The Average Gamer

Mind Control Is Here Now

Oh my god, look at this, you can control games with your fricking mind now!

Well, okay. Not quite yet but a game developer called Lat Ware, who worked on Champions Online, Star Trek Online and All Points Bulletin is building something. It’s a multiplayer game controlled by an EEG headset that reads brainwaves and translates them into movement and called “Throw Trucks With Your Mind“.

Throw Trucks With Your Mind CharactersHere’s the basic description from the Kickstarter page (I know, shut up):

“The game uses first-person shooter controls, but it’s not a first-person shooter. You’ll fight entirely through NeuroSky’s MindWave headset peripheral that reads the electrical activity of your brain. Your weapon is the world around you and the various psychic manipulations you can perform on it to clobber others. There will be single-player training scenarios to teach you everything you need to know about the multiplayer, which is the main focus of the game.

“The game works by doing a bunch of crazy math on your brainwaves to determine how calm and focused you are. These two conditions act as the scalars on your psychic powers. Want to throw a truck into that pompous jerk strafing around in front of you? Just focus on it. The more focused you are, the harder you fling the truck and the more smushy he ends up.”

And, of course, the video:

Now, it sounds too good to be true. It sounds like you just focus on something and the game will take care of the rest, because how brains are incredibly complex. You’d expect that a simple headset would need lots of calibration to pick out the “throw” command from the “Oh crap, I’m being shot”, “Mmm, I wonder what’s for dinner” and “Hmm, my balls are kind of itchy.”

But moving things in different directions isn’t entirely the realms of science fiction any more. This TED talk from Tan LE in 2010 has already shown that you can map brain focus to multiple commands. Skip to 4:00 if you just want to see the demo.

That said, there are only really two basic brain commands in Throw Trucks – focus and calm. You’ll use a standard mouse and keyboard set-up to move and select powers, while your brain acts as the action buttons. From the FAQ:

  • You can throw things with your focus.
  • You can lift things with your calm.
  • You can pull things towards you with your calm. I made that powered by calm because I thought it would be hilarious if there was a power-up that was out of reach and the more you needed it, the harder it was to pull towards you. But because of your own mental state, not arbitrary coded rules. This way, you could master that reflex and overcome it.
  • You can super-jump with your focus.
  • You can slow-fall with your calm. So, that fall will kill you, unless you keep your cool. Slow-fall can give let you experience negative gravity, but it will never give you lift. If your calm is completely maxed out, you can walk off a cliff, turn around, and walk right back.

Turns out Lat Ware likes to be an awkward bugger, doesn’t he? Keep your cool to slow down your fall? Cheeky sod. On the other hand, one of the characters is a cat in a giant robot suit, so he can’t be all bad.

Anyway… there are less than 5 days left on the Kickstarter and it’s very close to its goal. You can back Throw Trucks With Your Mind over here. Baby steps into the future of brainpower.