The Effects of Variation of System Responsiveness on User Performance in Virtual Environments

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Watson, Benjamin A. (Benjamin Allen)
Walker, Neff
Ribarsky, William
Spaulding, Victoria
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This paper reports on study of the effects on user performance of system responsiveness in VE systems. Responsiveness is a time-to-feedback measure, and includes the well-known system latency and frame time, as well as an additional delay between a user action and the next input sample used by the rendering process. After a detailed examination of the components of VE system responsiveness and a review of the methods by which this responsiveness can be measured and manipulated, three studies of the effects of mean responsiveness and responsiveness variation during task performance are presented. These studies used typical system responsiveness means and patterns of variation, and were performed on a immersive non-desktop VE system. Results indicated that variations in responsiveness can affect performance, but only at standard deviations above 82 ms. Effects were more detrimental when tasks required more feedback. This suggests that designers of VE systems implementing control of model complexity to manipulate system responsiveness need not tightly constrain variation in system responsiveness, and may wish to make their control sensitive to required task feedback.
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