The Visual Computer

, Volume 29, Issue 6–8, pp 795–804 | Cite as

The wise cursor: assisted selection in 3D serious games

Original Article


In recent years, the evolution of 3D graphics hardware and software has lead to a growing interest for serious games in three-dimensional virtual environments for learning, training, and rehabilitation. Many of these games are based on a first-person-shooter paradigm in which users navigate through the environment, select, and manipulate virtual objects. The target users of these applications are not necessarily usual gamers, and they often have difficulties in navigating and interacting in the 3D environment.

This paper proposes the wise cursor, a new method for selection that improves the usability and accessibility of mouse-driven serious games in 3D environments. At each user click, the proposed method computes a list of objects candidates to be selected and their probability of being the desired one. Depending on the uncertainty of the probability distribution, either one object is selected or a mechanism to clarify the selection is proposed. In the former case, if the selected object is within the user avatar’s scope, the action associated to it is realized, otherwise the application automatically navigates toward it. In this way, selection and navigation are eased. The empirical results of the usability tests show that this technique is fast, practical, and that it requires little user’s skills. Thus, it can make serious games usable for a wider range of users who can concentrate on the training objectives without technological barriers.


Accessible user interfaces Interactive selection Navigation in virtual environments Serious games 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graphics Division of CREBPolytechnical University of Catalonia (UPC)BarcelonaSpain

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