Immersive Sims: A new paradigm or a new game genre?
In this paper, first we discuss how sets of common principles constitute paradigms in HCI and what creates a paradigm shift; second, we analyse characteristics of immersive sims and examine if they qualify as a new paradigm. The first HCI paradigm, an amalgam of engineering and human factors, accepts interaction as a form of man-machine coupling in ways inspired by industrial engineering and ergonomics. The second HCI paradigm, in contrast, hinges on a metaphor of mind and computer as symmetric, coupled information processors. The third HCI paradigm focuses on embodied interaction, meaning and meaning construction, situated knowledge, an explicit focus on values and the centrality of context. In this paper, we build a rigorous speculative set of concepts to test our hypothesis that immersive sims present a paradigm shift. We align this conceptual clarity with a structured and systematic analysis of the high and low-level characteristics of immersive sims based on Samoylenko’s description of the five pillars of immersive sim design. We propose more refined low-level characteristics within the three high-level characteristics of immersion, simulation, and interaction. This methodical analysis of principles and practices results in a set of reliable tools supported by examples drawn from the full history of immersive sims. Using these principles, we develop an immersive sim and conduct a usability test to verify the low-level characteristics listed above in a UX case study. Finally, we conclude by stating that the immersive sim design principles constitute a paradigm shift in HCI, rather than a new genre.
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