A new company has opened up access to its emotion-tracking software for game developers.
Affectiva’s tech uses a camera to observe the player’s face, translating facial expressions into feelings such as happiness, sadness, anxiety and fear.
Already used by marketing companies to measure consumer reaction to advertisements, the software has now been brought to the Unity engine in the form of a plug-in.
The first game to launch with the tech will be Nevermind from Flying Mollusk, which previously tracked player mood through their pulse, measured by attached heart-rate monitors.
The new version of the title will instead use a camera to adjust its gameplay mechanics based on player reaction – potentially ramping up the difficulty of objectives when high stress is detected.
Flying Mollusk founder Erin Reynolds described Nervermind as “a stress management tool disguised as a game” to the Boston Globe.
Affective has also filed a patent for registering tracked emotions as control inputs in games – meaning that characters and environments can alter based on player feelings.
“So far we’ve all been using the joystick or the keyboard — and with Kinect, it’s your body movements,” co-founder Rana el Kaliouby said.
“Now emotion can be another input in the game dynamic.”