Collaborative VR: Solving Riddles in the Concept of Escape Rooms
International Conference on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (IMET) 2023
Afxentis Ioannou, Marilena Lemonari, Fotis Liarokapis, Andreas Aristidou
The recent state of VR technology enables users to have quick and easy access to multiple VR functionalities, prompting researchers to explore various aspects of user experiences in virtual environments. In this work, we study alternative means of user communication in collaborative virtual environments (CVEs). We are especially interested in how users manage to convey messages to each other while not being able to see, hear, or text one another. We aim to understand how users choose to utilize the tools provided to them in virtual environments and report their feedback i.e., how this affects engagement level, performance, etc. The objective of our work is to be able to determine the effects of integrating alternative means of communication in users' experience in VR; to examine this, we choose a case study of a collaborative VR escape room. We carry out a user study to evaluate our hypotheses on the effects of nontraditional communication means when performing computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW). We find that players manage to complete their tasks similarly to real-life scenarios, even when not allowing for traditional ways of interpersonal interactions. Through our user survey, we also conclude that it is worth integrating this communication option in other applications as well, which poses further questions as to what is the full potential of incorporating several alternative functionalities that people subtly use in real-life, in VR.