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Designing for the dichotomy of immersion in location based games

July 30, 2015
Mark Lochrie

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Authors: Adrian Gradinar, Jonny Huck, Paul Coulton, Mark Lochrie, Emmanuel Tsekleves
Abstract: The interaction design of mixed reality location based games typically focuses upon the digital content of the mobile screen, as this is characteristically the primary navigational tool players use to traverse the game space. This emphasis on the digital over the physical means the opportunity for player immersion in mixed reality games is often limited to the single (digital) dimension. This research seeks to redress this imbalance, which is caused, in part, by the requirement for the player’s attention to be systematically switched between the two worlds, defined in this research as the ‘Dichotomy of Immersion’. Using different design strategies we propose minimising the reliance of the player upon the mobile screen by encouraging greater observation of their physical surroundings. Using a ‘research through design’ approach for the mixed reality game PAC-LAN: Zombie Apocalypse, we illustrate design strategies for increasing immersion in location based games, which we believe will aid designers in enabling players to more readily engage with the physical context of the game and thus facilitate richer game experiences.

Where: Foundation of Digital Games 2015
Publication date: 22/06/2015
Document: pdf