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Role Playing (Games) Technology

Brainwave Controlled Game From Square Enix 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-can-think-it-you-can-do-it dept.
zombies-alive writes "Square Enix and Neurosky, maker of wearable sensory equipment, are coming out with a new 'Brainwave-Controlled' RPG. The game will be demonstrated at the Tokyo Game Show for the (Windows) PC, which features the NeuroSky MindSet headset. At this moment, the headset only detects the gamer's level of concentration and relaxation by means of a single electrode placed on the forehead."
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Brainwave Controlled Game From Square Enix

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  • Why? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @10:47PM (#25308683) Journal
    OK, now tell me how this helps me slaughter n00bs more efficiently.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by banffbug (1323109)
      The n00b will be more tense, maybe translating to a shakier sight in a FPS. You will be relaxed, and your sight will stay true. Pretty cool if you ask me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tubal-Cain (1289912)
        People that are already terrible at a game probably won't intentionally handicap themselves with a device like this.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          and people who are good will be even better after they figure out hooking a battery to the thing fixes it right up.

          or sticking the electrode on a cat.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by RuBLed (995686) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:59PM (#25309127)
      Unlocked technique: Carebear Stare

      This technique requires an enourmous amount of concentration and relaxation at the same time. Only applicable to NeuroSky MindSet users.

      You don't believe me? Try aiming while doing that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by pimpimpim (811140)
        Doesn't this require an additional output device on your belly?
      • The title is wrong. There's nothing in the original article about a role-playing game.

        (sigh)

        Why can't they just stick to the basic turn-based RPG? I like those; they require strategy, rather than button-mashing (or an autorepeat button).

        • The title is wrong. There's nothing in the original article about a role-playing game.

          (sigh)

          Why can't they just stick to the basic turn-based RPG? I like those; they require strategy, rather than button-mashing (or an autorepeat button).

          Actually their is a screen shot on the left that is suppose to show that it is an RPG style game, but yeah...
          This better? [wordpress.com]

          I enjoy turn based RPGs, but free world (like what they are making and elder scrollers made) is what is popular. I still remember back when I was a kid and FF7 had the option to turn it to turn based or real time.
          Also I still find strategy in said "button-mashing" games, its just harder to see and seize.
          I think that eventually we will be able to wirelessly control the game with just

        • How do you intend to mash a button when a game is mind-controlled? Visualize a button in your mind?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by kamikazearun (1282408)

      OK, now tell me how this helps me slaughter n00bs more efficiently.

      It doesn't. You'll still need to take advantage of their lag.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @04:28AM (#25310749) Journal
      You don't get it. This is for dating simulations [megatokyo.com]
    • You'll be able to actually force choke people, and you're complaining that it's not efficient? So close, yet so far ...
    • I've actually seen something like this in a E3 article, the more relaxed you are during a game, easier it is. Therefore when the controller reads you are finding this easy it makes it harder. While at the same time it will read that you are having a hard time through your stress and make it easier.

      Therefore, it will make it less efficient by making it harder to kill your noobs. But at least it will be more of a challenge.

      ~
      NoName

  • for bending spoons(using the mind)?

  • by Malevolyn (776946) <signedlongint&gmail,com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @10:48PM (#25308703) Homepage
    ...Windows crashes and accidentally erases your mind?
  • I've heard that the internet is changing the way that people think. They think in short quick bursts now instead of long thoughtful periods.

    Perhaps this type of controller will reverse that trend.
    (oops, IM)

    K I'm back.
    (check email)
    What I mean is maybe we can ignore the interrupts if we get trained to do it by the controller. Don't tell me that you haven't been trained by games. You could probably do Ms Pacman blindfolded :)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:02PM (#25308803)

      You could probably do Ms Pacman blindfolded :)

      oooh kinky ;)

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        I think his name is Pinky.

        • Pinky, Blinky, Speedy, and Clyde. (Clyde was replaced with Sue in Ms.Pac-man). Where's my Atari?

          I'm suddenly in the mood for some Jr.Pac-man action. I love that game!

          • by eredin (1255034)

            Pinky, Blinky, Speedy, and Clyde.

            Speedy? Who's Speedy? And what happened to Inky?

