Conor Souness


Sacred Heart


Sacred Heart is an immersive virtual reality game exploring the realm of affective computing. This game uses affective AI to increase the sense of presence and experience in video games. Traditionally, AI in video games would use a “line of sight” for player detection. This thesis is designed to explore alternative methods of detection via the physiological responses we have during an experience and the effect it has on the experience itself.

The video game is set in an abandoned asylum. As the player uses the HTC Vive, they can rotate in real time and explore the asylum with their torch. The task of the game is to get out by finding the key in the warden’s office and unlocking the door to escape. The player has an optical heart rate monitor attached to their ear that sends the heart rate to the game. When the player is calm, they are undetectable by the AI. When their heart rate elevates however, the AI will chase them if they are in range. The player can see their heart rate at all times by looking at their hands. If the heart rate is green, then they are safe. If the heart rate is red, then the player should watch what lurks in the shadows.

Conor Souness