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Virtual Reality 5

Standard No:ISSN 1359-4338 (print) EISSN 1434-9957 (online)
Links:link.springer.com | Twitter | Table of Contents
  1. VR 2000-03 Volume 5 Issue 1
  2. VR 2000-06 Volume 5 Issue 2
  3. VR 2000-09 Volume 5 Issue 3
  4. VR 2000-12 Volume 5 Issue 4

VR 2000-03 Volume 5 Issue 1

Cognitive ability and information retrieval: When less is more BIBAKFull-Text 1-7
  S. J. Westerman; T. Cribbin
This paper is concerned with the use of virtual environments as a means of conveying semantic information relating to the contents of computerised textual databases. two empirical studies are reported that investigated the influence of individual differences in cognitive ability on search task performance. In the first experiment, objects (each representing a type of animal) were placed ordinally in a three-dimensional cube arrangement based on ratings of semantic similarity. Participants were required to locate a series of randomly selected objects. Contrary to prediction, participants with high associative memory were comparatively poorer performers. In a second experiment 'true' rating distances were used to locate objects in virtual space. High spatial ability was associated with better performance and, in contrast with the results of Experiment 1, this pattern also was replicated for associative memory. Implications are discussed.
Keywords: Individual Differences; Information Retrieval; Visualisation
VoxColliDe: Voxel collision detection for virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 8-22
  S. M. Lock; D. P. M. Wills
Collision detection is fundamental in achieving natural dynamics in virtual environments, but current algorithms are too slow, causing a major bottleneck in processing and hindering the building of interactive simulation environments. This paper provides an overview of the collision detection problem and current attempted solutions. A voxel-based approach to rigid-body collision detection is presented, with its potential high performance explained.
   Voxel collision detection takes place on a pair-wise basis, involving two additional representations of a polygonal object, a Voxmap and a Point Shell. These are constructed in a pre-processing step and allow fast collision detection through a simple look-up reference of points into voxels. Collision performance depends upon the number of points in the shell, and can trade accuracy for speed. A range of pruning techniques, needed to cut down the number of objects undergoing collision testing, are reviewed and implemented. These allow most effective use of the voxel collision detection algorithm in multi-body simulations, such as virtual environments.
   Performance evaluations demonstrate the voxel collision detection algorithm's ability to achieve interactive rates (above 20 Hz) for both high precision pair-wise collision tests, and for large numbers of objects in multi-body environments. The voxel collision detection algorithm is suitable for parallel, hardware implementation. This provides the potential for great enhancements to already extremely high performance, rendering the voxel-based approach to collision detection all the more promising.
Keywords: Collision detection; Presence; Virtual environments; Voxel
Intelligent Cruise-Control Navigation: A new navigation/travel method for use in virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 23-31
  Tae-Wook Kwon; Yoon-Chul Choy
An important feature of virtual reality is the facility for the user to move around a virtual environment in a natural and easily controlled manner. Navigation, also called locomotion, travel or motion, involves changing the perspective of the user in the virtual environment (VE). It allows the user to move in the VE as well as reorient themselves to look at the world differently. Natural locomotion methods are able to contribute to a sense of presence and reality. The illusion of presence can be lost through unnatural experiences during travel in the VE. This can be caused by poor interactive metaphors or by experiences which do not agree with the user's everyday understanding of the real world. This paper focuses on the navigation method in the VE, one of the major interfaces for the interactivity between human and VE in virtual reality circumstances and worlds. It proposes a new navigation method. Intelligent Cruise-Control Navigation (ICCN), which provides a natural and user-centred approach to navigation in the VE and can improve the user's sense of reality and presence. ICCN is composed of three major phases: Constant Velocity Navigation, Collision Detection and Avoidance, and Path Adjustment. The ICCN can reduce the user's fatigue and improve the user's presence in the VE. The small experimental study reported in this paper suggests that the ICCN will be a natural, straightforward, and useful navigation interface in VE.
Keywords: Collision detection and avoidance; Constant velocity navigation; Hands-free navigation; Intelligent cruise-control navigation; Locomotion; Navigation; Path adjustment; Travel
The need for a socio-cultural perspective in the implementation of virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 32-38
  G. Riva; G. Mantovani
For many researchers, virtual reality (VR) is first of all a technology. This vision is also well reflected in the growing research work concerned with virtual environments: most of it has been addressed primarily the development of new rendering technologies rather than the highly interactive and dynamic nature of user-system interaction that VR supports. However, this focus on technology is disappointing for developers and researchers. To overcome this limitation, this paper describes VR as an advanced communication tool: a communication interface in single-user VR, and a communication medium in the case of multi-user VR. This leads us to propose a cultural concept of presence as a social construction. Lying at the base of this view are two elements that guarantee an elevated sense of presence: acultural framework and the possibility of negotiation, both of actions and of their meaning. Within this view, experiencing presence and telepresence does not depend so much on the faithfulness of the reproduction of 'physical' aspects of 'external reality' as on the capacity of simulation to produce a context in which social actors may communicate and cooperate. The consequences of this approach for the design and the development of VR systems are presented.
   The first author is responsible for the preparation of Section 3. The second author prepared Section 2. Introduction and Conclusions were prepared by both authors. Moreover, to both authors must be attributed the definition of contents and the final structure of the paper.
Keywords: Communication; Presence; Social construction
Experimental research into human cognitive processing in an augmented reality environment for embedded training systems BIBAKFull-Text 39-46
  R. S. Kalawsky; K. Hill; A. W. Stedmon; C. A. Cook; A. Young
Research into human factors issues associated with the use of augmented reality (AR) technology is very limited. Consequently, there is a need for formal human factors design guidelines to underpin the integration of AR into systems. The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) Centre for Human Sciences (CHS) is evaluating the potential of AR for providing real-time training feedback in future advanced embedded training systems for the military. In order to understand the important human factors issues of augmented reality, DERA funded the Advanced VR Research Centre (AVRRC) at Loughborough University to investigate the cognitive ergonomics of this technology. An important aspect of this research is concerned with identifying any human information processing issues that may arise when information is presented via AR and overlaid upon one or more primary display surfaces such as a visual display unit (VDU). Two main issues are addressed in this research. First, the impact of AR on human information processing and second, subjective workload experienced when displaying information via the AR medium. The experiments reported in this paper assess issues of reaccommodation and reaction times to alarms on different display formats. They demonstrate also that AR performs as well as standard display formats.
Keywords: Augmented reality; Cognitive processing; Human performance; Training; Virtual reality
Enhanced avatar control using neural networks BIBAKFull-Text 47-53
  H. Amin; R. A. Earnshaw
This paper presents realistic avatar movements using a limited number of sensors. An inverse kinematics algorithm, SHAKF, is used to configure an articulated skeletal model, and a neural network is employed to predict the movement of joints not bearing sensors. The results show that the neural network is able to give a very close approximation to the actual rotation of the joints. This allows a substantial reduction in the number of sensors to configure an articulated human skeletal model.
Keywords: Inverse kinematics; Motion capture; Neural network

