3d user interface, stereoscopic 3d, dynamic stereoscopic 3d parameters, head tracking, finger count gestures, menu selection, air combat game, user study, video games, game design, game play metrics, player behavior, user experience, hci


3D user interface technologies have the potential to make games more immersive & engaging and thus potentially provide a better user experience to gamers. Although 3D user interface technologies are available for games, it is still unclear how their usage affects game play and if there are any user performance benefits. A systematic study of these technologies in game environments is required to understand how game play is affected and how we can optimize the usage in order to achieve better game play experience. This dissertation seeks to improve the gaming experience by exploring several 3DUI technologies. In this work, we focused on stereoscopic 3D viewing (to improve viewing experience) coupled with motion based control, head tracking (to make games more engaging), and faster gesture based menu selection (to reduce cognitive burden associated with menu interaction while playing). We first studied each of these technologies in isolation to understand their benefits for games. We present the results of our experiments to evaluate benefits of stereoscopic 3D (when coupled with motion based control) and head tracking in games. We discuss the reasons behind these findings and provide recommendations for game designers who want to make use of these technologies to enhance gaming experiences. We also present the results of our experiments with finger-based menu selection techniques with an aim to find out the fastest technique. Based on these findings, we custom designed an air-combat game prototype which simultaneously uses stereoscopic 3D, head tracking, and finger-count shortcuts to prove that these technologies could be useful for games if the game is designed with these technologies in mind. Additionally, to enhance depth discrimination and minimize visual discomfort, the game dynamically optimizes stereoscopic 3D parameters (convergence and separation) based on the user's look direction. We conducted a within subjects experiment where we examined performance data and self-reported data on users perception of the game. Our results indicate that participants performed significantly better when all the 3DUI technologies (stereoscopic 3D, head-tracking and finger-count gestures) were available simultaneously with head tracking as a dominant factor. We explore the individual contribution of each of these technologies to the overall gaming experience and discuss the reasons behind our findings. Our experiments indicate that 3D user interface technologies could make gaming experience better if used effectively. The games must be designed to make use of the 3D user interface technologies available in order to provide a better gaming experience to the user. We explored a few technologies as part of this work and obtained some design guidelines for future game designers. We hope that our work will serve as the framework for the future explorations of making games better using 3D user interface technologies.


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Graduation Date





LaViola Jr., Joseph J.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Release Date

May 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)