MMOX/VW Entity and Asset analysis
Well known game worlds are used in this analysis because many readers will be familiar with them. This is not intended to imply that these specific worlds are being considered for interop: they merely provide effective use cases.
Assets are what gives virtual worlds their tangible experiences- the visuals, the sounds, animations, scripts, 3D meshes.
These could be described as abstract concepts. Some make use of assets to make their presence more tangible e.g. avatars, while others can be entirely abstract- having no assets, but existing nonetheless (events etc.).
Entities have properties that can be split into 4 categories:
- Ubiquitous - These are properties that every entity in the VW has.
- Common - These are properties that most entities in the VW have.
- Shared - These are properties that have similar meaning for separate entities, but aren't common or ubiquitous.
- Special - These are properties that only exist for individual entities in the VW.
It is fairly common for the avatar of a person using a VW to have a name and a unique identifier. The name is designed to be a user-friendly identifier, whereas the unique identifier serves to allow the VW protocol & database to make distinctions between the thousands or millions of avatars in the system.
In some Virtual Worlds the unique identifier may not be exposed to the public (as opposed to only being exposed at the protocol level, never in the UI etc.).
- Second Life Residents' UUIDs are widely exposed - http://world.secondlife.com/resident/83b3987f-9520-4275-8efe-3ac13dd3f635
- World of Warcraft PCs do not seem to have their unique identifiers publicly exposed- http://eu.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Alonsus&n=Axilo
It is expected that by analyzing sufficient Virtual Worlds and other multi-user environments, we can establish what properties should become a part of the core MMOX protocols, and what properties should be considered "metadata"- properties that an MMOX-supporting VW/client is not expected to act upon or understand in order to experience the VW.
Additionally, once sufficient VWs and other multi-user environments have been analyzed, a comparison table can be drawn up that illustrates how the various entities, assets & properties relate to each other. Such a comparison table will be useful in the development and implementation of MMOX, likely finding the most benefit in any efforts regarding transposing non-essential metadata from environment to environment- for example, Second Life could import WoW character sheets as a "Pick", or merely apply the URL to a Resident's web tab.