VR 2000-06 Volume 5 Issue 2

Guest editorial -- Applying agent technology to Virtual Reality: Intelligent virtual agents BIBFull-Text 55-56
  R. Aylett; D. Ballin
Dragons, bats and evil knights: A three-layer design approach to character-based creative play BIBAKFull-Text 57-71
  J. Bryson; K. R. Thórisson
Creative play requires a fertile but well-defined design space. This paper describes a design process for creating three-dimensional virtual reality play spaces that allow the development and exploration of social interactions and relationships. The process was developed as part of a commercial research effort to create an interactive virtual reality entertainment system that allows children to engage in creative and constructive play within an established action/adventure framework. The effort centres on designing Al characters for a constructive narrative. We claim that a behaviour-based architecture is an ideal starting point for developing agents for such a process, but that its full realization requires additional architectural structures and methodological support for the design process. In this paper, we describe a character architecture called Spark of Life (SoL). We also propose a three-layer design process for producing fertile and aesthetic constructive narratives. Finally, we describe our experience in implementing these ideals in an industrial setting.
Keywords: Behaviour-based Al; Character architectures; Constructive narrative; Design team methodology; Personality and action selection
Collision avoidance and map construction using synthetic vision BIBAKFull-Text 72-81
  P. Monsieurs; K. Coninx; E. Flerackers
In this paper, we present a method to implement a navigation system for an intelligent agent that exists in a virtual world to generate collision-free motion. To observe the world, the agent uses virtual sensors consisting of the depth buffer information of a rendered image of the scene. This information is used to generate low-level collision avoidance, obstacle avoidance when moving to intermediate goals, and to create an accessibility graph and an obstacle map of the environment. The agent does not require access to the internal representation of the virtual world, which is similar to perception in mobile robots in the real world. Furthermore, the algorithm used is fast enough to work in real time.
Keywords: Collision avoidance; Map construction; Navigation; Synthetic vision
The virtual interactive presenter: a conversational character for interactive television BIBAKFull-Text 82-94
  M. Cavazza; T. Robinson; S. Francis; W. Perotto; N. Cashman
This paper describes the development of a conversational interface for interactive TV. With the advent of multi-channel digital TV, accessing Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) will become increasingly complex. We claim that a conversational interface can support incremental refinement of user selections, thus assisting user choice without requiring extensive knowledge of the editorial categories used in the EPG. We present the system architecture and describe the building blocks of this system in terms of underlying technologies, namely speech recognition, Natural Language Processing, dialogue modelling, character animation and multi-modal presentation. The use of an animated character appears to influence the implementation of each of these basic techniques. After giving an overview of the system behaviour and architecture, we describe the various building blocks of a conversational agent as implemented in our system and to what extent each of the underlying technologies are influenced by the use of a conversational character. We report current results by describing example dialogues from the system. Finally, we compare our approach with other interface agents' paradigms.
Keywords: Human-Computer dialogue; Conversational characters; Speech understanding; Interface agents
A high-level architecture for believable social agents BIBAKFull-Text 95-106
  A. Guye-Vuillème; D. Thalmann
The creation of virtual humans capable of behaving and interacting realistically with each other requires the development of autonomous believable social agents. Standard goal-oriented approaches are not well suited to it because they don't take into account important characteristics identified by the social sciences. This paper tackles the issue of a general social reasoning mechanism, discussing its basic functional requirements using a sociological perspective, and proposing a high-level architecture based on Roles, Norms, Values and Types.
Keywords: Socially believable agents; Socially intelligent virtual agent
A Synthetic Actor model for long-term computer games BIBAKFull-Text 107-116
  D. R. Silva; C. A. Siebra; J. L. Valadares; A. L. Almeida; A. C. Frery
Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence provide suitable techniques to improve computer games quality. While the former offers mechanisms to model environment and characters' physical features, the latter provides models and tools for building characters, namely Synthetic Actors or Believable Agents, which can exhibit intelligent social behaviour and express personality and emotions. The current architecture proposals for Synthetic Actors do not fully meet the requirements for long-term games development, such as strategy and adventure ones, it is necessary to guarantee both personality stability and reactive emotional responses, which may be contradictory. In this work, we propose a new Synthetic Actor model that tightly connects emotions and social attitudes to personality, providing a long-term coherent behaviour. This model has been applied to two games presented here as case studies.
Keywords: Computer games; Intelligent agents; Personality; Synthetic actors

