As video games continue to gain precedence outside the realm of entertainment, the potential of the medium for new uses, contexts and audiences expands. This raises the issue of how to design video games for an increasingly diverse set of players. Novice players, in particular, face a number of challenges in modern video game environments. Successful navigation and gameplay engagement are threatened by the learning curves associated with the medium’s increasing sophistication. In this thesis, I designed a vibrotactile forearm display that provides feedforward guidance for navigating fast-paced, multimodal game environments. I conducted an exploratory experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of the prototype in reducing the learning curve by improving the early performance and user experience of novice players. The experimental findings show that feedforward guidance rises tentatively to the fore; however, the haptic condition was not as effective as the visual condition. Latent factors combined with discordant performance scores, self-reports and qualitative feedback suggest that more research needs to be conducted in order to conclusively elucidate the effectiveness of haptic feedforward guidance.
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Thesis advisor: Antle, Alissa
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