Are You Ready to Smell Your Games?

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Are You Ready to Smell Your Games?

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Engineers at the University of Birmingham are working on a new "smell effect" system that they hope will introduce a whole new level of immersion into videogaming.

The team is working on a system that uses aromatic paraffin wax placed into a boxed fan which is then connected to a PC and triggered by in-game events. But rather than gingerbread or mulberry vanilla, this wax features scents like "burning cordite," "racetrack rubber" and even "body odor."

"Smell is the most underrated sense, but next to vision is the most information-rich one we have," said Professor Bob Stone, who's heading up the "serious game" project. Development of the smell device is being funded in part by the U.K. Ministry of Defense, which wants to use it for military training sims, but it is currently being tested by students at the university through "self-made" games using the Half-Life and Far Cry SDKs. The team eventually wants veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan to become involved in the process in order to ensure the scents are as realistic as possible.

"It's a way of capturing feelings," said Mark Blyth, a PhD student and former member of the Royal Navy. "Sometimes people have a sense that something is wrong, but we have to find out how they know that. Is it smell? Is it someone running through the marketplace? Is it the silence? If smell is one of the main factors then there is a lot of scope for this to be used to help train soldiers' noses."

At only $25 the scent device is relatively low-cost so bringing it to the commercial market should be relatively painless. On the other hand, do you really want to smell the poo soup you're treading through the next time a game drops you into a sewer level? I think that's a level of immersion I could live without.

Source: Develop

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Mmmmm...just think of the smell of Condemned.

Jesus Christ, I hope they don't do this for TF2 or Bioshock! I'd hate to smell those games.

i understand that smell is the closest sense tied to memory (this product will be used for some wicked advertising tricks if it becomes wide spread) but couldnt they have spent all those man hours doing something better? Im not sure when i wanted to "smell" the last game i was playing...not sure id fancy Left 4 Dead smell.

EDIT: I can totaly see this company charging for smell upgrades.

Could be nice. But the question is would it be able to keep up with the varying different smells available in a level. Would it be able to do several at the same time, or just the prevalent?

Other than that, its one step closer to some sort of Virtual Reality, so I'm not knocking it.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Mmmmm...just think of the smell of Condemned.

Urine and blood. Fantastic! Some of the urine is your own. Outside of the game.

I wanna smell all the stuff in Shivering Isles. Probably be interesting.

Now available in Smell-O-Vision!

The_root_of_all_evil:
Mmmmm...just think of the smell of Condemned.

Well, now that sounds....vomit inducing. It also sounds strangely awesome, though.

Seriously? This is just stupid.

Imagine the smell of a game like Dead Space. Why would you ever want to smell that?

They should have had that when they made yoshi island all that fruit would smell great.

Didn't one of the Leisure Suit Larry games already do something similar? (obviously a lot more lo-tech).

I wanna smell Call of Duty 1.

I think I'd come.

Good lord, imagine if they did this with Zoo Tycoon, or World of Goo.

However, I do wonder what the hell a Zergling smells like... Hmmm..

Wasn't smell-o-vision in movie theatrics already attempted, and failed incredibly? I doubt it will be any better for games.

xmetatr0nx:
i understand that smell is the closest sense tied to memory (this product will be used for some wicked advertising tricks if it becomes wide spread) but couldnt they have spent all those man hours doing something better? Im not sure when i wanted to "smell" the last game i was playing...not sure id fancy Left 4 Dead smell.

Ah, the smell of Boomer Bile in the morning... Well, it would wake me up more then my standard dose of coffee at least.

Ok, this could work for SOME games, but not ALL games. Shooters? Yes. RTS's? No (unless you smell ALL of that stuff, like Motor oil, sweat, blood, horses, gunpowder, ozone, Horse Dung, Trees, Tiberium Crystals, and the like).

Dr.Sean:
Jesus Christ, I hope they don't do this for TF2 or Bioshock! I'd hate to smell those games.

Lmao...good answer that's what I thinking...:D
Some virtual experiences are best not smelled .....

Imagine the smell of the you-know-what mountain in Conker's Bad Fur Day... *shiver*

EDIT: On another note, I'm sure many gamers have wondered what perfumes Samus Aran or Lara Croft use... or maybe if after all that adventuring Link eventually starts to get a little funky.

Dr.Sean:
Jesus Christ, I hope they don't do this for TF2 or Bioshock! I'd hate to smell those games.

Ze Sandvich is good smelling! Vith new meat!

Coming in 2015, the Nintendo Sniize.

I always wondered what a post apocalyptic wasteland smelled like, guess i could know soon enough.

Internet Kraken:
Seriously? This is just stupid.

Imagine the smell of a game like Dead Space. Why would you ever want to smell that?

well with certain games, like dead space and halo for example, the main character wears a helmet almost all the time. so all you'd be able to smell is recycled air and head sweat.

it would get realy disgusting in some levels of games, like any flood level in the halo trilogy

Most smells that would give atmosphere to a game are bad smells. It's an interesting thought, but I'll have to pass.

Portal smell... the sickly sweet smell of lies... and cake...

I actually want this. Except for the fact the smell would actually BE there, and might be annoying to get out, it would add to immersion greatly. To all the nay-sayers: so, why is it you want to SEE rotting bodies and feces in full HD quality, but don't want to smell it? Both are pretty gross.

Gordon Freeman would be, um, interesting?

Things like Oblivion and Fallout 3 are too massive to be feasible candidates. For now.

As someone pointed out, games where your character wears a helmet all the time (Halo, etc) wouldn't be very interesting at all.

Games like Silent Hill and Left 4 Dead would add a whole new dimension to the terror by including Smell-O-Vision though. Hoo wah!

Ya that sounds like a shit idea i don't really want to smell anything from games

Easykill:
I actually want this. Except for the fact the smell would actually BE there, and might be annoying to get out, it would add to immersion greatly. To all the nay-sayers: so, why is it you want to SEE rotting bodies and feces in full HD quality, but don't want to smell it? Both are pretty gross.

Because my neighbors would get suspicious if rotting smell is coming from my house constantly.

I am for this mostly as it is bringing us closer to realistic virtual reality.

Since I mostly play FPS games, I don't think I'd want blood, sweat, and gunpowder to smell up my room, or like in Fable... I don't want my room to stink of sex, unless it's my own doing.

sheic99:

Easykill:
I actually want this. Except for the fact the smell would actually BE there, and might be annoying to get out, it would add to immersion greatly. To all the nay-sayers: so, why is it you want to SEE rotting bodies and feces in full HD quality, but don't want to smell it? Both are pretty gross.

Because my neighbors would get suspicious if rotting smell is coming from my house constantly.

I'll concede that. But on the other hand, it's a great excuse for those of us already familiar with the smell of rotting corpses in our homes.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Mmmmm...just think of the smell of Condemned.

I raise you the smell of Boomer Bile in your face...

Or the Meat Circus, imagine the smell of that.

I love the smell of cordite in the morning.

... What do zombies smell like again?

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