Sometimes there are benefits of being That Dilbert Guy. After I mentioned the brain reading technology from Neurosky (Neurosky.com) one of their headsets and some software showed up at my office. You slap on the headset and control what happens on screen by either concentrating or relaxing. The headset reads your brain waves and communicates via Bluetooth to the game.

The sample games are limited, designed just for demonstrating the technology. I understand that some cooler things are in the pipeline from third party companies. This got me wondering what would be the coolest game you could develop with this technology. I think I came up with the best game ever.

Imagine an online multiplayer game where you control an avatar that is a wizard in this imaginary world. So far, that sort of thing exists. Now imagine that when you encounter an enemy wizard, you do battle, Harry Potter style, with an assortment of spells. So far, I imagine this already exists too. (I'm not a gamer.)

The new part involves integrating voice recognition and the Neurosky headset with the game play. Imagine that you speak the name of your chosen spell, and the game recognizes it and raises the magic wand of your avatar. But to actually apply the spell, you have to concentrate, and the Neurosky headset picks up that brain wave and translates it into the power of your spell.

Imagine that the available spells in this online world are an elaborate form of paper-rocks-scissors, meaning that every spell has a spell it can best and one that can best it. And even those results would depend on how effectively you concentrated to empower your spell. So a weak spell with good concentration could beat a powerful spell poorly done.

And perhaps you can escape from a spell through relaxation, becoming like a vapor to avoid chains, for example. The headset would pick up relaxation brain waves too.

I probably just pissed off some game developer who is working on this exact idea in a top secret lab somewhere. Sorry.
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Aug 30, 2009
Gotta ask you, when you start out with this:

"After I mentioned the brain reading technology from Neurosky (Neurosky.com) one of their headsets and some software showed up at my office."

Why wasn't the very next sentence something like:

"So I must now mention to you how great those wonderful Playboy Bunnies are, on the off chance that Hef might sling one or two my way"?

Just askin.......
Aug 24, 2009
I'd win every time, 'cause my spell would be a nuke that you can't reflect.
Aug 23, 2009
Oops, Amory lovins isn't an economist... I meant to check that before submitting. But those lectures he has are seriously good. Check them out.
Aug 23, 2009
Important and interesting info for Scott Adams:

Actually this is on the subject of cheapotopia, but I bet you never read the comments on older posts... Armory lovins is an economist turned environmentalist, running the rocky mountain somethingeruther institute, and he has some video lectures on the web you *have* to see.

Especially the one on buildings. When you get right down to it, though, what you and he are basically saying is that's there are huge gains to be made with good design, and unfortunately none of the builders in our society seem to be using this fact.

Aug 22, 2009
While I am unaware of the particular device in question, The Idea of using sensors to directly control things
is far from new. I am certain that game labs are working on what you have discussed, and much much more.

Currently the standard is using the brain patterns through our eye/hand coordination, ability to remember where
small buttons are. While this is a limiting interface, it is easier for our conscious to control. It certainly has a lot
of development that needs and can be done, and motion sensing devices as well as force feedback are still in
their infancy, they do imply what can and might later be possible.

The principle of multi-player Rock/paper/scissors is the PRINCIPLE, although far from the result in which different classes are designed in virtually every DnD based online game.

As far as being "Not a gamer", Are you sure? Is not investing, stock trading, salesmanship, politics, management, and engineering challenges not each a game in their own right?

The potential for a direct mind interface can go far beyond a computer game. If a game can be controlled
that way, virtually any other device could be controlled that way. It could bring an entirely new dimension
to "road rage".

On second thought, better leave it at wizard spells for the time being.

Aug 21, 2009
I just ordered one myself. I'm going to try to see if I can concentrate enough that I can associate brain waves with specific letters. Then I'll create a typing program so I can type as fast as I think. And stream of conciousness writing wil be a bit more realistic. And revealing.
Aug 21, 2009

Im waiting for the Jedi one, Id love to be able to FORCE CRUSH my opponent through shear force of will.
Aug 21, 2009

Im waiting for the Jedi one, Id love to be able to FORCE CRUSH my opponent through shear force of will.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 21, 2009
I would just like to ask you all if you remember or have seen the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet. Particularly the bit with the brian powered device.
All I am saying is if some giant creature consisting of anti-matter starts wasting California you know who to shoot first!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 20, 2009
As someone who is a gamer, I can say its a pretty well thought out idea.

When the technology improves a bit, the possibilities are amazing. To extend the wizard analogy, a game where you could nullify the fireball your enemy threw at you by just thinking about - and therefore creating - an opposing ball of water would be truly scarily fun (I think).

The only downside is I can already see the outraged media reaction when a load of 8 year-olds have seizures after concentrating too hard.
Aug 20, 2009
That is a seriously cool idea
Aug 20, 2009
After you mentioned that on your blog, I bought one of the Neurosky Mindsets. It's awesome!
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 20, 2009
At the NH Children's Museum they have a game called "Mindball" that incorporates EEG feedback (which sounds slightly different from the neurosky setup). You wear a headband with electrodes in it and sit opposite your opponent at a table in a soundproofed room. A long tube with a small ball in it runs the length of the table, with the ball in the center at the beginning of the game. The ball moves towards whoever is less relaxed - if the ball makes it all the way to your end, you lose. It's interesting to play - as you watch the ball move towards your opponent, you think, "I'm winning!" and the ball starts moving back towards you. It's much easier to play with your eyes closed :-).

Here's a link to the museum site that has some pics of the setup:
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 20, 2009
In this game Stephen Hawking would be Master of the Universe!!!
Aug 20, 2009
Not sure if you ar an iPhone user, but there is an app called Magic Wars that does a bit of that technology. You have to speak an incantation and wave the phone in a specific pattern like a wand to cast a spell. How well you speak and move in the proper pattern determines the srength of your attack. You duel against other players who have the app. All it's missing is the concentration element. I'm sure they could work it in somewhere.
Aug 20, 2009
The best game ever...but no boobies are involved. I don't see how that could be possible. Does your magician look like Lara Croft? Or maybe we can work on what happens when you win the battle...
Aug 20, 2009
Just, whatever you do, don't insert the headset plug the wrong way 'round. Because then the game controls YOU.

+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 20, 2009
I'm thinking of something bigger. A LOT bigger. I'd like my headset to control a full-size Transformer. And I'm not talking about some 3D rendered image on a computer monitor. I'm talking 100 tons of metal that can crush your neighbour's truck if he doesn't turn his country music down. Imagine you and 3 or 4 friends each having one of those. The game pretty much writes itself.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Aug 20, 2009
It would be fun to use MindSet to play Super Monkey Ball or Boom Blox!
Aug 20, 2009
Scott Adams = Not a Gamer.

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