Valve Wants to Use Your Sweat as a Gaming Device

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Valve Wants to Use Your Sweat as a Gaming Device

Mike Ambinder, Valve's experimental psychologist, talks about the possibility of sweat detection and eye-tracking for videogames.

The fact that Mike Ambinder is even on the Valve Software payroll shows you just how committed the company is to thinking up new and interesting ways of bringing you the best gaming experience. Ambinder is an experimental psychologist, and Valve have set him to work trying to find out ways of making videogames more immersive. Biofeedback such as sweat detection and eye-tracking are just two ideas Ambinder has been playing around with.

"One thing we are very interested in is the notion of biofeedback and how it can be applied to game design," he said. "There is potential on both sides of the equation, both for using physiological signals to quantify an emotional state while people are playing the game." Ambinder says with current gaming imput devices, the game developer doesn't know how the player is enjoying the game or what their emotional state is. With biofeedback, developers would be able to shape their game around how a person feels while playing it.

To give an example, Ambinder said Valve has conducted experiments in which it has measured players' sweat and correlated that to their level of arousal while playing. The more you sweat, the more anxious you are. They then fed that data into Left 4 Dead and tried to modify the play experience so it would react to your emotions. When playing "scary" games like Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil, I could think of nothing more immersive than the game being able to tell exactly how scared you are, and using it against you.

He also talked of an experiment in which the player had four minutes to shoot 100 enemies. If the player was calm, the game would progress normally. If they got aroused or nervous, the game would move more quickly, and they would have less time to shoot the enemies.

As for eye-tracking, Ambinder points out the obvious: eyes move faster than fingers. Valve built a version of Portal 2 that was controlled with your eyes. This version decoupled aiming and viewpoint, in much the same way the Occulus Rift works. "It's still experimental, but it worked pretty well, and we were pleased with that," he said.

Beyond sweat and eye-tracking, other forms of biofeedback include: heart rate, facial expression, brain waves, pupil dilation, body temperature, and more. As well as being helpful for improving the immersion factor for gamers, this kind of technology can help out developers in the testing phase of development. Being able to see emotional states first-hand with raw data is much more usefull than asking someone in a postgame interview about how they felt while playing.

Source: Venture Beat

Permalink

This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

Desert Punk:

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

What game uses cheat codes anymore? Achievements have basically killed them all off.

Desert Punk:

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

Nah, that shouldn't be too bad. Go to a bar, slip someone a roofie, take them home and plug them up while they're out. Calm as fuck during the entire session. What's gross about that?

ResonanceSD:

Desert Punk:

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

What game uses cheat codes anymore? Achievements have basically killed them all off.

True... god damn achievements...

Hey! There are still trainers!

...I am sure there is a joke about Physical trainers in there, but I am too lazy and tired to come up with it...Damnit where is one of those punny people when you need them!

Desert Punk:

...I am sure there is a joke about Physical trainers in there, but I am too lazy and tired to come up with it...Damnit where is one of those punny people when you need them!

Shot, hopefully.

No but seriously, if they can develop a mechanism for biofeedback tracking that ISN'T invasive, then more power to them.

So, a Valve employee was endorsing something like this... thing?

Yeah, no, I don't think so. Biofeedback is a pretty silly idea.

Damn, my eyes tend to dart all over the place. It would make for some random ass spawn points.

Desert Punk:
Hey! There are still trainers!

...I am sure there is a joke about Physical trainers in there, but I am too lazy and tired to come up with it...Damnit where is one of those punny people when you need them!

Well it would certainly have to be dry wit.

Of sweat is used to indicate when a person is scared, does that mean that during sumer im ultra-scared 24/7?

Yeah this seems a bit silly.
I never sweat while playing games, well at least not from any perceived stress. If I do it's usually because I'm hot. : p
I've never quite grasped the idea that you could sweat from playing a game.
I mean, sweating is something that happens when you exercise, or engage in some good ole fashioned hard work. (in the bed and otherwise)
Regardless of how scared/tense/into it I am, I just can't imagine being so stressed that I'm sweating.
Hell if I was that stressed I'd quit playing whatever I was playing to be honest.

I mean if this is just one of the speed bumps we have to cross to eventually get to some kind of virtual reality then it's all good.

Steven Bogos:
Valve Wants to Use Your Sweat as a Gaming Device

"To give an example, Ambinder said Valve has conducted experiments in which it has measured players' sweat and correlated that to their level of arousal while playing... If the player was calm, the game would progress normally. If they got aroused or nervous, the game would move more quickly, and they would have less time to shoot the enemies."

