Nevermind: A Biofeedback Horror Adventure Game
Nevermind: A Biofeedback Horror Adventure Game
The acclaimed biofeedback horror adventure game that gets more challenging as you get scared, honing your ability to manage anxiety.
The acclaimed biofeedback horror adventure game that gets more challenging as you get scared, honing your ability to manage anxiety. Read more
About this project
First off, a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing backers. Although we didn't hit our Kickstarter goal, this project was nonetheless a resounding success in helping to build awareness around Nevermind, biofeedback, and positive games. Perhaps more importantly, it has clearly shown that there's a thriving, active audience that's eager for games like Nevermind.
We foresee a bright future ahead for Nevermind and that wouldn’t have happened without your help
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO NEVERMIND NOW?
We haven’t given up, that’s for sure! Building upon your tremendous support as a result of this campaign, we will be actively seeking other means of funding to help make Nevermind a reality!
NOW THAT THE KICKSTARTER IS OVER, HOW CAN I HELP SUPPORT THE PROJECT?
Great question! There are a few ways:
Sign up for our Mailing List and follow us on social media (whether you are or aren’t a backer already) to make sure you’re kept abreast of the latest/greatest developments!
We will be adding donation links and a store on the Nevermind website where we will be offering a selection of the Kickstarter rewards to help give you guys an opportunity to make Nevermind a reality! Keep an eye out for things like Nevermind concept art (original and prints), T-Shirts, pre-orders of the final game, and more!
Interested in seeing what all the fuss is about? Watch these playthroughs the current proof of concept of Nevermind!
Nevermind is a biofeedback-enhanced horror adventure game that takes you into the dark and twisted world within the subconscious minds of trauma victims.
As you explore surreal labyrinths and solve the puzzles of the mind, a biofeedback sensor monitors how scared or stressed you become with each passing moment. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game will become harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.
Nevermind’s goal is to create an unforgettable gameplay experience that also teaches players how to be more aware of their internal responses to stressful situations. If you can learn to control your anxiety within the disturbing realm of Nevermind, just imagine what you can do when it comes to those inevitable stressful moments in the real world…
Although the biofeedback element takes Nevermind to the next level, you can always play Nevermind without ANY biofeedback hardware and still enjoy it as a surreal, mysterious, atmospheric adventure game.
More details in the FAQ at the bottom of this page!
As seen in: Kotaku, Polygon, Huffington Post, Fox News Business, Upworthy, GameTrailers, Joystiq, IGN, GameInformer, Wired UK, GamesBeat, FastCompany, PCGamer, KillScreen, BloodyDisgusting,
GameZone, GizMag, PSFK, Rock, Paper, Shotgun and many more!
"...let's just say it's like if Telltale made a creepier, slightly more puzzle-oriented horror game that makes you question your own sanity." - Tina Amini, Kotaku
“This sounds super cool, if you ask me.” - Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku
"And it works. Not only was the game obviously tuned to my emotional state, by the end of the journey I found myself pausing and taking a deep breath to slow my heart rate and more calmly tackle the nightmares that confronted me." - Brian Crecente, Polygon
“It’ll play a bit like a free-roaming version of Myst, but with the scare factor of Slender and the visual aesthetic of a Nine Inch Nails video directed by Kyle Cooper of Se7en’s title sequence fame. You know, the stuff bad dreams are made of.” - Will Johnston, Xbox One Gamer Magazine
“If you’re interested in seeing this game come to Windows, Mac and possibly at least the Xbox One, fund it. If you support indie game developers, fund it. If you love horror, fund it. Hell, if you just take games seriously and think that they have more applications than just fun and random bits of escapism, fund it. I did.” - Jonathan Gronli, Technology Tell
Nevermind is - at its core - an adventure game (in the spirit of classic games like Myst), where you must explore strange worlds and solve puzzles to unlock the terrifying mystery that lurks within each patient’s inner psyche.
In Nevermind, you are a Neuroprober - a unique physician who, through the use of cutting-edge technology, is able to venture into the minds of psychological trauma victims for whom traditional treatment methods have proved ineffective.
As such, each “level” in Nevermind takes place within the surreal subconscious of one of these victims. Your goal is to explore the often dark and twisted world within, solving abstract puzzles as you recover fragments of memories (represented by photographs) surrounding the traumatic event.
