Marples, Daryl (2017) The Influence of Intrinsic Perceptual Cues on Navigation and Route Selection in Virtual Environments. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The principle aims of this thesis were to investigate the influence of intrinsic navigational cues in virtual environments and video games. Modern video games offer complex environments that may reflect real world spaces or represent landscapes from fantasy and fiction. The coherent design of these spaces can promote natural navigational flow without the requirement for extraneous guidance such as maps and arrows. The methods that designers use to create natural flow are complex and stratified utilising principles rooted in urban architectural design and navigational cues that are intrinsic to real-world wayfinding scenarios. The studies presented in this thesis analysed not only these commonly used architectural cues but also the potential for the reinforcing of these cues by the addition of lighting, visual and auditory cues. The primary focus of this thesis was a systematic and quantitatively rooted analysis of the impact lighting has on navigation and the levels at which variance in lighting makes a quantifiable difference to navigational choices within a virtual environment. The findings of this thesis offer clear guidance as to the influence that lighting has within virtual environments and specifies that thresholds at which the inclusion of guidance lighting begins to affect navigational choices and the levels that players become conscious of these cues. The thesis also analyses the temporal thresholds for the detection of changes in contrast, hue and texture within an environment. The relationship of other intrinsic cues such as the potential reinforcement or cue competition effects of both audio and other visual cues, for instance motion are quantitatively analysed. These data were reflected in the form of a series of heuristic design principles that augment those that underpin architectural and environmental design considerations by for instance suggesting levels of saliency for lighting cues or reinforcing existing cues via supporting audio guidance.

FINAL THESIS - Marples.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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