Human-Computer Interaction

Project LEVEL: virtuaL rEality adVenturE tooLkit



The adventure game genre perfectly matches the idea of immersive 1st person VR experiences where one can freely explore virtual worlds, enter dialogues with non-player characters, interact with the environment and, step-by-step, let an atmospheric narrative unfold. There is a rudimentary set of mechanics of narrative and play of adventure games that drive a vast number of popular titles, such as Sierra or LucasFilm/-Arts classics - from King’s Quest to Monkey Island. These include the display of sprite-based animations, sounds and background music, highlighting effects, definitions of walkable areas, loading screens and scene transitions, parallax scrolling backgrounds, click- and touch-based interactions, composition of simple commands triggering scripted interactions and dialogues, and saving and managing game states.

Project Goals

Project LEVEL aims at translating, extending and innovating these and other complementary mechanics and user interfaces for realising VR adventures. For instance, there should be a navigation UI module that offers various means to traverse a virtual world, e.g. by teleportation with or without waypoints, orientation previews, sight previews. Similar to traditional adventure games, walkable areas need to be defined in 3D with fade-out or other mechanics to handle collisions between the player camera and 3D objects. Pre-attentive, salient colour palettes, shapes, animation effects, positive/negative space definitions, the means to easily arrange guiding visual and auditive cues, need to be made available to the designer in order to capture the player’s attention, to guide him and to let a narrative unfold. Further, an avatar representation that is properly scaled and aligned with the player’s input is desirable as well as display of text or facial animations to synchronise with vocal recordings, a customisable, dynamics-based gate model to match various avatar physiques, a fast networking component to support the transfer of voice, imagery or incremental transform updates across a large number of players, according social VR interfaces, inventory and interaction systems that are integrated into the virtual world (diegetic interface) or part of the player’s avatar (mnemonik interface).

These and other details need to be researched, developed, tested and evaluated in the context of VR adventures. Effective, refactored implementation modules need to be seamlessly integrated into the LEVEL toolkit library - both in terms of debugged, efficient code and accessible formatting and documentation.

Contact Persons at the University Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Sebastian von Mammen (Primary Contact Person)
Games Engineering, Universität Würzburg

Sooraj K Babu
Games Engineering, Universität Würzburg

Johannes Büttner
Games Engineering, Universität Würzburg

Samuel Truman
Games Engineering, Universität Würzburg

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