A collection of mobile games using neurofeedback techniques and real-time brainwave data to train an individual’s ability to attain control over their own focus and meditation.
Rich Clayton, the Head of Product at Within, asked me to take the lead in putting together a collection of mobile games that train player’s in mindfulness and their ability to focus and meditate. Although initially it began as a contract to compose music and audio and help with game design, the project quickly demanded a much broader range of skills: This resulted in me also taking on board the role of programmer and leading the work package for design.
The result was the creation of three games in Unity that uniquely use direct tracking of brainwave activity (EEG) to create a neurofeedback loop, assisting players in attaining a specific state of brain activity and encouraging growth of a player’s mindfulness ability. To encourage this I designed the music and audio in the game to dynamically adapt along side the player’s EEG data to aid in maintaining a constant mindfulness state.
Have a listen to some of the calming music for Within!
WHAT I LEARNED
Within provided a very interesting and significant challenge when creating the music and audio, since the games’ primary design goal was to present the player with a balance of both immersion and reaction without distracting the player’s attention from their objectives. The artists from both Wardenlight and Far Few Giants did an amazing job at maintaining this balance in their work, which in turn helped me in composing to an equal standard with this challenge in mind. The lesson to be learned from this is that in all aspects of game design, being able to work closely alongside all other disciplines besides your own enables an organic call and response of creative ideas that may not have otherwise been explored.
During the process of writing the music I did research into the field of brainwave entrainment music, binaural beats, and isochronic tones; features of meditation music which help guide the listener towards a desired meditative state. However, after discussing it with the specialists in neurofeedback on the team, I made the call to avoid going too in-depth into something that could potentially skew the purpose of the mindfulness training in the games. Instead it became apparent that, as is more often than not, choosing the path of simplicity became the best option in the end, both in terms of production time and effectiveness of the product.