‘Skyrim’ mod uses literal brain power to buff magic

The damage is all in your mind

Skyrim modder and neuroscience PhD student Marius Klug has created a VR mod that measures your brain’s function to decide the power of magic attacks.

The mod works in tandem with the Muse 2, a device that measures brain activity to aid in meditation. However, it doesn’t fit perfectly under the VR headset. The mod is more a proof of concept and in principle could support any electroencephalogram (EEG) cap.

Developers are noticing this interest in brain monitoring for VR and headsets such as the Open BCI Galea are now being developed. This new mod displays a bar that measures the players level of concentration and works even when not connected online. When the bar is full magic attacks will do twice their usual power.

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Speaking to NME, Klug said that he had the idea for the mod “around 5 years ago.”

“I knew that I needed to learn much more about EEG and neuroscience to make something like this a reality. Then in the last years, I became an active member of the Skyrim’s VR community and it only made sense to piggyback on a successful game to bring my vision of real virtual magic into the world.”

He was inspired by the work of Prof. Thorsten Zander, who worked at the Berlin Mobile Brain/Body Imaging Lab part of the Technische Universität Berlin when Klug started there. He had the idea of passive brain-computer interface (BCI) in Zander’s field of measuring workload and attention.

“We were talking about VR BCI a lot but the tech just wasn’t there yet.”

The technology is still in its early stages and while it shows promise for the future of immersion in video games, it is still unclear how this will be developed.

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“In principle, there are a few things one could measure, attentional load, surprise reactions, relaxation, basic emotions, but that is highly dependent on the device and on the algorithm. It can also be combined with other measures like heartbeats, eye tracking, or just body motion”

However, Klug is unsure where the technology used in the Skyrim mod will move from here.

“The step towards EEG additions depends a lot on the hardware manufacturers, but also on the software. The manufacturers need to see that there exist applications that make for a compelling use case, but eventually, I think it will catch on”

“Neuroadaptive Technology (a term coined by Prof. Thorsten Zander) is still in its infancy, but it will have applications beyond our current imagination”

In other news, streamers of team survival horror game Dead by Daylight have been complaining of DDoS attacks for almost a week while the studio responds they need to “follow best practices for online safety.”

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