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 PHOBOS: VR Exposure Therapy - NOW LIVE ON INDIEGOGO 
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Cross Eyed!
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The time has finally come. After long months of preparation in all fronts we are almost ready to undertake the next 7 weeks of campaigning to raise funds to continue PHOBOS' development.

We are leaving the comfort of our development environments to step out into uncharted territory. Our questions far surpass our certainties.
We don't know if this nascent niche that is Virtual Reality has yet achieved the potential size to enable us to scale up our efforts or what percentage of you are convinced on the idea of using VR for therapeutic and research applications.

I am convinced that this technology is here to stay and to revolutionise the way we communicate, work, experience art or spend our free time.

We are putting all our effort in making PHOBOS a reliable and flexible tool for researchers and clinicians alike.

This project was conceived here on MTBS so I wanted to post this before we went LIVE officially.

Thank you everyone who contributed their input.... and thank you @Geekmaster for all the spider humor on the thread ;P


I'm glad to explore this new horizon with you guys.

To visit our Indiegogo Campain, click <a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/phobos-anxiety-management-vr-platform/x/2763200" target="_blank">here</a>.

Fernando Tarnogol


https://www.facebook.com/PsyTechVR

http://psychologicaltechnologies.com

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/phobos-anxiety-management-vr-platform/x/2763200

Please take 2 minutes of your time to fill out the following survey. It will greatly help us develop a better platform
https://psytech.typeform.com/to/OOfjVz

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Last edited by ftarnogol on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:05 am, edited 17 times in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:50 am
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This is a fantastic idea. I remember seeing something like this on 'Blue Peter' (I think) in the mid 90s, using it to cure arachnophobia. As the user reached out and 'touched' the spider he could see in VR, the therapist who was watching the monitor held out a toy furry tarantula to his fingers for some old school haptic feedback. The presenter screamed :lol:

It seemed like a great idea but the VR technology wasn't ready; the latency was terrible and the spider and environment looked like the beginning of Dire Straits 'Money for Nothing'.

Good luck with your endeavour! Maybe you can cure technophobia :P


Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:40 am
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You're not exactly right about the black hole in research of virtual reality exposure therapy. I've come across with a review article and a meta-analysis on VRET in treatment of anxiety disorders from the last ten years, 2004 and 2008, respectively. The meta-analysis seem to include a few studies from 2000s as well. You might also be interested in this review on diagnosis and rehabilitation of neglect using VR.


Krijn, M., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., Olafsson, R. P., & Biemond, R. (2004). Virtual reality exposure therapy of anxiety disorders: A review. Clinical psychology review, 24(3), 259-281.
Powers, M. B., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2008). Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of anxiety disorders, 22(3), 561-569.
Tsirlin, I., Dupierrix, E., Chokron, S., Coquillart, S., & Ohlmann, T. (2009). Uses of virtual reality for diagnosis, rehabilitation and study of unilateral spatial neglect: review and analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 175-181.


Last edited by alekki on Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:01 am
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alekki wrote:
:ugeek:
Krijn, M., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., Olafsson, R. P., & Biemond, R. (2004). Virtual reality exposure therapy of anxiety disorders: A review. Clinical psychology review, 24(3), 259-281.
Powers, M. B., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2008). Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of anxiety disorders, 22(3), 561-569.
Tsirlin, I., Dupierrix, E., Chokron, S., Coquillart, S., & Ohlmann, T. (2009). Uses of virtual reality for diagnosis, rehabilitation and study of unilateral spatial neglect: review and analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 175-181.



Damn son :woot This a forum post, not a dissertation!


Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:06 am
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This has actually been done for quite a while now just not on a wide scale. Ever since the i-glasses first came out there have been quite a few (though still a really low number) psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists using them to treat the above even though they were only a pitiful 26 degree fov. How sucessfull any have been depends on who you ask.

I've even seen some dentists use it to destract the patient whole operating.

With a large FOV and extremely affordable price though, i'd expect once the RIFT is released there will be a much wider spread use of VR to treat psychological conditions and may probably become a standard treatment at some point considering the larger FOV and more realistic content would improve results over the i-glasses and software at the time.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:20 am
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I recommend you post this on the Unity forum, you probably have a lot higher chance to find someone there, but maybe you have done that already.
Sounds like a great idea, always new that gaming in VR would end up as a small part of the total use : )


Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:37 am
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well that might sound a bit ridiculous and misplaced, but what about the fear of talking to women, like Ranjid has. :P . I am serious, many people are not just James Bond.
If one facial captured a woman and made a connection over the net between the
two genders, perhaps one could give many men more self confidence.
Is there a scientific term for the fear of talking to women?


Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:18 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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An article from a few days ago and another indication of the profound effect VR-experiences can have 8-) :

http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/virtual-superheroes-more-heroic-real-life-130130.htm


Quote:
Jeremy Bailenson, associate professor of communication at Stanford University and founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says for years he and his colleagues have run virtual reality experiments with the following assumption always taken as a given: experiences in VR are profound.

"They're intense," said Bailenson, also a co-author on the study. "The consequence with that is that they stay with you after you leave virtual reality. They change your behavior in the physical world."



Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:27 am
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alekki wrote:
You're not exactly right about the black hole in research of virtual reality exposure therapy. I've come across with a review article and a meta-analysis on VRET in treatment of anxiety disorders from the last ten years, 2004 and 2008, respectively. The meta-analysis seem to include a few studies from 2000s as well. You might also be interested in this review on diagnosis and rehabilitation of neglect using VR.

I'm studying psychology and this is something I'm very much interested in as well.


Krijn, M., Emmelkamp, P. M. G., Olafsson, R. P., & Biemond, R. (2004). Virtual reality exposure therapy of anxiety disorders: A review. Clinical psychology review, 24(3), 259-281.
Powers, M. B., & Emmelkamp, P. M. (2008). Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of anxiety disorders, 22(3), 561-569.
Tsirlin, I., Dupierrix, E., Chokron, S., Coquillart, S., & Ohlmann, T. (2009). Uses of virtual reality for diagnosis, rehabilitation and study of unilateral spatial neglect: review and analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(2), 175-181.


Interesting read I'll link for ease of access http://psychology.unt.edu/~tparsons/pdf ... herapy.pdf


Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:49 am
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Thanks for the leads @Alekki, I'm checking them out.

@Colocolo: caligynephobia is the fear of speaking to pretty women... and it's not a stupid idea

@virror heading onto Unity to post. Good idea. Thanks!

@Endothermic: I have a friend who's a dentist and gives his patients HMDs. Of course with no head tracking.

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:41 am
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The application of VR for therapy, relaxation techniques and to facilitate drug-less/transcendent experience has always fascinated me. It is definitely an area I intend on exploring.

The funny thing about the RIFT and its rollout to developers is that many will unknowingly dip their toes into these areas. I predict that there will be all sorts of unforeseen interactions and consequences (good and bad) as a result of this kind of blind rush forward. That being said, it is the only way to get this very important technology moving forward.

I for one am very excited to witness these clumsy baby steps into all areas of VR!

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:32 am
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Bishop51 wrote:
The application of VR for therapy, relaxation techniques and to facilitate drug-less/transcendent experience has always fascinated me. It is definitely an area I intend on exploring.

The funny thing about the RIFT and its rollout to developers is that many will unknowingly dip their toes into these areas. I predict that there will be all sorts of unforeseen interactions and consequences (good and bad) as a result of this kind of blind rush forward. That being said, it is the only way to get this very important technology moving forward.

I for one am very excited to witness these clumsy baby steps into all areas of VR!


I agree with you. Our brains and instincts will be cheated in various manners. :shock:


Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:40 am
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DrZimmerman wrote:
An article from a few days ago and another indication of the profound effect VR-experiences can have 8-) :

http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/virtual-superheroes-more-heroic-real-life-130130.htm


Quote:
Jeremy Bailenson, associate professor of communication at Stanford University and founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says for years he and his colleagues have run virtual reality experiments with the following assumption always taken as a given: experiences in VR are profound.

"They're intense," said Bailenson, also a co-author on the study. "The consequence with that is that they stay with you after you leave virtual reality. They change your behavior in the physical world."




Exactly so. This is clarified in the verge hour long show (25 min dedicated to the Oculus -from CES 2013), when they say that taking the unit off was like coming down from acid. It's a hypnotic immersive.

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Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:50 pm
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ftarnogol wrote:
Thanks for the leads @Alekki, I'm checking them out.

@Colocolo: caligynephobia is the fear of speaking to pretty women... and it's not a stupid idea

@virror heading onto Unity to post. Good idea. Thanks!

