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date: 22 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

The fourth wall is a term borrowed from dramatic theory that considers the theatrical stage as having three walls (two sides and a rear) and an invisible fourth-wall boundary between the actors and audience. This chapter considers the experience of user-generated sonic content in virtual worlds in terms of the concept of the fourth wall, situating this content in regards to the dynamic between audience and virtual space. While much of the work on user-generated content in virtual worlds has focused on this relationship between developers and players, there are many interesting aspects of user-generated content that have been neglected, particularly when it comes to sound. The chapter argues that user-generated sound is in a unique position with regards to breaking the fourth wall, presenting an overview of user-generated content in virtual worlds, and exploring how user-generated content contributes to the social interactions that occur and to the breakdown of the fourth wall. The chapter then focuses on the types of auditory content that are generated and shared between players, situating the use of sound as a mediator between the virtual and the real world spaces.

Keywords: sound, multiplayer, games, fourth wall, user-generated content, immersion

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