Spatial Design and Physical Interface in Virtual Worlds

Spatial Design and Physical Interface in Virtual Worlds

Hidenori Watanave (Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-077-8.ch015
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We would like to propose a new spatial model, the “Contents Oriented Space”, conforming to the physical senses experienced in the 3D virtual worlds, as well as providing an appealing spatial experience, and present a design methodology making use of this new model. There are three necessary conditions for such “Contents Oriented Space”: 1. The contents are visible from the outside; 2. The contents are directly accessible; 3. By being directly accessible, the contents become “spatial”. By applying such a spatial model, it is possible to realize the architectural space in the 3D virtual worlds, conforming to the physical senses experienced in such environment, at the same time providing an attractive spatial experience. It is a new design methodology, able to be widely applied in the architectural space design for the 3D virtual worlds in general. The experimental use of the proposed methodology in the physical interface expanding this design methodology is also currently on going.
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2 Design Methods' Review

In this chapter, the existing architectural spatial design methods in the 3D virtual worlds will be examined by reviewing specific cases.

2.1 Imitation of Real World Architectural Buildings

There is a long history in visionary (unbuilt) architecture(Burden,1999). These works had the charm that cannot be achieved in real world. But they were works only in the thought, and not able to be experienced interactively. And also, there are plenty of previous work concerning the design of architecture of the real world that uses the virtual reality technology(Bridges,Charitos,1998)(Whyte,2002), or real world architectural buildings imitated in 3D virtual worlds(Maher,Simoff,Gu,Lau,2000)(Brouchard,2006) in recent years. In this case, the measurements and forms of a real world building are faithfully reproduced, and on the surface, it seems to be same as the building in actual existence. However, in experiencing the space through the 3D virtual world body, or the avatar, the interior of the building feels smaller than in reality. It becomes a stressful space as you hit the walls or get stuck in the spatial gaps. For the users used to navigating freely in space, not being restricted to the collision checking in the 3D virtual worlds, the walls and ceilings imitating the real world building become obstacles preventing movement, resulting in a stressful experience. Furthermore, there is a fundamental difference in the physical senses, where the real world is experienced through the entire “body”, the 3D virtual worlds is experienced through an interface such as the personal computer.

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