Please note: This master’s thesis presentation will be given online.
Kin Pong (Kenny) Fung, Master’s candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Video games often have indicators and notifications to convey in-game information. However, displaying these visuals on-screen come with trade-offs, such as consuming screen real estate and an inability for them to be configured independently from its host screen, denying users freedoms such as increasing indicator and notification brightness levels for better awareness without increasing the brightness of main content.
As an alternative, we introduce LightPlay, an ambient light system set on the back border of a monitor to display video game indicators and notifications. We compare the speed, error rate, and perceived workload, between on-screen and ambient light indicators and notifications in a first-person camera view video game environment. Results show that ambient lights provide 17.5% faster times for capturing attention compared to on-screen indicators. In addition, ambient lights performed at least as well as on-screen across all other tested metrics. Based on these results, LightPlay could be an effective replacement for on-screen methods of displaying indicators and notifications, allowing users to reclaim screen real estate and configuration flexibility without sacrificing performance. Additionally, we outline possible designs and applications for LightPlay in video games.
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