Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: The Effect of Interactivity on Learning Physical Actions in Virtual Reality

The Effect of Interactivity on Learning Physical Actions in Virtual Reality

Jeremy Bailenson, Kayur Patel, Alexia Nielsen, Ruzena Bajscy, Sang-Hack Jung & Gregorij Kurillo

Media Psychology, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2008


Virtual reality (VR) offers new possibilities for learning, specifically for training individuals to perform physical movements such as physical therapy and exercise. The current article examines two aspects of VR that uniquely contribute to media interactivity: the ability to capture and review physical behaviour and the ability to see one's avatar rendered in real time from third person points of view. In two studies, we utilised a state-of-the-art, image-based tele-immersive system, capable of tracking and rendering many degrees of freedom of human motion in real time. In Experiment 1, participants learned better in VR than in a video learning condition according to self-report measures, and the cause of the advantage was seeing one's avatar stereoscopically in the third person. In Experiment 2, we added a virtual mirror in the learning environment to further leverage the ability to see oneself from novel angles in real time. Participants learned better in VR than in video according to objective performance measures. Implications for learning via interactive digital media are discussed.


The interesting idea here to me is the possibility of understanding how the movements are better encoded due to visual and proprioceptive feedback.  The question then, is this a two way mechanism?  If the same stimuli are presented, will it bring back better memory.  In addition, is it a movement encoding.  Can the encoding be accessed better by an expert.  Here they are novices in training, what happens if the person already knows the moves, but cannot explain them.  Can they explain them better if they have an immersive 3D view of their actions?  No brainer, it should work in this case clearly.  The question is, will it work as well if the visualisation is not the user of the tool at that moment in time.

They use the term "Sea of Cameras," would have thought a forest would be more apt. :-)

Experiment 1 

They rate the VR learning experience more positively.  Found the VR trainer to be more credible.

Experiment 2

VR version of learning system outperformed the video version, with significant results.

Interesting Quote:

"In fact, there is ample research dedicated to the discordance among self report measures and behavioural measures when measuring behaviour in virtual reality (Bailenson et al., 2004, Bailenson,
Swinth, et al., 2005;  Slater, 2005), concluding that neither self-report nor behavioural measures are sufficient, and that only by examining a host of measures can one assess virtual behaviour"

Shows that we need to use repeated versions of both behavioural and subjective to obtain insights into the effectiveness of such VR interfaces.  Need to keep this in mind for future experiments.

The image reproduction methods used in the paper are poor (think Kinect image level) so the quality of the images in the Tai Chi lessons may have had an effects on results.  Also, they had to look forward to compare themselves in the VR case; a cave or HMD might be better in this case due to a universal viewpoint capability.  Using an Oculus might introduce better results due to ego centre being situated in the training space.


Bailenson, J. N., Aharoni, E., Beall, A. C., Guadagno, R. E., Dimov, A., & Blascovich,
J. (2004). Comparing behavioral and self-report measures of embodied agents’
social presence in immersive virtual environments. Proceedings of the 7th Annual
International Workshop on PRESENCE, October 13–15, Valencia, Spain.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Boast: My Talented Games Project Students!

On Friday the 31st October our games degree had its industry showcase at the QUT Cube.  Gaute Rasmussen from SAE spoke and a great night was had by around 300 people playing the games created by our students.

Photos are available here:

Our students also published their games that week to the web and generated some great outcomes.  At one stage one of the games, "Primitives," was sitting at number 2 on IndieDB!  I counted six of our games on the IndieDB banner, highlighted by the site.  Great stories have ensued of teams being reviewed on Rock Paper Shotgun and other leading blogs, and of course, the regular YouTube playthroughs from our Russian fans.

Matt Ford and I had a ball supervising them this year.  They have been the best we have ever seen in this unit.

But, don't take my word for it, here is a list of the games available at IndieDB, please download and enjoy!



Get Quest -
Pipe Runners -
Pirates vs Robots -
Ghost Lord -
2199 -
Azuruk -
Apex Genetics -
Robot Wars -
Treasure Raid -
Sweet Revenge -
Symphony Quest -
Primitives -
Ignis Uprising -

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Boast: You know you have the best job in the world...

...when your employer buys five Oculus Rifts for you to use. :-)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Invite: QUT Games Degree Showcase

QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty is pleased to invite you to the QUT Bachelor of Games and Interactive Entertainment (BGIE) End of Year Showcase.

