Australasian Mathematical Psychology Conference 2019

Comparative analysis of search task performance in 2D and 3D environments

Laura Waters
School of Psychology, University of Newcastle

The use of serious computer games to study human performance has risen in multiple industries across recent years. Essentially, a serious game includes an environment, and a set of game mechanics that have been designed to achieve a goal beyond pure entertainment through gameplay within the environment. Often, assumptions are made about the generalisability of task performance from the virtual world to the real world. Unfortunately, a serious games’ effectiveness is often ‘measured’ subjectively rather than objectively. We designed a simple visual search task within a 3D virtual environment (Virtual Battle Space 3) which replicates the experimental design of a standard 2D laboratory-based task. Participants completed the visual search task in both the 3D and 2D environments, which allows us to assess whether performance differs between environments despite similar task requirements. We compared response times and performance accuracy for the varying set sizes as well as across tasks. We also examined factors related to spatial configuration in both the 2D and 3D environments. The preliminary results will help us shape the design of the 3D environment in our future benchmarking experiments.