This spring I ventured to the a folk hojskole outside of Copenhagen to participate in the Exile Game Jam. At this jam I met many nice people and in the course of the a weekend we created the game Idiots Attack the top Noodle. At the beginning all we had was a bunch of Playstation Move controllers and a consumer grade EEG brain scanner to measure the player’s brain waves.
The basic gameplay is that the “idiots” try the catch the “brain” that is wearing the brain scanner. Idiots are only allowed to move slowly and the harder the brain concentrates the slower they have to move or else their heads explode and they have to wait for them to grow back. The brain on the other hand can move as much as he or she likes, but concentrating hard and being really focused tends be more difficult while you are running around and trying to avoid the idiots. A full description can be found on our project page over at the website of the Copenhagen Game Collective.
Even though the game does not need any graphics or display we used Unity, mainly because we had a unity plugin for the move controllers and one of our team was quite proficient with it. Working with the brain scanner was easier than expected (it’s a NeroSky Mind Wave by the way). They provide easy to use libraries and interfaces in all flavours and for many languages and you can even poll the device via sockets if you dare.
So, getting the data from the device is no problem, quite a big problem in practice however is to get the device to actually provide the data. Through the device, many different raw brain wave types and also magically computed values for “meditation” and “attention” can be collected. The basic brain waves seem to be available all the time, but if you put the device on a new player, it might take a good time (if it succeeds at all) before you receive the first “attention” values. If you add connection problems with the device itself you get a pretty good mixture of frustration, annoyance and some stress if you want to show and play the game at a festival.
Speaking of festivals, we were lucky enough to be invited to the amazing Playpublik festival in Berlin and to the no less amazing play:vienna Festival in Vienna. Besides the aforementioned technical problems the audience seemed to have enjoyed it and it was a nice opportunity to meet many interesting people and discuss games.
Credits: Anders Børup (sound and music), Simon Wallner, Amani Naseem, Ida Marie Toft, Julian Hansen and Patrick Jarnfelt