Elwyn Benson

BIT (Hons) student in 2010

Project: User Interfaces for Real-Time Strategy Games

Supervisor: StuartMarshall and PeterAndreae


As real time strategy games are becoming increasingly complex and large scale, new interaction techniques need to be investigated to overcome the limitations found in conventional interaction methods. This project has explored freehand sketching as an interaction technique, and this report discusses some of the advantages and disadvantages of sketching for spatial tasks, which are common in real time strategy games. The report describes two novel sketch interaction techniques for giving precise orders to units— a technique for selecting groups of units, and a technique for specifying movement paths. A user experiment has been conducted that evaluated the novel interaction techniques, which is described. The results have shown that sketching does not provide a clear quantitative advantage in terms of efficiency for selecting units but seem to be comparable to the conventional technique. Further study is required to confirm this due to issues with the experimental design. The results for movement paths are positive, however not by a significant amount. Despite this, the qualitative feedback from participants of both experiments has been almost completely positive, which combined with sketching being comparable to the conventional techniques suggests there may be further work to be done to take this idea further.