Joshua L. 2023 | BASIS Independent Silicon Valley
- Project Title: Training Players' Calculation Skills Through a Tournament-Like Augmented Reality Environment
- Basis Independent Advisor: Swetha Bhattacharya
- Internship Location: UC Santa Barbara
- Onsite Mentor: You-Jin Kim and Davorin Kuljasevic
Chess is a strategy game that has traditionally been played on a 3D, physical board. Nowadays, computers and mobile devices have allowed for 2D renditions of the game online, which serve as key tools used by chess players of all levels to train and study. Yet, the vast majority of chess tournaments are still held in person. As a result, players are required to constantly transition from an at-home environment, with a 2D screen setup, to a competitive tournament environment that uses actual, physical chess boards. This project focuses on the application of extended reality (XR) in bridging the gap between studying chess in a familiar setting versus playing in a real tournament. Previous research has already explored several prototype systems that utilize XR for playing chess. However, the application of these XR systems as training sites for serious players has been relatively unexplored. Working with UCSB’s Four Eyes Lab, which specializes in XR research, and a chess Grandmaster, I am developing an augmented reality-based system that mimics the conditions of a competitive tournament and allows players to study chess in realistic remote settings. A prototype of the system will be developed with the Unity game engine, whichallows for easy integration of 3D assets, and tested with a Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset. A database of instructional chess positions, along with explanations, will be created to provide users with rigorous training. The final product consists of a fully functional XR system ready for players to use.