| Research Breakdown
First, I conducted a literature review to gain an understanding of the role of haptic displays in virtual environments. In particular, I examined the inner workings of the human haptic system, the effect of haptic displays on presence, immersion, and performance, as well as the effect of haptic illusions in this medium.
After consolidating the research findings, I applied them to evaluate Snowdown, a multiplayer snow-fight game, in terms of its haptic displays. To do so, I employed a game design framework, together with a systematic approach I developed myself, to assess the core player interactions in terms of visual, audio and haptic displays. This breakdown allowed me to identify which player interactions would benefit from a haptic output display. Finally, I delivered specific design implications based on the technology resources of the company as well as recommendations for what type of haptic technologies they could invest in next to improve the entire gaming experience.
| Project Reflection
Overall, collaborating with the team at Enversed to realize this project was a great learning experience. My personal goals with this research were twofold: 1) to shine a light over the benefits and opportunities of haptic experiences in VR; and 2) to deliver research insights and design implications that actually added value to the company.
VR is an exciting field because it’s just in the midst of growth, which leaves plenty of opportunities for research and testing. Through my work, I have realized how underutilized the sense of touch is when it comes to designing user experiences. In the area of VR, this sense can make a powerful difference if the goal is to create immersive, memorable experiences. It’s an exciting time to test human haptic abilities in virtual environments, understand what information can be effectively conveyed through haptic displays and how can their design be standardized with human factors in mind.