Traumatic experiences, especially those left untreated, take their toll in countless ways, often triggering other serious problems as the victim’s subconscious desperately tries to cope. As a result, the patient’s mind doesn’t take kindly to those who attempt to peel back these layers, often prompting it to lash out in terrifying, unexpected ways.
Only the most vigilant of Neuroprobers can survive the horrors of the mind to help their patient find peace at last.
Nevermind started as a 2012 MFA thesis project at USC’s Interactive Media Program, led by industry veteran Erin Reynolds - who returned to academia to pursue new ways to create “positive” games for traditional gaming audiences. After an academic year, Erin and the Nevermind student development team were able to create one fully-functional level - a proof of concept that demonstrated Nevermind’s unique vision and the feasibility of the core technology.
Nevermind has since been featured in numerous festivals and nominated for several awards for innovation and technical achievement, including at IndieCade, Games for Change, SIGGRAPH, Unity Unite Awards, and the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge.
In light of Nevermind’s critical success, Erin decided to take the plunge - leaving her industry job to commit herself fully to make her dream of a full-featured, commercially viable version of Nevermind a reality. With your support, Nevermind will be the next great horror adventure game - unlike anything you've played before!
BIGGER, BETTER, SCARIER
The final commercial version of Nevermind will contain at least 4 levels (more if we hit our stretch goals!), for 5+ hours of gameplay PLUS the time and resources to feature even higher quality environments to complement a broader variety of new, more terrifying themes and traumas.
MORE WAYS TO PLAY
Although the current prototype is only available for PC, we will also be bringing Nevermind to Mac. On that note, we are thrilled to report that Nevermind has been pre-approved by Valve for release on Steam!
Nevermind uses biofeedback technology to detect your Heart Rate Variability while playing. When you start to become scared or anxious, the game will dynamically respond to your stress levels, which in turn directly affects gameplay.
The current demo features full biofeedback integration using an off-the-shelf Garmin Heart Rate Monitor strap (similar to what one would use for exercise) as a means of proving out the technology. As part of Nevermind’s development, we will be aggressively looking to support as many biofeedback sensors as possible, especially those with existing market penetration. This includes upcoming devices from Garmin and Polar, as well as innovative camera technology like the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0.
NO HARDWARE? NO PROBLEM.
Although the biofeedback element takes Nevermind to the next level, you can always play Nevermind without ANY biofeedback hardware and still have a great time. In the absence of hardware technology, we use secondary responsive cues (such as camera and player movement) to emulate the biofeedback experience.
Nonetheless, our goal is to support as many hardware devices as possible to ensure every player has the opportunity to use a low cost, multi-function biofeedback device to “enjoy” the true Nevermind experience.
NOTE: We are currently in discussion with hardware partners to try and secure biofeedback sensors at a discounted rate exclusively for our Kickstarter backers. WE CANNOT PROMISE THIS DISCOUNT, but we hope to have an update before the end of the campaign.
The best way to ensure you get the necessary hardware is to back the project at the Nevermind R&D Director level!
One exciting facet of Nevermind is its potential to serve as a full-fledged therapeutic tool for those who suffer from issues - mild or severe - relating to stress, anxiety, PTSD, or other similar conditions. Although informal testing results have been promising thus far, we are excited to be in discussion as we speak with researchers who are eager to explore Nevermind's potential impact via rigorous clinical trials.
As a prime example of our passion to create "games that give back", one of our long-term goals is to craft a health-centric version of Nevermind specifically targeted to help actual patients develop tools to manage and ultimately overcome their conditions.
To make the most of every resource made available, Nevermind will be built with a small, elite, multifaceted, close knit team of experienced developers each dedicated to both supporting and pushing each other to create the immersive, polished, compelling experience that players deserve.
Erin Reynolds - Creative Director / Artist / Designer
Erin is the Creative Director, Project Lead, Artist, and Designer for Nevermind, and remains the core visionary behind its growth into a full-featured product. She strongly believes in the power of games to have a positive impact on the lives of players, and has dedicated more than 10 years of game development experience as a Designer, Artist, and Producer at studios small and large to make it happen.
In addition to her games being nominated for awards at many festivals, in 2011 she won multiple awards from the White House for her work creating positive games, and has been recognized by Red Bull (via the Stratos project) as part their efforts to explore the limits of human potential.
