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Promotional Interactive XR Experience at the FHNW Campus Brugg

Summary

In this bachelor project, a prototype for an engaging and memorable VR experience was created. Goal of this experience was to leave an impression of the FHNW campus, arouse interest in the FHNW School of Engineering’s study courses and therefore attract new students. To reach this goal, it was researched how high user engagement and memorability can be influenced, achieved, measured, and tested. Additionally, research was done into the impact of texture realism on user engagement and memorability in a VR experience . A user study, conducted to examine the influence of texture realism on user engagement and memorability suggested a correlation between high texture realism and high user engagement as well as high texture realism and improved memorability. The findings of this user study were used to develop the prototype of the experience. The final application features three locations of the FHNW campus in Brugg. It offers space to showcase projects of students and research institutes of the FHNW, allows to promote the food options, prices and diversity as well as leisure and sports activities offered by the FHNW. The player can freely explore the three locations in virtual reality using real-world walking within a three-by-three meters play area. User tests showed an improvement of user engagement during development and a high user engagement in the final stages of development of the application.

Keywords

Unity, C#, VR, XR, XR Game Development, User Experience and Usability, Standalone VR, PICO 4

Goal

The goal of this project was to create an engaging and memorable VR experience for prospective students to leave an impression of the FHNW campus, arouse interest in the FHNW School of Engineering’s study courses and therefore attract new students. This includes the goal of understanding how high user engagement and memorability can be influenced, achieved, measured and tested. In specifics, it was a research goal of this thesis, to understand the impact of texture realism on user engagement and memorability in a VR experience.

Initial Position

The aim of this work is the development and implementation of a game concept for an interactive XR application that is attractive, engaging, and memorable for future students (teenagers, young adults) and stands out by a good user experience and a high usability. The developed concept can be used as a marketing and promotion tool for events. In order to offer the aforementioned target group a vivid insight into the offers, the premises and the life at the campus, certain locations at the FHNW campus were 3d modelled and play a central role in the experience.

The main use-case is on events to promote the FHNW School of Engineering’s study courses by an engaging and memorable experience. Prospective students will get to know the FHNW, its campus in Brugg-Windisch and see special places and projects within roughly five minutes of playtime.

Results

Walkthrough Application, Text Application, Screenshot Research Application, Results Research

In this bachelor thesis, a prototype for an immersive, engaging, and memorable VR experience named “VR Tour” could be realized as expected. Based on user feedback, personal experience and input of the marketing and communications department of the FHNW, the most fitting locations to feature the FHNW campus, its benefits and offers as well as its study courses have been identified. Using Blender, a free 3D graphics suite, these three locations have been modelled and textured as close to reality as possible. The realized application offers space to feature projects realized by other students and research institutes of the FHNW and allows to promote food options, prices and diversity as well as leisure and sports activities of the FHNW. In the current state of the application, most of these spaces are filled with placeholders, which allows future development.

In advance to the development of the VR Tour, a separate Unity project was created in order to examine the impact of texture realism on user engagement and general memorability. The results of this “Research Test Scene” have been used as a base for the development of VR Tour.

While the user tests conducted to reach and validate the achievement of certain goals are discussable mainly in regards of sample size, the produced results still provide a general indication. Based on user tests, texture realism seems to have direct influence on user engagement and the memorability of the experience. This suggests that at least high-quality textures should be used. Based on user tests, the developed application shows a high level of user engagement, and as it implemented the learnings of the texture realism research, it most certainly also shows a good memorability.

Below you find a walkthrough of the created application:

Project data
Project duration
(Bachelor Thesis Computer Science & iCompetence):
CW38-CW12, 26 weeks
Effort (in person hours): 720 h, 360 h/team member
Team size: 2 persons
Customer
Project Team
Supervisors/Contact
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