Oculus Best Practices Article: https://developer3.oculus.com/documentation/intro-vr/latest/concepts/bp_intro/
User Interface (UI) in VR, as outlined in the Introduction to Best Practices documentation, should fit within the middle third of the player’s viewing area and should be examinable by the player through head movements without requiring the player to swivel their eyes in their sockets (Oculus, 2016). Developers should also aim to integrate the interface elements into the game as ‘intuitive and immersive parts of the 3D world’ (Oculus, 2016).
Erik Fagerhold and Magnus Lorentzon discuss terms for different types of user interfaces in video games depending on how they were ‘linked to the narrative and game geometry’ (Stonehouse, 2014). The terms, Diegetic, Meta, Spatial, and Non-Diegetic, each interact with the fiction of the video game in a different manner (Stonehouse, 2014).
Diegetic UI elements exist within the fiction and geometry of the game and can be interacted with through ‘visual, audible of haptic means’ (Stonehouse, 2014).
Meta UI elements, while maintaining the game’s narrative, do not fit within the geometry of the game but sit on a separate 2D plane (Stonehouse, 2014). An example of a Meta elements can be seen within the Call of Duty series where blood splatter on the screen is used to indicate the players level of health (Fagerholt and Lorentzon, 2009).
Spatial UI elements exist when there is a need to ‘break the narrative in order to provide more information to the player’ (Stonehouse, 2014). When these elements are made to work with the geometry of the game’s environment as well as maintain the level of fiction, the player can still maintain their immersion within the game (Stonehouse, 2014). Examples include Splinter Cell: Conviction where the spatial elements are in the form of projections onto objects within the game world, and Forza 4 where information and details of the game are overlayed onto objects which aid in further establishing Forza’s art direction.
Splinter Cell: Conviction http://i.imgur.com/W6sJ3PA.jpg
Forza Motorsport 4: http://www.thewanderlust.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/forza4.jpg
Non-Diegetic UI are used when the use of diegetic, meta, and spatial elements would break the ‘seamlessness, consistency or legibly of the UI element’ (Stonehouse, 2014).
While creating games for VR, integrating user interfaces in the game world ensures that the players do not become confused as to where the interfaces are coming from (Kristiansen, 2015). Spatial user interface elements would decrease the risk of motion sickness in players, while maintaining an immersive environment for the player.
Fagerholt, E. and Lorentzon, M. (2009) Beyond the HUD – User Interfaces for Increased Player Immersion in FPS Games. Göteborg : Chalmers University of Technology
Kristiansen, J.K. (2015) How to create good UI for VR games. Available at: http://nordicgamebits.com/2015/06/02/how-to-create-good-ui-for-vr-games/ (Accessed: 27 November 2016).
Oculus (2016) Introduction to Best Practices. Available at: https://developer3.oculus.com/documentation/intro-vr/latest/concepts/bp_intro/ (Accessed: 26 November 2016).
Stonehouse, A. (2014) User interface design in video games. Available at: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AnthonyStonehouse/20140227/211823/User_interface_design_in_video_games.php (Accessed: 26 November 2016).