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Designing Virtual Worlds by Richard A. Bartle

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Chapter 7. Towards a Critical Aesthetic

KEY TOPICS

  • A Theory of Virtual Worlds

  • The Story of Story

  • The Critical Aesthetic in Use

Virtual worlds are works of art. I refer to their creators as “designers,” but that's a misnomer; really they're artists[1]. Although there is some debate over the distinction between art and design, it's generally true that “design” has to convey a given package of information or utility whereas “art” is an end in itself. You tell a designer what you want; you ask an artist what they've got. What virtual world designers do is more Art than Design.

It's like the difference between Science and Engineering: Scientists seek truth, whereas engineers seek solutions. If you ask an engineer to change a construct because you don't ...

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