Date:Friday, 31st October, 2014

Time:5:00pm – 9pm (5:30pm Proceedings Start)

Venue: The Cube, Level 4, P Block, Gardens Point Campus, QUT, 4001

RSVP:Please RSVP to Ross Brown 

Come and see demonstrations of the best polished and published games created by BGIE degree students. The show is an opportunity for you and other industry to meet our graduating students and see their outstanding work.
Have fun playing these new games and catch up with friends and colleagues from the industry!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Paper: Augmenting and assisting model elicitation tasks with 3D virtual world context metadata

Just had a paper I have written with Stefanie Rinderle-Ma, Simone Kriglstein and Sonja Kabicher-Fuchs accepted for COOPIS 2014.  Paper is found here.

This is the fourth paper I have had published this year with Simone, part of a productive collaboration with my Austrian colleagues.

Abstract. Accurate process model elicitation continues to be a time consuming task, requiring skill on the part of the interviewer to extract explicit and tacit process information from the interviewee. Many errors occur in this elicitation stage that would be avoided by better activity recall, more consistent specification methods and greater engagement in the elicitation process by interviewees. Theories of situated cognition indicate that interactive 3D representations of real work environments engage and prime the cognitive state of the viewer. In this paper, our major contribution is to augment a previous process elicitation methodology with virtual world context metadata, drawn from a 3D simulation of the workplace. We present a conceptual and formal approach for representing this contextual metadata, integrated into a process similarity measure that provides hints for the business analyst to use in later modelling steps. Finally, we conclude with examples from two use cases to illustrate the potential abilities of this approach.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

CFP: Interactive Entertainment 2014 - (EXTENSION to Submission Date - 31 August)

Interactive Entertainment 2014 - Fun and Games – Call For Papers

(EXTENSION to Submission Date - 31 August, 2014)

Location: University of Newcastle, Australia
Conference Dates:  2-3 December, 2014
Paper Submissions: 31 August, 2014 (EXTENDED)

Interactive Entertainment is Australasia's longest running games and digital entertainment conference. IE2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the conference which is hosted this year by the University of Newcastle, Australia.

IE2014 welcomes scientists, designers, artists, technicians, students, industry and academics from across the spectrum. We encourage contributions from fields as diverse as computer science, social science, design, communication, media studies, music, engineering, health and mathematics. Anyone interested in the myriad of technologies and issues that impact on interactive entertainment and computer games are encouraged to come along and share their discipline's perspective on "Fun and Games".   


·         heuristic methodologies
·         control and evaluation
·         design practices and method
·         design history
·         transmedia
·         experience measurement
·         dynamic difficulty balancing
·         core mechanics
·         discussions on narrative
·         networking models
·         game physics
·         game graphics
·         sound design
·         artificial intelligence
·         user interface design
·         serious games
·         exergaming
·         development processes
·         evaluation methodologies
·         creativity in games
·         experimental gameplay forms
·         advances in mobile and portable games
·         Virtual Reality
·         interactive simulation
·         interactive film
·         animation in games
·         history of interactive media
·         commercial concerns
·         case studies on interactive applications
·         games thinking not listed here

IE2014 will accept four kinds of submissions; all types of submissions will be peer reviewed published online in the ACM International Conference Proceedings.

Regular Papers (Recommended length: 7-10 pages)
All regular papers will be peer reviewed fortechnical merit, significance, clarity and relevance to interactive entertainment. Accepted papers are required to give a 15-20 minute presentation at the conference.

Short Papers (Recommended length: 3 pages)
Short papers represent novel work in progress that may not be yet as mature as regular submissions, but still represents a significant contribution to the field. All short papers will be peer reviewed for technical merit, significance, clarity and relevance to interactive entertainment. Accepted papers are required to present a poster at the conference.

Demo Submissions (Recommended length: 1 page)
Technical demonstrations show innovative and original implementations to interactive entertainment. Demo papers will be reviewed by the conference chair and the program chair forsignificance and relevance.

Exhibition Submissions (Recommended length: 1 page)
These submissions are for work which will be exhibited in the conference's dedicated space. Applicants are to submit a short write-up outlining and contextualising the work to be exhibited, including pictures. They will need to provide a clear understanding of the proposed exhibited design work and its relationship with interactive entertainment.


