Group Navigation for Guided Tours in Distributed Virtual Environments

Left: Five distributed users discuss with each other in a virtual museum. The group’s spatial extent is visualized on the floor by the convex hull of the projected head positions. Center: The guide of the group plans a jump to another exhibit and rearranges the group to a circle formation for improved joint observation. Right: After the jump, the group ends up in the specified formation.

Abstract

Group navigation can be an invaluable tool for performing guided tours in distributed virtual environments. Related work suggests that group navigation techniques should be comprehensible for both the guide and the attendees, assist the group in avoiding collisions with obstacles, and allow the creation of meaningful spatial arrangements with respect to objects of interest. To meet these requirements, we developed a group navigation technique based on short-distance teleportation (jumping) and evaluated its usability, comprehensibility, and scalability in an initial user study. After navigating with groups of up to 10 users through a virtual museum, participants indicated that our technique is easy to learn for guides, comprehensible also for attendees, non-nauseating for both roles, and therefore well-suited for performing guided tours.

Our research received funding from the Thuringian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Science, and Digital Society under grant 5575/10-5 (MetaReal). We would like to thank the participants of our studies and the members of the Virtual Reality and Visualization Research Group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

Publication

Tim Weissker and Bernd Froehlich. 2021.
Group Navigation for Guided Tours in Distributed Virtual Environments
To appear in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
[preprint][video]