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AMELIO: Mixed Reality Team Collaboration Serious Game
One of the key challenges in the rapid technological advance of Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) concerns the design of collaborative experiences. VR systems do not readily support team collaboration because they tend to focus on individual experiences and do not easily facilitate naturalistic collaboration. MR environments provide solutions for collaborative experiences, but establishing smooth communication between hardware components and software modules faces a major hurdle. This paper presents the background to and main challenges of an ongoing project on collaboration in an MR lab, aiming to design a serious 'team collaboration' game. To this end, we utilized a common game engine to engineer a cost-effective solution that would make the game playable in a configuration operated by WorldViz and Volfoni equipment. Evaluation of various solutions in the development process found a Unity 3D Cluster Rendering Beta solution to be the most cost-effective and successful.
The authors investigate the potential of Mixed Reality (MR) games for team building and assessment. The AMELIO game was designed for a highly immersive MR lab. The game is a multi-player team challenge based on the concept of an escape room, staged in a space colony emergency situation. An explorative empirical pre-post measurement study was carried out to establish whether playing AMELIO influences team cohesiveness. Ten teams of three played AMELIO and filled out pre- and post-game questionnaires with validated measurements of team cohesiveness and mediating factors related to team composition, game experience and team dynamics. The findings show a positive and significant increase in team cohesiveness, with stronger effects for teams with lower pre-game familiarity. In terms of game experience and team dynamics, audio aesthetics and empathy proved to be significant mediating factors. This aids game validation and improvement, and understanding and guiding the team building process.