Read-the-game: System for skill-based visual exploratory activity assessment with a full body virtual reality soccer simulation

PLoS One. 2020 Mar 17;15(3):e0230042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230042. eCollection 2020.


We present a novel virtual reality (VR) system to measure soccer players' read-the-game ability. Read-the-game is a term that encompasses a conglomerate of visual exploratory behavioral patterns and cognitive elements required to make accurate in-game decisions. Our technological approach in the Sports Science domain focuses on the visuomotor component of targeted skill development in a VR simulation because VR is a powerful perception-action coupling training solution for visuomotor coordination due to its high sense of immersion and its psychological byproduct presence. Additionally, we analyze two critical aspects: psychological (i.e., sense of presence) and the human-computer interaction (HCI) domain (i.e., suitable input device for full-body immersion). To measure head movements related to visual explorations, the system tracks the user's head excursions. Specifically, the engaged visual exploratory activity (VEA) during a VR simulation is measured frame-by-frame at runtime to study the behavior of players making passing decisions while experiencing pressure from rivals during in-game situations recreated with computer graphics (CG). Additionally, the sense of presence elicited by our system is measured via the Igroup Presence Questionnaire applied to beginner and amateur soccer players (n = 24). Regarding the HCI aspect, a comparison of input options reveals that a high presence can be achieved when using full body interactions that integrate head and body motions via a combination of an HMD and kinetic body tracking. During our system verification, a difference in the VEA performance is observed between beginner and amateur players. Moreover, we demonstrate the capacity of the system to measure the VEA while evoking immersive soccer in-match experiences with a portable VR setup.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Computer Graphics*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Soccer*
  • Sports
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Video Games*
  • Virtual Reality*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15H01825, awarded to Yoshinari Kameda as part of the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research(KAKENHI) Program. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. URL: