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GD2 Blog: Week 26

Technical Proposal

As of the 18th of April, I’ve conducted some research into my topic for my Technical Proposal. For my proposal, I’ll be doing an investigation into using Virtual Reality and its uses for possible enhanced interactions during gameplay.

What this will be covering is how Virtual Reality games handle interactions within the game, and to what extent players are able to do so. This can depend on what control schemes the game uses, as for Virtual Reality there is a multitude of different ways this can be handled.

The most common methods of interactability in Virtual Reality consist of; Selection, Manipulation and Locomotion.

Using selection, the player is able to interact with a UI or object via their controller input. This involves usually the player pointing towards something directly and then allowing them to interact with said object.

“In its simplest form, selection involves telling the system which object or UI element the user wishes to interact with. Once selection is confirmed by user, the selected entity becomes the focus of further interaction inputs by the user.”

FutureLearn.com, 2022

An example of a Selection can be seen in Figure 1, where a player is using a ray-cast from their controller to point towards a sphere to select it. These are typically used for objects that are far out, and usually out of physical reach for the player – this makes it easier and more accessible.

Laser pointer
Figure 1, FutureLearn.com (2022)

Figure 2 shows another example of Selection within Virtual Reality, these are known as Gestures. With this, hand gestures are captured by the headset and allow the player to directly interact and grab objects that they can reach – many headsets may also support native hand-tracking which allows for this to be accurate and possible.

Gesture based
Figure 2, FutureLearn.com (2022)

Gesture based interactions within a virtual reality game can also lead to a much more immersive and natural experience for the player. A more natural feeling experience can also help users with physical disabilities to interact with games much more easier.

“Gesture interaction is intuitive, natural, and flexible. Therefore, it is also very important for some users with physical disabilities, such as visual impairment and hearing impairment, to interact through gestures.”

Beijing Key Laboratory of Human-Computer Interaction, 2022

Manipulation within Virtual Reality allows the user to manipulate selected entities in a multitude of ways, this can range from orient an object or move it – the choice of technique depends on the available capability of the controllers, which can range from simple controllers with scroll-wheels to gestures like pinching and stretching.

“This set of interaction actions occurs once an object is selected by the user.”

FutureLearn.com, 2022

Figure 3 shows an example of a user with a HTC Vive dual-hand controller interacting with a virtual environment to manipulate 3D objects as shown on the right. The left is also an example of a user-defined gesture using the Vive controller.

figure 1
Figure 3, Human-centric Computing and Information Sciences (2018)

Locomotion involves the use of controllers to navigate throughout a virtual environment.

Although one problem with this method is that it tends to cause sickness due to a discrepancy between what the user detects through vision and the movement-related systems within their inner ear detect (Ivy Wigmore, 2018).

“This set of interaction techniques enable user movement within the virtual world. They re-position or re-orient the user in the virtual world”

FutureLearn.com, 2022

One method of locomotion within Virtual Reality is teleportation, where a user can point to their destination and automatically move there as seen in Figure 4.

Teleportation base
Figure 4, FutureLearn.com (2022)

The accessibility of this method allows the player use this movement method to avoid any motion sickness, or perhaps are also restricted by the physical limitations of their room scale.

Another method for locomotion would be redirected walking, which allows people to move freely within a cleared space of their own – this accommodates to the space’s boundaries as well.

As shown in Figure 5, this is Walkabout Locomotion developed by Tekton Games.

Figure 5, Tekton Games (2016)

This system allows players to freeze the environment when they reach boundaries, players can turn around but unfreeze the game from the perspective that they have stopped within.

“Tekton Games’ WalkAbout locomotion system allows users to physically walk anywhere in virtual space using a room-scale VR setup.”

Tekton Games, 2016

This is possibly the most natural form of locomotion within virtual reality as it allows the player to fully walk within their space whilst showing boundaries without having them take off the headset.

Bibliography

FutureLearn. 2022. Interaction Techniques in VR. [online] Available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/info/courses/construct-a-virtual-reality-experience/0/steps/96390 [Accessed 3 May 2022].

LI, Y., HUANG, J., TIAN, F., WANG, H. and DAI, G., 2019. Gesture interaction in virtual reality,. [online] sciencedirect.com. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2096579619300075#:~:text=VR%20has%20three%20distinct%20characteristics,the%20real%20world%20through%20feedback [Accessed 3 May 2022].

Nanjappan, V., Liang, H., Lu, F., Papangelis, K., Yue, Y. and Man, K., 2018. User-elicited dual-hand interactions for manipulating 3D objects in virtual reality environments. [online] springeropen.com. Available at: https://hcis-journal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13673-018-0154-5#:~:text=In%20the%20real%20world%2C%20%E2%80%9Cmanipulation,manipulations%20of%20these%203D%20objects. [Accessed 3 May 2022].

Wigmore, I., 2018. What is VR locomotion (virtual reality locomotion)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. [online] WhatIs.com. Available at: https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/VR-locomotion-virtual-reality-locomotion#:~:text=VR%20locomotion%20is%20technology%20that,translate%20to%20in%2Dgame%20movements. [Accessed 3 May 2022].

Tektongames.com. 2016. WalkAbout Presskit |. [online] Available at: http://tektongames.com/walkabout-presskit/ [Accessed 3 May 2022].

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