SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Survivance: An Indigenous Social Impact Game

Date created: 
2014-02-07
Abstract: 

Social impact games are on the rise as a means of encouraging social change through gameplay. This dissertation describes the outcomes of playing Survivance (http://www.survivance.org)—an Indigenous social impact game that honors storytelling, art, and self-determination as pathways to healing from historical trauma caused by colonization in Turtle Island (North America). The research addresses a gap in studies that specifically explore the impact of social impact games while uniquely merging Indigenous and Game Studies scholarship.The study focuses on gameplay spread over one year involving ten core players and three validation players. The players are from the urban Indigenous community in Portland, Oregon in the United States of America, where Survivance was developed collaboratively with the non-profit organization Wisdom of the Elders, Inc. as an extension of its multimedia health and wellness curriculum Discovering Our Story. Thus, this research is positioned within Indigenous ways of knowing. It is informed by biskaabiiyang methodology, an Anishinaabe approach of “returning to ourselves.” The survivance framework involves looking at player experiences overall, including their incoming motivations, quest journeys, and “acts of survivance” (any form of self-expression, e.g. a painting, a beadwork medallion, an experimental animation). It leverages Indigenously-determined methods including written reflections, acts of survivance as symbol-based reflection, and conversations.Findings from the Survivance prototype show that intergenerational exchanges of traditions, stories, and art practices are pathways to wellbeing that influence the player’s self; various forms of community; and the greater world; while also fostering a reciprocal relationship with spirit. The study clearly shows that social impact games do make an impact, and goes on to describe this in ways that are relevant to Survivance players.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Social Issues, Behaviours and Routines of Ubi-Commerce Users in North America

Date created: 
2014-03-12
Abstract: 

eCommerce has dramatically changed over the last several years, leaving a gap of knowledge around what these changes mean to—and how they affect—the user and their experiences. To address this gap, I collected empirical evidence through three studies. The first looks at mobile web commerce, and focuses heavily on the issue of trust. The second looks at group shopping sites, an example of social commerce. The third study investigates mobile payment services systems and user challenges and successes. Although each study introduces specific design implications, together they expand extant work in traditional eCommerce to include social and mobile aspects and thus contribute new knowledge toward a more ubiquitous commerce (ubi-commerce) experience.I define ubi-commerce as specifically dependent on the recent mass adoption of mobile devices, social engagement online, and new technologies for payment processing. I discuss these ubiquitous forms of commerce as a North American entity only and thus the design implications are meant to be specific only to this region. My original contribution to knowledge consists of new knowledge and description of ubi-commerce user behaviours; six ubi-commerce design implications, derived from empirical evidence gathered from a variety of studies described in this dissertation; and methodological contributions, by applying existing research methods to new situations and contexts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carman Neustaedter
John Bowes
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The Influence of Shading, Display Size and Individual Differences on Navigation Performance in Virtual Reality in an Applied Industry Setting

Date created: 
2013-12-03
Abstract: 

Despite the increasing use of virtual reality within industry and academia, there is a lack of applied usability evaluations within the field. This is problematic for individuals desiring design principles or best practices for incorporating VR into their businesses. The research presented here is a use case study of a virtual reality system used at the Boeing Company for a number of visualization tasks. Twenty eight Boeing employees performed a series of navigation and wayfinding tasks across two shading conditions (flat/smooth) and two display conditions (desktop/immersive). Performance was measured based on speed and accuracy. Individual difference factors were used as covariates. Results showed that women and those with high spatial orientation ability performed faster in smooth shading conditions, while flat shading benefited those with low ability particularly for the navigation task. Unexpectedly, immersive presentation did not improve performance significantly. These results demonstrate the impact of individual differences on spatial performance and help determine appropriate tasks, display parameters, training, and effective users for the VR system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bernhard Riecke
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Social Spatial Behavior for 3D Virtual Characters

Date created: 
2013-12-02
Abstract: 

This thesis presents a social navigation solution for virtual game characters, capable of generating sensible human-like spatial behavior in social scenarios. In a social setting with several groups of virtual characters, our model generates group-joining, group-leaving and group-revisiting behaviors for an individual character. We consider interest as the main motivation behind character’s interactions with the groups. Thus, our social navigation model not only navigates the character toward interesting groups, but also continuously evaluates interestingness of groups and utilizes it to build group-leaving and group-revisiting mechanisms. In an engineering approach, we use the psychological knowledge on social spatial behavior to produce an internal representation of interest; then combine it with existing social navigation models to build our solution. We describe the two-stage implementation of our model, consisting of planning and realization of social spatial behavior. Finally we present simulation results of four testcase scenarios as proofs of concept for our model.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Temporal Coherency in Painterly Rendered Computer Animation Using a Cognitive-Based Approach

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-12-02
Abstract: 

This thesis proposes a solution to augment temporal coherency in painterly rendered computer animation sequences, using a computer engineering approach. Painterly is a cognitive knowledge-based parameterized Non Photo-realistic toolkit for creating artistically rendered still imagery. Therefore, it is incapable of maintaining temporal coherency of rendered animation frames. Consequently, movies rendered by Painterly demonstrate a significant amount of flickering. We proposed and developed CPA - a system to enhance temporal coherency in the sequences rendered by Painterly. CPA utilizes Painterly’s cognitive and perceptual knowledge space and induces coherency in the outputted results, by controlling and executing the main part of frame synthesis process. We created cognitive-based painterly rendered sequences which showed a good deal of improvement in maintaining temporal cohesiveness. Furthermore, by incorporating the element of ‘time’ in Painterly’s frame synthesis process, we expanded its scope from being a still-oriented and state-less toolkit to a more multipurpose and state-full system.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
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Senior supervisor: 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Self-motion illusions ("vection") in Virtual Environments: Do active control and user-generated motion cueing enhance visually induced vection?

