The structured development of virtual environments: enhancing functionality and interactivity

Eastgate, Richard Mark (2001) The structured development of virtual environments: enhancing functionality and interactivity. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.



Desktop Virtual Reality (VR) is an easy and affordable way to implement VR technology within an organisation. It provides an experience that can be shared by many people, and its 3D, interactive capability facilitates the communication of ideas not possible using other media formats. There are a number of software toolkits available for the building and programming of Virtual Environments (VEs), but very few resources that can help developers acquire the skills and techniques required to give their VEs utility and usability. This thesis reviews existing research into VE design with an emphasis on interactivity and usability, and then uses a case study based approach to conceptualise the VE development process and develop exemplar guidance tools.

The first group of case studies date from the early 1990s, with an emphasis on finding ways to build VEs incorporating functionality. The experience gained through these case studies was used to discover the issues most relevant to the VE developer and report on the techniques used to resolve them. Several models are then presented to explain these techniques and relate them to the VE development context. For the second set of case studies the emphasis moves to finding ways of making VEs more usable. Several approaches are presented and further conceptualisation results in a decision table based guidance tool.

The third set of case studies was carried out within the framework provided by the Virtual Environment Development Structure (VEDS), developed jointly by the author and other members of the Virtual Reality Applications Research Team (VIRART) at the University of Nottingham. In the light of this practical application of the framework and the experience gained throughout the case studies, changes are made to the structure to make it more accurately represent the actual process employed by VE developers. This version of VEDS is then used to more effectively define the areas where VE development guidance tools are needed. Using this information, and based on the experience acquired and the techniques developed throughout this research, three exemplar tools are presented.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Wilson, J.R.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Desktop Virtual Reality, Virtual Environments, Virtual Environment Development Structure
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering
ID Code:954
Deposited By:Ms. K EVANS
Deposited On:21 Oct 2009 14:21
Last Modified:21 Oct 2009 14:36

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