@Endothermic: I have a friend who's a dentist and gives his patients HMDs. Of course with no head tracking.


yes, but...Is it Safe? ;)


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Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:53 pm
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colocolo wrote:
well that might sound a bit ridiculous and misplaced, but what about the fear of talking to women, like Ranjid has. :P . I am serious, many people are not just James Bond.
If one facial captured a woman and made a connection over the net between the
two genders, perhaps one could give many men more self confidence.
Is there a scientific term for the fear of talking to women?



Ahrm .. actually I'm glad someone else brought it up, the thought occurred to me when someone mentioned how there was no need for "adult" vr when in-game characters seemed so realistic w/ OC and could be used to develop real-life social skills. :P In fact, one of the reviewers even mentioned that it felt like the guard was actually standing next him.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:17 pm
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ftarnogol wrote:
*No humans wil be harmed during psychological trials

You can't know that for certain, that's one of the reasons you need a trial. But I expect you're right. This will be awesome for treating phobias (and even more awesome for treating pain).

DrZimmerman wrote:
An article from a few days ago and another indication of the profound effect VR-experiences can have 8-) :

http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/virtual-superheroes-more-heroic-real-life-130130.htm


Quote:
Jeremy Bailenson, associate professor of communication at Stanford University and founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, says for years he and his colleagues have run virtual reality experiments with the following assumption always taken as a given: experiences in VR are profound.

"They're intense," said Bailenson, also a co-author on the study. "The consequence with that is that they stay with you after you leave virtual reality. They change your behavior in the physical world."



Phoenix Jones must have played a lot of super-hero games in VR then. ;)

That study is good news if people make super-hero games, but it could be a problem if people play Grand Theft Auto etc. in VR.

colocolo wrote:
well that might sound a bit ridiculous and misplaced, but what about the fear of talking to women, like Ranjid has. :P . I am serious, many people are not just James Bond.
If one facial captured a woman and made a connection over the net between the
two genders, perhaps one could give many men more self confidence.
Is there a scientific term for the fear of talking to women?


It's been suggested that simply making you taller in a VR simulation helps with things like that.


Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:21 pm
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You can get various types of VRET at clinics in the USA. For example http://www.virtuallybetter.com/ which have been around for a long time though their website is newly updated and doesn't give a long history. I don't know of any clinics specialising in this in the EU, but there have been dozens of proof of concept experiments.

The cost and accessibility would have to drop dramatically for wide-spread use: phobias are not simple and simple exposure is unlikely to work unless embedded in a longer programme of therapy (AFAIK, I'm a computer scientist - but I have worked with psychiatrists on experimental design in related areas).


Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:59 am
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profvr wrote:
You can get various types of VRET at clinics in the USA. For example http://www.virtuallybetter.com/ which have been around for a long time though their website is newly updated and doesn't give a long history. I don't know of any clinics specialising in this in the EU, but there have been dozens of proof of concept experiments.

The cost and accessibility would have to drop dramatically for wide-spread use: phobias are not simple and simple exposure is unlikely to work unless embedded in a longer programme of therapy (AFAIK, I'm a computer scientist - but I have worked with psychiatrists on experimental design in related areas).


This combined with one of your earlier posts, makes me think that you might be able to take advantage of some of my skills, which is perfecting technologies, specifically those of the display/projection type. Realism is a factor, which is my bent, opto-mechanically-electrically speaking.

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Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:06 pm
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Here's a link to the design document:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eDH ... sp=sharing

What do you think?

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Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:17 pm
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I'm curious to see how well real world phobias transfer to the virtual world when using an extremely immersive HMD like the Oculus Rift. e.g. for those with arachnophobia would being surrounded by one or more virtual spiders be as scary or create the same fear response as seeing them in real life? Does the simple fact of knowing that you're in a virtual environment negate/override your fears? Would outside stimuli be necessary to help enhance the users immersion to better "trick" the brain into thinking what they are seeing, hearing, or experiencing is real?


Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:48 pm
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Research has shown promising results even with FoVs of 25 degrees and -sometimes- no head tracking. I'm thinking of using physical cues, such as an actual board for when people step on the swimming pool tower or railing around the person for the "utility lift" on the outside of the building.