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-11
Abstract: 

The human perceptual system can be tricked into believing that one is moving, when in fact, one is not. These self-motion illusions (vection) can be exploited to convincingly simulate self-motion without the need for costly and cumbersome motion platforms. Traditionally, vection has been elicited by moving visual stimuli on custom optokinetic drums or virtual reality (VR) setups. Surprisingly, little is known about contributions of cross-modal effects on vection in contemporary, interactive VR applications. Two studies investigated the effect of active versus passive locomotion and small, actively versus passively generated physical motion cues on optic flow based vection. Twenty four participants used a joystick or gaming chair to navigate on curved (experiment 1, training) or a combination of curved and straight trajectories (experiment 2, main study) presented in an immersive, 3D VR system. The gaming chair allowed for 10 centimeter forward/backward and left/right swivel motions of the seat. Participants experienced four conditions: 1) just watching the scene (passive, no motion cueing), 2) motion cues applied to the participant’s seat (passive, motion cueing), 3) joystick locomotion (active, no motion cueing) and 4) participants using the gaming chair for locomotion (active, motion cueing). Overall, participants took 16% longer to experience vection for active compared to passive locomotion. Small, physical motion cues increased vection intensity by 22%. Trajectory curvature most consistently affected vection. Participants experienced vection 34% more intense, 20% earlier and 9% more likely during narrow turns compared to straight paths. Participants experienced vection up to 18% earlier in experiment 2 over experiment 1 possibly due to training effects. It seems that actively controlling locomotion may have distracted participants from the motion stimulus or the task of reporting vection. It became evident that smoothness, precision and ease-of-use of the interface were possible factors that affected vection. In conclusion, vection can be enhanced by using simple motion paradigms and adding curved trajectories to the simulation at minimal cost and effort. For interactive applications, prudent selection of interaction paradigms and ample training is advised.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bernhard Riecke
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

The architectural image: space, movement and myth

Date created: 
2013-07-22
Abstract: 

This thesis is a descriptive analysis of the architectural image. In it, I aim to uncover some foundational principles that architects rely upon when creating architectural images. I argue why the methods architects use to communicate architectural space in images may sometimes be lacking. Architectural animations were shown to interviewed image-makers, who identified three points of criticism: (1) the restless, roaming camera; (2) the marketing myths these images portray; and (3) the lifeless spaces. I investigate the architects’ reasoning for these critiqued characteristics. I show how image-makers handle such issues. I compare similar concepts between the disciplines of architecture and image-making. In doing so, I identify and propose new patterns for spatial portrayal that architects could use. These patterns include: (1) patterns of camera movements or stillness, (2) patterns of sequencing and editing; (3) patterns of spatial construction; (4) patterns of architectural narratives; and (5) patterns of bringing space alive. By identifying these patterns, I hope to provide a first step in improving the making of the architectural image.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Supporting exploratory information seeking

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-09-03
Abstract: 

Exploratory search is a sensemaking activity that involves information seeking and iterative development of mental model of the domain under exploration. It often begins with a vague and evolving information need that is multidimensional. We designed and developed a web-browser extension to facilitate exploratory web search aiming at transforming the search activity into a meaningful learning activity. The design is based on the proposed multi-threaded model of exploratory search. According to this model, exploratory search is a multi-threaded process as the user has multiple concurrent sub-goals addressing different aspects of her information need. A case study is conducted to evaluate the design and investigate how the proposed model can provide support for sensemaking activities involved in the exploratory web search.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Brian Fisher
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Breath as an Embodied Connection for Performer-System Collaborative Improvisation

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-18
Abstract: 

The use of computers has continued to increase within interactive performance over the last 25 years, evolving the need for understanding performer system interaction. Performers in the disciplines of Music, Dance, and Theatre produce works incorporating autonomous computer systems programmed to “listen” and contribute material. Interaction with such systems commonly relies on computers sensing the performer’s physical and/or sonic gesture. However, this sense-respond model does not easily accommodate the concept of intuition, which fosters the development of performer trust, synchronization and collaboration within interaction. Performance practitioners interact using embodied-knowledge that is developed through training and experience of the body. Although it is an innate part of performing, intuition is seldom considered and has been under theorized and under-researched in the context of performer-system interaction models. Intuition as a parameter of interaction has significant relevance to the interaction between an autonomous system and a performer. I have conducted three case studies on performers’ sense of intuition within interactive performance by designing and testing an interactive system that provides information cues of the system’s internal state. The system’s intention to act and the quality of gesture will was explored by simulating breath as an intentional cue. By altering the timbre and duration of the simulated breath, the system can indicate the quality of intended gesture. The model was evaluated by collecting performer interview data, third person observation of performer interaction, and first-person accounts of the system designer testing the system as a part of the design process. The information resulting from this study can be used to further develop models of interaction with autonomous generative systems in performance.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Automatic tuning of the op-1 synthesizer using a multi-objective genetic algorithm

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-16
Abstract: 

Calibrating a sound synthesizer to replicate or approximate a given target sound is a complex and time consuming task for musicians and sound designers. In the case of the OP1, a commercial synthesizer developed by Teenage Engineering, the difficulty is multiple. The OP-1 contains several synthesis engines, effects and low frequency oscillators, which make the parameters search space very large and discontinuous. Furthermore, interactions between parameters are common and the OP-1 is not fully deterministic. We address the problem of automatically calibrating the parameters of the OP-1 to approximate a given target sound. We propose and evaluate a solution to this problem using a multi-objective Non-dominated-Sorting-Genetic-Algorithm-II. We show that our approach makes it possible to handle the problem complexity, and returns a small set of presets that best approximate the target sound while covering the Pareto front of this multi-objective optimization problem.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.