Justin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Art + Design, North Carolina State UniversityTrack 6 VIRTUAL REALITY/MOBILE
A substantial body of research connects exposure to nature to mental health benefits such as stress reduction and attention restoration. Recent literature shows similar benefits in exposures to virtual nature environments presented in VR. Current video game development technology allows for the creation of high-fidelity virtual environments while adding interactive elements. This combination of visuals and interactivity may enhance a feeling of presence and result in significant mental restoration. This presentation will connect the literature to designing virtual nature environments with interactivity for VR and make the case for VR games as a potential way to provide mental health benefits. Design strategies, tools, and an ongoing research project will also be discussed, as well as recommendations for future research.
This presentation will provide strategies for designing virtual environments linked to mental restoration by outlining connections to the literature and research frameworks. These strategies will include: visual aesthetics, landscape design, and game play mechanics.
Attendees will also come away will tools, such as hardware and software, for developing virtual nature environments for VR. Recommendations will be provided on how build virtual nature environments and interactivity using current video game development technology including digital nature assets, working with the Unreal Game Engine, and deploying to VR platforms.