Virtual Reality is ‘Finally Here’: A Qualitative Exploration of Formal Determinants of Player Experience in VR

Murphy Dooley J.
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

It is already a truism that consumer virtual reality (VR) systems offer sensorially immersive first-person experiences that differ markedly from those begat by traditional screen displays. But what are the implications of this for player experience? It is well-documented that VR can induce illusions of non-mediation; of spatial presence; of embodiment in avatars. This paper asks—and reports on—what common features of digital games are liable to be experienced as stressors (that is, as beyond optimally affective or intense) when the player perceives her avatar–self egocentrically as a ‘life-sized’, spatially present, and potentially vulnerable entity within the gameworld. The present paper describes and discusses findings from a qualitative content analysis of immersive virtual environments (IVEs) experienced via head-mounted display-based VR systems akin to those now commercially available. A purposive sample comprising video, photographic, and written documentation of IVEs (n = 124) from historical clinical VR and telepresence research is interrogated through the lens of cognitive media theory. Effecting a novel approach inspired by systematic review, the present study's observations and inferences regarding players' subjective experience of IVEs are presented alongside relevant findings from the research literature sampled. This produces a preliminary formal framework for discussing VR player experience as significantly structured by patiency (cf. agency), with VR experiences eliciting self-directed affect, and thereby somewhat unintentionally engaging the player's body as a site for feedback.


“Who Am ‘I’ in the Game?”: A Typology of the Modes of Ludic Subjectivity

Vella Daniel
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In order to arrive at an understanding of the formal structures by which an ‘I’ is established for the player towards the gameworld, this paper proposes a typology of the various modes of ludic subject-positioning. It highlights the ways in which each mode of ludic subject-positioning uses specific formal mechanisms to structure the player’s experience of the gameworld around a particular subjective , presenting relevant examples in each case.


Bridging the Physical Learning Divides: A Design Framework for Embodied Learning Games and Simulations

Melcer Edward Isbister Katherine
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

Due to a broad conceptual usage of the term embodiment across a diverse variety of research domains, existing embodied learning games and simulations utilize a large breadth of design approaches that often result in seemingly unrelated systems. This becomes problematic when trying to critically evaluate the usage and effectiveness of embodiment within existing designs, as well as when trying to utilize embodiment in the design of new games and simulations. In this paper, we present our work on combining differing conceptual and design approaches for embodied learning systems into a unified design framework. We describe the creation process for the framework, explain its dimensions, and provide examples of its use. Our design framework will benefit educational game researchers by providing a unifying foundation for the description, categorization, and evaluation of designs for embodied learning games and simulations.