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As a doctoral researcher in the University of Luxembourg, I worked 4 years on Behaverse, designing & implementing Unity apps for research in cognitive psychology:

This work was realized in the XCIT lab, a transdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and game designers.

Unity apps for research in cognitive psychology
Image de Shubham Dhage

The goal of the Behaverse Training Game is to study the effectiveness of specific combinations of game mechanics to train visual attention. In the game, players have to perform two tasks at the same time:

  • navigate their spaceship in the 3D scene to stay on the track, avoid obstacles and collect crystals;

  • respond to their detector (2D mini-game overlayed on top of the 3D scene), which can be of two different types: monitoring (A) or switching (B).

In this project I was lead game designer & gameplay programmer.

In order to improve attention, at least 10 hours of training are required. The game must be able to provide a varied and challenging experience during this time. This is achieved with an adaptive difficulty procedure, and highly modular & customizable game systems with parameters that can vary over time.


For example, the level generator can independently vary the time of day (skybox & lighting), the environment type (desert, jungle...), how the track turns, which decorative elements are used, and which interactive gameplay elements (crystals and obstacles) are used.

The level generator uses parametrizable "track pieces" to build the level. A track piece is made of different parts that can be independently adjusted: obstacles, crystals, scenery (left, right, ground).


The parameter values for each piece are obtained from a configuration engine that reads a json file where complex parameter providers are defined, such as weighted distributions or markov sequences (state machines).

After a training session is over (30 min of gameplay), players can explore an alien temple where they progressively discover story elements. The temple is designed as a linear "on rail" experience, where the player moves from checkpoint to checkpoint. They will find locked doors and memory crystals that require keys to unlock, which are earned during the training session.

multi-tasking video game to train visual attention

Image de Clark Van Der Beken

The Behaverse Battery of Cognitive Tests features 16 highly customizable Test Engines, covering a wide range of cognitive domains including attentional, perceptual, cognitive and motor abilities.


Each test engine is highly customizable and can instantiate many classic cognitive tests, while generating fine-grained behavioral data through its analytics.

My role in this project was programmer (including retro-engineering complex tests such as Raven matrices), and UX designer (including instructions and accessibility). I was also involved in the design of the configuration system, and wrote most of the json files to configure the calibration of the tests on 500 participants.

online battery of 16 cognitive tests

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