Positional tracking and "Kinnect 2" or giant Leap would aid to decrease Breaks in Presence a lot

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Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:26 pm
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TheLookingGlass wrote:
I'm curious to see how well real world phobias transfer to the virtual world when using an extremely immersive HMD like the Oculus Rift. e.g. for those with arachnophobia would being surrounded by one or more virtual spiders be as scary or create the same fear response as seeing them in real life?
there is already a mod to remove spiders in skyrim. i would imagine seeing them on the rift would be terrifying to someone with arachnophobia

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11 ... m-spiders/


Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:21 am
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hm, there are many psychological phenomenons which limit your mind`s abilities, not only phobias.
my favorite new is "parataxic distortion". although originally used in inter-personal psychology i like to think about it in inter-reality field - mechanism which prevents (fools) you to see the world as really is or act without prejudice.

as it mainly comes from contradiction between your projection of reality and reality itself, experience of projection of this contradiction in virtual reality (deconstructed and rearticulated) could be very helpful in resolving process.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parataxic_distortion
http://nathensmiraculousescape.wordpres ... istortion/


Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:19 am
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profvr wrote:
You can get various types of VRET at clinics in the USA. For example http://www.virtuallybetter.com/ which have been around for a long time though their website is newly updated and doesn't give a long history. I don't know of any clinics specialising in this in the EU, but there have been dozens of proof of concept experiments.

The cost and accessibility would have to drop dramatically for wide-spread use: phobias are not simple and simple exposure is unlikely to work unless embedded in a longer programme of therapy (AFAIK, I'm a computer scientist - but I have worked with psychiatrists on experimental design in related areas).


Reminds me of the time when I was a student at Emory, 2004; we had a visit to one of these virtual clinics -- there was one virtual setup to beat your nicotine addiction. The brand name plays a big part.


Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:30 am
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RABID wrote:
TheLookingGlass wrote:
I'm curious to see how well real world phobias transfer to the virtual world when using an extremely immersive HMD like the Oculus Rift. e.g. for those with arachnophobia would being surrounded by one or more virtual spiders be as scary or create the same fear response as seeing them in real life?
there is already a mod to remove spiders in skyrim. i would imagine seeing them on the rift would be terrifying to someone with arachnophobia

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11 ... m-spiders/


I guess I underestimated the level of some peoples arachnophobia!!


Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:14 am
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TheLookingGlass wrote:
I guess I underestimated the level of some peoples arachnophobia!!

A family friend is absolutely terrified of snakes, she has a proper phobia. Well, my uncle, being a bit of a joker, thought it would be funny to bring down my pet snake for a 'surprise appearance' when she was there. She was about ~5 feet away from the snake (held by my uncle) when she saw it - she instantly screamed, ran out of the house, and vomited.

So yea, phobias can elicit some pretty extreme reactions.

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Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:51 am
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Well, I finally decided to move forward with the whole thing so I´m in the process of getting budget estimates from 3 studios here in Argentina. Initially, software development is gonna cost between 10-15k... not a minor number if you think about it in Argentinean Pesos (would be like 100k). I hope it works cuz there goes my savings :o ;)

PS: does anyone know how to animate a spider?

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:13 pm
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I would recommend to look around for some free assets for the first prototype "game", animated spiders should not be to hard to find on the net.
When you have proven your point you can start making more advanced stuff cause i think ppl with severe arachnophobia as an example will be pretty terrified meeting a spider with the reft even if its not looking 100% natural.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:36 pm
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@virror true... I could also look into Unity´s asset store.

I was thinking of exposing people from a distance first (spider in a fish tank) so people can "self regulate" their exposure and then let the spider free in a small environment as the final "test".

Question to mtbs. Does Unity support kinnect integration? Would the Wii fit work or is it too rudimentary for immersion?

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:04 pm
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There is support for Kinect but no idea how good it is, but i think it works.
http://wiki.etc.cmu.edu/unity3d/index.p ... rosoft_SDK
http://www.nightmarekitty.com/2011/10/2 ... -tutorial/


Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:16 pm
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virror wrote:
There is support for Kinect but no idea how good it is, but i think it works.
http://wiki.etc.cmu.edu/unity3d/index.p ... rosoft_SDK
http://www.nightmarekitty.com/2011/10/2 ... -tutorial/


Thank you!

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:48 pm
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ftarnogol wrote:
@virror true... I could also look into Unity´s asset store.

I was thinking of exposing people from a distance first (spider in a fish tank) so people can "self regulate" their exposure and then let the spider free in a small environment as the final "test".

Question to mtbs. Does Unity support kinnect integration? Would the Wii fit work or is it too rudimentary for immersion?


Well, half-life 2 might suffice. They're ~not quite~ spiders..and they're ~not quite~ in tanks.

Mice 'giggle' when you tickle them. Apparently spiders (the larger ones) do something that people interpret as being similar.

Half life is probably going a bit far, though. I'm joking, they are meant to be scary and intimidating, it is a game. A last test, perhaps, after the fear has been 'assuaged'.