For more information, please visit or email

Dr Karen Blackmore
School of Design, Communication and Information Technology
Room MCG18, McMullin Building
The University of Newcastle
University Drive
Callaghan NSW 2308

Ph: +61 2 492 15206
Fax: +61 2 492 15896


Monday, August 11, 2014

Paper Review: On the Problem of Predicting Real World Characteristics from Virtual Worlds

On the Problem of Predicting Real World Characteristics from Virtual Worlds

Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, Cuihua Shen, Jaideep Srivastava and Noshir Contractor

Predicting Real World Behaviors from Virtual World Data, 
Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad, Cuihua Shen, Jaideep Srivastava, Noshir Contractor Editors,
Springer Verlag

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-07142-8

Abstract Availability of massive amounts of data about the social and behavioral characteristics of a large subset of the population opens up new possibilities that allow researchers to not only observe people’s behaviors in a natural, rather than artificial, environment but also conduct predictive modeling of those behaviors and characteristics. Thus an emerging area of study is the prediction of real world characteristics and behaviors of people in the offline or “real” world based on their behaviors in the online virtual worlds. We explore the challenges and opportunities in the emerging field of prediction of real world characteristics based on people’s virtual world characteristics, i.e., what are the major paradigms in this field, what are the limitations in current predictive models, limitations in terms of generalizability, etc. Lastly, we also address the future challenges and avenues of research in this area.


They describe the ideas behind the "Mapping Principle," and that this mapping between virtual and real behaviours cannot necessarily be assume to hold for all cases.  

Representations in different worlds may change the results; not much of a problem for me due to lack of need for non-representative avatars, but may impact on fidelity of representation arguments for identification with avatars.

Configuration of the world influences the nature of the mapping, as the pvp and pve tasks may change levels of aggression or cooperation in the VW or game.

They cite the "Proteus Effect," behaviours are affected by the appearance and intended nature of the avatar.  Could this be used to empathise with your boss or underling in an organisation in BPM?!?  Could be exploited in a training manner.  Maybe it brings out perceptions of what another job entails, so that perceptions of roles can be tested.

They bring out the difference in using data to drive the notion of theorising about behaviour; reduces reliance on a priori concepts about behaviours.

They suggest to augment data logging with surveys, in order to determine other states outside of the game to be included in the modelling; straight forward but has to be said.  Remotely logging people does not provide context with regards to their behaviours.

Generalisation across virtual worlds is still an unaddressed problem.

They note that people may lie when answering surveys, which can be uncovered by log data, eg. time spent playing games.  But this is the same for every scenario, one imagines, especially with social repercussions. 

They suggest actually using the worlds before testing them; in some ways a classic case of simulating your experiment before you actually carry it out.  They suggest a minimum time of world use before the research can be published,  and suggest it should be enforced at conferences at in journals.

Case studies:

Economics - virtual world economic patterns commute to real world patterns eg. Castronova.  A black market exists for virtual money.

Epidemiology - citation of the Corrupted Blood incident in WOW.  Spread of disease was similar to human real viruses, including remote location commencement and travelling escaping people bringing the plague to the other regions.  They note that the cost of infection is trivial compared to real life, thus behaviours are different; bringing up a rationale cost benefit analysis model as a basis for action.

Deviant Clandestine Behaviours - this has a strong mapping due to social factors in being found out so to speak.  Gold farming is noted as a major example in the virtual world cases.  Some behaviours, such as thinning of social networks, have been found to be similar in virtual world and in real world gang examples.

Mentoring - mentoring networks are different from other social networks.  But there is a limited form of mapping to the real world.

They do note that the online worlds allow the testing of hypotheses that are note possible in the real world, but they may not be applicable fully to the real world, as noted in other case studies.

They finish with an interesting comparison of a theory based approach to virtual world behaviour predictive modelling, or a data driven, bottom up modelling approach, based upon data mining for correlations to particular behaviours.

They note that the mapping principle is the overarching assumption in this work, but caution is urged due to the often lack of generalisation between the mapping found in different virtual worlds.


15. Hall,M.,Frank,E.,Holmes,G.,Pfahringer,B.,Reutemann,P.,Witten,I.H.:TheWEKAdata mining software: an update. ACM SIGKDD Explor. Newsl. 11(1), 10–18 (2009)
16. Johnson, N.F., Xu, C., Zhao, Z., Ducheneaut, N., Yee, N., Tita, G., Hui, P.M.: Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic. Phys. Rev. E. 79(6), 066117 (2009)