Guidelines for the Design of Augmented Reality Strategy Games
Thesis DisciplineComputer Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
With augmented reality, we can create interfaces that merge virtual objects and data seamlessly with the real world, potentially improving collaboration and interaction. This technology offers opportunities for games, allowing new designs that merge the diverse social and physical interaction of real world games with rapid interactivity and computing power of digital games. To date, research has primarily focused on issues of technology, interaction design, and nfrastructure; the design of compelling play has received little attention. We play games because they are enjoyable; therefore, in order to create attractive games, we must understand enjoyment. In games, engagement, social interaction, and emotional involvement are among the most common causes. We can design for engagement in play using Csikszentmihalyi's model of 'flow'; for social play by making communication easy, natural, and useful; and emotional involvement by understanding the mechanisms by which games stimulate us. Alongside an understanding of enjoyment, lessons must be drawn from design experience. AR Tankwar is an augmented reality strategy game developed over the course of this thesis, and has been evaluated in the field at a large games convention, and in a detailed comparative study with existing games on tabletop and desktop PC. Evaluations revealed predictable limitations with the technology, but also provided insight into how designers can make best use of the medium. Based on these activities, and existing knowledge of interaction and collaboration in augmented reality, this thesis addresses compelling play in augmented reality by developing a set of design guidelines for augmented reality games, with particular focus on strategy games.