Projects 2010 > Biofeedback in Gaming > Journal
In my last post I blogged mainly about a few of the technical hurdles we had overcome. To serve as a quick update and recap:
- We do have the heart rate monitor integrated with the game engine
- We do have a Wiimote controller integrated with the game engine
- We do not (and will not in the time) have Kinect or equivalent integrated
If you’ve read my earlier posts you will know that I believe integrating heart rate with Kinect could be the best way to go. This is because with its skeletal tracking it can accurately discriminate between many different body movements that all might have their own pulse raising patterns associated with them, and importantly it would know if you were cheating (driving up your heart rate with jogging instead of say, shadow boxing). These different activities could then be used within the context of a game/a series of minigames.
As we don’t have Kinect, or any equivalently advanced gesture interpretation, we can only really use one activity in our demo which logically will be jogging on the spot. From my point of view this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows us to focus our creative process on one aspect of implementation and try and do that well as opposed to overstretching what is feasible within the scope of the Media Sandbox and ending up with something uninspiring.
Bearing all this in mind, we sat down several weeks ago to try and decide what this game demo is actually going to be. The goal is to contextualise jogging on the spot within a game environment and then translate this activity into an in game superpower/rewards. Again, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I think this whole concept could work really well with some existing IP’s however obviously not having the license for these we had to come up with something that was A) feasible in the time, and B) an idea we thought was fun, different and appealing.
I knew I wanted to do something that could be interpreted as fairly gender neutral but that also had a sense of excitement about it that you expect from a console game experience. After a while I came up with this idea of mixing a 20th century aviator theme with broad appeal Nintendo style cuteness. The player character would be a pedal powered gilder contraption that had to shoot down equally caricatured planes. I guess I thought it would be cool to try and capture the spirit, adventure, excitement and indeed toil that must have gone into early powered flight, all within a fairly light and accessible experience.
Over the last few weeks we have been making the various art assets involved.
The image above is an interactive mockup. A player will use the analogue stick on the wii nunchuck to control the Sky Cycle and target on coming enemy planes. As a player jogs on the spot and their heart rate increases the slider at the top will move. When it reaches the chrome-electroball the ‘energy’ will be used to reward a player with special weapons and power-ups. A player therefore has to reach a target heartrate: not too much, not too little. In order to alter difficulty we can simply then move the position and/or size of the electroball. In order to have multiple power-ups to choose between we can add more than one electroball. Its these sort of considerations that should give use a lot of design flexibility with the scope of the Media Sandbox, or to put another way, deliver ‘bang for buck’. Animation of the character pedalling faster and the propellors should also help reinforce the interaction.
Now that programming and art exporting & optimisation ensues it’s time to say once again: Watch this space.