    • by lysergic.acid (845423) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @12:33AM (#25309379) Homepage

      while i think this technology may have some useful purposes in the future, i'm a little disturbed at the type of applications it's already being marketed towards:

      NeuroSky's products offer opportunities for its exclusive partners and developers to create next generation applications in markets as diverse as consumer electronics, health & wellness, education & training, transportation, market research and others.

      i'm honestly afraid that this technology will be used by marketing/advertising firms to develop even more insidious ways of manipulating consumers. with marketing/advertising permeating all aspects of popular culture, even being used by politicians to frame political issues in ways that will win them public approval, we're increasingly living in a society of mass manipulation. we don't need to give the persuaders an even greater degree of control over us by letting them have unprecedented access to the thoughts and mental processes of consumers.

      though i'm sure they'll probably start handing these out at focus groups so that they can tap directly into the subconscious desires of the individual as the ultimate form marketing research. marketing gurus are already helping major corporations appeal to the primitive reptilian minds [pbs.org] of consumers to exploit people's subconscious associations. unfortunately, this results in consumers making irrational purchase decisions, which is at least partly responsible for the family SUV phenomena [gladwell.com] in the U.S.

      • i'm honestly afraid that this technology will be used by marketing/advertising firms to develop even more insidious ways of manipulating consumers.

        Don't worry, I'm sure the next spin off will be something totally benign like an automatic terrorist detector [slashdot.org].

    • I've heard that the internet is changing the way that people think. They think in short quick bursts now instead of long thoughtful periods.

      I find it depends on what people are doing - as a coder, I have no problem sitting down and coding non-stop (literally) for several hours. I enjoy reading also, and can do this for several hours without losing any concentration. Put me in front of something I don't want to do and I'll likely wander off and get distracted by randomly browsing Slashdot or something else (like right now at work, I'm brushing up on SharePoint to show to a managementy type just because I once wrote an integration in to SharePo

      • by iplayfast (166447)

        I'm a coder as well, but I find that email is a constant distraction, but I miss it if it's not there.

        I used to sit for hours coding, now not so much. Course it could be the coffee....

        • The box I get my email on is different to the box I code with (and it makes no sound when email comes in)... this is self-enforced. I NEVER check my email on my coding system. I've pretty much become used to doing it this way now, and sort of "broke the chains" of being tied to my email, so I no longer miss it if I take even a few days without checking it. I do readily admit that 5 years ago, it was a different story though - I couldn't go more than 5 minutes without checking email, or if I heard an emai
    • Plus the rise of untold amounts of unclassified ADHD, half of the kids who have it probably never sat down and read a book, or played FF7. I mean I have a low amount of ADHD, caffeine makes me sleepy and I tend to multitask alot of things, for example am currently doing Calc 2 homework while surfing the web, slashdot, playing a game of chess with a friend whos half drunk in Aussy and attempting to read my book but keep dropping it while getting frustrated at the fact I can't type fast enough one handed...

      On

  • Ah but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by simaolation (1381125) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:01PM (#25308799)
    ...do I wear my aluminum foil over or under this electrode?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Khyber (864651)

      Under, so it can transmit back to the base console but not wipe your mind sporadically. :)

  • Says brainwaves all over the places, but I wonder how much of the interaction is instead due to muscle movement [wired.com] sampling.

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:09PM (#25308855)

    ...when I get slaughtered by a boss, and I realize that no amount of skill will compensate for the requisite three hours of level grinding to go before I have a chance of winning.

    It's a cute gimmick, but this will likely equate to a single extra button - a hands-off on-off switch. It's a bit of a stretch to say the game will be "brain controlled". If the game can be controlled with a single button, then that's a little more shallow than RPGs I normally play.

    My fear would be that this would mar an otherwise fun RPG with a pointless piece of flaky hardware. I'll wait and see how the reviews go, I guess.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by UCSCTek (806902)

      As usual, it will depend on the implementation. I'd say it is believable that, with good design, this feature could provide a lot of entertainment. I would liken it, somewhat, to the Wiimote. It provided people another way of interacting with the game. In some cases it's stupid, but in others it works well. Mindlink-enhanced solitaire is a bad choie, but imagine all the people wetting themselves when they can actually use Jedi powers in-game with their thoughts.

