fpspaceinvaders: a vr game for the oculus rift

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In this report I describe a simple space invaders-based game that I've created for the Oculus Rift.Abstract:Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming every day more accessible. Newtechnologies such as head mounted displays (HMDs) are finally avail-able to the public at an affordable price, increasing the power of en-gagement and immersion into the virtual world. These devices aimfor an immersive experience, specially in games, and the applicationsvary widely. Such devices use stereoscopic 3D images and renderingthem is nowadays a simple task, however the accuracy of the finalresult is key. In a synthetic environment dangers of poor stereoscopicrenderings range from eyestrain and headaches, to users feeling nox-ious in the virtual world, to rapid loss of interest. In this projectwe look at the issue of rendering accurate stereoscopic images aloneand within the augmented reality device called Oculus Rift. Fromthe study of this new technology, we developed and evaluated a SpaceInvaders-based game. The preliminary results show that the HMDprovides a more engaging and immersive experience, enhancing thesense of spatial presence, focus and enjoyment.

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  • FPSpaceInvaders: a VR game for

    the Oculus Rift

    Tiago Augusto Engel

    Department of Computer Science

    Swansea University

    This Project Report is submitted in partial fulfillment for the

    Science Without Borders Programme

    September 2014

  • Declaration

    This work has not previously been accepted in substance for any degree and is

    not being currently submitted for any degree.

    September 4, 2014

    Signed:

    Statement 1

    This dissertation is being submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for

    the Science Without Borders Programme.

    September 4, 2014

    Signed:

    Statement 2

    This dissertation is the result of my own independent work/investigation, except

    where otherwise stated. Other sources are specifically acknowledged by clear

    cross referencing to author, work, and pages using the bibliography/references. I

    understand that failure to do this amounts to plagiarism and will be considered

    grounds for failure of this dissertation and the degree examination as a whole.

    September 4, 2014

    Signed:

    Statement 3

    I hereby give consent for my dissertation to be available for photocopying and for

    inter-library loan, and for the title and summary to be made available to outside

    organisations.

    September 4, 2014

    Signed:

  • Abstract

    Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming every day more accessible. New

    technologies such as head mounted displays (HMDs) are finally avail-

    able to the public at an affordable price, increasing the power of en-

    gagement and immersion into the virtual world. These devices aim

    for an immersive experience, specially in games, and the applications

    vary widely. Such devices use stereoscopic 3D images and rendering

    them is nowadays a simple task, however the accuracy of the final

    result is key. In a synthetic environment dangers of poor stereoscopic

    renderings range from eyestrain and headaches, to users feeling nox-

    ious in the virtual world, to rapid loss of interest. In this project

    we look at the issue of rendering accurate stereoscopic images alone

    and within the augmented reality device called Oculus Rift. From

    the study of this new technology, we developed and evaluated a Space

    Invaders-based game. The preliminary results show that the HMD

    provides a more engaging and immersive experience, enhancing the

    sense of spatial presence, focus and enjoyment.

  • Contents

    Contents iii

    1 Introduction 1

    2 Background Information 3

    2.1 Virtual Reality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    2.2 Stereoscopy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    2.2.1 Rendering Stereo Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

    2.2.2 Health Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    2.3 Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

    3 The Oculus Rift 10

    3.1 Technical Aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

    4 Game Development 13

    4.1 Development Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

    4.2 FPSpaceInvaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    4.2.0.1 Design Level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

    4.2.0.2 The Player . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

    4.2.0.3 The Enemies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    4.2.0.4 Oculus Rift Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    4.2.0.5 3D Audio Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

    4.3 Empirical Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

    5 Results and Discussion 23

    iii

  • CONTENTS

    6 Summary 25

    6.1 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

    6.2 Future Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

    A Questionnaire 27

    References 32

    iv

  • Chapter 1

    Introduction

    Since the release of the movie Avatar in 2009, the world started to realize the po-

    tential of 3D technology and its applications. One of the latest ground-breaking

    inventions is the Oculus Rift [1]. It represents a new era on the gaming expe-

    rience, the first head mounted display (HMD) to be affordable for the general

    public, bringing virtual reality to a whole new level.

