A design-led investigation of augmented reality: a case of AR for board games

Thakar, N 2014, A design-led investigation of augmented reality: a case of AR for board games, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A design-led investigation of augmented reality: a case of AR for board games
Author(s) Thakar, N
Year 2014
Abstract This research presents a new approach to using Augmented Reality for presenting and navigating through information in a scenario involving a board game. Learning the rules and strategies of a new game can be a challenging task for players. In particular, this can be an intimidating task for people who do not regularly play board games. Many board games are complex and new players require several sessions to learn them to be able to play at a reasonable speed while providing a challenge to experienced players. New players generally prefer not to read the manuals and instead learn to play the game on the fly and by asking experienced players. Several issues arise here for more experienced players who need to explain the game rules on the fly and when explaining strategies.

This research therefore has been guided by the following question: How can an Augmented Reality experience be designed for board games to communicate information in an interactive and non-intrusive way? This has been addressed by conducting an ethnographic inspired study on public board game sessions and a research through design methodology.

The board game, Settlers of Catan was selected and the Activity Theory framework was used to explore the relationship between the components in a game session. Interactive augmented information overlays were designed using design principles of visual communication and information design. Guided by Flow Theory, the experience was designed to be in-situ and non-intrusive.

The research showcases my approach to use Augmented Reality as a medium for information, moving beyond the focus on enabling technology. Innovative approach for video capture and for occlusion-based navigation of augmented content has been demonstrated through the process of design and the subsequent development of a series of software prototypes. I have used Research through Design as the methodology for generating new knowledge through five design iterations of a software prototype for the game Settlers of Catan, and evaluated the prototype through peer-review and user testing.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) Augmented Reality
Spatial Augmented Reality
Board Games
Activity Theory
Ethnographic Participant Observations
Research Through Design
Design Process
Rapid Prototyping
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