Face-to-face interactions in augmented reality games

Towongpaichayont, Witchaya (2018) Face-to-face interactions in augmented reality games. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Augmented reality games are increasingly popular. Like other digital games, they can include multiplayer features in the game setting to enhance the gaming experience. However, most multiplayer augmented reality games keep their focus on what objects players are interacting with and how players interact with them. They generally miss one crucial part of multiplayer games, which is integrating the physical interactions between players. This thesis presents a study of players’ physical movements in six degrees of freedom and their physical face-to-face interactions using a marker attached to the back of each device. The main goal of the thesis is to identify a design space for face-to-face interactions between players, which could open many new game design possibilities.

The thesis starts by examining the feasibilities of technology that is used in the setting of face-to-face multiplayer augmented reality games by reviewing the potentials and limitations of current augmented reality engines. The movements and interactions of players in six degrees of freedom are identified. In order to develop a game to be used in a practical study, a game design process is introduced through a series of structured workshops. This results in a process to design a face-to-face multiplayer augmented reality game using cards to represent the components of games. Finally, one of the games which is designed during this game design process is developed and play-tested by a number of participants with computing and games expertise.

This study reveals how physical movements and interactions affect players, augmented reality, games, and social scenarios in game. The movements of one player in six degrees of freedom are categorised into six groups which are horizontal transitions (left and right), vertical transitions (up and down), depth transitions (in and out), roll rotations (rotate clockwise and counter clockwise), yaw rotations (tilt left and right), and pitch rotations (tilt up and down). There are 169 possible combinations of interactions. When these interactions are considered in detail, they can be categorised in six types of movements and produce four groups of limitations when practically implemented in an augmented reality game.

The study identifies an intersection area in which face-to-face interactions in augmented reality can be performed, which this thesis defines as the ‘Detectable area’. The study also finds that the human body’s range of motions also defines the possibilities of interactions between two players. This creates an ergonomic range of face-to-face interactions in augmented reality games that can be used further.

These studies reveal the difficulties of performing each movement and interaction in theory and practical experience. Considering the implementations of the interactions to a game mechanic, sizes of detectable area, and scores which participants during studies gave to each movement, this thesis suggests the level of difficulty of the games which each movement and interaction should also be implemented. An implementation of movements and interactions to a suitable level of difficulty will create a better gameplay experience to users.

These suggestions are considered when designing a multiplayer game. It is revealed that social scenarios in the game that can be divided into cooperative and competitive have a significant impact on the game mechanic and face-to-face interactions. It is discovered during the studies that participants find playing the game in a competitive setting more enjoyable than a cooperative one. However, a cooperative setting encourages participants to communicate more with each other. The face-to-face interactions in a cooperative setting are also easier to perform than in the competitive setting. There are also other minor factors which affect the overall gameplay experience such as sizes of space of gameplay and intimacy among players.

Overall, this thesis suggests that face-to-face interactions could be one of the enhancements to multiplayer augmented reality games. They create a better user experience to players. However, the usage of face-to-face interactions in augmented reality games could be further studied in many more aspects of games in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Benford, Steve
Flintham, Martin
Keywords: f2f, face to face, interactions, augmented reality games, computer games
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 49118
Depositing User: Towongpaichayont, Witchaya
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 10:15
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 13:32
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/49118

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