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Shared simple virtual environment (SSVE) is an object-oriented software framework designed for object-focused small group collaboration in highly dynamic virtual environments. Compared to most other collaborative virtual environment systems, SSVE allows a team of six to eight people to collaborate closely on a highly interactive model construction task. SSVE is a "multi-multi" framework - multi-user, multi-threaded, multi-platform, and multi-modal. Numerous interaction, awareness and collaboration mechanisms are provided by the framework and by applications that use the framework, including "what you see is what I see," deictic references, and exclusive object access. Several concurrency control mechanisms are also supported through the framework, including those suitable for closely-coupled synchronous collaboration in highly dynamic virtual worlds. In addition, support is provided for emergent group collaboration modes, and a novel user interface widget, the collaboration tree, is introduced to facilitate subgroup formation and integration of task results. In short, SSVE is a framework for the development of applications which explore group collaboration mechanisms in highly-interactive shared virtual environments. A small pilot study that used the framework to validate the utility and stability of the framework, as well as to investigate larger issues of group collaboration, is also presented.
Date of Conference: 23-25 Oct. 2003