Greg Hillegas - Project Manager / Designer
Greg brings over 18 years of development experience in game design, production, and creative consulting experience as an integral member of AAA development teams that created award-winning titles across a host of different platforms, including the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series. Greg will be responsible for managing the day to day production of the project, while also supporting development via level and puzzle design. Furthermore, Greg will be a key contributor to establishing relationships with external partners to help bring Nevermind to as many platforms as possible.
Michael Annetta - R&D Producer (Emergent Tech & Therapeutic Applications)
Michael is a Producer and Designer with over 10 years of experience who specializes in emergent technology - primarily in stereoscopy and transmedia - and thus will be exploring relationships with technology and therapeutic partners to maximize Nevermind’s reach and impact.
Derek Baird - Composer
Derek composed the original, haunting score for Nevermind, including helping to design its unique dynamic audio system. He will reprise his role as the primary composer for the final project.
Newt & Loki - CSOs (Chief Sleep Officers)
Having been involved in the games industry for their entire lives, Newt and Loki are dedicated to collaboratively covering any and all sleep needs on behalf of the team. This will allow Erin and the gang to stay up for weeks at a time and stay 110% focused on making Nevermind the best game it can be.
Engineers, Artists, and more!
With the news that Nevermind was being developed further, a number of top tier developers from around the industry (including some original team members) have expressed interested in rejoining the team. This includes hardware and gameplay engineers, environment artists, animators, and more.
Many of these future team members are waiting in the wings, eager to join the project! However, due to existing commitments, they cannot publicly reveal their involvement. That said, once certain funding goals are hit, we can't wait to share more about those who will be joining us!
For more about Erin, the team, and her inspirations for Nevermind, check out her fantastic (and legthy!) interview with Jonathan Holmes on the 'Sup Holmes Podcast!
Digital Download of NEVERMIND (PC or MAC)
A digital download (via Steam) of the final version of Nevermind on the available platform of your choice. Only PC (Windows) and Mac (OSX) are guaranteed, but additional platforms may become available depending on demand and stretch goals.
Now including Oculus Rift support!
Name in Credits
All Backers will have their name included in the credits and will be listed according to their Pledge Tier.
Digital Download of NEVERMIND: Phase 1 (PC)
An immediate digital download (post-campaign) of the current, award-nominated demo version of Nevermind for PC, containing the Clinic and one full level (~45-90 minutes of gameplay).
EXTRA Digital Download of NEVERMIND (PC or MAC)
An additional copy of Nevermind (via Steam) for you to share with a friend or loved one!
Digital Art Book
A digital PDF of the Nevermind Art Book containing 40+ pages of concepts, sketches and commentary from the development of the game, including unused materials.
Neuroprober Council (Beta Access)
Backers at this tier will be granted exclusive, early access to builds of new levels throughout development and unique access to forums to provide feedback and suggestions to help make Nevermind the best experience it can be. In addition, these Backers will be invited to exclusive playtesting sessions and events in Los Angeles and in other areas of the US as our travels permit.
Your Name in the Game
Your name immortalized in Nevermind! Will you be a Patient (past or current)? Fellow Neuroprober? A key character in someone’s past? You’ll have to play to find out!
A digital download of the full Nevermind soundtrack for the final game composed by Derek Baird, including EXCLUSIVE tracks only available to Kickstarter Backers.
Nevermind T-Shirt (Limited Edition)
A unique Nevermind T-shirt that will be designed and printed ONLY for Kickstarter Backers.
Hardcover Art Book (Personalized)
A physical, hardcover edition of the Nevermind Art Book containing 40+ pages of concepts, sketches and commentary from the development of the game (including unused materials) - signed by the team and personalized via a unique doodle by Erin.
Heart Rate Sensor Pack
A complete set of all the sensor hardware you need to enjoy the biofeedback-enhanced gameplay of Nevermind!
We are constantly iterating upon our biofeedback integration and investigating new devices to ensure we have the most responsive, sensitive, seamless, multifunction device(s) possible. As such, hardware specifics will be finalized during development.
Your Unique Bust in the Hall of Fears
There is a special room in the Neurostalgia institute dedicated to chronicling fear and trauma triggers or past patients. If you support us at this level, you will be asked to provide us a list of your fears (the more unique the better!) and we will create a unique bust in the final game personally dedicated to your fear!
