I’ve been encouraging the use of breath in games since the DK2 when I gave away my source code for the original Breath Tech demo. The most recent version was released for free on Oculus Home last week.
This isn’t about seeing your breath as a novelty. The more that you represent your own physicality in VR and the more the world reacts to your physical presence the more immersed you feel. For example, blowing dustmotes away and blowing on cloth and seeing it react should feel very natural.
My intention was to increase awareness of the potential to use breath as an additional tracked input method. I want to encourage developers to consider using the microphone and I want to encourage hardware manufacturers to consider adding breath sensors as standard. The experience demonstrates various ways breath can be used for immersion and as gameplay mechanics.
Using the microphone is a flawed approach because it requires calibration and having the microphone volume turned up. If you don’t calibrate well, you don’t get the best experience. You also need to play in a quiet room to stop background noise affecting the experience. However, it’s the best way to let everyone understand the benefits.
Uses for a breath sensor besides increasing immersion:
* Coupled with eye tracking a breath sensor would provide analogue input and a very flexible control system for users with restricted movement.
* Fitness apps could vary the work rate depending on how out of breath you are.
* Meditation apps could respond to your breath.
* It would help differentiate between background noise and talking. The mic wouldn’t activate when people are shouting in the background. Games could then rely on the mic to accurately decide if you are talking during a stealth game, talking to an ingame character etc.
Please try the free experience (only takes 10 minutes) and then let me know if you think breath sensors would increase immersion and be a welcome addition, or should I just stop going on about it 🙂
This is a good idea for sure, though i think getting consumers and devs on board with such a niche accessory is going to be a hard sell. Afordability, ease of use and a good amount of dev support will be what it takes for something like this.
Your mic based prototype is decent, i feel like with a robust software api it might be enough to compensate against the shortcomings youve outlined. I dont know how you could do that, but the fact that every rift has a standardized audio input module means that out of the box youve got a potential user without any extra cost or setup required from them.
Hey there, The idea of using breath is good, but adding sensors specific to breath detection is unnecessary. A mic is perfectly able to recognize breath from the rest (that only depends on the software implementation). Although they are rare, the games that use it well don't activate when hearing background noise or when the user is speaking. I do love the idea of blowing dust with my breath though!
Hyped for the Quest 2!
My hopes for VR next gen: - Full Body Tracking. Come on, Oculus! - Eye tracking with foveated rendering. Must reduce the power needs! - More big-scale games. I need a true VRMMORPG! - Bigger community.
"If you don't mind, do you want me to take you there? Where dreams come true."
I think this would be great if it were integrated into the headset already with sensors, otherwise you have to plan on the end user actually owning the sensors as an upgrade and I would suspect devs wouldn't make much use of them because so many people wouldn't have them. But if it were a part of the headset fromt he get go, everyone would have them and devs would probably program for them.