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

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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.

Understanding the role of interaction designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-04
Abstract: 

Using designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice is usually considered as a questionable approach by rationalist in HCI. Perhaps for this reason, little work has been conducted to investigate how designers’ personal experiences can contribute to technology design. Yet it’s undeniable designers have applied their personal experiences into design practice and also benefited from such experiences. This thesis reports on a multiple case study that looks at how interaction designers worked with their personal experiences in three industrial interaction design projects, thus calling for the need to explicitly recognize the legitimacy of using designers’ personal experiences in interaction design practice. In this study, a designer’s personal experiences refer to the collections of his/her individual experiences that derived from his/her direct observation or participation in past real-life events and activities as well as his/her interaction with design artifacts and systems whether digital or not in professional and personal contexts.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring the notion of ‘Grinding’ in massively multiplayer online role playing gamer discourse: the case of Guild Wars

Date created: 
2013-05-29
Abstract: 

The grind in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) has been described by game studies theorists as an inscrutable, paradoxical convergence of work and play (Dibbell, 2006; Yee, 2006), troubling previously held notions about the carefree nature of play as advanced by seminal theorists such as Johan Huizinga (1951). However, despite the recent academic fervor around MMOGs, examinations of the grind offer little insight into why players grind, and even less about what the grind means to its practitioners. Studying the collected forum and interview texts of a six-year old MMOG community, this dissertation adopts a Wittgensteinian approach to discourse analysis in an effort to learn more about the grind and what it means to the players who practice it. This ‘mapping out’ of the grind’s meaning in the Guild Wars community is intended to both start and/or contribute to a dialog in game studies that examines how play can be situated theoretically with respect to phenomena so often construed as undesirable by its players while also providing a functional instrument for others to adopt in their further analysis of this phenomenon.

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

Game Design Framework and Guidelines Based on a Theory of Visual Attention

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-05-28
Abstract: 

The design of video games has a tremendous impact in shaping our experience, and one area is through their visual designs. Action games in particular engulf the player in highly dynamic and sensory rich environments where challenges can easily be misperceived. For example, the player may feel overwhelmed, fail to notice important elements, or take the wrong course of action as a result of distractions. Pinpointing and solving these problems are difficult without taking into consideration the underlying mechanisms of human visual information processing. In this effort, this dissertation develops a perception-based game design framework supported by a theory of visual attention. This framework was applied to consider perceptual features of motion affecting the visual design, and their effects on the player’s experience. Perceptual features of motion are often overlooked in games, but cannot be ignored. Perception and attention researchers found numerous effects of motion on users’ task performances and affective responses that are of interest to the game design and user research community. The contribution of this work consists of an investigation of a perception-based framework for elements in motion within commercial and an experimental game called EMOS (Expressive MOtion Shooter). This is followed by identifying and validating two perception-based guidelines. The guidelines are novel such they are empirically expressed, based on expert game designers’ manipulations of perceptual features in EMOS. This contribution also benefits the design and human computer interaction communities, since results include qualitative reflections from game designers concerning this topic.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lyn Bartram
Magy Seif El-Nasr
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.