Sparc – Research Details

Sparc – Research Details

Sparc is a competitive vSport where players challenge each other in a fast-paced ball game. You must hit your opponent with either your ball or their ball rebounded at them to score a point. You can avoid being hit by physically dodging out of the way or using the shield you have whilst holding your ball. There is also a training mode to practice all the skills needed to play competitively.

A total of 18 participants played Sparc, 7 male and 11 female between the ages of 20-55. 14 of these participants played the single player training mode with their dominant hand first and then were asked to switch to their other hand and play through the same levels again. These participants played for between 7:00 and 36:15 minutes, with a total of 03:56:38 hours played between them. The remaining 4 participants played the competitive multiplayer version of Sparc. Participants played for between 25:00 and 47:18 minutes, with a total of 02:00:31 hours played between them. Overall, 05:57:09 hours were played between all participants.

Heart rate and rate of perceived exertion

Each participant’s heart rate (HR) was recorded throughout their playthrough and afterwards a questionnaire was completed, which included reporting a rate of perceived exertion (RPE). RPE was given on a scale of 6-20, with 6 being no exertion and 20 being maximum exertion and the RPE was converted to HR to compare actual exertion to perceived exertion.  

On average, Sparc Training was found to induce light intensity exercise (50-63% of maximum HR (HRmax)) with an average of 56.7% and ranging between 41-75.7%. 2 participants exercised at a moderate intensity, 10 participants exercised at a light intensity and 2 participants exercised at a very light intensity. 10 participants had a lower perceived exertion than actual exertion, whilst 4 participants had a higher perceived exertion than actual exertion.

Sparc competitive play was found to induce a moderate level of exercise (64-76% of HRmax), with an average of 70.6% ranging between 60-77.1%. 1 participant exercised at a light intensity and 3 participants exercised at a moderate intensity.

For both modes, RPE appeared to be lower than actual exertion in the majority of cases as well as on average overall. 

The details about each participant’s HR and RPE are shown below in table 1 – figures were rounded to 1 decimal place.

Table 1. HR and RPE – Sparc Training mode.

Table 2. HR and RPE – Sparc Competitive mode.

Questionnaires

The questionnaires were answered using a Likert Scale of 1-7.

Overall, participants found Sparc to be:

  • Fun
  • Exciting
  • Slightly difficult
  • Immersive
  • Motivational to get a high score

Overall, from playing Sparc, participants:

  • Felt challenged to solve problems
  • Felt somewhat mentally refreshed after playing
  • Would choose to play this game again 
  • Put a lot of effort into playing the game

13 out of the 18 who answered the questionnaire noted that they would have chosen to play this game for longer if given the chance – for between 10 minutes to one and a half hours longer, on average for 38 minutes longer. On average, Sparc was not found to be boring or uncomfortable to play, and was neither thought to be stressful nor relaxing. All but three participants who answered the questionnaire, would choose to play this game again and many would spend money on this game. The questionnaire answers are shown below in tables 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Table 3. Questionnaire answers – Sparc Training (1: describes the game poorly, 7: describes the game very well).

Table 4. Questionnaire answers – Sparc Competitive (1: describes the game poorly, 7: describes the game very well).

    

Table 5. Questionnaire answers continued – Sparc Training (1: very inaccurate, 7: very accurate).

Table 6. Questionnaire answers continued – Sparc Competitive (1: very inaccurate, 7: very accurate).

    

Table 7. Overall ratings – Sparc Training (1: highly unsatisfactory, 7: highly satisfactory).

Table 8. Overall ratings – Sparc Competitive (1: highly unsatisfactory, 7: highly satisfactory).

    

Table 9. Comments – Sparc Training.

Table 10. Comments – Sparc Competitive.

Conclusion

On average, Sparc Competitive mode induces a moderate intensity of exercise (64-76% of HRmax). On average, Sparc Training mode induces a light intensity (50-63% of HRmax) of exercise on average, with the level of exertion dependent on the player; from a very light intensity (<50% of HRmax) to high intensity (64-76% of HRmax). 

Overall, participants found Sparc to be fun and exciting with all participants immersed in the game as well as motivated to get a high score and put a lot of effort into the game. The full scientific paper regarding this study is currently being peer-reviewed for publishing. You can check out a brief overview of the study here.

You can purchase Sparc for Steam here, Oculus Rift here and Playstation VR here. You can play multiplayer with people from across all platforms!

Posted on: June 9, 2021, by :

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