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Valve: games will detect your feelings

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Joined: 01 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Feb - 17:12 (2011)    Post subject: Valve: games will detect your feelings Reply with quote

Gabe Newell wrote:
We think bio-metrics are going to be very fundamental. They’re not just a design-time with their run-time feature. When you look at the kinds of experiences we try to create for people, having access to [the] internal state of the player allows us to build much more interesting and compelling experiences. So, we don’t really think that that’s in doubt; the question is really about when and in what forms that takes. Even very simple noisy proxies for player-state, like skin galvanic response or heart-rate, turn out to be super useful and they’re very much at the beginning of the kinds of data that you can gather. Another thing that people are looking at is as the video conferencing is driving improved cameras on PCs and you can look at doing primitive and then more sophisticated gaze tracking and pupil dilation, both of which are relatively non-intrusive. Longer-term, it gets more of science-fictiony. We’re just talking to a company that actually implants EEG [Electroencephalography] equipment into people’s skulls. It’s about a [USD]$60,000 operation right now but it gives you fantastic data that you could use. Eventually you’re going to reach the point where it’s a reasonable consumer option, as strange as that sounds, and very much reminds me science fiction stories out of the nineteen-fifties about embedded phones and things like that.

But at some point there’re going to be sort of increasingly accurate, increasingly sophisticated sources of data about what’s going on in your body and in your So, I think that that’s just going to happen, in how we get there, what form factors that takes, how controllers and input devices change. That’s the thing we don’t know - the fact that it’s going to occur I think is pretty predictable at this point. We’re working on sort of industrial designs ourselves, like we did a mouse design that we’ve been using here internally. You could also do game controllers and things like that and even the primitive kinds of hardware that a software company does, we’re working pretty well. So I would actually be surprised if the next generation of certainly living room devices didn’t have some form of that. Now, one of the surprising things -- well, there’s two sort of surprising things. One, once you start getting this data you find that your ideas of how you would use it in order to [simplify] things like make the director more sophisticated, those work really well. The thing that sort of surprised us was how much sharing that data in multiplayer games impacted the social experience. This was not something we were expecting and it’s the sort of reason you like to invest in these kinds of research efforts is it’s not only the things you expect it’s the things that catch you by surprise.

So, we had a debugging tool where we were monitoring everybody's state and it wasn’t intended to change the game, it was intended to make sure the hardware was working. So you’d be sitting and you’d be playing Left 4 Dead and you could see the other people’s -- the specific term we use was arousal state, and that was measuring a specific set of things and filtering in a certain set of ways -- but you could see the arousal state and when you were playing competitively we found that people were incredibly aggressive towards highly aroused players on the opposing team and were very defensive about highly aroused players on their own team. In other words, it was changing how people were feeling about the other people they were playing, and this was a group of developers with what they thought this was a debugging aid, and it sort took us a while to recognize this phenomenon; it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t something we were looking for, and it was something we were joking about and somebody sort of said ‘Well, rather than it being funny that we were all ganking Mike, that actually is an interesting phenomenon from a design perspective’. It’s sort of like this anonymity we’ve gotten out of things like email and haven’t even been fixed by things like chat. So, there’s a bunch of studies about stuff like sociology where near-term face-to-face cueing that people who don’t have that, there’s a certain percentage of the population that just spins out of control that don’t manage their own aggressive impulses if they can’t see how the other person is reacting, and that’s what flaming is and all of these other phenomenon that surprised people when anonymous communication started to happen in the eighties and it seems like even though things like voice chat don’t seem to bring that social queuing back, which I would have would have predicted it would and I would have been wrong.

This other thing is where you just have this bar on the side of your screen going up and down showing somebody else's arousal state actually seems to bring that sense of connection back, like your brain is flexible enough to actually internalize that as sort of a replacement for a bunch of the face-to-face cueing that we’ve lost. So that’s an example of something where we were completely caught by surprise as a side-effect of doing this biometric research so we’re going to do a lot more of that and we’re sure that a lot of other people will discover a lot of other interesting things about it, but I think there’s a lot of untapped opportunity in the biometrics space. Now, I said earlier that we were sort of heading in a more science-fictiony direction. The thing that is also really interesting is that there’s a bunch of research right now in using, it’s called TMS [Transcranial magnetic stimulation], and essentially it’s using magnets you can increase and decrease the activity levels in parts of your brain. In other words, rather your brain being read-only there’re noninvasive ways of making your brain read right, so we’re tracking on that research pretty closely, like there’re a bunch of rat studies where learning, and by learning they mean it in the behavior science sense not in the ‘I’m taking a algebra two test on Sunday’ sense, that learning has improved if you stimulate certain region of the brain and that’s a really interesting or be it somewhat scary phenomenon. A simple sort of evil thing you could do is you could make people incredibly afraid of the colour red in a game and you would be able to amplify that very strongly. Now, at that point you’re really into some strange areas but that technology is real in labs today in animal studies, where we’re ten years away from seeing a game controller that is actually affecting the relative -- probably about ten years. So it’s 2011 now, by 2021 we’ll have stuff that will cause us to change how your brain reacts to the experience you’re getting and that’s a fairly strange thing to be thinking about as a game designer or as an experience designer. So, yeah we see this as very fruitful and very long-term and something we’re both tracking on and trying to make progress in getting it into customer’s hands.

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PostPosted: Tue 22 Feb - 17:12 (2011)    Post subject: Publicité

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