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Computational approaches to the visual validation of 3D virtual environments

Nantes, Alfredo (2011) Computational approaches to the visual validation of 3D virtual environments. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Virtual environments can provide, through digital games and online social interfaces, extremely exciting forms of interactive entertainment. Because of their capability in displaying and manipulating information in natural and intuitive ways, such environments have found extensive applications in decision support, education and training in the health and science domains amongst others. Currently, the burden of validating both the interactive functionality and visual consistency of a virtual environment content is entirely carried out by developers and play-testers. While considerable research has been conducted in assisting the design of virtual world content and mechanics, to date, only limited contributions have been made regarding the automatic testing of the underpinning graphics software and hardware. The aim of this thesis is to determine whether the correctness of the images generated by a virtual environment can be quantitatively defined, and automatically measured, in order to facilitate the validation of the content. In an attempt to provide an environment-independent definition of visual consistency, a number of classification approaches were developed. First, a novel model-based object description was proposed in order to enable reasoning about the color and geometry change of virtual entities during a play-session. From such an analysis, two view-based connectionist approaches were developed to map from geometry and color spaces to a single, environment-independent, geometric transformation space; we used such a mapping to predict the correct visualization of the scene. Finally, an appearance-based aliasing detector was developed to show how incorrectness too, can be quantified for debugging purposes. Since computer games heavily rely on the use of highly complex and interactive virtual worlds, they provide an excellent test bed against which to develop, calibrate and validate our techniques. Experiments were conducted on a game engine and other virtual worlds prototypes to determine the applicability and effectiveness of our algorithms. The results show that quantifying visual correctness in virtual scenes is a feasible enterprise, and that effective automatic bug detection can be performed through the techniques we have developed. We expect these techniques to find application in large 3D games and virtual world studios that require a scalable solution to testing their virtual world software and digital content.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 48341
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Brown, Ross& Maire, Frederic
Keywords: virtual environment testing, virtual environment validation, virtual environment consistency, rendering system validation, computer game testing, visual bug detection, visual inconsistency detection, synthetic image processing
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Jan 2012 15:07
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2012 15:07

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