(also known as ‘hand presence’)
the extent to which the human author pre-ordains the possible narrative or instills the system with the ability to creatively adapt to the experiencer
On the one hand, strong authorial intent means the quality of experience can be ensured, according to the vision of the human author. On the other hand, greater creative freedom on behalf of the interactive narrative system can yield greater user agency at the risk of straying from the human author’s vision.1
1. Riedl, M and Bulitko, V. Interactive Narrative: An Intelligent Systems Approach. AI Magazine Pg 6.
a virtual representation of the experiencer within the virtual world
They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other in the Metaverse.1
1. Stephenson, N. (2011) Snow Crash. Penguin. Pg 33.
the butterfly effect system is a storytelling mechanism for managing complex narrative structures where actions from the experiencer can have a direct influence on how the narrative plays out
The phrase ‘butterfly effect’ derives from chaos theory where American mathematician Edward Norton Lorenz used it as a metaphor to describe the phenomenon whereby a minor change in circumstances can cause a large change in outcome.
detection that virtual objects have intersected, sometimes triggering haptic or visual feedback for the experiencer
an interactive device – often resembling a glove worn on the hand – which connects to a computer system and facilitates fine-motion control within virtual reality
a top-down, external view of the entire artificial space allowing the designer to make global decisions about its composition and to enable swift prototyping
The dollhouse view can also be combined with a first-person POV, to allow the experiencer to occupy the space they are actively manipulating, avoiding the need to switch between modes and perspectives when designing the space.
the idea that cognition is not just limited to the brain, but distributed across the entire body
acknowledging the existence of your body within a virtual reality VR experience
In physical reality and first order virtual reality there is something very simple that you can do to physically establish your presence. Look down, and you will see your body, or see parts of it continuously in peripheral vision.1
1. Slater, M. “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments”Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Dec 12; 364(1535): 3549–3557 Pg 10.
when non-player characters (NPCs) have complete autonomy in an interactive narrative e.g. The Sims
a state that evokes an emotional response from the experiencer e.g. empathy, joy, or fun, within a virtual reality (VR) experience
an external, objective event, which the experiencer learns from
An erfahren experience typically means that the experiencer gains something from it, usually knowledge. It is therefore directly linked to a specific moment in time, and is an experience that can be recalled in order for future decisions to be made. E.g. If I were to observe someone becoming ill from eating a certain type of berry, then I would learn not to eat that type of berry in future.
‘Erfaren’ is one of two German verbs that are used to define experience. The other is ‘erleben‘.
an intense, personal experience that deeply effects the experiencer’s inner life
An erleben experience typically describes a singular, exciting, and profound event, however these can be both positive or negative. It often involves the experiencer embodying the experience on some level.
‘Erleben’ is one of two German verbs that are used to define experience. The other is ‘erfahren‘.
(also known as a ‘story generator’)
a generalisation of the ‘drama manager’ concept put forward by Joe Bates in Virtual reality, art, and entertainment. Originally published in Presence: The Journal of Tele-operators and Virtual Environments, Pg. 133–138, 1992.
an intelligent, omniscient, and disembodied agent that monitors the virtual world and intervenes to drive the narrative forward according to some model of quality of experience. Often used as a surrogate for the human author.1
1. Mark O. Riedl and Vadim Bulitko. Interactive Narrative: An Intelligent Systems Approach. AI Magazine Pg 3.
experiencer is another word for ‘user’ or ‘player’
It originates from a quote by Donald Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California, who said:
“One aspect of conscious experience is that it seems you can’t have an experience without an experiencer.”
And was offered up as a more appropriate alternative to ‘user’ in Steve McCarthy’s article: Has ‘User’ Become An Outdated Term
is the view that is visible to the experiencer while rotating their head from a fixed body position
The average human field of view is approximately 200 degrees.
(also known as: being in the ‘zone’)
the mental state whereby an experiencer is so involved in the process of an activity that nothing else seems to matter
the direction the experiencer is looking in
a form of non-verbal communication through the body – typically the hands or head – that, when tracked by a motion sensing camera attached to a computer, can be interpreted as movement and mirrored in virtual reality
(see also: the Swayze effect)
a virtual reality (VR) experience where the user is a disembodied observer in an unfolding narrative – as if watching a movie – but incapable of making changes to the world or talking to the characters
haptic technology simulates the sense of touch through the sensation of pressure (usually on the hands via a glove)
a set of goggles or a helmet with tiny monitors in front of each eye to generate images seen by the wearer as three-dimensional
an interactive spot within the artificial experience that reveal more content or options
Hotspots can be animated and are often shown as a glowing orb.
a psychological sense of being in a virtual environment
Immersion provides the boundaries within which place illusion (PI) can occur.1
1. Slater, M. “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments”. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Dec 12; 364(1535): 3549–3557 Pg 6.
(also known as: ‘responsove narrative’)
a form of digital interactive experience in which experiencers create or influence a dramatic storyline through their actions
When the balance between an ordained narrative and freewill interaction is tweaked just right, it creates the perception of great “game play” – a sweet feeling of being part of something large that is moving forward (the game’s narrative) while you still get to steer (the game’s play).1
1. Kelly, K. (2016) The Inevitable Penguin. Pg 229.
the time delay or lag between activating a process (change in input from the experiencer) and its accomplishment (the visual effect)
High-latency can lead to a detached experience and can also contribute to motion sickness / dizziness.
