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Research Papers

Collaborative Design Principles From Minecraft With Applications to Multi-User Computer-Aided Design

[+] Author and Article Information
David J. French

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT 84602
e-mail: davidfrench11@gmail.com

Brett Stone, Thomas T. Nysetvold, Ammon Hepworth, W. Edward Red

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT 84602

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Computers and Information Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received December 23, 2014; final manuscript received November 19, 2015; published online May 3, 2016. Editor: Bahram Ravani.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 16(2), 021006 (May 03, 2016) (9 pages) Paper No: JCISE-14-1462; doi: 10.1115/1.4032667 History: Received December 23, 2014; Revised November 19, 2015

Synchronous collaborative (“multi-user”) computer-aided design (CAD) is a current topic of academic and industry interest due to its potential to reduce design lead times and improve design quality through enhanced collaboration. Minecraft, a popular multiplayer online game in which players can use blocks to design structures, is of academic interest as a natural experiment in a collaborative 3D design of very complex structures. Virtual teams of up to 40 simultaneous designers have created city-scale models with total design times in the thousands of hours. Using observation and a survey of Minecraft users, we offer insights into how virtual design teams might effectively build, communicate, and manage projects in a multi-user CAD design environment. The results suggest that multi-user CAD will be useful and practical in an engineering setting with several simultaneous contributors. We also discuss the effects of multi-user CAD on team organization, planning, design concurrency, communication, and mentoring.

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Figures

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Fig. 2

A complex Minecraft structure (used with permission)2

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Fig. 3

Learning from multi-user Minecraft and single-user CAD to understand multi-user CAD

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Fig. 4

Size of the best team respondents have worked with in Minecraft

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Fig. 5

Desired team-mate attributes

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Fig. 6

Factors for ineffective team collaboration (e-Handbook study)

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Fig. 7

Planning techniques

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Fig. 8

Percent of time spent collaborating (e-Handbook study)

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Fig. 9

Communication tool use by Minecraft players

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Fig. 10

Communication tool effectiveness

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Fig. 11

Preferences for integrating communication tools into the Minecraft application

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Fig. 12

Concurrency of teamwork in Minecraft

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Fig. 13

Effectiveness of learning methods in Minecraft

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Fig. 14

Teamwork challenges in Minecraft

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