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  1. 1. AR Tankwar Augmented Reality Games at GenCon 2005 Trond Nilsen HIT Lab NZ Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering University of Canterbury
  2. 2. AR Games <ul><li>Most offered systems are tech demos, impractical outside the laboratory, or proofs of concept. </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in gaming and entertainment apps that are playable now, or in the very near future </li></ul><ul><li>How can we learn about good game design for AR? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lessons learned from research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interaction metaphors and theory </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information Visualisation (for game data) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CSCW </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social Interaction </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lessons learned from the act of designing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Iterative game design </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Better understanding of the constraints of the medium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lessons learned from watching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Player feedback </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Observation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Where do we start? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With something that’s known to work in other environments </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Tabletop Strategy games <ul><li>Turn based strategy games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Game conflict resolved through rules, dice and player consensus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often use armies of miniatures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong modelling component </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Have problems suitable for solution using AR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity – players unwilling to manually resolve complex rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visualisation – cotton wool and painted models only go so far </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information flow – practicality forces much game information to be publicly visible (eye of god effect) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Computerised Strategy games <ul><li>First built by tabletop war game enthusiasts wanting more complex game systems </li></ul><ul><li>During 1990s evolved into distinct computer game styles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn based strategies (more serious, less popular) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-time strategy (very popular) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dune 2 / Command & Conquer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warcraft / Starcraft </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Age of Empires (etc) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What could work in AR? <ul><li>From the physical game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extremely Social </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free physical interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Artistic physical representations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstracted game entities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Eye of God’ view </li></ul></ul><ul><li>From the computer game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Artificial intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simulated systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rich visualization and content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex game rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information intensive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hybridise </li></ul>
  6. 6. AR Tankwar <ul><li>Multi-player tabletop real-time strategy game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two players collaborate or compete to destroy enemy vehicles and capture map objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Video See Through AR </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AR-Toolkit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Magic Lens based Interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See-through selection tool attached to game pad. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus / Context visualization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Practical for recreational play </li></ul>
  7. 7. Evaluation - Difficulties <ul><li>Most game evaluations are skin-deep at best. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observe player behaviour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative behaviours </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ease of use / interface problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questionnaires – subjective responses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enjoyment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement (Flow questionnaires) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures of collaboration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stress, frustration, etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Following a game session </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss problem cases and particular occurrences from player’s perspective </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explore ideas for improvement </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Objective measures do not easily characterize player enjoyment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Possibility space is vast, so game design decisions have large impact </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Games exhibit emergence – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Thus, decomposition into laboratory tasks is deficient </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ WOW!!’ factor. New technology may lead to over-enthusiastic responses. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Initial study – GenCon 2005 (Indianapolis - 18-21 Aug) <ul><li>Demonstration - GenCon North America’s largest tabletop games convention (25-30,000 attendees) </li></ul><ul><li>3000+ spectators </li></ul><ul><li>Over 300 players played Tankwar for 5-10 minutes. Almost none had any previous exposure to AR </li></ul><ul><li>General points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Observed wide range of ability to learn interface – some took seconds, others had great difficulty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware caused problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Heavy and uncomfortable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wide range of player heads – from children to grandparents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive response, sometimes contradictory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ hard to see what’s happening, uncomfortable headset, map keeps flipping out, I love it!’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players required time to get used to AR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most comments related to technical problems of some kind </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. GenCon - Questionnaire <ul><li>Collected 230 questionnaire responses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How comfortable were you while playing? (1=Uncomfortable, 5=Comfortable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mean = 2.93, σ = 1.09 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could you easily tell what was going on? (1=Hard, 5=Easy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mean = 3.35, σ = 1.15 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How easily could you control the game? (1=Hard, 5=Easy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mean = 3.34, σ = 1.63 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost notwithstanding, how willing would you be to play multi-player tabletop games augmented using headsets?(1=Unwilling, 5= Willing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>mean = 4.08, σ = 1.07 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>General contradiction: People had a lot of problems, yet they were very enthusiastic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wow Factor? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition of potential? (Clouded by immaturity of tech) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Observations <ul><li>Noise in tracking slows use of lens interface </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to point and click on targets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast and precise movements are impractical </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Game speed should be slow or turn-based </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AR interface requires more time to use. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less time pressure makes social interaction more likely </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Too much game data conceals physical world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Players feel dislocated from real world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interferes with non-verbal cues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Simple graphics are better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limits on quality of HMDs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text is hard to read </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Graphical details are lost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstract, colourful representations seem to work best </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HMDs limit, but do not inhibit player to player interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>HMDs limit some non-verbal communication – particularly eyes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players in face to face AR seem quite willing to interact socially during play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exchanging challenges, taunts, and strategies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Particularly more experienced players </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Able to play and complete difficult collaborative scenarios </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Some guidelines for tabletop AR game design <ul><li>Hardware remains the big limit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discomfort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low quality displays </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tether </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tracking problems </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So, design games that are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use mostly static physical interface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Few time constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve social interaction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High level of abstraction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of computational power to enhance simple game designs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergent game play </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In short: Keep hardware requirements as simple as possible (otherwise, your game won’t leave the lab). </li></ul>
  12. 12. What’s next <ul><li>Comparative study of play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Players will play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AR Tankwar </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A ‘best-practice’ PC RTS equivalent (using same rules) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A ‘best-practice’ table-top game with counters (using same rules, modified for turn-based) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation through </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questionnaire </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures of behaviour (tasks ratio, messages, gestures, gaze) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures of performance (time taken, kill/loss ratio, kill/capture ratio) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data yet to be analysed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examination of specific issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Game play highlights areas where collaboration and interaction in AR is insufficiently understood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lens selection (multi-selection) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tools to support shared awareness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of HMD effect on inter-personal communication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed / scrollable map view </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>More games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Lite’ AR games </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: xorg@acm.org </li></ul>