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THE SETTING OF TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING: WORLD-BUILDING

World-building is not a concept that is restricted to the realm of fantasy. A narrative’s worldview can be understood as the detailed setting that occupies the entire story, although its direct appearance in the actual narrative varies.

In the past, storytellers focused mostly on creating a world as required by their plot and anything else that directly influenced the narrative, but the world-building of today focuses greatly on the world’s actual design. This process is known as world-building; its Korean translation is more or less “worldview design,” but since Koreans use the term worldview in a broad way, this is not necessarily the most accurate definition.

The term worldview generally refers to a certain perspective of human behavior, and can also describe views on nature, society, and the general characteristics of humanity. However, the concept of worldview in world-building directly refers to the ideological, spatial, and time-related details of a story’s background.

Existing research has used world-building to refer to “a fictional world created by the writer,” and has applied the term to various mediums, such as games, film, and literature. Although the meaning of world-building varies according to context, the term ultimately references a fictional world created by either the author or some other person. The distinctions between the terminologies of different fields, such as virtual world, constructed a world (conworld), imaginary world, fictional world, and the secondary world, is an area of study that would benefit from further clarity.

In the field of gaming, a fictional world is called a “virtual world.” This concept is applied in the massive multiplayer online world (MMOW), the basic infrastructure of a game’s simulated environment. World-building, or worldview design, refers to the general creative process of building a fictional world. One could say that it is an artist’s process of constructing a worldview and then planning how that worldview will be reflected in the actual work. The product of these efforts, then, is the constructed world, or a world that has been built by the artist.

The concepts of the imaginary world, fictional universe, and a secondary world all refer to a fantasized world that does not exist in reality. The idea of a fantasized world can refer to a variety of invented landscapes and environments without naming specifics. But regardless of the process by which they are made, each world must be the product of pure imagination.

Fictional universe also refers to an invented reality, a term usually utilized by mediums such as films and novels. It can be used to describe the imaginary world created by a writer.

Have you ever spend time in a virtual world? How about playing virtual games such as ‘SecondLife’ or ‘MineCraft’? Please share your experiences in a virtual world.

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This article is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

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