Latest Kinect sensors allow games to feed off your fear
2013-05-30 0:00

By Douglas Heaven | NewScientist

Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera will gain unprecedented information about us while we play, allowing games to adjust their difficulty in response

You’re cornered and wounded. Cowering behind a crate, all you can do is hide and wait for the acid-spraying alien to move on. You desperately look for a pattern in its movements, hoping for a chance to sneak past to safety.

So far, so scripted. But the chance still doesn’t come. As you’re stuck in your corner, heart rate rising and a sheen of perspiration forming on your face, a camera by the TV feeds data to the game. The system is constantly judging. How much longer can you take the tension? Is this still fun?

The latest game spawned from the Alien film franchise is being made by Creative Assembly, a game studio in Horsham, UK. It is likely to be one of the first games to explore the potential of Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect sensors for the Xbox One games console. Announced at the same time as the unveiling of the Xbox One last week, the new Kinect is a huge improvement on its predecessor (see "New wave"). It will have HD colour and infrared cameras that can see if your eyes are open or closed in the dark. It will be able to detect your pulse from fluctuations in skin tone and, by measuring how light reflects off your face, it will know when you start to sweat.

This will allow the new Kinect to bring emotional gaming to your living room. Games can use the biological data to orchestrate your experience by adjusting the difficulty or intensity in real time, depending on how excited the system thinks you currently are.

"The key is understanding what makes games fundamentally satisfying," says Scott Rigby, co-founder of Immersyve, a gaming consultancy in Celebration, Florida, that advises on ways to engage players by gathering this biometric data. "I love the promise of it."

But Rigby warns that detecting signs of high emotion in a player does not automatically mean they are having a good time. "If I poke you with a stick, there is a spike in arousal," he says. "But that doesn’t mean you like it and want me to do it again."

Biometric data from Kinect will still need to be combined with assumptions about what kind of emotional response a section of game is aiming for, says Rigby. For example, in a battle against a big boss, players will typically tolerate dying about four times before getting frustrated, he says. After that, a game might be programmed to lower the level of difficulty. Feedback could be used to tailor this to an individual’s preference.

Our bodies give away other clues too. "Kinect could measure how much mental effort you’re putting into a game or a specific task within a game," says games psychologist and writer Jamie Madigan. "And it can tell when you’ve given up."

For example, your pupils dilate when you are engaged in a cognitive challenge, and return to normal when you have given up because something is too hard. "If the Kinect could reliably detect pupil sizes, it would open up a whole new level of scaling game difficulty," says Madigan. For example, a puzzle game could get harder until the player enters the "zone" of peak performance – when gaming is at its most satisfying. It could also offer a hint when it detects you have given up.

[...]

Read the full article at: newscientist.com



Related Articles
Xbox One: Constantly Listening To Conversations
Germany’s software giant SAP to recruit tech staff with autism
"Riot" Software tracks people on social media, by Raytheon
Software that tracks your every move and predicts future behavior
Face The Truth: Facebook Acquires ’Largest, Most Accurate’ Facial Recognition Software
Computer Software decodes emotions over the phone, predicts behavior
Shooters: How Video Games Fund Arms Manufacturers
Navy SEALs punished for secrecy breach tied to video game
The U.S. Army Officially Licences Gun-Shaped ’Realistic’ Video Game Controllers
Blackwater founder Erik Prince enters video game business


Latest News from our Front Page

Why a Caucasian-Japanese is not Perceived as Japanese
2015-08-04 2:15
The Japan Times has a hilarious article about a White guy who is angry and upset at the horrible and racist world we live in because customs agents and border agents are questioning his "right to be Japanese." It's seems that Debito Arodou's experience at border crossings suggest that no one takes a White guy seriously, for claiming to be Japanese. Hmm, ...
"Open the border - we're going to the UK!" Chanting mob of 200 storm Eurotunnel
2015-08-04 1:25
Migrants make their way towards the Tunnel entrance in the early hours of Sunday morning An organised mob of 200 migrants charged into the Calais entrance of the Channel Tunnel early yesterday, chanting ‘open the borders’ and demanding to be allowed into Britain. They tore down fences and charged past police, who retaliated by spraying tear gas. When the migrants were finally ...
Forgotten British Heroes Campaign
2015-08-04 0:16
The text of the letter from the Forgotten British Heroes Campaign to the Israel ambassador in London, Daniel Taub. This will be delivered to the Israel Embassy on Saturday 1st August, the day on which the Campaign will hold a wreath-laying and then a meeting at the site of a notorious Zionist terrorist bombing near to Trafalgar Square (the former British ...
Baltimore Murders Tie Records After Freddie Gray Killing, 45 Killed In July To Make It The Deadliest Month In At Least 45 Years
2015-08-03 23:14
The number of people murdered in Baltimore hit a record-tying 45 homicides for the month of July, the Baltimore Sun is reporting. The number is an uptick that follows a trend of increased violence in the city in the months after the Baltimore riots that resulted from the death of unarmed black man Freddie Gray on April 12. The increased violence in Baltimore, which was already one ...
Executive arrested over disappearance of $390 million in Bitcoins
2015-08-03 23:38
Mark Karpeles, head of collapsed MTGox Bitcoin exchange held by Japanese police Japanese police on Saturday arrested Mark Karpeles, head of the collapsed MtGox Bitcoin exchange, over the disappearance of about $390 (£250 million) worth of the virtual currency, local media said. France-born Karpeles, 30, is suspected of having accessed the exchange's computer system and falsifying data on its outstanding balance, ...
More News »