    HMDs rely on 3D stereoscopic images to enforce the sense of depth. Stere-

    oscopy increases the experience of immersion and spatial presence [2]. However,

    such images arent natural to our eyes because the stimulus they produce dif-

    fer from the ones of the real world [3]. This effect happens because the image

    provided to each eye is produced on a flat surface. Most common symptoms

    associated are eye strain, disorientation and nausea.

    The challenge nowadays is to create realistic images in a way that minimizes

    the problems it may cause to the users. Therefore, game designers have to take

    in account several factors when designing games for such devices, having in mind

    that an immersive experience depends on how the application is adapted to the

    new environment. For instance, the relation of size between objects must be re-

    alistic, otherwise the perception of depth may be inconsistent. Furthermore, the

    head tracking device must be able to reflect the same sings given by the player in

    the game, for instance if the player moves its head at a certain speed, the game

    must do it the same way, otherwise the brain may lose the sense of movement

    1

  • and acceleration, then the player may start feeling dizziness.

    We present FPSpaceInvaders, a VR Space Invaders-based game where the

    player relies on the Oculus Rift to track the head movements when aiming for the

    targets during the game. The view is from a first person perspective, additionally,

    the 3D sound system contributes to enhance the virtual reality sense, giving a

    more realistic experience during the game.

    The report is divided into 4 main chapters. Chapter 2 gives background

    information about stereo images and how to render them, as well as applications

    on HMDs such as the Oculus Rift, which is detailed in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4

    we detail the game we developed and the development process to build it. Finally,

    Chapter 5 evaluates the results obtained and discusses possible improvements.

    2

  • Chapter 2

    Background Information

    This chapter is about defining the necessary concepts that will be used during

    this report. Section 2.1 links stereoscopy and its role in the VR world, as well

    as within the Rift environment. Section 2.2 gives a basic explanation about

    stereoscopy and its drawbacks, while section 2.3 shows some cases where the Rift

    was used as VR display.

    2.1 Virtual Reality

    The term Virtual Reality has been target of the media in the last few years due

    to the to the incredible advances we are facing. The release of novel technologies

    has brought VR to a level never seen before. VR is by no means an original

    concept, as various similar concepts have been commercially available since the

    early 1970s [4]. It refers to a synthetic environment created to enhance the user

    interaction and immersion with the application, relying on three-dimensional,

    stereoscopic, head-tracked displays, hand/body tracking, and binaural sound [5].

    VR will be introduced into daily life and serve the people in various ways. Its

    applications, going beyond just entertainment, could bring strong contributions

    in fields such as: education, military training simulation and remote robot oper-

    ation. The VR market is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years

    as there are major enterprises interested in investing on these new technologies.

    3

  • The latest deal worth mentioning is the one made by Facebook, who bought the

    start-up named Oculus VR for 2 billion dollars. Sony is also working on a HMD

    called Morpheus.

    Stereoscopic displays play an important role in VR environments. They use

    stereoscopic images to improve the users perception of immersion in the virtual

    world, enabling a better understanding of the presented data, proportions and

    positions of objects. Devices that use stereoscopic displays include head mounted

    displays. The HMDs have become particularly popular since the release of Oculus

    Rift in the last year. The next section gives a historical and technical background

    about the process used to generate images used in these displays.

    2.2 Stereoscopy

    Ever since the early times, the man has realized that viewing with one eye (left

    or right) is slightly different than viewing with both at the same time. However,

    this phenomenon was not documented until 1838 when Charles Wheatstone first

    explained the binocular vision and invented the stereoscope (Figure 2.1). He

    demonstrated that our perception of depth is given by the combination our brain

    does of the images seen by each one of our eyes.

    Later on, by the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, stere-

    oscopy began to attract interest from the cinematographic industry. William

    Friese-Greene registered the first patent, where stereoscopic 3D films were broad-

    cast on two separate screens. Viewers could then view the screens through a

    stereoscope. In 1922 the first commercial 3D movie was released and the anaglyph

    glasses were released. In the decades that followed, the

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