Reading/Viewing List

Short articles

SunExpert copies are in the DCS library, the others are either available from the ANU library or online. (Often both.)

Playing in the MUD
Michael O'Brien, SunExpert, May 1992

Handout for first lecture. Introduction to MUDs as NVEs.

The Lessons of Lucafilm's Habitat
Chip Morningstart, F. Randall Farmer
in Cyberspace: First Steps, M Benedikt (ed) 1992

Handout for second lecture. One of the first NVEs. Invaluable experience.

The Sopranos Meets EverQuest: Social Networking in Massively Multiplayer Online Games
Mikael Jakobsson, TL Taylor
Paper presented at the 5th International Digital Arts and Culture Conference, Melbourne 2003

The largest NVEs in use today are the roleplaying games such as Ultima Online and EverQuest. This paper examines how people who may be complete strangers in real life form and maintain social bonds within an NVE.

A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy
Clay Shirky
Online, April 2003

The behaviour of people in groups, especially computer mediated ones, and how both technological and social design are essential for the group to be a pleasant environment.

Placeholder: Landscape and Narrative in Virtual Environments
Brenda Laurel, Rachel Strickland, Rob Tow
ACM Computer Graphics, May 1994

One of the most interesting public VR systems. Nobody kills anybody, people may take on non human roles, and has same time and different time communication between participants.

Interactive graphic environments was the theme for that entire issue, so there are other articles worth reading as well.

Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who suit MUDS
Richard Bartle, Journal of Virtual Environments, June 1996

Good overview of how people behave in NVEs, with a useful four way classification of how they will behave towards the world itself and to each other.

Online Justice Systems
Derek Sanderson, Game Developer, April 1999

Ultima Online, EverQuest, etc, are the latest in a long tradition of computer systems that were created by technical types who had no idea what mischief people would get up to. This is a good study of the kinds of problems that occur and how they can be dealt with.

Mr. P. Plays Around
Michael O'Brien, SunExpert, April 1996

Ideas about future of NVE. Brainstorming rather than detailed technology.

Cyber and Steam: The Compleat Victorian
Michael O'Brien, SunExpert, March 1993

A look at relationships between fictional and real world NVEs.

War is Virtual Hell
Bruce Stirling, Wired, March/April 1993

Non technical overview of a military NVE. Good description of why the military are interested, and the implications (then) for future development.


Artificial Reality II
Myron Krueger, 1991

Artist who has built a variety of public VE/NVEs. Examines both theoretical and artistic issues, and practical advice based on his experience.

Hamlet on the Holodeck
Janet Murray, 1997

The past and future possibilities for interactive entertainment. Concentrates on the human side rather than technology.

Virtual Reality
Howard Rheingold, 1991

Good coverage of the VR field as it was then. He has also written a book on virtual communities.


William Gibson, 1984

The most influential, in terms of vision, VR book.

True Names
Vernor Vinge, 1981

Shortish novelette, in collection(s). The other influential VR book, by tech-literate author, and shows how a magical theme for NVEs could work instead of the more common high tech.

Snow Crash
Neal Stephenson, 1992

Second generation cyberpunk, lots of ideas for NVEs

Tea From an Empty Cup
Pat Cadigan, 1998

Another counterpoint to the utopians, how people are really likely to behave in NVEs.


Starfire: A Vision of Future Computing
Sun Microsystems 1994

Shows how a collaborative and partly virtual CSCW system could work around 2004. Not a fantasy, serious attempt at prototyping by SunSoft advanced researchers.

directed by Steven Lisberger, 1982

The movie responsible for the look of most NVEs, whether fictional or fact: the "tronnic" style.

Johnny Mnemonic
directed by Robert Longo, 1995

Sequences showing interaction with the futuristic Internet as NVE appear to have been done by somebody who actually thought about the topic.

The Matrix
directed by the Wachowski Brothers, 1999

Caused massive upsurge in leather jacket sales amongst wannabes and made VR trendy again.

Written by Hugh Fisher