Master's Thesis

The Influence of Collision Related Player Experience in Co-located vs. Remote Multiplayer VR Puzzle Games

Author:

Julius Tietenberg

Processing Period:

02.05.2023 - 31.10.2023

Abstract

One risk closely associated with mixed reality (XR) technology is collisions with the physical environment. Ring and Masuch (2023) use the term Collision Anxiety (CA), defined as "the fear of colliding with or hitting an object while using an XR application". This concept adds a user experience component to the existing literature on collisions in XR, which primarily focuses on collision avoidance behavior in relation to real and virtual objects as well as other players. The focus of this master's thesis is to better empirically understand collision related player experience in the context of cooperative multiplayer virtual reality (VR) puzzle games. The goal is to assess whether the physical presence of another player influences the perceived fear of collision and collision avoidance behavior, as well as to investigate whether the fear of colliding with another person is a separate component of the CA construct. To conduct the study, a prototypical VR puzzle game will be designed and implemented in two variants (co-located and remote condition). In a between- subjects design, two participants will play one of the randomly assigned variants together for approximately 15 minutes and complete questionnaires beforehand, as well as afterwards. Demographic data (self-report) will include age, gender, education level, previous gaming and VR experience, experience with escape rooms and puzzle games, as well as familiarity between participants. The key dependent variables are CA (Collision Anxiety Questionnaire), extended by an interpersonal collision subscale, collision avoidance behavior (based on Born et al., 2019), and clearance distance (measured as the distance between both players in the virtual environment). In addition to the confirmatory part of the study, participants performance (measured as time required per puzzle), perceived workload (NASA-TLX), perceived safety (self-report), and level of conscious collision avoidance (self- report) will also be collected as exploratory variables to better understand the CA construct and possible effects on subjects’ performance and well-being. Player experience (PXI), embodiment (VEQ), presence (IPQ), simulator sickness (SSQ), and cooperative social presence (CSP subscale of the CCPIG) will be collected as additional control variables.