Approaches to the Individual Design Problem
The design problem being addressed is the inability to visually see your friends physical and facial cues when gaming. Hearing your friends when gaming is great, but it’s not any different from just grabbing a cellphone and calling them. I feel if a player can see who’s in their audio chat could amplify the quality of communication, and overall improve the games enjoyability. Certain approaches to this design problem are using virtual reality with motion tracking cameras, in game projection, and regular video box streaming.
Virtual reality is relatively new and hasn’t really explored much options as they’re trying to perfect the overall performance. I feel like it would be a key component in approaching my design problem as it can virtually display your friends in 3D without anyone being inconvenienced. Essentially the user would set up 3 cameras around the room, which would all point at a point in the room to project in the video game. The cameras would capture a 4-foot radius around the player and a 6-foot height tracker. As the game would place the VR headset on, there would be a 2D screen in front of them, as if they’re in a big movie theater. This is essentially how the PlayStation VR displays when a game is being played and it is not VR compatible. So, as the gamer launches the game on the VR headset, they would see the game on a big 2D screen, with their friends projected around him or her. Those are all the steps needed to project and play, it’s a very simple design structure, especially for gamers that have used the VR before. All VR’s need a camera and a headset, now if you have all of that, and turn the cameras into motion tracking cameras, it can essentially change the gaming experience forever. You can see all the players fully and some of their surroundings, and all players can see your movements as well. If a player needs to leave or mute themselves, they just take the headset off and it detects it is off, so it pauses everything. This is already included in current VR headsets, so nothing extra is needed to add besides the motion tracking cameras which would track more than just the headset.
In game projection would work less effectively as it does not have the luxury of creating extra space to display friends. Essentially you would still need the cameras set around the corner ceilings of the house. This time instead of the virtual reality putting you in front of the 2D screen like a theater, the player would just be a small hologram at the bottom of the screen, but then would enlarge when the game is paused, or the user chooses to increase the size. This is the second easiest design, as the creators don’t have to create a different hub for the user to see their friends. This would need the iterative design, as the designers would need equal helps from the users to see which size would be best to allow the hologram to be displayed.
The final design would be a video stream which is a box in the corner of the gameplay screen, that is being recorded from one regular camera set wherever the user pleases. This is the most simplistic design to this issue, as it incorporates simple video chat while playing the game. I wouldn’t believe this would be the best option as it can seem invasive when the player is playing, instead of just having an extra space created by the VR to show you playing on TV, while having friends around you in almost real-life size. The streaming design would only benefit players because it actually shows the real-life player rather than a virtual 3D iteration, but it’s not the same immersive feeling.
Overall, I feel like this would solve an issue that hinders players that pay hundreds for online play, to receive a better experience with their friends. Not everyone has the time to play games with their friends in person but imagine if they could while being in the comfort of their room. It would essentially feel like playing with your friend in a huge room with an even bigger projected screen. This would be much easier to create because almost all of the pieces are created, it just takes programming it all together for it to work smoothly.
- Does not notify when I get a message
- Doesn’t tell me if the person I’m following is following back
- To unmute videos can accidentally make you “like” the video
- Very easy to accidentally “like” a post
- Videos buffer very poorly, no matter internet connection
- Videos are blurry the first 5 seconds, no matter internet connection
- Not all posts are in chronological order
- Do not get a hint of what message you’re receiving
- Cannot open a message without notifying other user
- Too many unnecessary notifications
- Too many advertisements
- Extreme amount of spam in messgaes
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3
With all these categories, they all try to solve the issue with not seeing any physical movements or facial cues from your friends as you play. These 4 categories will attempt to enhance gaming by not only being more immersive, but helping players gain a competitive edge as well.
Category 1 uses the controllers to display emotion such as mood color on controller or even displaying a hologram video chat with a friend. This is something never done before, but the limitations of this design would be having to look down in order to communicate, taking away from the actual gaming experience.