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:16 am
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Yeah, I've thought about it. I even bought Garry's Mod and dloaded some "spiders".

I asked my wife about them and she said they looked more like monsters or face-chugging aliens than spiders. Still... she's not afraid of spider. I guess I could try with someone who's actually phobic.

I have high hopes that Garry's Mod would incorporate Rift support sooner than later as it's Source at its core; and Garry has already added Kinnect support... only bad thing is that GMod is pretty basic graphics-wise. Otherwise, it would have spared me from spending a ton of money to get my own solution developed.

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:51 am
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Then again, do you really need next-gen graphics? Someone with arachnophobia will be afraid of anything the brain says is a spider even if its not entirely lifelike.
I have seen a lot of ppl in gaming forums wanting mods for games with spiders in them were the spiders look a LOT worse than Skyrim and did not even have animations.
Start small and simple and then build from there, especially if you don't have a huge budget, having something to prove your case will increase your chances of funding and success many times.
Just my random thoughts : p


Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:04 am
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virror wrote:
Then again, do you really need next-gen graphics? Someone with arachnophobia will be afraid of anything the brain says is a spider even if its not entirely lifelike.
I have seen a lot of ppl in gaming forums wanting mods for games with spiders in them were the spiders look a LOT worse than Skyrim and did not even have animations.
Start small and simple and then build from there, especially if you don't have a huge budget, having something to prove your case will increase your chances of funding and success many times.
Just my random thoughts : p



not at all... I'm not shooting for CoD level graphics (not even close, as my budget would not allow it).

The "static" and basic spider is actually very good advice. I don't want to scare people to death; quite the opposite :)

It's a good thing that HL2 spiders have 4 legs (4 legs are less scary than 8)...

I've been thinking of starting a kickstarter (idea.me down here in South Am), thing is I don't have anything to give back to backers other than a big thanks... and I also don't want to give ideas to potential competitors... so I'm kind of debating with myself if I should keep this in wraps for now or go "public".

Commercialization of the software is waaay down the line as the tech will need to be adopted on a large scale and available at retail locations here in ARG. The country currently is putting obstacles to tech imports, so massively bringing the OR down here won't happen any time soon.

I think that for the time being I'll have to rely on my wallet.

Good think is that VR is non-existant and 99% of psychologists down here are still too busy with Freud so I have a pretty good head start regarding VR-Psychology... I may face a lot of backlash from that community too.

We'll see... the terrain is so virgin that there are a lot of big IFs

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:33 am
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Terrif-eying the Ladies!
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Being occupied with Freud is a nice Freudian way to saying how badly blinkered they are. That old saying of "No one needs a psych more than a psych." :P

It keeps the entirely circular 'drugged cure' situation running at full speed. I'll stop there.....

There are also a considerable number of bits of graphics as 'skins' that can be moved into a software 'engine', and tuned to be very spider like. I'm expecting that this is the path you are pursuing, as it is probably the most efficient?

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Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:21 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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KBK wrote:
I'll stop there.....

This should always be the first notion. :-)


Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:46 am
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Cross Eyed!
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What do you guys think?

I just got approved in Kickstarter but I´m hesitant to launch.

Thing is that my project is not something like a video game that you just download and play. It´s very niche and aimed for mental health professionals. Of course I can give copies of the software to backers, but unless you are planning to treat people using VR... it won´t appeal to the vast majority of people.

So most who decide to back would do it for altruistic reasons (helping fund will help others treat their phobias or fears).

Is it worth it?

A penny for your thoughts.

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:48 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Silly question maybe, but is it not good to be scared of spiders?

I'm rather scared of heights, but I like that, I should be scared of heights. Falling from height is bad for you!


Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:50 am
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Petrif-Eyed
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Benjimoron wrote:
Silly question maybe, but is it not good to be scared of spiders?

I'm rather scared of heights, but I like that, I should be scared of heights. Falling from height is bad for you!
I am scared of running with scissors. Is there a VR cure for that? :lol:

But seriously, VR therapy is great for PTSD, and as a distraction for burn victims during physical therapy. It might also help cure fear of public speaking, or performing in front of a large audience. It certainly DOES have valid uses. But SPIDERS? Really? Who will pay for that?

I think it is important to mold the Kickstarter campaign into something that people will really want to support, right at the beginning. Things like WHAT YOU WANT TO CURE (besides arachnophobia), for example...

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Last edited by geekmaster on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:09 pm
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