adam; Bowers, John; Benford, Steve; Greenhalgh, Chris; Fraser, Mike (2001): Collaboratively improvising magic: An approach to managing participation in an on-line drama. ECSCW 2001: Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.1007/0-306-48019-9. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN: 978-0-306-48019-5. pp. 159-178. Full Papers. Bonn, Germany. 2001-09-16