(see also: ‘agency‘)
refers to the process of moving from one place to another
This is most commonly used to refer to movement within the virtual environment e.g. how an avatar navigates the virtual world, but can also refer to movement outside of the virtual environment e.g. how the experiencer navigates the real-world while in a virtual experience.
Locomotion mechanics in virtual reality can be broken down into three primary categories:
mixed reality (MR) is similar to augmented reality (AR) except virtual objects are integrated into the natural world
For example, a virtual ball beneath your desk would be blocked from view unless you bent down to look at it.
a user who doesn’t interact with a responsive narrative
the obscuring or hiding an object from view by the positioning of other objects in the experiencer’s line of sight
rotation around the horizontal (x) axis
the acceptance that the scenario being depicted is actually occurring
Another way of thinking of this illusion is as the automatic and rapid response from the experiencer to the important question: Is this really happening? If the response is ‘no’ then the illusion is broken.
refers to the process of learning a model of the experiencer’s individual differences (e.g. preferences, play style, etc.)
the ‘Poison Berry’ theory is an evolutionary idea behind virtual reality sickness
It suggests that experiencing sensory input that is different than what is expected, combined with dizziness, are symptoms associated with being poisoned. From an evolutionary perspective people who are poisoned benefit from throwing up quickly.
audio that is triggered based on the position of the headset
For example, in a crowded scene the experiencer would be given the ability to choose which conversation they listen to based on where they are looking.
New Wave by Directors Samir Mallal and Aron Hjartarson demonstrates the positional audio approach.
a feeling of being in and of the virtual world, and the ignoring of physical world distractions
It is the strong illusion of being in a place in spite of the sure knowledge that you are not there.1
is the name given to a technique used to extend the possible size of a virtual reality environment by imperceptibly rotating the virtual scene without the experiencer being aware
Redirected Walking causes people to change their real walking direction without noticing it, allows for larger VEs [virtual environments], and does not induce appreciable simulator sickness.1
1. Sharif Razzaque, Zachariah Kohn, Mary C. Whitton Redirected Walking. The Eurographics Association 2001. Pg 1.
The technique is notably utilised in experiences created by The Void.
a state that describes when an experiencer responds to a virtual reality as if it were real
If you are there (PI) and what appears to be happening is really happening (Psi) then this is happening to you! Hence you are likely to respond as if it were real. We call this ‘response-as-if-real’ RAIR.1
1. Slater, M. “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments”Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Dec 12; 364(1535): 3549–3557 Pg 11.
a design paradigm that allows users to move freely within a room-sized environment while partaking in a virtual reality (VR) experience
Through the use of kinetic locomotion mechanics (in the Perambulation category), the experiencer’s physical movements are mirrored within the virtual world and helps to contribute to a greater sense of immersion, with the body being directly engaged – a key contributor to creating a state of embodied presence.
The term room-scale is often used to differentiate between other types of virtual reality experiences e.g. a self-contained environment of a VR room or seated or standing VR, in which the user remains stationary.
actively making decisions in a scene and by doing so also taking account of time, which in turn makes the passing of time feel longer
sensorimotor contingencies (SCs) refer to the actions that we know to carry out in order to perceive
…for example, moving your head and eyes to change gaze direction, or bending down and shifting head and gaze direction in order to see underneath something1
1. Slater, M. “Place Illusion and Plausibility Can Lead to Realistic Behaviour in Immersive Virtual Environments”Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Dec 12; 364(1535): 3549–3557 Pg 3.
environment cues with the added purpose of helping the user to interpret the virtual environment
choosing to actively engage with others within a VR experience
(see also: ghost story)
the sensation of having no tangible relationship with your surroundings despite feeling embodied in the virtual world
The phrase was coined by Story Studio and the name is a reference to actor Patrick Swayze who played the protagonist in the 1990’s film Ghost. In the film, Swayze’s character dies and returns as a ghost to help his wife solve the mystery of his death. The effect observed by Story Studio, looks to describe the struggle of affecting a virtual environment and the people who occupy it when no observable feedback from the world is being received.
the actions that an experiencer can take that can result in changes in perception, or changes to the environment
virtual reality (VR) places the experiencer in another location entirely. Whether that location has been generated by a computer or captured by video, it entirely occludes the experiencer’s natural surroundings.
(also known as: ‘motion sickness’ or ‘simulation sickness’)
is the feeling of general discomfort caused by experiencing virtual reality
Symptoms can include: headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and disorientation. Research suggests that discomfort – of which virtual reality sickness is a contributing factor – is a major barrier for initiating engagement with virtual reality. Therefore, significant development time has been spent trying to reduce and eradicate virtual reality sickness through innovation in technology.
The ‘Poison Berry’ theory is one evolutionary idea behind virtual reality sickness.
WebVR is an emerging technology that aims to present virtual reality content in traditional web browsing interfaces
A demo of WebVR can be found on the A-Frame website.
rotation around the vertical (y) axis