UX and Interaction in Virtual Reality

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UX and Interaction in Virtual Reality

Ciro ContinisioTechnical Evangelist@CiroContnsciro@unity3d.com

Before we startTakeaway: Hints and ideas on how to create good user experience in VR, through the analysis of the solutions adopted by several VR games and apps.

This talk is code-free

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2016 - The Year of VR(be quick though, because were in November!)

Since last year, everyone has been saying that 2016 would have been the year of VR, and in part they were right.We have seen the launch of Oculus and Vive to the public, and soon PlayStation VR.

Sadly, or luckily, its also almost over.5

Takeaways of 2016No market for it... yet85k-100k Vive owners 3 monts after launch40k+ Rift on Steam (how many devkits?)1M monthly users on GearVR (May 2016), 5M Cardboard app downloadsNo standards... yetNo killer application yetSource: http://www.roadtovr.com/htc-vive-sales-figures-data-100000-steamspy-data/http://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-rift-growth-spurt-has-halted-htc-vive-market-share-growth/

So, since its almost over, what are the takeaways of this 2016? One thing is sure, we know that the market is very small, with around 100 thousands Vive sold, probably 40 thousand active Rifts, and mobile VR that sits just in the tens of millions users.Theres no standard, like we have the controllers on consoles, which makes cross-headset development practically impossible.Finally, VR hasnt got its killer application, yet.6

Get ready for 2017

The good news is, you can still be part of the VR revolution in 2017,7

VR killer application

and possibly, create the first real VR killer application8

Audience is fresh

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No magic formula

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Interactivity

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InteractivityTwo-way flow of information, between the player and the game.

The interactivity happens through the User Interface (UI) which, when put to action, defines the User Experience (UX).Source: the Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell

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InteractivityThe User Interface is made-up of 3 parts:The real-world physical input (controllers) and output (screen, audio)The simulated game worldThe in-game virtual interface (often called UI)

The relationship between them is called mapping. When it works well, the player feels in control, the UI becomes intuitive and the resulting UX is great.

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Interactivity in VRMotion-controlled physical input (HMD and hand controllers)Now we are inside the simulated game worldNew complications to deal withMotion sicknessFatigue and session lengthLocomotion in the game world

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Interactivity in VRis largely uncharted

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Build a vocabulary

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Creating Presence

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Presence... a psychological state or subjective perception in which even though part or all of an individuals current experience is generated by and/or filtered through human-made technology, part or all of the individuals perception fails to accurate acknowledge the role of the technology in the experience.Source: ISPR - https://ispr.info/about-presence-2/about-presence/... a psychological state or subjective perception in which even though part or all of an individuals current experience is generated by and/or filtered through human-made technology, part or all of the individuals perception fails to accurate acknowledge the role of the technology in the experience.

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Types of VR platformsMobile (Cardboard, Daydream, Gear VR, other plastic shells)Low processing power, less pixels on-screenSimplified inputTethered (Oculus, Vive, PlayStation VR)High power, but high hardware requirementsHead trackingMore refined physical interactions

When we look at the current VR platforms available, theres a clear technological divide between the mobile ones, which include []. Making content for these platforms requires less effort, but at the same time we have to optimise for phones, and try to maintain a consistent 60fps. Not easy.

On the other side, we have the VR platforms that have a tethered HMD, [...], which have much more power but at the same time require expensive hardware to run. This greatly limits the potential audience, but on the other side they offer a more refined range of physical interactions.19

Map VR platformsby type of experience

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Types of VR experiencesOne-button/touch controlsCardboard, Gear VR, other plastic shellsControllers, hand tracking or gesturesOculus Rift, Daydream, PlayStation VRRoom-scale, full-body movementsHTC Vive

Means of interactivity in VR

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Visuals

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VisualsSame techniques on all platformsCubemaps, baking light, smokes and mirrors,Reduce post-processing effects, but absolutely use AADifferent fidelity per platformEven static images work wonders!

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Motion sickness

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How to induce motion sickness

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Motion sicknessIn order of importance:Rotational accelerationRotational speedMovement accelerationMovement speed

Roll being particularly bad

Building the VR legs

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Motion sickness: some tipsStart slow to let the player get used to VRHave a frame of reference

Frame of reference

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Motion sickness: some tipsStart slow to let the player get used to VRHave a frame of referenceShake that instead of the camera

Screen shake

SubLevel Zero32

Motion sickness: some tipsStart slow to let the player get used to VRHave a frame of referenceShake that instead of the cameraPrefer fast and short to long but slow

Fast movements

SubLevel Zero34

Audio

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Audio in 3D gamesEasy to do in UnitySounds positioned in the 3D sceneSpread over 2 audio channels depending on listener positionReverberation filtersDoppler effect

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Audio in VR - Spatial AudioSpatialisation is created mainly by 3 elements:Interaural time differenceInteraural level differenceSpectral filtering done by outer ears

Source: https://developers.google.com/vr/concepts/spatial-audio

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Audio in VR - Spatial AudioDirect soundEarly reflectionLate reverb

Source: https://developers.google.com/vr/concepts/spatial-audio

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Audio in VR - Proprietary SDKsThey offer a lot more control over sound:They create Spatial AudioAlter levels, and timePerform spectral filteringThey allow to define materials and size of the virtual environmentOften optimised (Google VR SDK for Daydream, which uses a diff. thread)Source: https://developers.google.com/vr/concepts/spatial-audio

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General tips for good VR soundsUse mono files with no pre-built reverbUse recognisable soundsAnimate the sound sourceRepeat the soundUse complex sounds

Source: https://developers.google.com/vr/concepts/spatial-audio

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Input

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GazeMost basic form of inputVery simple to implementApplies to all types of VRSometimes the only choice

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Reticule + target feedback

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Gaze

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Involuntary interactions

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Gaze aiming

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Off-screen events feedback

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Off-screen events feedback

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One-button controls

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Games for the motion impaired

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Motion controls

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Hacking the physics

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Accelerometer

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Gyroscope

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Tracked hands

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New Vive controllers prototype

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New Vive controllers prototype

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New Vive controllers prototype

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NewtonVR

Source:github.com/TomorrowTodayLabs/NewtonVR

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Never use a buttonif you can go physical

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Physical tool swap

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Physical inventory

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Physical inventory

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Physical inventory

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No real-life feedback

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Haptic feedback

The gallery66

Perceive the Z axis

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Z axis issues

The gallery68

Locomotion

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Teleport and reorient

The gallery70

Walking in place

Source: Eelke Folmer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWqA_4crAEA

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Freezing the world

Source: Bumble - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0YxzgQG2-E

Cosmic Wandering72

Holosphere

Source: Frooxius - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSP5sjg9TIs

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Trick the players mind

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Unlimited corridor

Source: Yohei Yanase - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THk92rev1VA

Yohei Yanase75

Unlimited corridor

Source: Yohei Yanase - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THk92rev1VA

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Unlimited corridor

Source: Yohei Yanase - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THk92rev1VA

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Locomotion as a game mechanic

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Budget Cuts

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Unseen Diplomacy

Redirected walking80

Escher

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Clipping through walls

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Clipping feedback

Source: REFLEKT at Vision Summit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At_Zac4Xezw

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Comfort

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HMD comfort

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HMD comfortNot all HMDs allow for the same degree of freedom in head movements.

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HMD cables strangling the player

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HMD cablesWe know the direction the player is facing, and the one he was facing before.

The developer can try to prevent the player from entangling in the cable by using (audio) cues in the reverse direction.

Not every gameplay can use this trick.

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Now the magic formula is

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Challenge everything I said

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