      I got to try NeuroSky's device somewhat

      • I got to try NeuroSky's device somewhat recently, and it looked like they were going the Jedi route. They even had you levitate an X-wing.

        Now this is the sort of thing that could catch on. It's a bit like seeing an autostereogram the first time.

        I could imagine a Golden Compass game where you played the part of Lyra trying to read the Alethiometer, having to get into the right frame of mind before it started working.

    • I grabbed "World Ends With You" for the DS and thought the stylus input was the same way. It was an interesting idea for input and works fine when you're just walking around but trying to fight enemies by moving the stylus around (the way they implemented it anyway) wasn't very responsive and very gimmick-y.

      That's the main issue I have with the DS and Wii. A lot of games I see they use the wand/stylus in very odd ways to make them seem new and innovative when they just end up being shoddy and useless.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bat Country (829565)

      Actually the article never says it will be used for RPGs. Bad summary.

      The use I thought of immediately was a game like Bushido Blade [wikipedia.org]. This was a samurai movie style game where a single well-placed attack on an unguarded opponent could kill them - a hybrid of pure action, good old fashioned fight tactics and a balancing act between opportunism and the code of Bushido.

      I would really like to see a controller like this added to the mix, where the computer detected your tension and made your opponent act like a

      • NoName It would be interesting concept for that, but what I could see it used for is survival horror games, then again I've loved them since I started playing them.
        Think about a game, where the monsters could actually sense your fear.
        Of course they have to make it so it would be enjoyable and at the same time horrifying to play, still remember my first time with Resident Evil... going down that corridor and as you turn so you can barely see behind you, a undead dog just crashes through the window and jum
    • by eredin (1255034)
      If they do it right, it could apply to any control with a linear range of motion. The tense-to-relaxed scale could control lots of essential game functionality, from the speed of slot racing cars to the position of the paddle in pong. Its coolest use might be as an actual tense/relaxed monitor for FPS accuracy, but there are definitely some interesting possibilities.
    • by Repton (60818)

      You forget -- as we all know here, every game is built ultimately using only simple on-off switches.

      (Now, was it concentrate-concentrate-relax-concentrate-relax to turn left...?)

  • with our brains so we can get first post!

    Imagine someone's brain when it gets slashdotted. *winks

    Imagine a Beowulf cluster of peoples brains hooked up to the internet.

    When will the control work in reverse and extend to mind control?
    • by nawcom (941663)

      with our brains so we can get first post! Imagine someone's brain when it gets slashdotted. *winks Imagine a Beowulf cluster of peoples brains hooked up to the internet. When will the control work in reverse and extend to mind control?

      this isn't like some brain interface; a peripheral would match it more. We have a while until the brain is a fully understood organ. Mapping it out doesn't create a true interface, but you can use it to create an output that decisions are made based on it, like a joystick or gamepad. Keep wishing though Mr. Lawnmower Man :-P

    • yeah I'm still waiting to be able to hook up my brain to the computer, since I read the neuromancer.

      Even though I don't wanna get brain-gimped by some mistake or someone messing with it hehe
      • by rts008 (812749)

        "Even though I don't wanna get brain-gimped by some mistake or someone messing with it hehe"

        Meh, that's just the meat talkin'. Just watch out for the ice...

  • ... GlaxoSmithKline stock (maker of Imitrex [wikipedia.org]) is up.
  • finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Digitus1337 (671442) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {sutigid_kl}> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:21PM (#25308921) Homepage
    A way to look more nerdy while playing an RPG!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ThePhilips (752041)

      Since this is Square Enix we're speaking here (read: old-timers, with legs firmly cemented in past) I wouldn't be all that surprised if in case of taking damage, electric shock would be send directly to your brain. Just to make sure that, you know, analogous to other SE RPGs, you are taking it seriously and in no case enjoying the game.

      P.S. And obviously, as friendly guesture, you brains would be lobotomized if you die. To make sure that you can't cheat and all are on the same leveled play field.

      • >

        P.S. And obviously, as friendly guesture, you brains would be lobotomized if you die. To make sure that you can't cheat and all are on the same leveled play field.

        You just made me think of something... what If they found a way to use this to find out when some one is cheating? I mean I'm sure they would find a way around it eventually but it would be interesting... Quick!!! We need monkeys to test this!!!

