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

Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
British POW describes the horror of the bombing of Dresden
2015-03-28 0:33
Partial Transcript of Interview with Victor Gregg, WW2 British solder and POW: Interviewer: "Tell us how it was that you were in Dresden at that time." Victor Gregg: "It was evil....thousands of firebombs dropping all over the place, heat, fire, people screaming, people burning, people alight. After about half an hour it started developing into something that was really bad....It was ...
Rape of 285,000 German Women at the End of WWII Trigger Damage Control by Mainstream Media
2015-03-27 20:25
Is Exposing Allied War Crimes an honorable act? No, it’s slandering heroes according to Daily Mail A recent article from the Daily Mail that pretends to look at the post WWII crimes and rapes of the Allies against the German people is actually damage control. It’s really an attempt to divert away from the true horrors that was visited upon Germany ...
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher
2015-03-27 2:12
Sweden’s Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan “only 1%” Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes. Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didn’t ...
More News »