A Spatial Model of Interaction in Large Virtual Environments
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
We present a spatial model of group interaction in virtual environments. The model aims to provide flexible and natural support for managing conversations among large groups gathered in virtual space. However, it can also be used to control more general interactions among other kinds of objects inhabiting such spaces. The model defines the key abstractions of object aura, nimbus, focus and adapters to control mutual levels of awareness. Furthermore, these are defined in a sufficiently general way so as to apply to any CSCW system where a spatial metric can be identified - i.e. a way of measuring position and direction. Several examples are discussed, including virtual reality and text conferencing applications. Finally, the paper provides a more formal computational architecture for the spatial model by relating it to the object oriented modelling approach for distributed systems.