As immersive virtual environment (VE) applications become more complex, it is clear that we need a firm understanding of the principles of VE interaction. In particular, designers need guidance in choosing three-dimensional interaction techniques. In this paper, we present a systematic approach, testbed evaluation, for the assessment of interaction techniques for VEs. Testbed evaluation uses formal frameworks and formal experiments with multiple independent and dependent variables to obtain a wide range of performance data for VE interaction techniques. We present two testbed experiments, covering techniques for the common VE tasks of travel and object selection/manipulation. The results of these experiments allow us to form general guidelines for VE interaction and to provide an empirical basis for choosing interaction techniques in VE applications. Evaluation of a real-world VE system based on the testbed results indicates that this approach can produce substantial improvements in usability.