BONUS - This tier ALSO includes a unique, one-of-a-kind sketch by Erin of your bust (inspired by your fear) that we will send you along with your rewards!
Original Concept Art
You will be able to choose one of a variety of original concept art pieces (primarily paintings). Backers will get to choose on a first come, first served basis. Pieces will range in size - 4x5 inches and up!
Personalized Level Content
You will have custom Level content created dedicated to you, and based on your unique fears. Collaborating with the development team, this will either be a small stand-alone level that will be built just for you, or integrated into existing level content where appropriate. This content would be released in the final game or as DLC post launch.
We’ll work with you to create something you’ll never forget!
Unique Postcard Sketch by Erin (Add-On ONLY)
A unique, Nevermind inspired hand-sketched postcard-sized image by Erin!
By popular demand - we are excited to announce add ons! To get any of these add-ons, simply add the appropriate amount listed below to your pledge:
- $15 - Nevermind Soundtrack
- $15 - Digital Art Book
- $20 - Nevermind T-Shirt (Limited Edition)
- $25 - Extra Digital Download of Nevermind (PC or MAC)
- $40 - Hardcover Art Book (Personalized)
- $100 - Unique Postcard Sketch by Erin (Add-On ONLY)
Once the campaign is over we will confirm your reward based on the extra Kickstarter funds beyond your current tier.
If your current reward tier does NOT include any physical goods (i.e. $50 or lower), please make sure to add $10 for shipping ($25 international) to your pledge. If your reward tier already includes physical goods, your shipping is covered!
In addition to each stretch goal reward, the more we raise, the more devices we will be able to support, and the more polish we’re going to be able to add to the game as a whole - thanks for your support!
$275,000 - Xbox One + Kinect 2.0 Support!
If we hit this tier, we will work to bring Nevermind to the Xbox One! This will include Kinect 2.0 biofeedback support (no new sensor purchase required).
Although we can’t officially confirm distribution on the platform prior to officially signing a deal with Microsoft, we are currently in discussion with them them about the project and we are all excited about it’s potential on the platform.
NOTE: Although hitting this goal will enable us to release Nevermind on Xbox One, we can’t currently promise free Xbox One codes to our backers instead of their PC or Mac version. That said, we’ll do everything in our power to either make that happen, and/or provide something special for our Xbox One-based backers.
$280,000 - New T-Shirt Varieties
Want to be able to pick your favorite T-shirt design from a variety of options? Do you prefer styles such as babydoll, fitted, or organic fabric? With this tier, we’ll design a variety of T-shirt options and let YOU decide which you want as your reward!
$290,000 - Art Book Upgrade - Sequential Narrative
The tale of a unique Nevermind patient, told in sequential narrative (comic book) form! This will be added to all existing Art Books - digital and physical.
$300,000 - Custom Oculus Rift and Omni Content!
Beyond PC/Mac, there is one particular piece of Hardware that we are especially excited about that would take the immersiveness of Nevermind to a whole new level - the Oculus Rift!
Beyond basic Oculus Rift support (already included in the full game), this goal will allow us to make full, custom-tailored content to properly support this innovative hardware a reality!
BONUS: While we’re at it, we’ll also make sure the game is equipped to support the Virtuix Omni as well!
$350,000 - New Level/Patient (“From the Ashes”)
A brand new level will be added to the Neurostalgia institute, bringing the total level count to five - available for all backers!
This is a patient that Erin originally designed for inclusion in the proof of concept, but had to cut due to scope constraints.
Specific concept art for this patient will be revealed upon completion of this goal!
More Stretch Goals
We have many more rewards we’d like to provide - including new levels, new immersive features, and more - including a unique level built around Erin’s greatest fear!
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about Nevermind and it’s potential to change the way we look at positive games, biofeedback technology, and horror games as a whole.
Join us in helping to make this revolutionary new experience a reality so we can share this game to help and entertain players around the world. We are extremely passionate about this opportunity, and all your support is hugely appreciated.
Risks and challenges
Although we have proven out our integration with existing sensor technology, we are still seeking the “perfect” sensor for Nevermind. What is the perfect sensor? Something that is inexpensive, multipurpose, easy to find, and seamless to use. Although the Garmin chest strap does the trick, the cost is a notable barrier of entry for some players who want the true biofeedback experience.
