Interaction and Biofeedback in gaming

27th May 2004

Currently game interaction devices generally work one way – player to game. But what if the game could fight back?

There’s no doubt that the graphics, physics and AI of games are getting better. But one area that is perhaps slightly neglected is how we interact with the games we play. Sure, we have a keyboard, mouse, steering wheel, gamepad, light guns (Do they work on PC games?), dance floor and now Sony’s eye toy. I even have a Nostromo N50 speedpad.

Undoubtedly there is a lot of effort being put into the interaction between player and gamer and I’m sure there is a lot more on the horizon. However, all the devices seem to be focused in one direction – player to game. Put another way, all they do is change the way we control the character, they don’t really interact with the game. The only current device I can think of is the force feedback device. This communicates something back to the player in the form of vibration.

With this in mind I began thinking about ways the game (First Person Shooters) can really interact with the player. I used to take exercise very seriously and consequently I bought a sophisticated heart rate monitor, which would record my heart rate (duh!), elevation, speed and RPM (bike) plus a whole bunch of other stuff. What if I were to wear this monitor and the game had access to this information while I was playing the game? Well, on a simple level, if my heart rate was low then clearly the game isn’t exciting me enough; time to change the difficulty setting or perhaps bring on a few more bad guys?

There must be many other techniques of measuring a player’s feelings; blood sugar level, skin temp, breathing rate (maybe different from heart rate) etc. If the game could react to the player, not just the actions of the player, the game could change based on who is playing it.

Taking this one step further, what if the game could fight back? I small electrical connection to your ear would give you a small shock every time your get hit. Or even four electrodes on you chest, back and arms helping you understand from which direction the hit has come from (In addition to the normal red edges on the screen).

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1 Comment

  1. I am into Quantum Biofeedback. This would open up a whole new aspect. Having enemies react to you based on galvanic skin response? Probably the simplest way to go on that. Kick ass idea. Maybe even a meter others in a multiplayer game that shows your stress personal stress levels… WOW Phillip… you just blew my mind..lol

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