        ~
        NoName

        • In RPG world, finding a weakness of your enemy and exploiting it is already a type of cheating.

          Essentially any (winning) strategy can be also seen as cheating.

          It's not that I have experience in cheating (it's only console folks cry about it all the time) but IMO there is a little difference between (1) using a cheat and (2) having a winning strategy/tactics.

          Essential difference between the two is that presence of cheating means imbalanced game mechanics. Or even dumber case of engineers leaving a

  • This will enable them to fry the brain of any would be pirates, thereby freeing the world of this evil money-sapping criminal scourge!
  • by Rick Bentley (988595) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:23PM (#25308935) Homepage
    The entirety of the wealth generated by the Internet, all Software ever written, and every piece of adult content ever generated, will pale in comparison to the wealth generated when you can download into your brain a sexual fantasy that seems completely real. In fact, this may be man kind's last invention.

    "No time to work on that, I just finished my custom simulation of Planet Bigboner, which is populated exclusively by 19-year-old-Claudia-Schiffer-Nymphomaniac-Clones who all worship me as their Great Deity. Sometimes I am a just and fair God, sometimes an angry one. I will be playing this until I die or they turn off my power, now go away and don't interrupt my simulation or I will kill you."
    • by XMode (252740)

      Changes the whole concept of farming......

    • That was the basis for William Shatner's movie*: 'TekWar' [imdb.com] and the TV series of the same name.** [imdb.com]

      *(from imdb.com) "A television movie based on the futurist story by William Shatner." and from same source:"Plot summary for
      TekWar (1994) (TV) More at IMDb Pro
      advertisement

      After four years, Jake Cardigan is prematurely awoken from his fifteen year cryogenic punishment to a world very different than the one he knew. Much more than before 'Tek', the highly-addictive electronic designer narcotic of the 21st century,

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Why all this fancy stuff ? Just put an electrode into the reward and pleasure centers of the brain and see people willfully getting stimulation until the die of thirst or hunger (it was happened to all rats that got this operation)

      Just sex fantasy ? you'll get bored and get fewer fewer pleasure. Activate directly your dopamine receptors and there to ecstasy !
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109)

        you jest but the day someone works out a method to do the operation easily and cheaply it will become real. Of course it wouldn't catch on too much because even if it's less destructive than heroin there's no money to be made once the operation has been done.

        It could catch on for other purposed though. imagine an implant for people who want to get off really addictive drugs which only activates while their bloodstream is clean and they're in good physical shape (indicators of dehydration or starvation could

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I don't jest, I really think this is one of the most plausible way that could lead to humanity's end.
        • (indicators of dehydration could cause it to switch off to make sure the person takes care of themselves)

          ... I and many others would find ways to bypass that fail switch if it truly gave that much pleasure.

          ~
          NoName; gaming and dehydrated since 1991.

      • See: Michael Crichton - The Terminal Man.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_terminal_man [wikipedia.org]
      • This was already tested on humans too. Except they did it in a really bad way. They took a straight guy, and any time he was near another guy, they triggered the pleasure center. Anytime he was near a girl, they didn't bother.

        Eventually the guy turned gay, and after the experiment, he was rumored to be working the streets as a gay prostitute... Experiment FAILED?
      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirehead [wikipedia.org]

        Obligatory Niven.

  • by JDHannan (786636) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:27PM (#25308961)
    They had an exhibit at the science center in calgary that let two people sit down and each wear this helmet strap thing. The more you relaxed, the closer a ball got to your opponent's side. Conversely, the more 'stressed' you were, the closer it got to your side, forcing you to "try to relax" even more. We played it 4 or 5 times, the first few genuinely, then with me trying as hard as i could to be stressed and concentrate as much as possible. I found absolutely no correlation between me and the ball
    • I saw the same exhibit at the World Fair in Hanover in 2000. I tried it with a friend, but found it to be working quite fine. I could relax and concentrate to steer the ball both equally well. We also tried the game when one of us did nothing, so we could actually see the effects of our own relaxation/concentration. Another friend had the same experience as you, though. I wonder what the reason for that could be.
      • by Aladrin (926209)

        Sounds to me like not everyone is identical... Wow, imagine that!

        I see them having a lot of problems with this technology because of that. Our brainwaves may all be similar, but that doesn't mean they're all the same. Or even alike enough to have a single plastic helmet fit everyone.