That said, wearable technology and “consumer-grade” biofeedback is one of the fastest growing consumer technologies as of late, with dozens of intriguing new products due out this year alone. A good portion of our technical resources will be dedicated to expanding device support to the broadest set possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As a neuroprober, you are tasked with exploring the subconscious of severe trauma patients in search of clues that will help unearth the root cause of the trauma that plagues them.
Nevermind plays like a classic adventure game - you explore strange environments, solving surreal puzzles, which - in turn - reveal photographs you can collect. These photos each represent one of the patient’s memories. There are many photos to find within each patient's subconscious, but only a few that represent the true cause of the patient's issues.
As such, you must first collect their memories, and then attempt to solve the puzzle of what truly happened to help give the patient closure, so proper healing can begin.
You can always play Nevermind without ANY biofeedback hardware and still have a great time. In the absence of hardware technology, we use secondary responsive cues (such as mouse and player movement) to emulate the biofeedback experience.
With or without the sensor, Nevermind is still an amazing, unique atmospheric puzzle solving adventure game!
While we gather Heart Rate data from the player, Nevermind actually looks at a metric called "Heart Rate Variability" (HRV) when "reading" the player's fear and stress levels.
What's really cool about HRV is that it doesn't need any permanent or long-term calibration. For the purpose of Nevermind, all it needs is a brief period of time to get a base-line reading of the player's natural heart beat cadence.
While Heart Rate is essentially the speed at which a person's heart beats, HRV is the consistency of the length of time in-between beats. It may sound counterintuitive, but it's a good thing to have an "inconsistent" heart rate. In other words, you want it to be something like "fast" "fast" "fast" "slow" "slow" "slow." That means you're feeling good - you're calm but alert! When you get stressed, though, your "fight or flight" system kicks in and your heart beat becomes more consistent. It looks something like "fast," "fast," "fast," fast," "fast," etc. And this transition from inconsistent to consistent can happen extremely quickly in the human body. When the game senses that that change has occurred, it knows you've started to become anxious and will respond by becoming harder.
So, it doesn't really matter what your Heart Rate is when you play Nevermind at any given time. Once the game gets that initial base-line reading of your "typical cadence" for that moment, all it needs to do is look for any deviation in that cadence and it will be able to accurately respond from there.
Furthermore, Nevermind starts at the Neurostalgia Institute, a low-stress, clinic-like hub area intended to ease you into the narrative and setting of the world. Secretly, we are also using this period to calibrate the sensor to have a baseline off which to build when things get more intense.
Watch the video in the Biofeedback section above for more details on how this works!
I suffer from serious and/or clinically diagnosed PTSD or Anxiety issues. Is it safe for me to play Nevermind?
In designing Nevermind, it has always been important that we craft the gameplay and narrative responsibly and respectfully. Beyond being an effective horror game, Nevermind is a game that is ultimately intended to help people.
All that being said, if you are a player who suffers from serious issues relating to PTSD or anxiety, it’s likely that you should only play Nevermind under the supervision of a medical professional or - perhaps - refrain from playing it all.
Nonetheless, in continuing Nevermind's design and development with the help of researchers and medical professionals, we intend to do everything possible to ensure Nevermind can serve as a tool for even those faced with these serious issues. Whether this manifests within the final commercial product, or as a variant version designed specifically to accommodate patients already suffering from these serious issues is still in discussion.
Xbox One support just went from a $1,000,000 stretch goal to a $275,000 stretch goal? How does that work?
When we originally created our stretch goals, we structured them in such a way to reflect what we thought the priorities of our players were going to be. More levels, more features, and then more platforms. After launching the Kickstarter, it was clear that there were many of you that wanted to see the game on Xbox One (and Oculus Rift) first and foremost.
One of the reasons the Xbox One tier was so high, was because we had to support all of the additional levels and features we promised in the stretch goals before it. Knowing that we will just need to support the core game on Xbox One simplifies this goal significantly, and allows us to reduce the cost requirements.
We’re always listening and trying to find ways to make your Nevermind dreams (or nightmares) a reality!
As it stands, we are still in the process of working out a final arrangement with the manufacturer for savings we can pass on to our backers. Once we have this finalized, you will be the first to know!
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