The field of shared virtual environments, which also encompasses online games and social 3D environments, has a system landscape consisting of multiple solutions that share great functional overlap. However, there is little system interoperability between the different solutions. A shared virtual environment has an associated problem domain that is highly complex raising difficult challenges to the development process, starting with the architectural design of the underlying system. This paper has two main contributions. The first contribution is a broad domain analysis of shared virtual environments, which enables developers to have a better understanding of the whole rather than the part(s). The second contribution is a reference domain model for discussing and describing solutions - the Analysis Domain Model.
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