Crushing opponents with your brainwaves?
Mountain View, CA, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 — Crooked Tree Studios announces that its Kickstarter campaign has surpassed the 50% funding level for Throw Trucks With Your Mind, a multiplayer first-person "gun-less shooter" that uses a wireless EEG headset to measure players' brainwaves. Depending on the strength of players' beta waves (emitted while concentrating), they can toss small items like crates or catapult bone-crushing objects like trucks with up to 15 other players, often with hilarious results.
A demonstration of Throw Trucks With Your Mind was reported recently on VentureBeat.com. Staff writer Rus McLaughlin describes how the unusual player interface might lead to stronger demand for neural feedback games:
"It’s a pure, giddy thrill when you launch something across the arena just by thinking about it. If that emptied Throw Trucks’ box of tricks, I’d still be fairly amused by it, but [software developer] Ware’s building a much deeper experience that casual and core gamers can dig into…assuming Throw Trucks reaches its Kickstarter goal and actually gets made."
According to the game's Kickstarter campaign page, no mass-audience video game "has ever demanded your mind's direct participation to create the psychic powers occurring on screen. Until this. After all, holding B isn't really the same thing as thinking really hard about something. The more focused you are, the harder you fling the truck."
Lat Ware, the game's programmer and team leader, set out to create a neural feedback game that was pure entertainment and entertainment and aimed at building a global audience for such games. "If it's not fun, nobody's going to want to play it," he said. But features of the game, like players' ability to draw objects toward them by relaxing (and emitting alpha waves), hint at the possibility of using elements of the game as a therapeutic tool. Said Ware, "You could think of it as competitive meditation training."
The pre-alpha prototype uses assets from the Unreal Engine, but a Kickstarter campaign will provide funding for original artwork, animation, music, sound effects, an array of whimsical characters, and multiple levels of gameplay. Once released (in March 2014) most Kickstarter backers will receive copies of this fully-realized multiplayer psychic combat simulator, and sales to the public will begin.
But Ware believes that successful Kickstarter funding will draw the attention of venture capitalists who see the potential of neurofeedback games as a new entertainment platform for mass audiences. According to Ware, Kickstarter is an excellent tool to do market research and test public demand. "Once investors see the excitement that Throw Trucks is generating," he said, "I think they'll realize the possibilities, especially as the price of the headsets declines and the capabilities of the headsets improve. It's just a matter of time before something like this takes off, but we want to be the first."
Ware is a veteran of the games industry, having programmed for Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and All Points Bulletin, and he is a graduate of Digipen Institute of Technology. Other team members include Lynda Miller, character artist; Caspian Priebe, environment artist; Kiyome Provost, technical artist; Matt Olch, animator; and Casey Samulski, the game's writer and newly published author of The Water Sign.
According to Samulski, "People are going to be able to throw trucks at each other over the Internet by using the power of their brains. And frankly, that's pretty dang awesome for a finish line."
For more information about Throw Trucks With Your Mind:
Crooked Tree Studios: