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Physion

Time: January 2010 ~ May 2010
Type: Game development, biofeedback research


Introduction

Physion [‘fi-zhən] is a Lockheed Martin sponsored project aimed at integrating the dimension of biofeedback with video games that can be used to train your body to react in a certain way to a number of scenarios. We have created a game that utilizes sounds and visuals to make the player go through different stages of biofeedback arousal: he can be scared, nervous, relaxed, or bored. We’re looking to capture player’s heart rate, brain wave, heat flux and galvanic skin response (GSR) data.

Here is a short 3 minutes introduction of our project.

Physion from Team Physion on Vimeo.


Big Idea

For video games, they give players stimuli when they are playing, and change players biofeedback. On the other side, players  use controller to request avatar to take any action in the game to change the game. These actions will continue to trigger other game events and stimulate player. It is a normal control loop in current games.

This project are trying to capture player's biofeedback information, and use it to improve game experience. This will connect the player and the game in another direction, as the orange line closing the control loop showing in the below diagram. We do a lot of research on various biofeedback information and finally decide to use Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), Brainwave (Excitement and Boredom) to detect player's emotional states.

Our Game Control Loop

In order to let players have obvious biofeedback changes, we run in the direction of adventure game, a zombie shooting survival game, in a dark environment, full of scared sound.

Software Architecture

The game is consist of three components: Devices Interface, Game Experience, Data Analysis.

In the Devices part, we wrote two programs to collect data from Emotiv and Wild Divine IOM. Then these data are sent to game by sockets (it's easier to integrate to Unity3D program then other ways). The game controller will analyze these data and modify the game according to player's biofeedback data and game rules. Then the improved game experience will change player's feeling and his/her biofeedback data. This is the full control loop in our game.

During the player play the game, we collect his/her biofeedback data and the time of key event in the game. So after playing, we can use our another tool to visualize these data, which can help researcher to understand player's feeling to this game, and help to improve game design.

Software Architecture

Biofeedback visualization

More Pictures

Game Screenshot

Playtest

Decorations in the CAVE room

Platform

Windows Vista, Unity3D, Wiimote, Emotiv and Wild Divine IOM

You can visit our official website to find more information:http://www.etc.cmu.edu/projects/lm-motion/