C1. Create a Sense of Presence

“While playing, because there are enough visual and audio elements in the world to make the world feel truly ‘real’, I feel as though I am physically present in the game’s world.”

When in-world elements such as audio (including spatialized audio), visuals, physics, and space are synchronized with one another, as they would be in the real world, players feel as if they are present and occupy space in the virtual world around them. This spatial presence allows for a more seamless and immersive experience. Conversely, when these elements are out of sync, players are more likely to perceive the world as “unnatural” or “unconvincing.”

When players experience the virtual world around them as a real space, they are able to feel more secure in their role as an occupant of that space. Player perception of in-game elements such as audio, visuals, physics, and space can contribute to a player’s feeling of presence. Whether these elements feel “natural” and react to the player in the expected ways will determine whether players feel that the virtual world matches or does not match the real world.

Examples (adhered):

  • Farpoint: When the player is on ground level, the audio and visual elements help give the player a sense that they are there. The windy audio matches with the windy scenery, and they can hear the player character begin to breathe heavily after running for some time.
  • Arizona Sunshine: The player says, “The world itself is absolutely gorgeous, by the way. The birds flying around, the trees… Everything together, it just matches, y’know? It really feels like you’re there, and it’s real.”
  • Land’s End: While flying from one place to another, the player says, “Oh my god… I’m here! I’m here, in the Land’s End.” Seeing himself flying and hearing the water and birds gives him the impression that he is actually there. Later on, he even spreads his arms like wings while flying.