Bring to Light is a Whole New Level of Scary
Bringing horror games to the virtual reality scene seems like a no-brainer plan but it is actually easier to write than it is to pull off. That is because, given the increased levels of immersion present in a VR game, if the scares fall flat they will never recover from the tumble. Similarly, if the game is too intense the audience for it will be necessarily tiny which will scare away any bigtime developer from making an attempt.
Red Meat Games thinks they have found the perfect middle ground in their title Bring to Light, a virtual reality horror and puzzle solving game that utilizes light as a game mechanic as well as incorporating biometric feedback into the title’s “scare algorithm.”
How this works is that the game responds directly to feedback from devices such as a heart monitor. It senses when you are scared and when you are not, fine-tuning the in-game scares accordingly. This is an optional feature, of course, but promises to ratchet up the scare level a couple of notches for those gamers that find themselves getting too cozy in Bring to Light’s world.
In an interview with Digital Trends, Red Meat Games CEO Keith Makse said, “Red Meat Games CEO Keith MakseBack in 2013, gaming conferences were plastered with mobile game ad companies selling their ad services…I had the thought at the time that rather than automating the ad systems, as was proffered by every ad company, there could be a tool that could automate game design in some way.”
The company first attempted such an adaptive algorithm with a trivia game. The algorithm would adjust the difficulty of the game’s questions based on a variety of factors including how fast the player got the correct answer – in indicator of the relative ease of the question. Incorporating biometric technology into gameplay, such as the heart monitor with Bring to Light, is the obvious next step in this field.
“When I was brainstorming another game, I thought we should be able to use biometric feedback as user input, and we quickly thought of using a heartbeat…That was the easy part. We’ve probably spent about 12 months in total designing, building, and testing this system to get it to where it is today,” Makse said.
Using a narrative inspired by the unique horror found in H.P. Lovecraft novels, Bring to Light puts players in the position of a sole survivor of a subway accident that inaugurates a whole host of psychological horror for the player character. Debuting on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, the game also has a “flat” version on offer that doesn’t require the use of a VR headset but offers a similar experience nonetheless.
For its part, Red Meat Games is excited about the potential for using biometric devices in games from horror stories to other genres, “While I still think it’s too early to tell if this will be picked up by any others out there, I do think that using biometric feedback will eventually become an option for games and other apps out there…More biometric devices are released every day and constant improvements are being made.”