• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Virtual Reality Environments

The word avatar is adapted from the Sanskrit for “descent,” used to describe a Hindu god emerging from the heavens and bodily manifesting itself in order to intervene in human affairs. Generically, the term avatar can refer to any representation of a person. Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel Snow Crash popularized the use of the word as it is commonly understood today, which is to describe a representation that is rendered in a virtual environment (VE). Commonly, avatars are used to represent people in Internet chat, video games, social virtual worlds, massively multiplayer online role-playing games, social networking sites, and other mediated contexts. Avatars are distinguished from agents, another form of digital representation, by the element of control: avatars are controlled by human users, whereas ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles