Data Warehouses and Data Marts

Data Warehouses and Data Marts

Write a one- to two-page (250-500 word) paper that discusses the differences between data warehouses and data marts. Also, discuss how organizations can use data warehouses and data marts to acquire data. You must use the Online Library to locate at least two sources for your paper. ( I will find and insert two of these somewhere in the paper).  There does need to be additional sources cited though (1 at least).  I will add some to this paper, I just need the majority of it wrote.

APA rules for formatting, quoting, paraphrasing, citing, and listing of sources are to be followed.

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Assignment 1: LASA 2: Implementing Six Sigma at Wishmewell Hospital

Assignment 1: LASA 2: Implementing Six Sigma at Wishmewell Hospital

Emergency departments (ED) at many hospitals have been overwhelmed in the past year, as more patients without health insurance use the ED as a primary care solution. Wait times in the ED are increasing as more and more Americans are using the Emergency Department for their general health concerns. Across the country, the average ED wait time is now 222 minutes (approximately 3 hours, 42 minutes).

Wishmewell Hospital’s average wait time in the ED is more than five hours, and the board of directors is concerned about this long wait time. The danger is that a patient’s condition may escalate during his/her waiting time in Wishmewell’s ED.

The board has tasked you to take on a new quality improvement initiative to decrease wait time in the ED using the Six Sigma approach.

Develop a quality improvement program using the Six Sigma approach to decrease waiting time in Wishmewell’s emergency department.

The quality improvement program must include the following elements in an approximately 10-page MS Word document:

  • Describe the goals and objectives of your plan to decrease ER wait times at Wishmewell.
  • Describe each step of the Six Sigma (DMAIC) process:
    • Define the problem
    • Measure the process; what Six Sigma tools will you use?
    • Analyze the data; what tools will you use to analyze the data?
    • Improve the process; explain your improvement plan
    • Control; how will you continue to monitor the results and adjust as necessary?
  • Describe the key players (stakeholders) who should be members of your implementation team and explain why teamwork is an important factor in implementing a quality improvement program.
  • Explain at least three factors that might inhibit the implementation of your decreased wait time program.

Please reference the Six Sigma Power Point under the Doc Sharing tab.

Submit the quality improvement program plan to the M5: Assignment 1 Dropbox by Monday, July 11, 2016.

Assignment 1 Grading Criteria Maximum Points
Described the goals and objectives of the plan to decrease ED wait times at Wishmewell Hospital. 48
Described each step of the Six Sigma (DMAIC) process. 88
Described the key players (stakeholders) who should be members of your implementation team and explained the importance of implementing a quality improvement program. 52
Explain at least three factors that might inhibit the implementation of your decreased wait time program. 48
Style (8 points): Tone, audience, and word choice
Organization (16 points): Introduction, transitions, and conclusion
Usage and Mechanics (16 points): Grammar, spelling, and sentence structure
APA Elements (24 points): In-text citations and references, paraphrasing, and appropriate use of quotations and other elements of style
Total: 300

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Amy Rosario wants to streamline the data-entry process at PRN Nursing Services

New Perspectives Access 2013

Tutorial 4: SAM Project 1b

PRN Nursing Services

Using Queries and Reports to View Datact Name






Amy Rosario wants to streamline the data-entry process at PRN Nursing Services by creating forms that her staff can use to update and view data about contractors and client billing. She also wants to create a report to display client billing data. You’ll create two forms and a report to help Amy with her requests.



  • Download the following file from the SAM website:
    • NP_Access2013_T4_P1b_FirstLastName_accdb
  • Open the file you just downloaded and save it with the name:
    • NP_Access2013_T4_P1b_FirstLastNameaccdb
    • If you do not see the .accdb file extension in the Save file dialog box, do not type it. Access will add the file extension for you automatically.
  • To complete this Project, you will also need to download and save the following support file from the SAM website:
    • jpg
  • Open the _GradingInfoTable table and ensure that your first and last name is displayed as the first record in the table. If the table does not contain your name, delete the file and download a new copy from the SAM website.



  1. Use the Form tool to create a form based on the Staff table, and then save the form as StaffList.
  2. In Layout View, make the following changes to the StaffList form:
    1. Remove the form title from the control layout, and then change the form title to Staff List.
    2. Apply the Office theme to the StaffList form only.
    3. Save the form.



  1. In Form View, use the StaffList form to navigate to the third record (with Staff ID 908), and then change the Staff Last field value to Johnston. Navigate to the last record (with Staff ID 999), and then change the Title field value to Billing Manager. Close the form.
  2. Use the Form Wizard to create a form based on the Billing Include all fields in the form, use the Columnar layout, and specify the title BillingData.
  3. In Form Layout View, change the form title of the BillingData form to Billing Data (two words). Change the font color of the form title to Dark Blue, Text 2 (1st row, 4th column in the Theme Colors section of the Font Color gallery).
  4. Insert the logo jpg, available for download from the SAM website, into the Form Header. Remove the picture from the control layout, and then move the picture to the right of the form title. Save the form.
  5. Switch to Form View and use the Find command in the BillingData form to find the record with Billing ID 2044. Change the total hours to 30 and the hourly rate to $20.00.
  6. Add a new record to the Billing table using the BillingData form, add the data shown in Figure 1 below, and then close the form.


Figure 1: BillingData Form



  1. Use the Form Wizard to create a form containing a main form and a subform as follows:
    1. Select all fields from the Contractor table for the main form.
    2. Select the ClientID, StartDate, and EndDate fields from the Billing table for the subform.
    3. Choose the option to view the data by contractor.
    4. Select the Datasheet layout for the subform.
    5. Specify the titles ContractorsAndBilling for the main form and BillingSubform for the subform.
  2. In Form Layout View, change the title in the main form to Contractors and Billing, and then change the font color of the title to Dark Blue, Text 2 (1st row, 4th column in the Theme Colors section of the Font Color gallery).
  3. Resize the Client ID, Start Date, and End Date columns in the subform to best fit the data they contain. Resize the width of the subform as shown in Figure 2


Figure 2: ContractorsAndBilling Form

  1. Use the ContractorsAndBilling form (in Form View) and the Find command to find the record with Contractor ID 1032, and then change the Credentials field value to MA. Save and close the form.



  1. Use the Report Wizard to create a report based on the primary Client table and the related Billing table, as follows:
    1. Select the ClientID, ClientFirst, ClientLast, and ClientSince fields from the Client
    2. Select all fields from the Billing table except for the ClientID
    3. Do not select any additional grouping levels for the report.
    4. Sort the details records in ascending order by BillingID.
    5. Select the Outline layout and the Landscape orientation for the report.
    6. Specify the report title ClientBilling. (Hint: Do not include the period.)
  2. In Report Layout View, apply the Office theme to the ClientBilling report only. Change the report title for the ClientBilling report to Client Billing (two words).
  3. Resize and reposition the following objects in the ClientBilling report in Layout View, and then scroll through the report to make sure all field labels and field values are fully displayed:
    1. Resize the Client ID, Client First, Client Last, and Client Since field label boxes on their right sides, decreasing their widths so that the field label boxes are as wide as the values they contain.
    2. Move the Client ID, Client First, Client Last, and Client Since field value boxes to the left, so they are closer to their field labels, to decrease the amount of white space between the field label and the field value boxes for each field.
    3. Resize the Client Since field value box on its right side, decreasing its width so that the field value box is as wide as the values it contains.
    4. Resize the Hourly Rate field label box and the Hourly Rate field value box on their right sides to decrease their widths to approximately 1″.
    5. Scroll to the bottom of the report, and then resize the control that contains the page number on its right side to decrease its width so that it is only as wide as the “Page 1 of 1” value it contains. Use an arrow key to move the page number control to the left so that its right edge aligns with the right edge of the Hourly Rate field in the report.
    6. Save the report.
  4. Use conditional formatting in the ClientBilling report to format amounts in the Total Hours column that are less than or equal to 40 in a bold, Dark Blue (1st row, 4th column in the Standard Color Palette) font, as shown in Figure 3 on the following page. Display the report in Print Preview and review its pages, and then save and close the report.


Figure 3: ClientBilling Report


Save and close any open objects in your database. Compact and repair your database, close it, and exit Access. Follow the directions on the SAM website to submit your completed project.

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Using Excel Solver:

Using Excel Solver:  College Expenses Revisited Revisit the college expense planning network example of this chapter. Suppose the rates on the four investments A, B, C, and D have dropped to 5, 11, 18, and 55 percent, respectively. Suppose that the estimated yearly costs of college (in thousands) have been revised to 25, 27, 30, and 33.

a.  What is the minimum investment that will cover these expenses?

b.  Show the network diagram corresponding to the solution in (a). That is, label each of the arcs in the solution and verify that the flows are consistent with the given information.

