Research Introduction

New input devices for gaming and virtual reality are enormously interesting and have a huge impact on the way we interact with our computers and play games, but are we really exploring their unique strengths and qualities? And what about combining two or more of these devices? How can we develop strategies and/or guidelines to make use of their full potential and avoid common design pitfalls?

The potential of new hardware interfaces stay unexplored when they keep being used in old ways

This research project aims to tackle this subject and prepare a new generation of game developers to make use of the full potential of this new hardware.

In Games Research you can find a specific selection of games relevant to this research. In First-Person Interactions there’s an overview of the devices that are being explored throughout this research, as well as the interactions that are being prototyped.

This research has been set up in order to explore the strengths and weaknesses in new virtual reality hardware for interactive storytelling and gaming. Often, this new hardware gets used in ways that we know from previous hardware; like using the Kinect to emulate a mouse cursor:

Kinect Tracking 2D 3D
Kinect has the potential to do 3-dimensional tracking, but gets used in ways that most people are already comfortable with (i.e.: using it as a computer mouse).

With a wide array of devices that do three-dimensional body tracking in various ways, it is definitely necessary to explore this potential.

Another pitfall is combining this new hardware in ways that cause unforeseen usability issues, like the “blindness” while using the Oculus Rift:

This driver is trying to grab the steering wheel, but can't find it because of the Virtual Reality headset blinding him!
This driver is trying to grab the steering wheel, but can’t find it because of the Virtual Reality headset blinding him

By exploring various devices, researching interface theory, usability and game design theory, and by making prototypes that showcase this potential and possible pitfalls, we hope to provide guidelines for game designers and storytellers to create new, innovative games!

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