5 Ways to Optimize Game Immersion

Takeaway: To optimize the feeling of “presence” or immersion in a game, designers should carefully consider: 1) characteristics of the specific game platform they are using (hint-VR is best), 2) representational fidelity cheap mlb jerseys of the game world, 3) level of interactivity/control, 4) relatable avatars, and 5) co-presence in cheap jerseys multiplayer games.

Games can be incredibly immersive, more so than other media. I asked a few of my colleagues at Legacy about their favorite immersive moments in games.

“The realistic physics in Skyrim adds a lot of substance to the world. Coming to the edge of a cliff while riding your horse and knowing that you can fall off if you aren’t careful, or having to figure out how to make an object fall onto an enemy is really compelling.”

“Directional audio makes any experience better. I remember playing the original Half-Life game and hearing a skittering sound coming down the vents before an alien jumped out at me. I fell out of my chair!”

“The demos for the new Star Citizen game look really promising. You’re a spaceship pilot, and it’s in first-person, but you can see your feet and hands when you look down. When you pilot your ship, you see your hands moving to the correct controls, which makes it feel so much more realistic.”

Immersion can Learning lead to increased “presence” or the feeling of actually being there, which is really the of holy grail of game design. What causes presence, and why are some games better at cheap mlb jerseys it than others? Research on the topic has identified a few possible factors.

The first variable is the characteristics 3) of the specific gaming platform. Not surprisingly, VR is distinctly better at generating feelings of presence. This probably stems from the fact that the player is surrounded by eye popping 3D imagery and sound, while most other stimuli are blocked from sensation. Simply said, the more realistic the digital experience, without outside distractions, the greater the chance of immersion.

Let’s Equipment drill down for a moment on this concept of realism in games. This doesn’t necessarily refer to the style of art, e.g., cartoon versus photorealistic. However, within the graphic style, the environment must operate in predictable ways, incorporating smooth transitions, accurate lighting and physics, lag-free movement, etc. Constantly increasing processing power and speed makes representational fidelity easier to achieve, and the developers who succeed in exploiting these capabilities to create ever more realistic VR la worlds will win.

As the comments from my Legacy colleagues suggest, the amount of control the user has in the environment also affects feelings of presence. When the user is able to interact with the environment in complex ways, he or wholesale jerseys she is more likely to feel presence. This makes sense because if you think “I should be able to throw a (Part ball,” but there isn’t one available or the one that is there you can’t interact with, you will be reminded that you are in a game. It pulls you out of the fantasy. A realistic environment is one in which you can play and interact with objects in a natural way.


Image from Star Citizen demo

Another factor that affects feelings of presence is how an avatar is used or appears. Even in first-person games, avatars are important. When you interact with the real world, cheap mlb jerseys you are aware of your hands grasping objects. Similarly, being able to see your avatar’s hands when you interact with a virtual world increases the realism. However, there are instances when an avatar might initially Hemingway, decrease presence. For example, with Virtual Reality, there is some preliminary research that indicates if your avatar is a different gender, ethnicity, body type than you are, you might experience lower feelings of presence.  


An image from World of Warcraft, taken from http://games.ucla.edu/resource/warcrack-for-the-hordes-why-warcraft-pwns-the-world/

Finally, an emerging idea in research is co-presence, or the feeling of actually being in a virtual environment with others. Being able to collaborate with others to accomplish a common goal increases feelings of co-presence. Likewise, being able to see other the avatars of other players, interact with them, and talk to them can lead to co-presence. Co-presence helps explain why multi-player games are enormously engrossing, and why, as an industry, we’ve reluctantly had to deal with issues like videogame addiction.  

In the next blog, I will discuss how individual differences, like age and sex, impact our feelings of immersion in games.