Some differences between physical and digital spaces

In their paper called "Emplacing Experience", the authors compare aspects of space and place in physical and digital gameworlds. They describe different characteristics that show the specificity of digital places:

"Players, through the agency of their avatar, may expend considerable time traveling to the location for a quest. (...) RPG game design has a conspicuous propensity to afford and then discard the notions of place that compel the player in gameplay. (...) players may visit such places only once in gameplay to realize the experience. After performing a quest the place might as well cease to exist, having little further role in gameplay. (...) Although often rendered in attractive detail, the space between the places where the gameplay activities occur is, for all intents and purposes, empty. (...) Computational resources are often diverted from peripheral details of a place or by rendering environmental assets “just-in-time”. (...) Gameworlds and other Virtual Environments (VEs) contain far fewer cues than the physical world and therefore tend to fall into the category of being unfamiliar, particularly when first encountered. (...) a quality of an interaction that allows sense to be made only in a specific spatial, temporal or social context. Such indexicality is used frequently, subtly and without much ado in the physical world. In gameworlds, indexicality is often overt and even clumsy, such as NPCs providing information at set locations. "

Why do I blog this? material needed to write an article about the evolution of mutual location-awareness interfaces over time, in MUDs, 3D games and pervasive gaming. The elements described here are useful to document how the environments (game spaces) are different.

Browning, D. Stanley, S., Fryer, M. & Bidwell, N.J (2006). Emplacing experience. Joint International Conference on CyberGames & Interactive Entertainment, Perth 2007 Published in ACM Digital library