The floating window technique is commonly employed by stereoscopic 3D filmmakers to reduce the effects of window violations by masking out portions of the screen that contain visual information that doesn’t exist in one of the views. Although widely adopted in the film industry, and despite its potential benefits, the technique has not been adopted by video game developers to the same extent possibly because of the lack of understanding of how the floating window can be utilized in such an interactive medium. Here, we describe a quantitative study that investigates how the floating window technique affects users’ depth perception in a simple game-like environment. Our goal is to determine how various stereoscopic 3D parameters such as the existence, shape, and size of the floating window affect the user experience and to devise a set of guidelines for game developers wishing to develop stereoscopic 3D content. Providing game designers with quantitative knowledge of how these parameters can affect user experience is invaluable when choosing to design interactive stereoscopic 3D content.
Game developers have yet to embrace and explore the interactive stereoscopic 3D medium. They typically view stereoscopy as a separate mode that can be disabled throughout the design process and rarely develop game mechanics that take advantage of the stereoscopic 3D medium. What if we designed games to be S3D-specific and viewed traditional 2D viewing as a separate mode that can be disabled? The design choices made throughout such a process may yield interesting and compelling results. Furthermore, we believe that interaction within a stereoscopic 3D environment is more important than the visual experience itself and therefore, further exploration is needed to take into account the interactive affordances presented by stereoscopic 3D displays. Stereoscopic 3D displays allow players to perceive objects at different depths, thus we hypothesize that designing a core mechanic to take advantage of this viewing paradigm will create compelling content. In this paper, we describe Z-Fighter a game that we have developed that requires the player to interact directly along the stereoscopic 3D depth axis. We also outline an experiment conducted to investigate the performance, perception, and enjoyment of this game in stereoscopic 3D vs. traditional 2D viewing.
The film industry has a long history of creating compelling experiences in stereoscopic 3D. Recently, the video game as
an artistic medium has matured into an effective way to tell engaging and immersive stories. Given the current push to
bring stereoscopic 3D technology into the consumer market there is considerable interest to develop stereoscopic 3D
video games. Game developers have largely ignored the need to design their games specifically for stereoscopic 3D and
have thus relied on automatic conversion and driver technology. Game developers need to evaluate solutions used in
other media, such as film, to correct perceptual problems such as window violations, and modify or create new solutions
to work within an interactive framework. In this paper we extend the dynamic floating window technique into the
interactive domain enabling the player to position a virtual window in space. Interactively changing the position, size,
and the 3D rotation of the virtual window, objects can be made to 'break the mask' dramatically enhancing the
stereoscopic effect. By demonstrating that solutions from the film industry can be extended into the interactive space, it
is our hope that this initiates further discussion in the game development community to strengthen their story-telling
mechanisms in stereoscopic 3D games.
With television manufacturers developing low-cost stereoscopic 3D displays, a large number of consumers will
undoubtedly have access to 3D-capable televisions at home. The availability of 3D technology places the onus on
content creators to develop interesting and engaging content. While the technology of stereoscopic displays and content
generation are well understood, there are many questions yet to be answered surrounding its effects on the viewer.
Effects of stereoscopic display on passive viewers for film are known, however video games are fundamentally different
since the viewer/player is actively (rather than passively) engaged in the content. Questions of how stereoscopic
viewing affects interaction mechanics have previously been studied in the context of player performance but very few
have attempted to quantify the player experience to determine whether stereoscopic 3D has a positive or negative
influence on their overall engagement. In this paper we present a preliminary study of the effects stereoscopic 3D have
on player engagement in video games. Participants played a video game in two conditions, traditional 2D and
stereoscopic 3D and their engagement was quantified using a previously validated self-reporting tool. The results
suggest that S3D has a positive effect on immersion, presence, flow, and absorption.