        I'm hoping this device (and game) does well, and I'll probably be sucked into buying one, but only the fact that Squeenix is involved gives me any confidence in it.

        • Sounds to me like not everyone is identical... Wow, imagine that!

          Sure. But since this thing only measures an increase or decrease in brainwave activity, it cannot be explained by a simple "We are all different.". That's why the fact caught my interest in the first place.

  • The idea is much older than you might think. Atari planned to do something very similar in addition to cordless controllers, light guns, and a primitive motion sensor controller. Atari had a lot of great ideas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Mindlink [wikipedia.org]

    • Errr ya, except for the part where that controller used the motion of your eyebrows instead of EEG, it's a very similar idea, if by similar you mean festering with the scent of an unmatched chromosome...

    • Y'know, referring to "1984" and "mind-controlling" in the same post could give some people the wrong idea. Personally, I'm just glad you said "Atari", and not "Microsoft".

  • so obviously my question would be, if i had a seizure, would whatever it is i am controlling have a seizure too? cause um, that would almost be comical, i would totally watch a pokemon cartoon for that.
    • Interestingly when I had EEGs for my seizure disorder I had to relax for about half an hour before the EEG would start to collect usable data.
  • Forehead? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "At this moment, the headset only detects the gamer's level of concentration and relaxation by means of a single electrode placed on the forehead." If I wanted to know how you are concentrating or relaxing, the forehead is not where I would put that single electrode...
  • Remember that story about the woman who sat on a toilet seat for so long that it fused to her skin?

    No?
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23595533/ [msn.com]

    I can see the Slashdot headline ten years from now: "Nerd plays MMO for three years, control fused to forehead. On an up note, he reached level 50!"

  • "At this moment, the headset only detects the gamer's level of concentration and relaxation by means of a single electrode placed on the forehead"... ONE electrode... magic?
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      "At this moment, the headset only detects the gamer's level of concentration and relaxation by means of a single electrode placed on the forehead"... ONE electrode... magic?

      "Let's see now. You've come here from a great distance.... You want me to buy a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post!"

  • by blackicye (760472) on Thursday October 09, 2008 @05:47AM (#25311135)

    I'm surprised no one else has mentioned the OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator yet.

    Its essentially the same thing, but with a USB interface for PCs.

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/ocz_peripherals/nia-neural_impulse_actuator [ocztechnology.com]

    Price is a little steep for a first gen product, but it has been quite widely reviewed and said to actually work.

    • I was looking at this the other day... would be an interesting toy to tinker with to see what else you could do with it... too bad there are no linux drivers.

      My prediction is that in less than 20 years cell phones, or whatever passes for cell phones by then, will be implanted below the skin. Look at all the people walking around in what would normally be in and off itself a social setting and yet they are simultaneously busy chattering away to someone on their phone non-stop. It won't take more than a gen

  • Sorry their device probably does not measure brainwaves. A single electrode on the forehead would measure only forehead muscle activity (EMG) and eye movements (EOG), but not brainwave activity (EEG). The developers are basically banking that you wrinkle your forehead when you "concentrate". As an aside, EMG is really easy to record, while EEG is much more complicated and not well-suited to a consumer device.

    I hope it's the marketing department BS and not the inventors who are misrepresenting their product.

  • Wow I can't wait to see all the whining posts on how quickly people can ninja loot phats with this gadget.

  • I am amused that the VERY NEXT post on Slashdot is this "Geneticist Claims Human Evolution Is Over".

    Imagine a brainwave LAN party where a guy and a girl rise above the gray matter mass, and after some tough head to head battle (ROFL) they fall in love, and have kids. Their son/daughter repeats on the latest technology... Repeat. Pretty soon, you're breeding, yea, EVOLVING BrainWavers.

    By that time, the technology of the headsets will improve to where the better brainwavers work better, and the creme de l
  • It's called biofeedback [wikipedia.org]. My Uncle used to have an electric train that you could "control" with your mind. The more relaxed you were, the faster the train would go.

  • Why do you place the mic in your forehead?
  • i figure, they'll show off the device, by attaching it to a amoeba, since i suggest that's about the most brain power you'll ever need (want to have) to successfully finish one of their rpgs.

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