You must use Excel Solver

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You are looking ahead to starting a business after graduation.

You are looking ahead to starting a business after graduation. A colleague recommended that the two of you begin developing a plan now to determine how funds will be obtained to launch the business and support operations. You both agree that the business will require at least $50,000 of start-up capital and one employee besides yourselves. Include the following information in your plan:

  • Describe the type of banking and loan arrangements you would use to collect the funds to launch the business, and explain how these accounts would be monitored to ensure accuracy and sufficiency of funds. Show an example of how a loan might be constructed to obtain the start-up capital, including computations of payments and interest.
  • Discuss the types of taxes you will need to consider collecting, paying, or remitting relative to your business, and explain how these are computed.
  • Explain how you will use pricing, commissions, discounts, markups, or markdowns strategically to help generate interest in your business product or service offering.
    • Discuss how these will affect income and the cash available to the business.
  • Assuming that inventory and computers are among the first asset purchases planned, explain how these will be acquired.
    • Show computations of how costs will be recovered.
  • Discuss how technology and the Internet will be used for banking and financial aspects of the start-up and operation of your business.
  • Discuss the issues and risks associated with processing financial transactions and records on the Internet, and explain how you plan to address them.

Submitting your assignment in APA format means, at a minimum, you will need the following:

  • Title page: Remember the running header and your title should be in ALL CAPITALS.
  • Body: The body of your paper begins on the page following the title page and abstract page and must be double-spaced (be careful not to triple- or quadruple-space between paragraphs). The type face should be 12-pt. Times New Roman or 12-pt. Courier in regular black. Do not use color, bold type, or italics except as required for APA-level headings and references. The deliverable length of the body of your paper for this assignment is 3–4 pages. In-body academic citations to support your decisions and analysis are required. A variety of academic sources is encouraged.
  • Reference page: References that align with your in-body academic sources are listed on the final page of your paper. The references must be in APA format using appropriate spacing, hang indentions, italics, and upper- and lowercase usage as appropriate for the type of resource used. Remember, the Reference page is not a bibliography but a further listing of the abbreviated in-body citations used in the paper. Every referenced item must have a corresponding in-body citation.
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difficulties the Pilgrims faced

APA PAPER about the difficulties of pilgrims (( USING THE WEBSITES I GIVE YOU)— MAKE IT SIMPLE ( I did the paper the first time and she told me to revise it and make it simpler) I will upload the directions.

Here is what she said:–don’t panic!  I just want you to revise.  You’re overthinking this one–this should be just as simple as previous papers. The assignment is to describe the difficulties the Pilgrims faced, so I want you to focus your paper entirely on that.  Do one body paragraph on one difficulty/type of difficulty, a 2nd body paragraph on another difficulty/type of difficulty, and a 3rd body paragraph on another difficulty/type of difficulty. That’s all. Nothing more.

Do several quotes/examples in each paragraph.  Only in the introduction and conclusion can you let in the general info that is not about the difficulties.  Your thesis should be clear and simple and end with a development catch phrase such as “experienced many difficulties,” and your topic sentences should use that same language.

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Assignment Option #2: Speculating about Causes and Proposing Solutions for a National or Global or State Social Issue

Assignment Option #2: Speculating about Causes and Proposing Solutions for a National or Global or State Social Issue

Explore a national or global or state social issue in your area,  (United State, Colorado)  at least one of its causes, and a potential solution. For your topic, the social issue should be a problem that can be proven to exist and has potential to be solved.

Begin by stating a thesis that defines the problem, identifies and evaluates at least one aspect of the cause, and offers one potential solution. These three points—problem, cause, and solution—will be used as level I headings for the major parts of the body content.


  • The paper should be 6-8 pages in length (double-spaced), plus a reference page, and should use a minimum of eight credible sources. The CSU-Global Library is an excellent place to search for credible, scholarly sources.
  • Document and citation formatting should be in conformity with the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA Requirements.

Example/research questionWhat would it take to reduce obesity in United States/Ohio?

The research question should be followed by a thesis, which answers the research question by stating a problem, cause, and solution. The thesis can be two sentences long if necessary.

Example/thesis: [Problem] Obesity across the U.S. is on the rise [Cause] partly due to the amount of trans fats contained in restaurant food. [Solution] One solution would be to regulate the amount of trans fats restaurants are permitted to include in the food they serve and to require restaurants to clearly indicate the level of trans fats contained within each menu item.

NOTE: The sample topic above cannot be used for your project. Topics that should be avoided are those currently being widely debated among media sources. Some topics to avoid include abortion, sex trafficking, gun control, and immigration among others.

Click on the attached document to review a sample Portfolio Project Outline that may be used as a template or to inform the structure and outline for your project. This outline will be subject to discussion at the second Live Classroom for the course.

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In this module, we will explore some of the new questions and issues video games and other digital media pose for philosophy.

In this module, we will explore some of the new questions and issues video games and other digital

media pose for philosophy.  Part of this will involve broader considerations about the very nature of

digital media themselves; other questions will be more specifically related to video games.

The module will begin with some historical and conceptual background about computers, digitality,

programs, and so on.  It will especially emphasize how and why all computing depends upon

‘programs’ that are both binary and linear.  Video games are no exception to this.

With some computing basics in hand, we’ll then consider three issues more specifically related to

video games:  (1)  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Non-Player characters (NPCs); (2) the ‘Virtual,’ the

‘Real,’ and ‘Virtual Reality’; and (3) the relation between ‘personal identity’ and ‘avatars’ in video


For this module, you should read Jesper Juul, Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and

Fictional Worlds.  Also, you should readCogburn and Silcox, chaps. 1 and

6 and Sageng, Philosophy and Computer Games, Chaps. 12 and 13 (downloadable free from DU

library in .pdf format).  Of course, don’t neglect to spend some time with the materials posted for this



At the end of Module III, you will be able to:

 Explain some of the basic features and limitations of digital programs relevant for video games

 Compare actions of player-driven characters vs. machine-driven characters

 Evaluate philosophical ideas of free and meaningful choice in relation to videogame play

involving avatars


The Stanley Parable (Links to an external site.) appeared in the last year or so and has generated a

good deal of heated debate in internet ‘gameworld.’ (Do check some of this discussion out — it’s

quite interesting.)  Though it can be played through (if that’s what you’d call it?!) in two or three

hours, it leads us into some really difficult philosophical problems.  Questions like:

 What is the nature of ‘free human choice’; in fact, is the idea itself really even coherent?

 To what extent, if at all, can video games present genuine ‘meaningful choices’ to players?

 What actually goes on ‘behind the scenes’ as game designers consider the overall architecture

of their games?

 Are video games more a simplified model of human freedom of choice (a ‘weak AI’ perspective)

or is ‘free choice’ a sort of human delusion that we use to console ourselves in a world that

operates according to the same determinate laws as digital games (a more ‘strong AI’ sort of


 In fact, since TSP pretty much tries to break or question all the rules and assumptions of most

video games, it leads us to ask what a video game actually is and does.

 Of course, all of this provides interesting perspectives when we discuss NPCs, Digital

Ontologies, and Avatars in this module and part of your writing assignment will be to consider

some of these connections.

As soon as you can in this Module, use the link I’ve provided, which will take you to a download from

the ‘Steam’ site. The game is available for both Mac and PC and currently costs $15 to download.

(There is a free ‘demo’ version, but I don’t think it’s worked for some time; you should play the full

version anyway, otherwise you miss a lot of the point of the game.) If you don’t have it already, you

will have to create a ‘Steam’ account, which is very easily done on the website. Do spend some time

playing this game; you’ll mainly be trying to discover all the ‘multiple endings,’ but it shouldn’t take

you more than about 3 hours or so to do it.  As you go along in the Module, keep some of the

philosophical questions that the game suggested to you in mind; it will be good preparation for your

writing assignment for this module.  Do have fun with it, I think you’ll be impressed.  It is important

that you get this game and play it right away, as it will be an important part of the topic for

your next paper.

Week 3: AI and NPCs

During this part of the course, we’ll look at some of the basic concepts involved in discussions about

‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) and then we’ll consider the most conspicuous example of AI in video

games, ‘Non-Player Characters’ (NPCs). Read my powerpoint for background and then check out

some of the other materials dealing with AI and NPCs. Notice that NPCs have lately gotten a lot

‘smarter’ as opponents and ‘bondable’ as followers and companions (see Ellie from The Last of

Us and Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite above).  How far do you think this can continue?  Are there

limits created by intrinsic limitations of digital processes themselves?  What light can the

philosophical discussions of AI shed on these questions?  Share you views about this on the

discussion forum for this module. Especially relevant for this week is Cogburn and Silcox, Chapter



The first link will take you to my powerpoint introducing Artificial Intelligence in Video Games:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Non-Player Characters (NPCs)


Click on the following link for an excellent paper discussing the background, history, and

philosophical questions about AI and its implication for video game design, with some specific

reference to NPCs:

Link (Links to an external site.)


