Supervised Projects - Uni of Queensland 2005-6


Student Projects I supervised at Interaction Design, School of ITEE, UQ, 2005-2006 

NB Please do not use the below images without  permission and acknowledgment.

Masters thesis: USER-MODIFIED SCREEN WARPING

Student: Charles Henden

Problem: Currently using a curved mirror and a  projector we can project real-time games onto many different 3D or curved surfaces but we would require a specialist to create warping code for each environment so that the game environment projects correctly.

Solution: Develop warping mesh and a GUI so non-experts can via a simple GUI can warp the mesh so that a game (in this case UNREAL) projects accurately onto curved and 3D surfaces.

Status: Finished. OPEN GL code done, prototype evaluated. I would like to re-evaluate using perhaps other games engines, and across more compatible competing screen displays.

Publication: Presented as "A Surround Display Warp-Mesh Utility to Enhance Player Engagement" at the 7th International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2008), Pittsburgh. Added to Jeffrey Jacobson's CAVE UT open-source project.

Honours thesis: BIOFEEDBACK TO AUGMENT A HORROR GAME

Student: Andrew Dekker

Problem: Players  have physiological reactions to games that are not incorporated into the game due to the limited Windows and mouse/joystick interface devices. Is it possible to use biofeedback cheaply, and accurately in a game that adds to enjoyment even if the player does not directly control or even realise biofeedback is being used? Also, could this be used as an indirect evaluation method?

Solution: Create a socket between a cheap biosensor device and a game that suits the genre and setting, (in this case a horror zombie level). Dynamically change the AI, music, Field of View, shaders, and other elements according to how calm, stressed or bored the player is.

Status: Biosensor chosen, game and game level chosen, sockets and game code created, prototpye and control level tested against 14 people, biofeedback, subjective recall and video recorded.

Publication: DiGRA: Situated Play conference, Tokyo Japan 23-28 September 2007.

Masters /honours Project: 3D GAME ENVIRONMENTS

Students: Bonnii Walker and Jonathan Barrett

Problem: Games are typically on flat screens obscured from a wider audience. Can we include the audience and enhance spatial presence?

Solution: Create low-cost domes and tents and use (where appropriate) a curved mirror to spread the projection around the player. Create thematic interfaces and interaction devices that suit particular games and this new form of playspace.

Status: Completed.   

Publication: Mentioned in DACH 2007 paper presented in Taiwan, and an as yet unpublished chapter for Intermedia book project. 

honours Project: HYBRID PHYSICAL-DIGITAL PANORAMA TABLE

Student: Andrew Dekker and Petra Thomas 

Problem: New digital systems such as Google Maps are increasing in popularity. Unfortunately these present some limitations in terms of understanding both route and survey information, and in particular navigation and orientation, such as intuitively understanding a plan view no matter which way one is facing, so visitors can quickly and intuitively learn how to get to specific buildings or to specific facilities. Digital systems may also alienate older and non computer literate users; and they display contextual information inside an interface which limits the possible range of interaction methods offered by physical interaction. 

Solution: Create a 3D physical model that one could spin, which would in turn display digital panoramas that spun in rotational alignment with the physical city model. Further, the user could place category tokens in intersections of the city model, which would bring up digital panoramas on the screen and highlight facilities linked to the category chosen. Rotating the token would also rotate the digital panorama. 

Publication: at CAADRIA: Beyond Computer-Aided Design, Chiang Mai Thailand, 8-12 April 2008.

honours Project: HYBRID MMORG/RTS

Student: Kim Sellentin

Abstract: As the market for next-generation PC Games becomes increasingly  competitive, many top Games Developers are entertaining the idea of  combining elements of other genres to keep their titles fresh.  The  hybridization of PC game genres is of immediate commercial interest to  a local games company as there has been little research on this in the  past, although such titles are already beginning to have a prominent  presence in the industry.  This study investigates the core design and  mechanics of RTS games and determines the validity and feasibility of  applying each of these mechanics to MMORPGs.  It will draw on the  successes and strengths of currently popular RTS and MMORPG games from  an end user perspective and touches on various gaming elements such as  combat systems, character identity and interface design.  User testing  involves industry experts and ensures the presentation of a framework whereby successful transition from a pure RTS to a hybrid RTS/MMORPG can be achieved. (From student poster).

Status: Not finished, Kim's fulltime job in a game company prevented her from finishing this project. I am interested in supervising other students in this hybrid evaluation area.

Publication: Not published. Kim presented the initial work at the end of 2007 in a student seminar at the University of Queensland.  

Honours special topic:

Student: Adam Carter:  

Title: Expressive Digital Avatars: Mixing Player and Artificial Intelligence Avatars With Expressive Digital Avatars.

Problem: Chatbots are not integrated with the 3D game environment, do not afford an enhanced sense of environmental presence, and are not aware of what the player is doing or interested in except by text input, thus making the visual appearance of the chatbot relatively redundant.

