Music as Function: Biofeedback in Games for Health

Elise Plans, David Plans

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Serious games, or persuasive games, for behaviour change or generalised health care, have been growing in number and research activity in the last decade (McCallum 2012). In persuasive games where the aim is mental health, music plays an even more important role than the already crucial one it plays in normal ludic games. Casual-style games have been designed to be therapeutic by both inducing flow in the player, and tackling a particular therapeutic pathway such as aiding cognitive bias modification (Wartena and van Dijk 2013), which take advantage of known effectiveness of casual games in improving mood and decreasing stress (Russoniello, O’Brien, and Parks 2009). Following models for evaluating player enjoyment (Sweetser and Wyeth 2005) and biometric activation of stress markers (Martinez, Bengio, and Yannakakis 2013), this paper will present a 2D clone of Space Invaders, following traditional space invader movement and fire mechanics (but omitting destructible covers), whereby the music will be generated procedurally using experience-driven Procedural Content Generation (PCG) techniques previously outlined (D. Plans and Morelli 2012) in dataflow based approaches to procedural music for a maze game (E. Plans, Morelli, and Plans, 2015). The goal of this game will be to attempt to induce, and measure flow, attempting to model frustration/enjoyment and to vary the music dynamically to adapt to biophysical response, targeting skin conductance and heart rate variability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLudomusicology - Videogame Music Research Group
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2016

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