A Turing Machine – Overview (Links to an external site.)The ‘Turing Machine’

was originally a philosophical idea proposed by Alan Turing (who was also a leader of the group that

broke the German ‘Enigma Code’ in WWII).  This idea proved to be the basis for the modern digital

computer. However, unlike most philosophical ideas, it was one that could actually be realized in

practice.  Here’s an interesting clip of someone who built a functioning Turing Machine and his

reflections on what it represents.


Artificial Intelligence in ‘Halo 2’ (Links to an external site.) provides a good practical introduction to

how AI in video games is designed and functions.  Remember, however, that this article was written

in 2004 (about the time Halo 2 came out).  That means it’s almost 10 years old — and Halo 4 is now

out.  So what’s described here is relatively simple compared to current version of AI.  Still, a good

place to start.


Artificial Intelligence in Video Games (Links to an external site.)Check out this

lecture by Ian Davis, a leading game designer, founder and CEO of Mad Dog Software, and director

of a major academic program in vg design.  The actual talk (excluding questions at the end) is about

45 minutes and includes a demo of some new concepts in design his company is working on as well

as some interesting reflections on the future of AI in game design.


Top 5 Best & Worst NPCs (Links to an external site.)Here’s one gamer’s

opinions about the best and worst NPCs.  You might not agree with all of his picks (I don’t), but he

provides an interesting discussion of what we like and dislike in NPCs. What would your own lists



‘Improved Companions": Elizabeth vs. Ellie is a comparison of two of the ‘new generation’ of

‘companion NPCs’:  Ellie from The Last of Usand Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite.  What do you

make of the fact that they’re both female characters?  This short essay is a reaction by a female

gamer.  Do you agree with her?


The Uncanny Valley (Links to an external site.)One phenomenon often noted

in connection with attempts to develop AI in video games to the point where it simulates ‘reality’ is

the ‘Uncanny Valley Effect.’  (Cogburn and Silcox discuss this on p. 111.)  First, view this short clip,

then ask yourself whether the increasing trend in video games toward ‘perceptual realism’ is either a

desirable or practical aim.  Given the ‘Uncanny Valley Effect,’ do you think that the resources of

video game producers are best utilized in the pursuit of further ‘perceptual realism’ or should they

redirect their efforts more toward the mechanics of gameplay, ‘meaningful choices,’ or more

engaging narratives?  Post any thoughts on this you may have on the discussion forum.

Week 3: Virtual Reality and Digital


In this section, we’ll be considering novel philosophical questions posed by the advent of ‘virtual

reality’ technologies, of which video games are often cited as important examples.  This will involve

us in a discussion of the most fundamental philosophical field of ‘ontology’ — what sort of things are

‘real,’ what  ‘unreal,’ and what constitutes the difference between them?  Further, in the case of video

games, they’ve been viewed variously as ‘fictions,’ ‘virtual reality,’ and ‘possible worlds.’ Which do

you think is the most adequate and productive way to view video games? By now, you should have

read most of Juul, whose ideas will be helpful in considering these issues.  Also, read Chaps. 12

and 13 in John R. Sageng, Philosophy and Computer Games for discussions of current views on

the debate between viewing video games as ‘fictions,’ ‘virtual reality,’ or ‘possible worlds.’ (This is the

book that you can download from the DU Library site in .pdf format.)


Read through this Ontology and Virtual Reality ppt for some background on ‘ontologies’ and

‘virtual reality.’


Click on the following link for an interesting, if occasionally ‘technical,’ discussion of the history and

current status of the ‘ontology’ of video games.  Though I don’t agree with everything he says or

some of his conclusions, this is ‘state-of- the-art’ thinking about this topic.  It also refers often to things

you’ve already read.

Link (Links to an external site.) to "Video Games Are A Mess," by Ian Bogost



Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life and New Worlds (Links to an external site.)

Jeremy Bailenson heads the Stanford Virtual Reality Lab.  Here he gives a

presentation about his work, the future of VR, and its philosophical  and ethical implications.  View

and think about this clip in relation to our discussions of both ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘Avatars.’



Oculus Rift: Step Into the Game (Links to an external site.)This is a sort of

‘infomercial’ for a new virtual reality headset for video gaming, the Oculus Rift.  The reviews of

prototypes have so far been very positive.  Is this the future of gaming?  Will you buy one?



Week 3: Personal Identity and


In this section, we will be considering the connection between ‘personal identity’ and avatars in video

games.  ‘Personal identity’ has been an important philosophical issue long before the advent of video

games and I review some of the most important philosophical theories of personal identity in my

powerpoint at the beginning.  Videogame avatars, however, present novel problems when viewed

against the background of traditional philosophical theories of self-identity.  One of the best ways to

see these issues is to consider what decision-processes go on in constructing our avatars for video

gameplay.  Check out the examples provided. For background, be sure to read Cogburn and

Silcox, Chap. 1.  Also consider the essay at the end of this section as an general discussion about

factors involved in identification with videogame avatars.  How should we regard our avatars:  As

extensions or projections of our actual selves? As pure constructs, separate from ourselves, that

merely ‘represent’ us as players within the ‘possible world’ of a video game? As partial projections of

certain aspects of our selves? Are there other alternative ways of viewing this?  Think about this and

share your thoughts on the discussion forum.


Personal Identity and Avatars


Cool Websites: Create Your Own Avatars (Links to an external site.)This clip

isn’t specifically about VGs but suggests how widespread the practice of creating avatars is

throughout the internet.  It also gives you some handy websites (some of them free) that allow you to

create your own avatar.  Give it a try if you want.  It might even be cool if you include an avatar

you’ve created when you post your next essay for this course.


Creating a Great Character in World of Warcraft, Part Two (Links to an external site.)

This clip walks you through the creation of a customized avatar for World of

Warcraft, one of the longest running and most populous MMORPGs.  Notice the ‘ontology’ employed

by this process of avatar creation (‘gender,’ ‘races,’ ‘professions,’ ‘skills,’ etc.).

Ask yourself these questions:

(1) How determining is this choice of ‘ontology’ for the rules and play of the game itself?  Can you

imagine other sets of choices for avatar creation than this one?  Would these constitute a different

game? or, Within what limits could the ‘avatar ontology’ in WoW be altered and still issue in

essentially the same game?  (The basic question here is to what degree do the basic assumptions

we make about avatars determine the broader ‘world’ experienced in a VG?)

(2) Now think about the ‘real world’ from this perspective.  What is the basic ‘ontology’ (i.e. the basic

assumptions about features of actual persons) that we make in ‘sorting out’ and distinguishing

between various individuals and the groups to which they belong?  To what degree do these

assumptions determine our broader assumptions and views about how the ‘real social world’ is

structured?  (The basic question here is to what degree do the basic assumptions we make in

distinguishing among various individuals and the social groups to which they belong serve to form

our views of the ‘real social world’?  Would you say that these assumptions somehow reflect natural

features of ‘real human beings’ or do they seem mostly arbitrary and variable?)

(3) To what degree do the ‘avatar ontologies’ of video games reflect those of ‘real world’ judgments

(or perhaps ‘stereotypes’) concerning other ‘real persons’?  In what respects do the two ‘ontologies’

differ?  How do the ways in which they differ help to clarify the limitations and maybe prejudices

operative in ‘real world’ judgments about other persons, their possible actions, and social situations?

(4)  What would you say about VGs in which you play an already fixed character (i.e. in the case of

games that are not RPGs)?  Does this alter the overall rules and dynamics of gameplay?  In what

ways might this correspond to the actual situation of ‘real persons’ in the ‘real world’?



Fallout 3 – Character Creation (Links to an external site.)Here’s another

example of avatar creation, this time from Fallout III.  Ask yourself the same questions as in the

example from World of Warcraft.  Also, consider the differences in the ‘avatar ontologies’ (i.e. the

different types of choices one can make about avatars) between this example and WoW.  How do

you think these differences influence the rules, type of gameplay, and overall experiences in the two

games?  (Note that WoW is a full-on RPG, while Fallout III employs only limited elements of an




Read this somewhat ‘scholarly’ but very informative paper called Identifying with an Avatar (Links

to an external site.) on the processes involved in how, in what respects, and to what degree VG

players come to identify with their avatars.  What conclusions would you draw from this regarding the

advantages and limits of ‘avatar indentification’ in VGs?  How would you formulate a response to the

following questions:

 How important to the overall game experience is it that VG players ‘identify’ with their avatars?

