When I think of an immersive environment, I think of a virtual world. An immersive environment is a state of consciousness in which we lose ourselves, frequently accompanied by spatial excess, intense focus, a distorted sense of time, and effortless action. One of the types of immersion is spatial immersion.
Spatial immersion is perceiving movement in the game from the perspective of oneself moving. Real-time games which involve moving a game element in a game world, are easier to perform actions in, if one as a player regards the movement of the game element as one was the game element. This spatial immersion does not require any other identification with the game element and simply makes the cognitive processes easier for the player. This is easily achieved in any game that uses first-person views. However, third-person views can also work. Although Spatial Immersion is most common in Real-Time Games, even turn-based games such as RoboRally can give spatial immersion by requiring players to plan their movement in advance.
Here is a video of someone’s robot for RoboRally
The use of cameras can increase the spatial immersion but at the cost of limiting the possibilities for emotional immersion. Shoot and other dexterity-based actions can encourage spatial immersion as they force players to consider the spatial properties of other game elements without necessarily requiring thought about the movement of oneself. Spatial immersion is the immersion gained by perceiving maneuvering of objects in the game from the perspective of oneself moving. Having spatial immersion eases the understanding of where game elements are in the game world and the consequences of their movement, as well as how game elements are spatially related to each other. Game world navigation is a common task when performing maneuvering, a task eased by achieving spatial immersion, and gives players the anticipation of being able to arrive at a destination. However, game world navigation requires players to form abstract representations of the game world from an outside perspective and therefore counters spatial immersion. This paradoxical effect of navigating can be lessened by giving players limited planning abilities so that they are forced to base most of their actions on their immediate surroundings.
Here is a video for the game Halo 3, in which you can see children getting ‘sucked’ into the game