Conceptual models for Describing Virtual Worlds

Francois Bernier
Defence R & D Canada - Valcartier
Distributed Synthetic Environment Group
G3J 1X5, Val-Bélair



A conceptual model of a virtual world is a high-level representation of how the objects behave and how they are related to each other. The conceptual models identify the most essential elements of the reality to be simulated. This is the first and a very important step in the process of designing a virtual world. Afterwards, specific and complex models can be implemented and inserted into these conceptual models. This paper provides an overview of existing conceptual models used to design virtual worlds. A number of existing frameworks and architecture for describing virtual worlds are classified into six kinds of conceptual models: unstructured, graphic-oriented, network-oriented, object-oriented, environment-oriented and relational graph-oriented representations. The advantages and issues regarding virtual world design, management, reusability and interoperability are discussed.