 How important is it that players be able to maintain some ‘distance’ between their ‘real selves’

and their avatars?

 What can this discussion of avatars tell us about the various ways in which we form our own ‘real

self images’?

 How might this influence our existing ‘theories of personal identity’ or give rise to new ones?

Any of these topics are fair game for the discussion forum for this module.


Finally, watch this video for an interesting discussion of the difference between ‘being’ and

‘controlling’ an avatar and the philosophical issues it raises.

Controlling VS Being Your Avatar (Links to an external site.)

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In this module, we will explore some of the new questions and issues video games and other digital media pose for philosophy.

In this module, we will explore some of the new questions and issues video games and other digital

media pose for philosophy.  Part of this will involve broader considerations about the very nature of

digital media themselves; other questions will be more specifically related to video games.

This forum will focus upon new issues that video games raise for philosophy.  Don't forget to post

early so others will have a chance to respond to your post.

 'Freedom' in Video Games: We know that digital computer programs, which are the basis for all

video games, are binary and linear.  For the play of video games, this implies that, ultimately,

there is no real 'freedom' in video games; from an overall perspective, the possible outcomes of

any video game will already be determined in advance by its programs.  Still, we often feel that

some games allow us, the players, more 'freedom' than others:  some walk us through a

'storyline' upon which our choices have little effect, and others make us feel that we have a wide

range of choices.  From the broader viewpoint, does it make any sense to speak of 'freedom' in

video games at all or is this just a mistakened way of regarding them?  From the perspective of

the experience of gameplay, what factors increase our 'feeling' of 'free play' and what tend to

interfere with this?  Are there ways that games might be improved to enhance our feeling of

making 'free choices' in games or should  this be an important factor at all?

 The 'Uncanny Valley'?: Many researchers of visual perception have noted something called the

'Uncanny Valley Effect.'  Roughly, this means that the closer visual images come to representing

our actual visual perceptions of the objects represented, the more we tend to consciously notice

the differences between the image and the actual object with which we're familiar.  (An example

often cited is the Conductor, for whom Tom Hanks was the model, in the film Polar

Express, which apparently frightened some children and many adults found 'creepy.') Assuming

that there is something to this, the question is what conclusions should be drawn from this

regarding video game design.  For the last decade or so, mainstream video game designers

have mostly been attempting to make games as 'perceptually realistic' as possible. Do you see

this as a positive line of development and prefer more 'realistic' games, or do you regard this as

a sort of 'fool's errand' and prefer older-style, more schematic or 'abstract' looking games?  Also,

if it turns out that the 'Uncanny Valley' theory is wrong and that future game design can eliminate

this effect, would you then prefer games that were more like 'interactive films' than the games we

have now? Would some of the possibilities of the videogame medium itself be lost in this


 The 'Digital Ontologies' of Video Games: The 'digital ontology' underlying any video game

serves to set limits upon how I, as a player, am represented in a game (for example, through the

choices offered for avatar construction) and the things I am able to do in a game (for example,

the type of objects that the game permits me to interact with). Given that computing memory is

always limited and both aspects of such 'ontologies' require large quantities of memory,

designers must consider trade-offs.  Do you prefer 'open world' or 'sandbox' games with little

choice of character or character-development (for example, Grand Theft Auto), or do you prefer

'character creation and/or development' games with much fewer interactive choices available

(like The Last of Us).  Of course, some 'big' games attempt a balance between the two (like The

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim).  How successful are they in this?  Finally, would you say that this will

remain a permament problem for videogame designers or will it be resolved as computer

memory capabilities increase?

 My Avatar, My Self?: When I can choose or create an avatar, I tend to prefer one which is quite

unlike me.  For instance, I almost always prefer to play as a woman or as some human/animal

hybrid (even if fully human avatars are available).  However, I know of many other players who

prefer to choose or create avatars much more like themselves. What (if anything) do such

differing preferences tell us about differing views of what it means to be a 'self'?  Put in another

way, to what degree must an avatar be connected with our 'actual selves' in order to create

engaging and enjoyable game experiences?  I might add that I've played games that merely

assign you a character that I've quit playing because I simply couldn't identify or never 'bonded'

with my avatar.  Have you had such experiences?  What does this say about the player/avatar


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