Solution: Create a chatbot that gathers spatial information about the environment and the player's relation to the game space (or virtual environment) and to the chatbot guide.   

Status: Thesis completed. Unfortunately the code was not completed and the software we had to  use was not then resolved. I did find related software and research projects and am still interested in supervising a project in a similar area. 

Final year undergrad:

Students: AI Studios (Amy and Isaac). 

Problem: Can the beta version of torque be used to develop new forms of games with unconventional interaction and interface mechanisms?

Solution: Created three Games using torque and laser gun, bouncing ball, zombie ghost game, and chinese calligraphy writing teaching tool using a tablet.

Status: Completed and on display at End of Year Exhibtion.

Publication: Briefly noted at DACH 2007 and mentioned in unpublished chapter for Intermedia book project. 

Students: Kiel and co.

Problem: Can Torque 3D be used to create a game based on interacting with music?

Solution: Torque game based around sound interaction.

Status: Finished (but prototype not totally resolved). 

Students: Labyrinth Ltd.  

Team: Renee: Bio feedback, Matt: Quake, Liam: Half Life, Aaron: Greek mythology and archaeology.

Problem: Can the constraints of the HMD be overcome through simple game design, and can this game use historical knowledge and physical computing (biofeedback etc) in an interesting and engaging way? 

Solution: Develop a game style level and test against peripherals (HMD, 3D joystick, and biofeedback) to connect to the projected virtual environment, and evaluate user response in terms of immersion, enjoyment, and usability factors. Constraints: Dark environment, stalked motif, biofeedback of past players mapped to environment.  

Status: Level (Minoan labyrinth) created. Minotaur created. GSR created and working on presentation day. The project did not carry through to semester 2 (unfortunately).

Collaboration: Advice from psychology department, permission to use Knossos panoramas (if required) by archaeologists in the UK.

Publication: Briefly noted at DACH 2007.

Students:  DECEPTION labs.  

Problem: Can Erik Champion's Cultural Turing test idea be used convincingly in a serious game? IE can a historical setting and an imposter interaction method create a stealth learning situation (where players learn authentically without realizing?)

Solution: Create impostor multi player game with Faked Scripted or Emergent Artificial Intelligence, based on cultural Turing test idea (Champion, VAST2005 paper).

  • Game mod: Set in Venice on Marco Polo's return.
  • Social setting: Encounter situations, communicate to hide or to reveal. Player learns social role, positions and identities.
  • Deception detection methods: (to be researched) include dialogue, appearance (where and when), spatial information, and actual player responses (user feedback). 
  • Character motivation: history change, death by accident (have to impersonate victim), recover artefacts, etc.
  • Breakdown: Interrogation-George, Engines: Blake, Historical Scenarios-Jalen, AI-Jon, Gameplay mechanisms: Nigel.

Status: Game level in HL2 created, Bayesian Logic used, but not working on presentation day. I would like to revisit this project.

Publication: Mentioned briefly at DACH 2007 etc. I need to revisit this, perhaps with a different historical scenario.

Students: Project BWAR. 

Problem: Can players learn about history or archaeology in an interesting and not violent-focused way? Can the interface be a learning tool?

Solution: Used Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to create interactive Egyptian archaeology project. The player has to answer questions to be given the powers of the Egyptian gods. The map is an inventory of skills and glyphs learnt.

Status: Completed. Shown at the end of year exhibition.

Publication: Mentioned briefly in DACH 2007.

Students: AI Studios (Isaac: Gameplay, Amy: Programming).

Problem: Is Torque 2D (beta) able to create an interesting simple game?

Solution: Using Torque 2D editor create tank game with moving turret and landscape puzzle breaking ability while testing each feature of game engine. 

Status: Completed and displayed (and played) at the end of year Exhibition.

2005

Games Interface Design

Final year undergrad: Project Unreality

Students: Andrew Dekker and Mark Hurst

Problem: Low-cost game environments with thematic interaction are rare in virtual heritage.  Secondly, can 3D spatial projection enhance a sense of spatial presence and atmosphere?

Solution: Develop a virtual heritage environment as a thematic game using non-traditional interfaces and non-traditional projection.

Colleagues: Mirror Projection: Paul Bourke, Swinburne University. Advice on CAVE UT/UT2004 and sensors: Jeff Jacobson, Pittsburgh University. 

Status: prototype completed and on exhibit at end of year exhibit.

Publication: mentioned at IE 2005.

 Multimedia Project

Students: Annamarie, Ramon, and Mark Hurst. 

Problem: Low-cost game environments with thematic interaction are rare in virtual heritage.  Secondly, can 3D spatial projection enhance a sense of spatial presence and atmosphere?

Solution: Develop a virtual heritage environment as a thematic game using non-traditional interfaces for intangible heritage, with video inserted guides (spirits).

Colleagues: Bernadette Flynn (external client).

Status: prototype completed and shown by Bernadette at a conference in Malta. 

Publication: mentioned at IE 2005.


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