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

By Douglas Heaven | NewScientist

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

Youíre 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 doesnít come. As youíre 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 Microsoftís 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 doesnít 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 individualís preference.

Our bodies give away other clues too. "Kinect could measure how much mental effort youíre putting into a game or a specific task within a game," says games psychologist and writer Jamie Madigan. "And it can tell when youíve 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 Ė 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
Germanyís 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 íLargest, Most Accurateí 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 íRealisticí Video Game Controllers
Blackwater founder Erik Prince enters video game business


Latest News from our Front Page

Amid Russia tensions, US nuclear bombers to conduct military drills in Sweden
2015-05-28 4:23
The Pentagon is planning to send nuclear bombers to Sweden for a military exercise next month amid growing tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The warplanes, the B-52 Stratofortress, will participate in a naval exercise on June 13, Swedish general Karl Engelbrektson said. They are set to fly from the United States nonstop and simulate a drop of anti-ship mines near ...
'Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we'll shut up'
2015-05-28 4:55
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and ‚Äúwe‚Äôll shut up‚ÄĚ on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says. Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington ...
Britain To Outlaw "Hate" and "Extremism"
2015-05-28 1:53
UK home secretary Theresa May : "But what we're talking about is they key values that underline our society and are being undermined by the extremists. Values like democracy, a belief in democracy, a belief in the rule of law. A belief in tolerance ...eh... for other people. Equality and acceptance for other people's faith and religions. One of the great ...
Killer robots will leave humans 'utterly defenceless' warns professor
2015-05-28 1:08
Robots, called LAWS ‚Äď lethal autonomous weapons systems ‚Äď will be able to kill without human intervention. Killer robots which are being developed by the US military ‚Äėwill leave humans utterly defenceless‚Äė, an academic has warned. Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when ...
Here's how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill
2015-05-28 1:21
Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle. A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the ...
More News »