This glossary provides simple definitions for terms used in relation to virtual worlds.

Game world (also Ludic World) – used in contrast to ‘Social World’ under the super-set of Virtual Worlds. i.e. those with a game mechanic built into the code, generally from the DikuMUD strain of design

Metaverse – Currently has at least three uses (ultimately derived from N Stephenson, of course – but the book meaning is not that which it presently tends to denote)
1. The 3D web of the future built, possibly, on some of the Social World technology we have now.
2. The general set of Virtual Worlds implicitly of the present dominant form.
3. In relation to the ‘Thin Virtual Worlds’ that are web based, a term to explicitly denote the current mode of virtual world be it either Social or Game.

MMORPG – (Massively Multiplayer On Line Role Play Game) A term that seems to be dying out. Pronunciation varies from M.M.O.R.P.G. to ‘More-pig’. Generally means the same as Game World (though not generally used in contrast to Social World in the same way) but is sometimes used as a super-set in a similar way to ‘virtual world’ when used in that mode.

MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) – Probably now used more than MMORPG, often simply as a contraction, sometimes, to indication that the RPG element is not there hence as a generic super-set in a similar way to ‘virtual world’ when used in that mode.

MOO / MUSH – really not used at all these days, the difference between MUD, MOOs and MUSHs is probably an enigma to all cept those that actually used them.

MUD – not a term used much these days. Until a few years ago it was still used as a generic for virtual spaces, not just text ones, so was a pre-curser to ‘virtual worlds’ (under some uses). Now tends to be used by what we might call first generation virtual scholars as a generic or others as a generic for text spaces.

RCE (Real Cash Economy) – An in-world economy linked to a hard currency.

RMT (Real Money Transaction) – Exchange of hard currency for virtual items or avatars.

Synthetic World – generic term intended to encompass all types of virtual world essentially the same a Virtual World.

Social World
– used in relation to Game World and sometimes MMORPG or MMO under the super-set of Virtual Worlds. Denotes a virtual space either with no game mechanic in the code or at least no over-aching game mechanic e.g. where there is a social space with embedded mini-games.

Thick Virtual World
– those which are not ‘Thin Virtual Worlds’ (see below).

Thin Virtual World – (term genially used possibly only by me) browser based virtual space that meets Bartle’s definition but tends to be small, possibly user created, and is not ‘massive’ in term of the use of any one world. Used to indicate difference with many current Virtual Worlds.

Virtual World
1. When used in relation to Social Worlds and Game Worlds, Virtual World is the super-set of these, generally following Bartle’s technical definition.
2. When used in relation just to MMO’s or Game Worlds the term is synonymous with Social worlds.

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