Horror and thriller titles in virtual reality (VR) can provide intense experiences from being immersed in a less than ideal world, and especially with a video game such as Nevermind, which measures the user’s psychological response to manipulate the game play, it can be all too real. The title has taken another step to become even more tailored to the player’s reactions with the addition of eye-tracking, emotion sensing, and utilising the Apple Watch.
Nevermind uses biofeedback to alter the game’s surroundings in relation to the user’s stress levels, using algorithms to achieve this. What the additional Apple Watch support will do is monitor the player’s pulse and allow the game to have a better idea of their fear levels, Affectiva’s emotion-sensing software uses any basic webcam to watch the user’s facial expression for signs of distress, and the Tobii EyeX Controller will analyse their eye movement to unlock features in the game, such as shining a flashlight in a certain direction or help calm themselves by closing their eyes.
Erin Reynolds, CEO and Creative Director of the development company, Flying Mollusk, said in a press release: “When played with both Affectiva’s Affdex emotion-sensing technology and a wearable heart rate sensor, Nevermind can use both emotional and physiological data for the most responsive biofeedback experience possible. For instance, when a heart rate sensor picks up on a change in the player’s psychological arousal, Affdex can validate whether it is an increase in negative arousal such as fear or stress or positive arousal such as excitement or joy and, as a result, react in the most appropriate manner.”
Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Science Officer of Affectiva, Rana el Kaliouby, also went on to say that “Flying Mollusk are true pioneers in emotion-aware gaming. Using our emotion recognition technology as a game controller, the Nevermind game adapts to the player’s facial expressions in real time, making emotions integral to the game experience”.
The thriller title is available at 20% discount for a limited amount of time at $15.99 USD on Steam, the Apple Watch support is said to be coming soon for all Mac and iPhone users, Tobii EyeX Controllers can be purchased from here, and Affectiva’s emotion-sensing technology will be available to try out at their booth during GDC this month.
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