Where are my legs? Embodiment Gaps in Avatars
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This paper identifies "gaps" in the manifestation and behaviour of avatars that commonly occur in games. These gaps in embodiment are sometimes surprisingly conspicuous, and cannot always be attributed to simple hardware or software limitations. Most of these gaps appear to be errors and/or oversights by the designers of the games, and can compromise the player's experience of being in a virtual space/environment. Nevertheless, these gaps are overcome everyday by game players to achieve compelling experiences, as is evident from the continuing popularity of games as a past time. This apparent paradox is examined in a detailed analysis of gaps in the rendering of avatars in well-known classic and current games (the Myst, Doom, and Half-Life    series). Comparison is made to the means of embodiment used in both text only rendered experiences and non-game interactive virtual experiences. These include Interactive Fiction (Adventure  and Zork ), and Virtual Reality art (Char Davies' works Osmose and Ephemere  ). This comparison highlights the difference between the mimetic and immersive functions of virtual environments, and the complexity of the relationship between them.
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