March 21, 2007

Synthetic immersive environment

A synthetic immersive environment could be used synonymously with the term "metaverse", or "virtual reality": a simulated, artificial, digital environment that allows users/players to "lose" (i.e., immerse) themselves in it.

There are many reasons for which "virtual reality" is not desirable. For example, in some cases we actually want to create an environment that is "hyper real". In fact, one could argue that no synthetic environments, by the nature of their existence, are really "real" to be referred to as such.


Avatar, literally "descent" in Sanskrit, in Hindu mythology refers to the descent to earth or the incarnation of a deity in animal or human form. However, in the context of a metaverse, an avatar is 3-D character (human, animal, mythical, etc.) controlled by a human in a synthetic, immersive environment.

Non-player Character (NPC)

An NPC is an avatar in a metaverse that is not controlled by a human.


“Metaverse� is a term coined by Neal Stephenson in “Snow Crash�, a novel that was first published in 1992. The term is now used to describe synthetic, immersive environments in which humans can interact with other humans using what are called avatars or interact with non-player characters (NPC).