Game Development Reference
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progress made possible by these techniques in the fields of interaction andmulti-sensory
stimulation. It is also necessary to remember that the selections made by the virtual
reality system designers are partially arbitrary, as when it concerns describing the
immersive capabilities of certain systems (is a visualisation headset more immersive
than a screen device like CAVE ?). There, we deal with the question of the contributions
of the basic research in Behavioural Sciences to virtual reality.
4.3 CONTRIBUTION OF BEHAVIOURAL
SCIENCES TOVIRTUAL REALITY
The virtual reality technologies were originally developed by using laws and parame-
ters discovered by researchers in Life Sciences (Psychology, Neurosciences, etc.) since
the end of the 18th century. From this point of view, computer graphics have capi-
talized on the knowledge in the field of human visual perception (static acuity, vision
of movement, stereoscopy, etc.) We can thus say that research uses technology to dis-
cover new laws, as we have seen above. However, the discovery and/or refinement of
psycho-biological laws can also require reconsidering the technological choices, either
by promoting new ones, or by putting into perspective the laws that we believed to be
absolute, or even by demonstrating that certain parameter values of the operation of
the “virtual reality'' tool must be corrected. In other words, the relation between the
scientific questions and the tools used to resolve them is two-way. From this point of
view, researchers in the field of Behavioural Sciences consider virtual reality as a banal
experimental tool, which is likely to be re-examined by any progress that it makes pos-
sible. We can mention a few questions related to this dialectic between virtual reality
and basic research.
4.3.1 What are the correct parameters?
There are a good number of concepts used by virtual reality which, when approached
under the angle of scientific demonstration, pose a problem. For example, it is often
said that a virtual reality system is immersive. What does this mean (we can refer to the
chapter that deals with this question more specifically)? In particular, is a visualisation
headset (HMD) more immersive than a screen system (“CAVE''). If we consider this
question a little more attentively, we quickly observe that the answer is far from simple.
With an HMD, the viewing angle of the virtual world is a maximum of 60 degrees, but
the subject only sees the virtual world. On the other hand, in a CAVE (except in the
case of CAVE with 6 sides, which is very rare) the horizontal view of the subject is 180
degrees. On the other hand, if he raises his head, he risks seeing the laboratory where
the CAVE is located. Which device is more immersive than the other? This is difficult to
answer, especially if we consider that in CAVE, the subject naturally sees his body, for
example, when he looks down, while with an HMD, the subject does not see his body
as his vision is masked. We can assume that this will cause problems during interaction
with objects of the virtual world. Quite obviously, controlled behavioural studies are
required here, which will also certainly show that the answer to the question “which
device is better?'' depends on the activity in which the subject is engaged (locomotion,
object capture, etc.), and mainly on the scale of the environment in which the activity
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