|M.Sc Thesis||Department of Architecture and Town Planning|
|Supervisor:||Assoc. Prof. Oxman Rivka|
|Full Thesis text|
The immense growth in computer and virtual reality technology has resulted in the development of new approaches to the design of virtual environments. A virtual environment is a 3D computer generated particular environment, which surrounds a participant who can interact with other participants, objects and environment. The process of designing virtual environments needs to be theoretically established, because it is used in many applications of virtual reality and needs to be more effective and compelling. The problem is that designers do not have well-defined principles, rules and methodology for designing virtual environments. The aim of this research is to formulate a concept for designing virtual environments that will be based on theoretical knowledge in the field of virtuality and to propose new methodology for designing virtual environments.
This study presents a new concept of designing virtual environments that is based upon three important ideas: a sense of presence, a sense of place and a scenario-based approach. Beginning in the early 1990s, most scientists in the field of psychology have been advocating the development of the theory of a sense of presence. They feel that the sense of presence is the design goal of virtual reality. At the same time, scientists in the field of architecture have been developing the theory and practice of designing virtual environments from an architectural perspective. According to them, the main feature of designing virtual environments is the sense of place, which contributes to the sense of presence of the participant. The notion of scenario comes from the fields of theater, movies, computer games, etc. Accordingly, it is thought that scenario is the interactive content of the virtual environment which contributes to the sense of presence of the participant and makes the virtual environment more compelling and effective.
This study proposes a new methodology for designing virtual environments by employing the aforementioned concept of design. According to the proposed methodology, the following four virtual environments have been designed theoretically: a virtual museum, a virtual office, a virtual bank, and a virtual store. The virtual museum has been implemented as a demo version in VRML format - Virtual Reality Modeling Language.
The outcome of the study is the proposal of a number of guidelines for designers of virtual environments, which employ theoretical rules and principles of designing virtual environments. It is hoped that designers will benefit from this research and will better understand the issues associated with the design of virtual environments.