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Course: Interaction Methods and Devices

"Interaction Methods and Devices" is a course on human-computer interaction for undergraduate game engineering students. The course consists of a lecture, an exercise course, and tutorials. Prof. Gudrun Klinker teaches the lecture. As an exercise instructor, I am responsible for the exercises. The tutorials are taught by student tutors.

Lecture: The lecture provides an in-depth coverage of concepts and devices for human computer interaction in the context of computer games. This includes topics such as current input and output devices and methods, technical details of selected input and output methods, interaction metaphors for computer games and their respective suitability, and evaluation of game interactions.

Exercise Course: The purpose of the exercise course is to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications. We want to provide insights into real-world problems and solutions related to the topics taught in the lecture. Each week we have an exercise course in which we teach the practical basics. Students then attend tutorials where they perform small exercises in the context of games. The exercises are implemented using the Unity Game Engine and web technologies.

During this course, we explore event-based architectures for processing input, from simple event handling for decoupling input to more powerful programming paradigms, such as reactive programming. To get started, students explore classic event handling and basic pointer input in the context of the game Ohi Ohi Dungeon. In the second week, we introduce reactive programming and compare the approaches with the naive implementations from the first week. In the following weeks, students implement a first-person controller with travel and camera controls using Reactive Programming. Later, the students implement wayfinding support techniques for this first-person controller. In the second part of the semester, students implement various interaction techniques, digital input devices (including a virtual controller and a Virtual Ocarina), and multiple applications with various input and output modalities (including a Marble Game and a GPS Game.) At the end of the semester, students can participate in a project phase in which they work on interesting research questions related to the topics taught during the semester. For this project, students implement a prototype related to interaction methods and conduct a UI evaluation in the form of user studies.

Further Reading: If you want to learn more about interaction methods, read the book "3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice" by LaViola et al. (2017). If you want to learn more about Reactive Programming, check out "The introduction to Reactive Programming you've been missing"by André Staltz (2014), concrete frameworks such as ReactiveX, and solutions for Unity such as UniRx.