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Post by trog @ 09:59am 16/03/11 | 8 Comments
One of the best lectures I saw this year at GDC was from Mike Ambinder, an experimental psychologist working at Valve Software, who delivered a fascinating talk explaining how Valve are measuring biofeedback and using the results in game in various ways.

For those of us that are not experimental psychologists, this basically means they're looking at measurable physiological aspects, like heart rate and galvanic skin response (skin conductance), and then using those measurements to do cool things, like throw in more zombies if it detects you're getting relaxed in Left 4 Dead - or even cooler things in multiplayer.

Check out our write-up of the presentation to see a cool look behind the scenes at one of the biggest names in gaming!

gdcgdc 2011valve softwarebiofeedback

Latest Comments
Posted 10:27am 16/3/11
THATS SO FREEKING COOL! Awsome info and write up trog.

There was one example given in which the answer was a clear “yes”, and it’s one that anyone that has played a multiplayer game will almost certainly be able to instantly relate to. Turns out they tested a little old game called DOTA 2 – Defence of the Ancients 2 – and discovered that people really, really, really like knowing the physiological reactions of people on the other team.

Players loved to find out that what they did caused an intense frustrated reaction in the other player; normally you only get a tiny window into their rage through simple text chat, but actually seeing their vitals spike in reaction to something you do is – for obvious reasons – quite the enjoyable event.


I can see this being used in so many ways. Like in tom clancy swat games when you tell someone to go in after you've already made your way through half of the other team and they just sit there and hesitate, if you saw their vitals were high you could straight away know they are really stressed out, so you could swap with them real quick and go in first etc.

The other thing in HON/DOTA you might come into a lane and be ready for a push or gank but what you dont know is the team mate is recovering (high heart rate etc) from an attempted gank on him that he just escaped from, so you might delay your push or gank a moment while he calms down = thinks clearer etc

last edited by gamer at 10:27:47 16/Mar/11
Posted 11:07am 16/3/11
awesome concept.
Posted 11:25am 16/3/11
i like this sort of research from developers- they are looking at innovation not for the sake of it, but actually improving the interaction between their product and their customer. we rarely see this sort of thing with AAA titles
Posted 11:29am 16/3/11
If any other company was trying this i'd just rant about how bad of an idea this would be and they couldn't get it right if their lives depended on it. If it can be done however, valve will do it and make sure it works before sending it out. Good news!
Posted 11:38am 16/3/11
I don't think there is anything Valve can't do!
Posted 12:07pm 16/3/11
for when LAN gaming is just too much hassle
Posted 02:45pm 16/3/11
for when LAN gaming is just too much hassle

tis why trog likes it!
Posted 05:02pm 16/3/11

Pretty sure I would hate this system because I'm so easy to provoke an emotional response from in StarCraft 2. All you need to do to make my pulse spike is say "no" when I say "gg" at the end of it when you've won easily.
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