Techniques on Multiplatform Movement and Interaction Systems in a Virtual Reality Context for Games

Techniques on Multiplatform Movement and Interaction Systems in a Virtual Reality Context for Games

Konstantinos Ntokos (Solent University of Southampton, UK)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5912-2.ch009
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When a student works on a VR game design project, the input scheme is often bypassed because it is considered to be one of the easiest things to implement. But should design affect the inputs, or the other way around? The author attempts to solve this with the creation of a unified communication tool among students, academics, and developers. This proposed tool will define which movement and/or interaction technique is best suited, depending on the following factors: platform, constraints, context, physique, space, immersion, and user experience. The game design framework will be described, discussed, and presented in a table format to address all of the above when working on VR games. This chapter will also include a section that will define what the player can do and how.
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As part of the Solent University’s curriculum, students will be required to complete a final year project at their last semester of study. Some of them opt to do a VR project which often involves issues of great technical and academic importance. Technically speaking, a significant question is which platform students could choose from to develop their game design project. Academically, the VR project itself could bring a new layer of learning experiences for students that need special consideration before delving into game design or code in the areas of movement and input constraints. These issues as mentioned above are likely to pose many challenges for students, which warrants the proposition of a pedagogical framework to define how a game should be made or constrained by game developers.

Technological Concerns

The technical concerns to justify this pedagogical chapter to teach game design principles is that the game design process needs a principle-based framework that can be used for a multi-platform context. Depending on the type of game project that students want to complete, there would be several VR techniques needed for each of these game platforms. Students may also need a full access to PC and/or mobile headsets, and even subsequently adjust their own game design projects because of these technological limitations. For example, it might not be practical for students to design a VR game for mobile platforms, with the expectation that all end users always have a mobile-friendly gamepad for interactions. Furthermore, mobile headsets are different from each other. In the mobile context, game developers have frequently relied on Google Cardboard (Google, 2014) and Fibrum headset (Fibrum Limited, 2017). Fibrum headset does not have the hole on the upper right corner to allow a finger to be inserted to tap on the screen. On the other hand, Google Cardboard is the cheapest solution for mobile VR and it also allows tapping on screen through a hole.

Key Terms in this Chapter

FMP: Abbreviation of final major project, also known as dissertation or thesis. This is the final project students work on when reaching the final year and complete before graduating.

Leap Motion: Technology focused in hand-tracking for VR applications.

Unreal Engine: Industry-standard game engine, primarily used in AAA 3D games. Some games created with Unreal Engine include Bioshock, Mass Effect, Deus Ex, Batman: Arkham City, XCOM: Enemy Unknown , and the well-known Fortnite.

LookAt: Interaction or movement technique that has the VR player look towards a specific point in 3D space for several seconds to “confirm” movement or interaction. This is used instead of the conventional controllers or motion sensors.

HMD: Head-mounted display. Refers to the headsets players wear on their heads to experience VR games, apps, and VR-experiences in general, for example, the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the Steam VR.

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