Three reasons to add mind interactions in your game dev

Add mind interactions to your input landscape to craft engaging, immersive, and intuitive gaming experiences.

When thinking about game development, have you ever considered you might not even need a keyboard, mouse, or gamepad? Incorporating Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology into your games is a sure way to offer a wow experience.

New levels of immersion and intensity

When playing games made with NextMind technology, players must actively focus on mind-enabled objects to trigger an action. Any visual object in your game universe can be made mind-interactable

Since mind interactions use active focus, a high level of engagement is required from the player. To create even more engaging gameplay, mind interactions can be combined with other inputs. In our platformer demo, you have to focus on the enemies to blow them up while using the keyboard to move out of their way. The result is more intense gameplay. 

In the NextMind Platformer demo, you can experience a new type of gameplay. Use your gamepad to navigate. Clear the path and explode enemies using your mind.

Designing novel gameplay is not only engaging, but also good for your brain. Studies show that playing rich, three-dimensional video games can increase cognitive performance in adults of all ages [1, 2, 3]. It wouldn’t be surprising to see similar results for mind-enabled games.

Check out some examples of how the community is using our SDK to create applications in gaming and more.

Creative storytelling that lets you be the hero

You’re a mage engaged in hand-to-hand combat; another target is fast approaching. What do you do? Use the power of your mind to cast a spell of course.

Using mind interactions means you can craft a completely new type of gaming experience.

One approach is to take an existing game and embed our visual overlays onto objects to make them mind-interactable. You can even customize the visual overlays to match your aesthetic, and tie the trigger to any action you want. Or perhaps you’d like to make a twist on a classic game such as pong or matching cards.

Example NeuroTag realistic render game development BCI
Our graphical overlays can be integrated onto any object to match the visual environment. Here, the sphere would be mind-interactable.

The ambitious can develop gaming experiences especially designed around Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology. Storylines that use magic, take place in the future, or exist in alternate realities often feature impossible actions. Incorporating mind interactions can be a way to get a little bit closer to actually living the storyline. Imagine… 

Space traveling: activate your teleportation device by simply focusing on the portal. 

You’re a sharpshooter: use your mind power to zoom in on a distant target before pulling the trigger. 

Activate your Jedi powers: use the force! 

The creative possibilities of mind-enabled actions are endless.  

A natural addition to AR & VR environments  

Remember the first time you tried to pick up an object or press a button in VR? It probably wasn’t as easy and intuitive as in real life. Inputs for headsets such as the Oculus or HTC Vive have a learning curve before smooth gameplay is possible. Especially for more complex interactions, you might need to build up muscle memory.  

AR is more intuitive, especially for simple actions such as selecting a menu. But you still have to learn a library of hand motions to be able to have rich interactions. 

That’s where the NextMind Brain-Computer Interface comes in. It is an ideal complement to XR since both are visual-based platforms.  

Here we show someone playing our MindVaders VR beta demo. No external controllers are needed since all actions are triggered through visual cues you trigger with your mind.

Maintaining immersion in VR requires forgetting about your physical environment and body. This is easier when controls are integrated in the visual environment, as is the case with the NextMind device. Simply add our graphic overlays onto objects, and you can use your mind to interact with them.

Creating this immersion is a key step to making the metaverse possible. That’s why our users often associate our tech with pop culture references such as Sword Art Online or Ready, Player One. These places do not exist yet, but by the time they arrive, we think that mind interactions will be commonplace.

Visual-based controls also make XR gameplay more accessible. You can play standing or sitting, and control objects within even lifting a finger. 

What are some mind interactions or input combinations you’d like to see in your games? Tell us in the comments.

References

[1] Clemenson GD, Stark CE. Virtual Environmental Enrichment through Video Games Improves Hippocampal-Associated Memory. J Neurosci. 2015 Dec 9;35(49):16116-25. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2580-15.2015. PMID: 26658864; PMCID: PMC4682779.

[2] Clemenson GD, Stark SM, Rutledge SM, Stark CEL. Enriching hippocampal memory function in older adults through video games. Behav Brain Res. 2020 Jul 15;390:112667. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2020.112667. Epub 2020 May 18. PMID: 32439346; PMCID: PMC7286064.

[3] Greg L. West, Benjamin Rich Zendel, Kyoko Konishi, Jessica Benady-Chorney, Veronique D. Bohbot, Isabelle Peretz, Sylvie Belleville. Playing Super Mario 64 increases hippocampal grey matter in older adults. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (12): e0187779 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187779

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