Permalink

I pictured something totally dfifferent while reading those lines. I'm aware "aroused" has a perfectly normal and nonsexual meaning, but when unaffiliated and not used in a figure of speech such as " aroused my suspicion" I can't help but associate it with sexuality. I suppose once a word gains a certain attribute, it can take some time to shake it.

On other news: money has finally driven valve to Ptr Mlnx levels of crazy.

How is this supposed to work localized, to I don't know, areas up north, like my home Finland. In which we spend most of the year in ass freezing temperatures, in and outside. (Or at least my apartment does)
Or how about during summer when my apartment is humid and hot as hell.

What if I like to eat chili during my gaming... ?
What if... compulsive sweater...
What if I got a fewer.. For cowbell...
What if I am suffering from hangover or medical withdraw...
What if... I like to game while wrapped in a warm blanket...
What if...
Hold on I'll try to come up with more of these.

Seriously, the more immersive the game is for me, the less gadgets I want to have between me and the keyboard.
Also making scary games doesn't take extra gadgets, it requires "Shockhorror!!!" Good design! Hell when I first played F.E.A.R I fond it to be excellent constipation aid, along with Amnesia and few other games lately.

It is all about sucking in the player like a prostitute with a bufferfish on the end of a vacuum cleaner as genitalia. Make the player focus all attention, cognitive and emotional to the game and then bombard the senses with primitive subtle hints that bypass cognitive barriers and go straight to the primitive parts of the brain.

Screw that. Read my mind and we could do all sorts of stunts by will alone.

Enough with the gimmicks, Valve. Just concentrate on creating great games and making Steam a better client, and we the consumers will be happy.

The only time I sweated while playing a video game was during an amphetamine overdose. Cross tops are nasty, folks.

Sweat things sounds a little iffy since ony time I remember sweating was in DMC 3 bloody palace.

Eye movement tracking is interesting though. I can see it significantly increasing the response time in shooters.

Yeah...no. Not going to work, and even if it did, well, Yahtzee would end up ranting about people shoehorning the gimmick into games, rather than make games that use them, and its abandoned next year anyway.

bafrali:
Sweat things sounds a little iffy since ony time I remember sweating was in DMC 3 bloody palace.

Is it weird that I am reading this comment while playing DMC3 bloody palace?

Zanderinfal:

bafrali:
Sweat things sounds a little iffy since ony time I remember sweating was in DMC 3 bloody palace.

Is it weird that I am reading this comment while playing DMC3 bloody palace?

Not really. In fact We should all be playing it right now as it is that good.

The thing about using sweat in a game is that we would have to clean it after we are done with it as I pretty sure it will end being smelly.

Yopaz:

Desert Punk:

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

Nah, that shouldn't be too bad. Go to a bar, slip someone a roofie, take them home and plug them up while they're out. Calm as fuck during the entire session. What's gross about that?

I was fully expecting this to be followed by a masturbation joke.

You, however, have exceeded my expectations and proven to be a better man than I, even if you should turn out to be a woman.

Of course, if you want to jack up the heartrate and increase sweat secretion for any reason, just kidnap someone, blindfold them and hook them up to the game.
Now, should parts of the game demand an increased heart-rate, you can simply apply gentle electroshocks to their gonads (30.000V should suffice), followed by a tender epinephrine injection straight to the heart.

I miss the days where it was just accepted that people enjoyed pressing buttons on a controller, and rumble was all the gimmick we needed if at all.

The mentality of "this would be a cool gimmick, lets try to cram it into every game we can while its still novel" is just beyond understanding to me.

People play games, on some level, because they want to escape/engage their imagination/have fun.

The fact that the goal of some developers no longer seems to be about creating new worlds using the near limitless power of imagination, and instead making sure that they can make innovative ways to actively break your immersion is sad.

By that I mean that motion control, aggressively terrible 3D, second screens on your huge controllers, etc. are all things that actively fight your immersion instead of aiding the game design. Why have a game designed with a sense of depth and artistry when you are just gonna have it popping out of the screen like a jack-in-the-box? Why let people's minds tell them what is foreground or background when you can make it glaringly obvious?

Why design a game that requires real skill, nuance, and timing when you are forcing people to flail their limbs like an octopus to control it? Simple, you don't you dumb it down so that anyone with a nervous twitch can dominate the game with their back to the screen.

The Wii U controller makes you take your full attention off of the game, and probable hdtv you are fond of, and look at the brick in your hands instead. It wasn't fun in 4Sword Adventures when they had you look at your GBA, and they decided to base their entire company's survival on what isn't even a new idea.

Nintendo's approach of "let's make a totally unnecessary new hardware, that isn't even remotely attempting to seriously compete from a technical perspective with the current OR next gen, and the games will just magically follow" is one of the most blisteringly stupid plans I've ever seen in all of modern media. Yet they continue to double down on it. Did the Virtual Boy teach them nothing?

I don't want to go into how far up their ass Nintendo's head has been since the end of the SNES, and its no secret how poorly the Wii U is doing. Their handheld dominance however is well deserved and the only saving grace they have when their main franchises just slide further down the scale with each iteration. I'm sure that a not insignificant portion of their sales are based entirely around their various virtual consoles. I know that I overwhelmingly prefer their classic titles to the latter ones sadly. Majora's Mask, Skies of Arcadia, Paper Mario TYD, and Metroid Prime 1 and 2 are just about the only games on a (non-handheld) Nintendo console that I would consider truly excellent in idk how long.

Now, the sweat sensors and the eye trackers. That he thinks that there is any demand for either shows a questionable grip on the market as well as basic logical reasoning.

Perspiration results from a multitude of factors. It could just be a warm day, they lack AC, they just worked out, they just did well ANYTHING really. I don't think that people really want to be actively concerned with whether of not they need a shower, a good toweling off, and a thick coating of antiperspirant in place before starting up a game in order to have an easier time of it or whatever.

Also I don't think that my eye movements need tracking. I don't need a game based around constantly exploiting where it knows I'm not looking at the moment, unless its Dark Souls lol. Outside of a VR headset, why would this even be talked about is beyond me.

All these gimmicks exist because they think people are bored of traditional controls. I'm not. I don't know anyone that refuses to play a game unless they can control it by doing the robot. Do you?

I think that some developers are tired of making games, and aren't talented enough to actually contribute anything worthwhile to the industry so they try to attach their name to whatever crazy idea that they feel uniquely qualified to put forth. Like this.

So we get shitty, over-budgeted, over-marketed, dumbed-down, unremarkable games that somehow fail to sell the expected 30 million units in one month or whatever ridiculous number some exec pulled out of their ass.

While some of the best games I've played in over a decade are free or close enough. Indie, and F2P MMOs are where the real ideas are these days.

I'm sure that what I have stated here is hardly a new opinion, and it doesn't matter. What matters is that there are certainly a large number of people out there that read these stories and can't help doing a double facepalm at how clueless this once beloved industry has become.

Crap like this is why the phone and tablet markets are beating you. Serious PC/Console developers have the tech, budget, and install bases to create things that those devices are unable to do, yet, and you waste your time trying to fuck with HOW we play instead of WHAT we are playing.

I know I used to put down Kickstarter as a haven of unfinished ideas, beggars, and outright scammers but some of those people have the ideas desperately needed these days.

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Desert Punk:

Not only that, but I think cheat codes in the future will be very, very gross indeed.

Nah, that shouldn't be too bad. Go to a bar, slip someone a roofie, take them home and plug them up while they're out. Calm as fuck during the entire session. What's gross about that?

I was fully expecting this to be followed by a masturbation joke.

You, however, have exceeded my expectations and proven to be a better man than I, even if you should turn out to be a woman.

Of course, if you want to jack up the heartrate and increase sweat secretion for any reason, just kidnap someone, blindfold them and hook them up to the game.
Now, should parts of the game demand an increased heart-rate, you can simply apply gentle electroshocks to their gonads (30.000V should suffice), followed by a tender epinephrine injection straight to the heart.

Great idea, I did not think of that. However I already see the future headlines... Gaming leads to kidnapping and torture. Media never understand us. Gaming doesn't lead to either of those. Kidnapping and torture leads to gaming.

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Nah, that shouldn't be too bad. Go to a bar, slip someone a roofie, take them home and plug them up while they're out. Calm as fuck during the entire session. What's gross about that?

I was fully expecting this to be followed by a masturbation joke.

You, however, have exceeded my expectations and proven to be a better man than I, even if you should turn out to be a woman.

Of course, if you want to jack up the heartrate and increase sweat secretion for any reason, just kidnap someone, blindfold them and hook them up to the game.
Now, should parts of the game demand an increased heart-rate, you can simply apply gentle electroshocks to their gonads (30.000V should suffice), followed by a tender epinephrine injection straight to the heart.

Great idea, I did not think of that. However I already see the future headlines... Gaming leads to kidnapping and torture. Media never understand us. Gaming doesn't lead to either of those. Kidnapping and torture leads to gaming.