VR 2000-09 Volume 5 Issue 3

An overview of physically-based modelling techniques for virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 117-131
  P. M. Chapman; D. P. M. Wills
A class of virtual environments is concerned with the representation of behaviour that is apparent in the real world. In order to model this behaviour, sophisticated physical models are required. The development of these models, classed asphysically-based modelling, is based upon the fundamental concepts of Newtonian dynamics. Considerable research into physically-based modelling has already been conducted by the computer graphics community, permitting realistic animation of object motion. The application of physical models to virtual environments poses further problems, not least that of real-time execution in a fully interactive environment. This paper gives an overview of the existing computer graphics research concerned with physically-based modelling, discussing the merits and problems of various techniques in terms of the requirements of virtual environment.
Keywords: Collision detection and response; Physically-based modelling, Rigid and non-rigid dynamics; Virtual environments
An adaptive dead reckoning algorithm using update lifetime BIBAKFull-Text 132-148
  S-J. Yu; Y-C. Choy
This paper proposes a new, adaptive Dead Reckoning algorithm, called Dynamic Dead Reckoning, for distributed interactive simulation and humanoid avatar systems. The proposed model can overcome the weak points of traditional Dead Reckoning caused by a fixed threshold and a strong dependency on rotation behaviour of entity. This paper introduces a new criterion for update message filtering, named as state update lifetime, which is a valid duration time of entity state update. The Dynamic Dead Reckoning has the advantage of keeping the balance between filtering performance and extrapolation fidelity using two major components, variable threshold mechanism and rotation event model. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can lower the increment rate of update traffic with the increase of rotation frequency without any significant loss of accuracy.
Keywords: Adaptive algorithm; Dead Reckoning; Entity state update; Rotation behaviour; Variable threshold
Enabling trust formation within agent-mediated virtual environments BIBAKFull-Text 149-159
  P. Papadopoulou; A. Andreou; P. Kanellis; D. Martakos
In e-commerce, the role of trust becomes vital for establishing and maintaining customer relationships. Drawing from established theoretical work on trust and relationship marketing, this paper synthesises a series of trust constructs, determinant variables and trust building processes, and proposes a framework for the formation of trust in customer-business relationships. The framework is conceptualised in the context of an electronic servicescape, where trust is formed through iterative interactions with promises being made, enabled and fulfilled. Based on this framework, the paper illustrates how the application of agent and virtual reality technologies can provide the environment and facilitate the expressiveness demanded by such a servicescape.
Keywords: Agents; E-commerce; Trust; Virtual Environments
Haptic Cooperative Virtual Workspace: Architecture and evaluation BIBAKFull-Text 160-168
  M. O. Alhalabi; S. Horiguchi
The Haptic Cooperative Virtual Workspace (HCVW), where users can simultaneously manipulate and haptically feel the same object, is beneficial and in some cases indispensable for training a team of surgeons, or in application areas in telerobotics and entertainment. In this paper we propose an architecture for the haptic cooperative workspace where the participants can kinesthetically interact, feel and push each other simultaneously while moving in the simulation. This involves the ability to manipulate the same virtual object at the same time. A set of experiments carried out to investigate the haptic cooperative workspace is reported. A new approach to quantitatively evaluate the cooperative haptic system is proposed, which can be extended to evaluate haptic systems in general.
Keywords: Cooperative system architecture; Haptic cooperative applications; Haptic cooperative virtual workspace; Haptic
A survey of electromagnetic position tracker calibration techniques BIBAKFull-Text 169-182
  Volodymyr V. Kindratenko
This paper is a comprehensive survey of various techniques used to calibrate electromagnetic position tracking systems. A common framework is established to present the calibration problem as the interpolation problem in 3D. All the known calibration techniques are classified into local and global methods and grouped according to their mathematical models. Both the location error and the orientation error correction techniques are surveyed. Data acquisition devices and methods as well as publicly available software implementations are reviewed, too.
Keywords: Electromagnetic position tracking; Tracker calibration; Virtual reality

