Please biofeed the zombies: Enhancing the gameplay and display of a horror game using biofeedback
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This paper describes an investigation into how real-time but low-cost biometric information can be interpreted by computer games to enhance gameplay without fundamentally changing it. We adapted a cheap sensor (the Lightstone mediation sensor device by Wild Divine), to record and transfer biometric information about the player (via sensors that clip over their fingers) into a commercial game engine, Half-Life 2. During game play, the computer game was dynamically modified by the player’s biometric information to increase the cinematically augmented “horror” affordances. These included dynamic changes in the game shaders, screen shake, and the creation of new spawning points for the game’s non-playing characters (zombies), all these features were driven by the player’s biometric data. To evaluate the usefulness of this biofeedback device, we compared it against a control group of players who also had sensors clipped on their fingers, but for the second group the gameplay was not modified by the biometric information of the players. While the evaluation results indicate biometric data can improve the situated feeling of horror, there are many design issues that will need to be investigated by future research, and the judicious selection of theme and appropriate interaction is vital.
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