There may come a day when preparing for the next chapter of a
Left 4 Dead
game will include wiping down your sweaty palms and taking a deep, deep breath. If you don't, the zombies will get faster.
In remarks during the 2013
NeuroGaming Conference and Expo
), Valve's in-house experimental psychologist—Wait, hold on. Did you know that
employs an experimental psychologist? I wonder if he has lunch sometimes with the
Anyway, Valve's in-house mad scientist,
, discussed experiments where players' overall nervousness and agitation were measured, in part by recording sweatiness. If players began to show signs of nervousness or fear, the game would speed up. This new control scheme—mouse, keyboard, sweat-measuring skin pads—added another way for the player to interact with the game. Shoot zombie, reload pistols, keep calm. Signal for rescue, throw molotov, keep calm.
Ambinder also described other experiments in game design and biofeedback—which Valve has been talking about
for a few years
—including a version of
that was played via eye tracking. Exploring the next generation of possible gaming inputs shows once again that Valve continues to operate, and plan, on a whole different level.
So good for you, Mike Ambinder. Just stay away from the
and everything will work out just fine.