Facilitating Collaborative Gameplay Within an Immersive Virtual Reality Environment

Drake Stolman

Name: Drake Stolman
Major: Computer Science
Advisors: Daniel Palmer, Heather Guarnera

Critical Digital Engagement Award Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

Virtual reality has become increasingly popular over the past decade, especially in the area of gaming. With standalone headsets like the Meta Quest 2 gaining traction, this project aimed to create a multiplayer collaborative puzzle game. This project also relies on researching information about the inner workings of the Quest 2 system, and applying the theory of collaborative games, especially in how they differ from competitive and cooperative games.

This game was developed with Unity, using Normcore, a multiplayer service made for Unity, and XR Interaction Toolkit packages for a system using the Meta Quest 2 headsets. The final product is a mechanically complete puzzle game which contains three unique puzzles. Within the game, players must explore different methods of collaboration (such as information sharing, instruction giving, and working together towards a common goal), each much different than the last. The system was play-tested with several subjects to evaluate the effectiveness of the puzzles at eliciting collaborative behaviors. User testing was conducted, which was analyzed and changes were made to prevent the unintended behavior discovered this way.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 13, 2023.

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