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“Biofeedback control” and “in-house experimental psychology” are some fancy words for Valve to be throwing around. In older, plainer-spoken days, if anyone had got a bunch of people together in a room and shown them Valve's GDC presentation, we'd have called it for what it clearly is. And that's devil-magic and witch-doctory, plain and simple. Click through for video of the clearly supernatural shenanigans.
Here's the first video, shot by the folks at PC Gamer: Portal 2 being demoed by a player wired for eye-tracking and gesture-recognition. While systems such as PlayStation Move can track head movements, Valve's setup monitors player saccades – that is, the eye-movements themselves – and updates the perspective accordingly. Last month, a study offered data on subjects' eye-movement while watching movie scenes; Valve's tech does the same thing but turns the data into controller input.
The next video is traditionally controlled: the blue rectangle in the top-right corner details the player’s stress levels as measured by the mouse. Valve has been experimenting with plugging this data into the Director AI to monitor how many health-packs and zombie swarms players encounter. The company ditched expensive pulse-sensors in favor of a $10 pair of contacts that effectively turns your mouse into a mood ring – marking the first time the technology has proven useful to anyone above the age of 10.
Above: Hands up who's still interested in this thing?
Such tricks have been tried before, notably in Nintendo's Wii Vitality Sensor and Ubisoft's Innergy. Those techs were attempts to break away from traditional game models – whereas Valve's demo focused on enhancing those very models with biofeedback data. But hey, if you're still a bit cagey about the whole matter, we could still be talked into storming Bellevue with torches and pitchforks (it's the only way to be sure). Are you in?
[Source: PC Gamer]
Mar 4, 2011
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