Groundbreaking Neurofeedback Video Game Poised To Reach
Crooked Tree Studios announces that its KickStarter campaign has surpassed the 75% funding level for ‘Throw Trucks With Your Mind’, a multiplayer first-person "gunless shooter" that uses a wireless EEG headset to measure players' brainwaves and move virtual objects on screen!
Crooked Tree's one-level prototype has already demonstrated that the concept works between two players, and KickStarter funding will allow for up to 30 more LAN or Internet-connected players to fight each other with their thoughts in a multilevel environment. According to Sourcefed News, "It will essentially be a battle of wills".
Depending on the strength of players' beta waves (emitted while concentrating), players toss small items like crates or catapult objects like trucks. Players' can also draw things toward them by relaxing (and emitting alpha waves). Greater relaxation results in more power as well, so players learn quickly to be careful when attracting trucks.
Plans call for original artwork, animation, music, sound effects, physics enhancements, and an array of whimsical characters and environments. Once released (between October 2013 and March 2014), most KickStarter backers will receive copies of this fully-realized mental combat simulator for PC and Mac, and sales to the public will begin at a price to be determined. ‘Throw Trucks With Your Mind’ will use any USB controller to position avatars and select whether players throw or attract objects.
To date, no mass-audience, brain-powered video games are available to consumers, but the success of Throw Trucks could lead to stronger demand for neural feedback games worldwide and rapid development of this technology.
Lat Ware, the game's programmer and team leader, set out to create a neural feedback game that was pure entertainment. "If it's not fun, nobody's going to want to play it," he said. And according to VentureBeat.com staff writer Rus McLaughlin, who tested the system, "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 Ware’s building a much deeper experience that casual and core gamers can dig into…."
Ware believes that successful KickStarter funding will draw the attention of venture capitalists that 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 how enthusiastic people become when they actually play Throw Trucks, 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, and it's good to be first." Kicktraq, an analytics Web site for KickStarter campaigns, projects that Throw Trucks is likely to meet or exceed its goal by March 14 th
Neurofeedback is also currently used as a nonpharmacological intervention for such conditions as ADHD and anxiety. Features of the game, like reinforcing players' ability to relax and emit alpha waves, hint at the possibility of adapting it to be used as a therapeutic tool. The Los Angeles Times quotes Ware saying, "The therapy only works if people want to do it, and people want to crush people with their minds." According to Ware, "You could think of it as competitive meditation training."
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, and technical artist; Matt Olch, animator.
‘Throw Trucks With Your Mind’ can be found on KickStarter here:
Journalists interested in additional information or are interested in exclusive developer interviews are encouraged to contact Hans Olsen at Indie Developer Consulting by sending an email to [email protected].