Category 2 feels a lot more flushed out then all the other categories, and seems the most realistic from all. The player wear motion tracking colors on clothes, places motion tracking cameras around room, and wears a virtual reality headset. This would place the player along with their friends in a virtual room that allows them to play the game, but also see their friends playing along with their screens. Players can draw or even point on other players screens in order to show certain places on the map for tactical play. This seems the most plausible with todays gaming, the only issue would be having space in you room to move around in the virtual world.
Category 3 is very simplistic, as it pre-records the players movements and facial cues so then by just a click of a key, the virtual character displays those emotions. To make it even more simple, the virtual character doesn’t even have to display the emotion, it can literally be just the players actual face at the corner of the screen. This makes it much easier to communicate as it’s just a press away, but it’s not as immersive nor will it help strategically.
Category 4 would be the hardest solution to produce as it would holographically display your friends. It can project from an actual projector by using a green screen to make the player appear in the game. It can just use a small projector thats placed on the TV stand to show your friend while they’re gaming. If needed, the player can use their phone to communicate by having a small projection as well.
Overall I feel Category 2 would be the best solution in making this experience come to life as most of the products are readily available now, they just needed to be coded together. Its the most simple for the consumer as well as they are just moving naturally in their room while its being projected to their friend.
Scenario 1: Tournament
- Team has a set time for a certain match
- Each team member must set up cameras, wear suit, and wear VR headset
- Create an avatar they would like to control
- All connect to the game and create an “invite only” lobby
- It creates a virtual room that the players can move and talk around in
- Players start the match
- Team members can point at certain things on each other’s screen. They can also draw on each other’s maps in order to have a tactical advantage.
- Giving an immersive feeling of playing with each other online, but while being physically by each other
Scenario 2: Meeting with a friend
- Both friends must have set up cameras, suit, and VR headset
- Create an avatar that they would like to control
- Create a lobby with any setting in the world they prefer
- They join that private lobby that is set up
- They can physically see each other’s movements and hear each other talk
- Allows both members to interact face to face without having to leave home
Scenario 3: Demoing games
- If a friend has a game and the other doesn’t, they can still game together
- Both friends must have set up cameras, suit, and VR headset
- Friend that owns the game, starts the game and invites other friend to virtual room
- Both are able to play and watch each other play
- The friend without the game is only allowed to be in chat for a certain amount, not allowing him to play the full game without purchasing
- Allowing gamers to experience the game with their friend, helping them decide if the game is worth purchasing
My friend Arthur is 22 years old and he is attending his first year of law school. We’ve been friends for 12 years and this is the first time that we will not be in driving distance from each other. He plays a lot of video games in his spare time, and when I’m back home he comes over and we play video games. He would benefit from scenario 1 as he could physically see my movements and we can draw on the game map to strategically play together.
My cousin Grisha lives in Russia and he is 25 years old. He doesn’t go to school, but he has a full-time job and is married. On his spare time, he plays computer games and always invites me to his games. Unfortunately, there is a language barrier, and typing in the chat does not help each other understand. Last time I was in Russia, we communicated and pointed at things and made gestures to help each other understand what we were saying. Using Scenario 1, we would be able to see our own movements while playing video games together.
My friend Harut is 22 years old and lives in Los Angeles. He works full time at a car leasing company and rarely ever gets the change to come up to Santa Barbara to see me. He would benefit from scenario 2 as he could use the VR headset to my house in Santa Barbara and see my new place. Plus, he could virtually move around the space and see me and my roommates. This would help us keep in contact without having him worrying about taking time off work.
A professional video game player has a one tournament minimum a year, where the team with players around the world meet up in one central convention, and verse other teams. This could be a hassle for certain players, having to travel thousands of miles to play with their team members. Instead of this, they can use scenario 1 to meet up virtually at the convention and play together. This scenario would actually benefit them more, as they would get more privacy to openly communicate and can point at each other’s screen and draw on each other’s screens.