Twitch streamer Perrikaryal is performing a surreal act of gaming magic: she’s playing Elden Ring using her mind as the controller.
“It’s not that complicated,” Perrikaryal, who has a Masters degree in psychology, said during a recent Twitch stream explaining the setup, which uses an electroencephalography (EEG) headset. “It’s just a keybind, basically.” Basically, Perrikaryal is using the EEG machine to record her brain processing simple commands then using a program to translate those commands into keybinds in Elden Ring.
In one of her streams, she used mind magic to defeat the notoriously difficult Godrick the Grafted. “I killed frickin’ Godrick with my god-damned frickin’ mind,” an elated Perrikaryal said after downing the boss. “All those Instagram boys were like ‘you’re never going to kill Godrick,’ well suck on that one bitch.”
Perrikaryal’s setup, as mind-blowing as it is, is impractical for a full playthrough of Elden Ring. The commercial EEG, which appears to be an EMOTIV EPOC that retails for $849, connects to the user’s head and processes electrical signals from the brain. Maintaining the connection is difficult and requires the application of a saline solution to improve conductivity. During the stream, Perrikaryal is constantly adjusting it and applying saline to improve its connection. Every movement of her body disrupts the sensors and makes it harder for them to pick up her brain activity.
She’s also only able to use a few commands in Elden Ring. The EEG works by recording images of your brain as you visualize interacting with a cube. To train this brain-computer interface, the EEG comes with a program that puts a cube on the screen. The user thinks about moving the cube in various ways and the system records it. Every different interaction with the cube takes hours to perfect.
Because of this, Perrikaryal has only trained the EEG to process a few different commands in Elden Ring. She can use it to launch an attack, but moving around is still done with a controller. Translating the signal from the EEG to a keybind in Elden Ring is comparatively simple. It’s done with a program called Node-RED which can link different pieces of hardware together.
Perrikaryal is downing difficult enemies in Elden Ring using the EEG, but it’s always a bit of a struggle. She reminds herself to breathe and there’s often a delay between wanting to launch the attack and the attack actually happening. But with more training and concentration, it would be possible to get more real time reactions. “At some point, it’s not a limitation of the device,” she said during her stream. “It’s a limitation of what we know about the brain.”
Elden Ring is a popular game to play in complicated ways. Twitch streamer MissMikkaa recently defeated Malenia—the game’s undisputed most difficult boss—twice at the same time while using a dance pad.
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