Real-time simultaneous multi-user (RSM) computer-aided design (CAD) is currently a major area of research and industry interest due to its potential to reduce design lead times and improve design quality through enhanced collaboration. Minecraft, a popular multi-player online game in which players use blocks to design structures, is of academic interest as a natural experiment in collaborative 3D design of very complex structures. Virtual teams of up to forty 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 an RSM CAD design environment. The results suggest that RSM CAD will be useful and practical in an engineering setting with several simultaneous contributors. We also discuss the potential effects of RSM CAD on team organization, planning, design concurrency, communication, and mentoring.

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