Uh, I think in the context of the example given, the media would actually be correct for once.
Then again, maybe you can combine this with something a little kinkie and go for the unholy trifacto of gaming leading to "violence, drugs and sex".

This would of course mean that you get yourself a willing victim to drag into your torture chamber gaming lair and get some SM-style-stuff going together.

I can practically see it before my eyes:
Gaming and sex combined into an entangled package of nasty, limbs flying everywhere, Monsters and animal noises all around, tension rising, sweat and bodily fluids flowing freely, multiplayer-games and LAN-parties turn into veritable orgies, celebrating lust, gluttony and decadence, games would finally manage to fulfill all carnal desires at once and we could indulge not only in Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, Greed and Envy whilst playing a game, but also finally bring Lust into the mix...

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

I was fully expecting this to be followed by a masturbation joke.

You, however, have exceeded my expectations and proven to be a better man than I, even if you should turn out to be a woman.

Of course, if you want to jack up the heartrate and increase sweat secretion for any reason, just kidnap someone, blindfold them and hook them up to the game.
Now, should parts of the game demand an increased heart-rate, you can simply apply gentle electroshocks to their gonads (30.000V should suffice), followed by a tender epinephrine injection straight to the heart.

Great idea, I did not think of that. However I already see the future headlines... Gaming leads to kidnapping and torture. Media never understand us. Gaming doesn't lead to either of those. Kidnapping and torture leads to gaming.

Uh, I think in the context of the example given, the media would actually be correct for once.
Then again, maybe you can combine this with something a little kinkie and go for the unholy trifacto of gaming leading to "violence, drugs and sex".

This would of course mean that you get yourself a willing victim to drag into your torture chamber gaming lair and get some SM-style-stuff going together.

I can practically see it before my eyes:
Gaming and sex combined into an entangled package of nasty, limbs flying everywhere, Monsters and animal noises all around, tension rising, sweat and bodily fluids flowing freely, multiplayer-games and LAN-parties turn into veritable orgies, celebrating lust, gluttony and decadence, games would finally manage to fulfill all carnal desires at once and we could indulge not only in Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, Greed and Envy whilst playing a game, but also finally bring Lust into the mix...

The future of gaming is scary... I think I'll just stick with the past for now...

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Great idea, I did not think of that. However I already see the future headlines... Gaming leads to kidnapping and torture. Media never understand us. Gaming doesn't lead to either of those. Kidnapping and torture leads to gaming.

Uh, I think in the context of the example given, the media would actually be correct for once.
Then again, maybe you can combine this with something a little kinkie and go for the unholy trifacto of gaming leading to "violence, drugs and sex".

This would of course mean that you get yourself a willing victim to drag into your torture chamber gaming lair and get some SM-style-stuff going together.

I can practically see it before my eyes:
Gaming and sex combined into an entangled package of nasty, limbs flying everywhere, Monsters and animal noises all around, tension rising, sweat and bodily fluids flowing freely, multiplayer-games and LAN-parties turn into veritable orgies, celebrating lust, gluttony and decadence, games would finally manage to fulfill all carnal desires at once and we could indulge not only in Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, Greed and Envy whilst playing a game, but also finally bring Lust into the mix...

The future of gaming is scary... I think I'll just stick with the past for now...

You better believe that the past is disturbing as well.
Does the term "REZ Trance Vibrator" ring a bell?
If not, google it and prepare to be amazed weirded out beyond belief.

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

Uh, I think in the context of the example given, the media would actually be correct for once.
Then again, maybe you can combine this with something a little kinkie and go for the unholy trifacto of gaming leading to "violence, drugs and sex".

This would of course mean that you get yourself a willing victim to drag into your torture chamber gaming lair and get some SM-style-stuff going together.

I can practically see it before my eyes:
Gaming and sex combined into an entangled package of nasty, limbs flying everywhere, Monsters and animal noises all around, tension rising, sweat and bodily fluids flowing freely, multiplayer-games and LAN-parties turn into veritable orgies, celebrating lust, gluttony and decadence, games would finally manage to fulfill all carnal desires at once and we could indulge not only in Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, Greed and Envy whilst playing a game, but also finally bring Lust into the mix...

The future of gaming is scary... I think I'll just stick with the past for now...

You better believe that the past is disturbing as well.
Does the term "REZ Trance Vibrator" ring a bell?
If not, google it and prepare to be amazed weirded out beyond belief.

That game makes sense though. It combines foreplay and video games. It's strange that it hasn't been done with more games.

