Guiding Techniques for Collaborative Exploration in Multi-Scale Shared Virtual Environments

Thi Thuong Huyen Nguyen 1, 2 Thierry Duval 2, 1 Cédric Fleury 1
1 VR4I - Virtual Reality for Improved Innovative Immersive Interaction
IRISA - Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires, ENS Cachan - École normale supérieure - Cachan, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
2 Hybrid - 3D interaction with virtual environments using body and mind
Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , IRISA-D6 - MEDIA ET INTERACTIONS
Abstract : Exploration of large-scale 3D Virtual Environments (VEs) is difficult because of lack of familiarity with complex virtual worlds, lack of spatial information that can be offered to users and lack of sensory (visual, auditory, locomotive) details compared to exploration of real environments. To address this problem, we present a set of metaphors for assisting users in collaborative navigation to perform common exploration tasks in shared collaborative virtual environments. Our propositions consist in three guiding techniques in the form of navigation aids to enable one or several users (called helping user(s)) to help one main user (called exploring user) to explore the VE efficiently. These three techniques consist in drawing directional arrows, lighting up path to follow, and orienting a compass to show a direction to the exploring user. All the three techniques are generic so they can be used for any kind of 3D VE, and they do not affect the main structure of the VE so its integrity is guaranteed. To compare the efficiency of these three guiding techniques, we have conducted an experimental study of a collaborative task whose aim was to find hidden target objects in a complex and multi-scale shared 3D VE. Our results show that although the directional arrows and compass surpassed the light source for the navigation task, these three techniques are completely appropriate for guiding a user in 3D complex VEs.
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Thi Thuong Huyen Nguyen, Thierry Duval, Cédric Fleury. Guiding Techniques for Collaborative Exploration in Multi-Scale Shared Virtual Environments. GRAPP International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, Feb 2013, Barcelone, Spain. pp.327-336. ⟨hal-00755313⟩

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