Developed during a hackathon organised by VizARTS at Aalborg University of Copenhagen, The Shift is a neurogame.
During the VIZARTS LAB II 48-hours-jam, a team of four people ideated and developed the interactive experience called “Δ:The Shift”.
The task was to create a captivating narrative solely through a virtual location and without recurring to the use of characters.
A first team was composed of the following members: Alejandra Mesa, Laine Kaleja, Bertilla Fabris.
Our main idea consisted in visualizing an individual ́s inner mindset through a BCI-based interactive video game.
Of the several technologies at our disposal, we chose to work with a NeuroSky MindWave2 headset capable to record EEG data in real time, SamsungGear 360 and Unity game engine.
Alejandra was given the task to developed the graphic identity of the video game and create a 1 minute trailer/demo; she explored filmmaking and editing with the 360° format using SamsungGear360 equipment.
The technical components being pertinent to different wave-types brought various influences into
the audiovisual parts of the project. Bertilla ́s previous research in neurology, EEG and BCI
technologies directed the process.
Bengü Ozahinci soon joined the team and worked on designing the soundtrack, a fascinating composition obtained from recorded beta waves.
Meanwhile, Laine researched on how to connect a NeuroSky MindWave2 headset to Unity; a bunch of technical problems arose from both the software side (unexplained disappearance of signal) and hardware (batteries lasting just a few hours of usage). The solution to the first was to be found in the script thanks to the VizArts team and Henry Bergström revising the code.
Once the concept was established, Bertilla focused on creating a level in Unity completed of a sizeable object which would be affected by the brainwave fluctuations (EEG inputs).
Not having a budget prompted us to use only free assets from the Unity Asset Store [namely Vast Outer Space, 3D Game Kit and CineMachine].
As suggested by the organisers, we tried multiple roads and failed quickly.
Our joined efforts created Δ:THE SHIFT, an interactive MindGame that reads real-time EEG data as controls.
See the trailer for Δ:THE SHIFT – https://vimeo.com/321040232 Gameplay – screen capture – https://vimeo.com/321041193 High Resolution level oversight – https://vimeo.com/321041843 Play Δ:THE SHIFT
Following are some thoughts from the team members:
Laine (lead developer)
I was contributing to the technical side of the project – looking through the NeuroSky headset documentation and finding the appropriate ways to connect the brainwave data with our Unity environment. The ViZARTS team and other developers helped to move on, as I was learning all the way through. The connection problems with the headset seemed unpredictable at first, but lastly we understood that the problem was within the script – the team spirit gave motivation to keep on and enjoy the process 🙂
Alejandra (video editor)
As Graphic Designer/Animator new to 3Dtech, my contribution was to deliver a graphic identity to our project, matching the theme our team was developing. Animation, VFX and video editing were my main tasks in order to showcase the project’s concepts in a demo. I learned about different available technologies and their possible applications. Now I’m even more interested to explore these tools to be able to use them in future projects!
Bengü (sound designer)
My part in the project was designing the sound. I used the information and data about Beta waves and used musicalalgorithms.org to create sounds resembling Beta waves. Later, I composed the track for the video using these sounds.
Bertilla (creative director + level designer)
It was a pleasure to work with this team, trying out new technologies and importing scientific knowledge into the new media scene. Exploring the range of possible artistic applications for BCI technologies is particularly interesting because it is a rather uncharted territory; some of the tutorials guiding us in the making of this basic game felt similar to explorer ́s rutters.
Special thanks to:
• the VizArts team
• Henry Bergström
• Maria Reihs