Information Production


You are constantly creating information, and the same applied to your virtual world.
Two perfect examples would be the two text boxes in the above photo.  The left, is a chat box.  The right, is an action box.

Chat box.
The box on the bottom left of the screen. This is where players may type to interact with other characters.  There are many channels or information production and distribution here.  I can write something for everyone to see by entering the key sequence (longhand) /say, I could yell something by inputting /yell, I can whisper to someone so that no one else sees it by keying /whisper, I can talk to my guild by typing /guild, Party or Instance with /party.  These codes alone produce information, and the information is displayed to me in the chat box.  Many codes have separate colours that define them or sounds that are associated with the alert of a new message.  Interacting with the game, and the people within it is information production on a very basic visible level.

Action box
Box on the bottom right of the screen.  This is not so visible,  character actions like doing/taking damage, healing , and other in combat as well as out of combat texts appear here.  If you were playing pen and paper games this is what you would see.  These are direct actions from the character, other sprites both player and NPC.  These are all done behind the scenes in this virtual world.  Doing damage is signified by you swinging a sword, casting a spell, and a red number comes up near the target.  This is a great form of information production that is not usually looked at as it operates behind the image.


Seeking and Disseminating Information in World of Warcraft.

Tanking in raid.

Tanking in raid. Information Seek and Disseminate

The information loop is constant in virtual worlds, these loops are often more apparent than in real life yet many of the same feedback loops exist.

There is a constant seeking and disseminating of information, the photo I posted is of me in a raid.  This is a great example of how players need to be constantly seeking and disseminating information.  The amount of people alone means that everyone has to work together to defeat the bosses and ads that would cripple and destroy a group of lesser numbers. Although my interface is not vanilla. It still shows, if not ads to the experience, I am running a few add on programs in this, the ones seen are middle left, (coloured bars) that represent how much damage has been done by the top players in the raid.  My second (visible in this photo) mod is located underneath the enemy icon on the top left, beside the bright green boxes.  I use this shows me what characters are getting aggression and being attacked.  Lastly, I have an add on that increases the amount of action bars (the bars that hold my activatable skills) that I have, allowing me to use more of my available skills than the vanilla load out.

As a tank I am constantly watching these bars, constantly seeking information from them and understanding what they mean.  The tauntmaster addon (located under the enemy tab on the top left) for example.  I am constantly seeking information from this.  If the bars are grey, then no one has aggression.  Aggression is basically the amount you piss off an enemy.  Piss them off enough and they attack you.  Once the grey bars get in the oranges it means that they are close to being attacked, once they are red it means they are being attacked.  As a tank, it is my job to minimize the people getting attacked by trying to get as much aggression (piss everything off the most) as possible.  This way the healers have one person to heal and it is much easier.  Once the bars are red in colour I need to taunt their attack off them.  This is a great example of seeking and disseminating information as it would otherwise be very hard to know if people were being attacked otherwise.

Every character is constantly monitoring their skill bar.  This is located in the bottom middle of my photo.  These are your available actions; my skills can be instants, or use my resources.  So before I activate a skill I need to be aware of how much mana/energy/rage/runes I have and if the ability I want to skill will have the resources to activate. This is shown in two ways, on the top left is my icon.  It displays a lot of information, health and resources being the two most important.  I am constantly seeking information and monitoring these things to allow me to carry out tasks in game.  The skill bars along the bottom tell me when a skill is activatable, allowing me to look less often at my icon.  The little picture represents a skill, when the picture is in full colour and in whole than it means that it is ready to be activated.  When the picture is not complete than it means it is on cooldown.  This is a perfect example of human to interface (non human) interaction, or, seeking and disseminating information.

There are many many many more examples in the game and even within this photo.  However it would being to be very redundant for me to explain them all.


Information Traveling in Virtual Worlds.

Blog comp information travel.Figure 1

wow info travel.Figure 2

Information travels.  No matter where you are, or what you are doing you are both directly and indirectly interacting with the environment around you.  A virtual world, is a perfect example of this.  The example that will be used is World of Warcraft.  A VW (virtual world) is a prime example because the interactions between not just the user, but objects within the world are much more apparent and multi leveled.  There are the seen, and the unseen. The things you directly interact with and the things that are interacted in proximity, or as a chain to other things.  The two photos in this post are great example of things that are directly changeable by the user/users.

Figure 1:

This is a photo of my computer, there are arrows pointing to and from objects within the photo.  These represent the ways information travels.
Technology based, these things are not directly effected by the user.  Instead they are linked to the computer, which is in turn linked to the internet.  This is how the information travels, and the information flows both ways between the tower and its accessories.
These paths lead to a chair, unfortunately. I am not the best with selflies, so instead the chair represents the user.  These are things that the user interacts with.  Everything goes both ways, for example clicking on the mouse directly changes something on screen (information out) and the button moves, and makes a noise (information return) allowing the user to physically know that they have clicked.

Figure 2:

This photo is a screenshot of in game content in World of Warcraft.  I have put a red box and things that are of the biggest effect to the user.  The boxes represent information display, and a display is a form of traveling.  A health bar for example (top left) a full green bar  represents full health, however, if the user went into combat they would have the opportunity to directly change that bar.  A change the health bar, Like a reduction of size, indicates to the player (info travel) that they are not at full health.  Each box represents a form of information travel.