- freely available
Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2017, 1(4), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti1040021
1.1. Advances in Virtual Reality
1.2. Immersive Environments: Conceptual Approach
- Going in depth on models based on Communication Theory in order to apply them to immersive environments, VR and ICT, in order to define the current state of virtual reality technology and its relationship with other media and applications in diverse scientific and communicative areas.
- Contributing to describing a framework where advances in emergent approaches in disciplines such as interaction design, human-computer interaction and user experience are linked to research in VR as a medium and from a technological approach. We also aim to connect the idea of virtual reality and immersive environments with user experience approaches to contribute to defining the current state of interaction, and considering the next steps for going further in technological and human-factor research applied to VR fields.
- Contributing to describing the features of VR technology and medium and its possibilities in designing experiences or simulating situations.
3. Materials and Methods
- How can VR and immersive environments evolve as mediums with their own features? What human and technological factors should be kept in mind for designing new experiences based on VR technologies?
- How can VR and immersive environments evolve at the same time as human factors and computer science and increase the complexity of interactions between users, technology/devices and the environment?
- What are the next human senses and cognitive approaches that should be integrated into VR and immersive technology? How could researchers in these areas explore the possibilities of interaction between users, devices and the environment?
- How can we build a culture of a medium, based on VR and immersive environments? How can we describe and analyse the language that evolves in that medium?
3.1. The Virtuality Continuum: The Relationship between the Physical World and Digital Information
3.2. Virtual Reality as a Medium: Representation and Interaction
3.3. Virtual Reality and Its Approach to Simulation
3.4. Representative and Expressive Power of VR Technology
3.5. Virtual Reality as a Tool for Artistic Creation
4.1. Factors Related to Design of Environments, Experiences and Stories in VR
4.1.1. The VR Puzzle and its Relationship with Other Research Domains and Application in Diverse Fields. The Concept of ASA Reality
4.1.2. Some Factors Associated with VR
- Storytelling-Narrative Dimension: Associated with the account of the virtual environment and the power to articulate it, and the story which users create themselves by interacting with the virtual world.
- Narrative: Associated with the events we want to recount and the elements we, as developers, are going to use to relate to these events. It is the reality that we want to happen, in this case, in a VR world.
- Storytelling: Associated with the dramatic approach that we are going to use to describe the facts.
- Interactivity: Authors such as Steuer  define it as “the extent to which users can participate in modifying the form and content of a mediated environment in real time”. We define it, in this contribution, as “the potential to receive information from the ensemble of our senses and to construct and configure an alternate reality or to simulate reality”. Additionally, it is the potential to influence (in real time) in the digital environments, the objects and the narrative framed in it. Interactivity, as opposed to communication in traditional media, is multidirectional and covers a wide range of cognitive ranges. The following interdisciplinary approaches are the research fields where it is necessary to develop standards to improve the process of having an experience in virtual reality and in immersive environments.
- Human Computer-Interaction (HCI): An interdisciplinary field which analyses in order to improve interactive processes between users, digital information and environment. A proposed variable is Human World Interaction (HWI), which analyses the user’s behaviour in certain contexts to design experiences in virtual environments.
- Interaction design: The design of interfaces and digital objects in order to improve the process of interaction and broaden the range of cognitive approaches to communicate and influence in a digital environment and with digital information.
- User experience: The interdisciplinary field focused on conceiving and developing interactive experiences which are based in a natural user interface, and improve its interactive process.
- Representation: VR is a technology, but also a medium with its own potential expressive power. To represent means to position ideas and concepts in a specific medium, as for example words represent ideas in literature. Research on the representation and expressive power of VR needs to focus on the question of how this medium can communicate and develop its own dynamics.
- Gameplay: As VR is becoming more and more interactive, it is playable, so, a relevant factor is to integrate research into game and play possibilities, even for experiences based on physical environments (such as games—in the physical world-, video games—digital mediums, or alternate reality games—ARGs, augmented reality) mixing the concepts and going further in research related to a complex interaction process.
- Technological Evolution—Mechanics: VR will progress at the same rate that computer graphics technology and processors do. So, it is also a transitional technology which will lead us to other wider taxonomical classifications of mediums and digital information.
4.1.3. The Role of Video Games in VR Applications and Immersive Environments
Conflicts of Interest
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