There is of course the "massage" game on Xbox Live arcade that lets you adjust how the controller vibrates. If I remember correctly that game has both local and online multiplayer.

VALVE DOES NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW AROUSED I AM!!! THAT IS FINAL!!!

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

The future of gaming is scary... I think I'll just stick with the past for now...

You better believe that the past is disturbing as well.
Does the term "REZ Trance Vibrator" ring a bell?
If not, google it and prepare to be amazed weirded out beyond belief.

That game makes sense though. It combines foreplay and video games. It's strange that it hasn't been done with more games.

There is of course the "massage" game on Xbox Live arcade that lets you adjust how the controller vibrates. If I remember correctly that game has both local and online multiplayer.

So there is a "game" that enables you to have sex with your Xbox?
Does it at least check you out using the kinect and make inappropriate jokes at the worst time, whilst the controller occasonally goes limp`?

EWWWWW! Valve, you guys are disgusting. And before you start making new gaming devices, you might want to increase your development speed to something slightly less than a human lifetime.

Also use a decent Engine.

Calibanbutcher:

Yopaz:

Calibanbutcher:

You better believe that the past is disturbing as well.
Does the term "REZ Trance Vibrator" ring a bell?
If not, google it and prepare to be amazed weirded out beyond belief.

That game makes sense though. It combines foreplay and video games. It's strange that it hasn't been done with more games.

There is of course the "massage" game on Xbox Live arcade that lets you adjust how the controller vibrates. If I remember correctly that game has both local and online multiplayer.

So there is a "game" that enables you to have sex with your Xbox?
Does it at least check you out using the kinect and make inappropriate jokes at the worst time, whilst the controller occasonally goes limp`?

I would really hope so, otherwise that game would be completely unrealistic.

Will the Valve Diaper be compatible with Slender: The Arrival?

If so, then I'm sold.

I don't really think I want my game companies to be measuring how much I sweat when I play games. Plus I live in Arizona, sweating is kind of something we have to deal with here.

Mortis Nuncius:
Will the Valve Diaper be compatible with Slender: The Arrival?

If so, then I'm sold.

Would also be useful for gaming marathons, too. That would save quite a bit of lost time in toilet breaks.

KoudelkaMorgan:
I miss the days where it was just accepted that people enjoyed pressing buttons on a controller, and rumble was all the gimmick we needed if at all.

The mentality of "this would be a cool gimmick, lets try to cram it into every game we can while its still novel" is just beyond understanding to me.

People play games, on some level, because they want to escape/engage their imagination/have fun.

The fact that the goal of some developers no longer seems to be about creating new worlds using the near limitless power of imagination, and instead making sure that they can make innovative ways to actively break your immersion is sad.

By that I mean that motion control, aggressively terrible 3D, second screens on your huge controllers, etc. are all things that actively fight your immersion instead of aiding the game design. Why have a game designed with a sense of depth and artistry when you are just gonna have it popping out of the screen like a jack-in-the-box? Why let people's minds tell them what is foreground or background when you can make it glaringly obvious?

Why design a game that requires real skill, nuance, and timing when you are forcing people to flail their limbs like an octopus to control it? Simple, you don't you dumb it down so that anyone with a nervous twitch can dominate the game with their back to the screen.

No, I think this is the sort of mindset that stifles innovation.

Yes, a lot of the new peripheral technologies fail to live up to the hype - but that's because they're nothing more than peripheral. If this is to work, it needs to be fully integrated into the game mechanics, instead of a tacked on "gimmick". Rumble/vibration itself used to be dismissed as gimmickry, the key is making it a technology that people expect, so that games just wouldn't be the same without such.

Inevitably, some hyped technologies will fall flat and be forgotten, but the good ones will be refined and shine through.

You can't generalise like that, either. A lot of people don't just play games to escape reality, they play for immersion, or reality enhancement.

This potentially opens up a whole new array of possibilities. We'll have to see how it works in practice before coming to any conclusions.

ResonanceSD:
This could work, but most games aren't really geared towards physical activity -_- eye tracking yes, sweat collection no.

I mean come on, the most obvious thing to measure biofeedback and have the results feed back into the game would be a heartbeat tracker.

Stressed in TF2's MvM mode? High heartrate? EVEN MORE SCOUTS!

Agreed. I generally don't sweat during play sessions of video games, unless the AC is broken and it's 100 degrees in the house. Even then I don't sweat all that much (I'm quite skinny) so a sweat detection system likely wouldn't work properly with someone like me.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here