Posts Tagged ‘Half Life 2’

New games could monitor your arousal level

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Excited yet?

(Kotaku) – Half-Life and Left 4 Dead developer Valve has been toying with new ways to use biofeedback – heart rate, facial expressions, eye-tracking, levels of physical arousal – for years. What does that mean for the future of people who like Valve video games? How about controlling games with your eyes?

Valve’s Mike Ambinder talked about the sundry ways the company is experimenting with incorporating user biofeedback at GDC today. Currently, that includes prototype versions of Left 4 Dead 2 with an “AI Director” that responds to your arousal levels, modifying how it distributes health items, zombie hordes and Special Infected based on “player trauma.”

It also includes a build of top-down shooter Alien Swarm that alters the game’s timer in response to stress and a version of Portal 2 that decoupled aiming a cross-hair and viewing the game world.

Ambinder showed a demo of a Left 4 Dead 2 player connected to a biofeedback measurement device, a custom piece of hardware designed to detect skin conductance response. An in-game graph displayed levels of arousal from the player as he fought a series of Special Infected zombies, trying to refill a generator with gas cans. The player’s stress levels steadily increased as he was attacked, until ultimately he peaked during a Tank battle. A post-gameplay graph showed spikes in player trauma levels, tied to game events: Smoker attack, Charger battle, game-ending Hunter pounce.

A Left 4 Dead 2 prototype used player biofeedback in another capacity, showing a teammates’ arousal levels above their health bar to illustrate how other Survivors were responding to in-game trauma.

Ambinder said that data was entertaining to watch during competitive play in the upcoming (Defense of the Ancients) DOTA 2. This, he said, was “the most enjoyable thing we’ve done so far” with biofeedback. Players who saw their opponents’ sense of arousal spike would “go crazy” with delight.

“It’s great to watch people suffer because of your actions,” he said.

[Full article at]

Study Reveals : More Blood Doesn’t Mean More Fun

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Yeah this is a 'Nerf Baton', trust me!

Yeah this is a 'Nerf Baton', trust me!

(Canadian Press) – Spilling the blood and guts of an opponent and other macabre acts of violence do not make video games more enjoyable for players, according to a new study.

The findings could have implications going forward for game designers, who may decide not to put as many resources into ratcheting up the gore factor, the authors suggest.

Researchers at the University of Rochester and the think-tank and consultancy company Immersyve, based in Orlando, Fla., reached their conclusions after conducting two surveys of 2,670 frequent game players and four experiments involving more than 300 undergraduates.

Lead author Andrew Przybylski, a graduate student in social psychology, said they began the project after noting the popularity of games like “World of Warcraft,” “Halo 3″ and “Team Fortress 2,” which have a “good deal of violent content.”

“So we wanted to know if the violent content by itself was motivating because these games also do offer compelling challenges and stories,” he said from Rochester, N.Y.

“We found that, on average, violent content didn’t add to motivation for play.”

In fact, he said the games are popular because they offer players meaningful opportunities to interact and work together, or to feel effective and exercise choice.

“The reason why children gravitate to something like ‘Halo,’ ‘Halo 3′ or ‘World of Warcraft’ or ‘Team Fortress’ isn’t necessarily because they want to get at the blood or the acts of violence,” said Przybylski.

“What they’re really chasing is having their psychological needs met. Cranking up the violence knob doesn’t automatically make a game automatically more fun.”

The work was published Friday in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.