VR 2000-12 Volume 5 Issue 4

Computer games BIBFull-Text 183-184
  S. Maddock
Computer games technology and higher education BIBAKFull-Text 185-194
  A. Watt; S. Maddock
The motivation of this paper is to debate the issue of how we should treat computer games technology in higher education. Certainly it is the case that computer games technology is a new and demanding profession. It is also the case that there has been a slow realisation within the academic community of both the depth and the importance of the topic. The issues are obvious. What exactly comprises computer games technology and should it be considered as a separate academic topic for a degree course or be a set of options within an established undergraduate degree structure? And who is responsible for pushing forward research in the subject? Within the framework of this debate we will present our work at the University of Sheffield.
Keywords: Computer games technology; Education
Games development in VRML BIBAKFull-Text 195-203
  L. Jankovic
Web 3D technologies have developed very rapidly over the past few years resulting in, for example, the standardisation of the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML97). Although such technologies have the infrastructure for considerable improvements of games products, they have not yet taken off as games development languages. Inspired by teaching a Virtual Reality module in the School of Computer Science at Birmingham, where typically 30% of the students choose to develop games in VRML for their practical work, the author describes some of the students' games projects and looks into the educational aspects, advantages, limitations and desired features of VRML for games development.
Keywords: Computer programming; Education; Games development; Virtual Reality; VRML; Web 3D
The computer game industry: Current state of play BIBAKFull-Text 204-214
  I. Badcoe
The computer games industry suffers from a no-longer justified reputation for chaotic and unprofessional software development. This paper describes the current state of the evolving art of games software, and then outlines the precise areas of technique of current interest for development, and research purposes.
Keywords: Audio processing; Games Rendering; Simulation; Software development
Online and multiplayer gaming -- An overview BIBAKFull-Text 215-222
  T. Cox
This paper gives a broad overview of the technology and market for on-line and multiplayer computer gaming. Some economic considerations and their influence on the choice of technologies are examined. Particular attention is given to the 'massively-multiplayer' and 'persistent world' type of games, and the special problems that arise in these environments. Lastly, some ongoing problems are investigated, particularly the thorny issue of cheating in multiplayer games.
Keywords: Games; Internet; Multiplayer; Online
Al in computer games: Survey and perspectives BIBAKFull-Text 223-235
  M. Cavazza
Computer games have traditionally implemented empirical solutions to many Al problems and are now turning to more traditional Al algorithms. After introducing the role of Al in gameplay, we review the main techniques used in current computer games such as Finite-State Transition Networks, rule-based systems and search algorithms. We describe the implementation of Al in several commercial computer games, as well as academic research in Al targeting computer games applications. We conclude this review by discussing future trends and proposing research directions.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Computer games; Intelligent agents; Planning; Virtual Humans
The console market BIBAKFull-Text 236-244
  J. Kirriemuir
The home-based video games market is one of the largest within the entertainment industry, and has recently begun to rival the music and film sectors in terms of audience, sales and revenue. This is partially due to the high profile mass marketing of games consoles and titles over the last decade, especially by a trio of Japanese electronics companies (Nintendo, Sega and Sony); however, it is also due to the increasing complexity, visual attractiveness and interactivity of contemporary video games.
   In this paper, we identify a number of characteristics pertaining to games consoles and game development. Following this, we examine the state of the console market as of the summer of 2001, focusing on the main manufacturers, their consoles, and how they may fare in the near future.
Keywords: Business; Console; Entertainment; Gaming; On-line; Video