How can we design a more fluid attendee experience for VR in high-traffic public settings? That’s the question the xREZ team working on user experience in virtual reality addresses in our new paper titled, “Designing a VR Arena: Integrating Virtual Environments and Physical Spaces for Social Sensorial Data-Driven Experiences” is published in the Journal of Electronic Imaging ( https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ist/ei/pre-prints/content-ei2020-ervr-360 ). Our research has also been presented at the Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality (ERVR) 2020 Conference in the “Experiencing Virtual Reality” session. https://www.imaging.org/site/IST/IST/Conferences/EI/EI_2020/Conference/C_ERVR.aspx
We present a novel approach for overcoming the limitations of VR/AR/MR experiences utilizing HMDs in high-traffic public settings such as museums, eSports, shopping malls, gaming centers/arcades or theme parks etc. A standard approach to the problem is issuing tickets for time-limited experiences with fixed entry times. We look at the problem of “Where does the VR experience start? And where does it end?” We conclude that by designing both the physical VR/AR/MR installation and the immersive content for a continuum of experience that spans interactors, spectators, passersby and remote (online) users one can address the persistent real world challenge of having a greater number of people wanting to engage in the experience than the number of available HMDs, to create a more fluid and engaging attendee experience in high-traffic public settings. We demonstrate the application of this design approach to a prototype VR installation in a large scale public venue.
Citation: Ruth West, Eitan Mendelowitz, Zach Thomas, Christopher Poovey, Luke Hillard, Kathryn Hays, Nathaniel Helgessen (2020). Designing a VR Arena: Integrating Virtual Environments and Physical Spaces for Social Sensorial Data-Driven Experiences. Electronic Imaging Journal, Society for Imaging Science and Technology, https://doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2020.13.ERVR-360
Abstract: Data-driven use scenarios for virtual and augmented reality are increasingly social, multiplayer and integrated in real world environments, yet these remain limited player experiences in that each player wears a device that enables their immersion and removes them in some sense from the broader physical space and social interactions in which it is occurring. Our work explores one possibility for overcoming these limitations by integrating the virtual environment with the physical space it is occupying through the use of a VR Arena design. We explore the design and development of blended virtual– physical spaces for local multiplayer experiences in which players collaboratively interact with a virtual world created from digital data, and simultaneously perform that data as a soundscape for attendees in a physical space.