Skyrim Special Edition
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About this mod

This mods adds a brain-computer interface (BCI) to Skyrim VR which makes your ingame magic power dependent on your real mental powers.

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You now actually need to learn magic. You, the player, need to learn to focus and be able to channel your mental power into the

If you have a
Muse 1, Muse 2 or a Muse S meditation device you can connect it using bluetooth. The Muse S fits a little better and more comfortably under the VR headset.

You need to download and run the
Intuitive XR Suite, which is the program that actually fetches the brain data and sends it to Skyrim. Please check the instructions on the IXR Suite Git repositoy. As long as you do not want to contribute to code development, you can just download and run the latest release of the IXR Suite.

Join my VR-neuroscience discord server to ask questions, hear the opinions of other users, chat, and keep up-to-date with any new developments!

I am a neuroscientist working at Brandenburg Institute of Technology in Cottbus, Germany as a Young Investigator Group leader in the department of Neuroadaptive Human-Computer Interaction. My research is based on electroencephalography (EEG) and other biosignals in VR. The goal is to provide intuitive interactions with virtual worlds. As I am also an enthusiastic VR player and part of the Skyrim VR community, the idea of a BCI-based mod came up, and Real Virtual Magic was born and is an example project for intuitive XR.

Both the mod and the IXR Suite are open source so you know for sure what happens under the hood.

Featured in the press e.g. in PC Gamer, The Gamer, NME, UploadVR.

What players think:

  • It is almost like it has unlocked a new level of “flow state” while playing the game. Normally Skyrim VR is already pretty engaging and immersive, but having to think a certain way makes it even harder for the mind to wander / break immersion, which is awesome. - Soake

  • I've never before had a more intimate, immersive spellcasting experience. 100% worth the cost of getting a muse device. - Hail Science!

  • I am diagnosed with ADHD/ADD so maybe that's a neuroscientist treat? The mod really makes me be aware of my thoughts and all. But then if I manage to crackle some of that lightning from the palms of my hands, man, that adds to the experience. I am now practicing my magic and really feel like I'm a student of the school of magic. - Anonymous

What the mod does:

  • The IXR Suite features an (adjustable) 10 minute rolling auto-calibration so it should adjust to what is your personal "normal mental state" in the last minutes. 
  • Many aspects of the processing can be changed in the parameters of the IXR Suite before connecting, and the RVM mod ini file before starting Skyrim VR.
  • If you use the Strange Runes mod, the runes are bigger/smaller when you have high/low focus from the Muse.
  • Magicka regeneration is dependent on focus level. Vanilla regen is 3% out of fights and 1% in fights. This mod changes it such that it is only dependent on the focus level and ranges from -3% to +7% (adjustable), so if you are completely unfocused you actually lose magicka, but if you are fully focused your magicka will replenish quickly.
  • All magic schools' power values scale with the brainpower. This means if you are completely unfocused you won't be able to do damage, heal or do any meaningful magic, but if you are fully focused, you get double the power. This is adjustable.
  • If you attempt to cast spells while on low focus (<30%) you have unstable magic and get some damage (10% of your max health).These values are adjustable.

In order to learn more about the BCI, which algorithms are effective and which are not, etc. I need testers! If you have a Muse, you can install the mod and record your own data while you play. And if you want, you can share that data with me so I can learn more about how to make this mod work better. Of course, you have full control over your data, nothing is uploaded automatically, just files are created on your disk. The source code of the mod is provided here so you can see I don't do anything fishy with your brain data!

Your data is safe! Everything happens locally on your PC, no data is streamed or uploaded! You can share the recorded data files if you choose so, but if you do not upload it, nobody will ever be able to get it!


Join my VR-neuroscience discord server to ask questions, hear the opinions of other users, chat, and keep up-to-date with any new developments!



How it works:
I do not use the Muse SDK directly but do my processing myself. The data is being read using Brainflow, a library intended to obtain, parse and analyze EEG, EMG, ECG and other kinds of data from biosensors. Here it is difficult to continue with exact information because I am experimenting all the time and trying out new processing options, according to the feedback of players. Currently (v0.4.0) we use a complex ratio of different spectral frequency bands ((beta / (theta + alpha)) / gamma, this ratio is known as the engagement index, but i also divide it further by Gamma because that is also muscle activity, so strong muscle activity will lower your focus) as the focus measure and use a z-scoring of the data with the past several minutes as a baseline. Added is a bit of processing using the motion sensors of the Muse because the readings get inaccurate if you move your head and there's a little bonus if you keep your head still. This is then taken in a history of brain power values of the past and a weighted average is computed, with older values weighted less. That's the final "brain power" that comes out of the mod as a value between 0 and 1.

Install the RealVirtualMagic.7z like any regular mod, I recommend using MO2 or Vortex. Unzip the RealVirtualMagic_Libraries.7z manually into your base game folder (these are necessary to connect with the BCI). The libraries need to be installed manually.
Doenload and run the IXR Suite latest release from the link above, then start your game.

Remove all files. Removing the mod leaves the current level of magicka regen and spell power in your character so this should be changed via console again. Honestly, although it is possible to remove it mid-save, it might be a bit much of a hassle...

Source Code:
The source code for the mod can be found here on Git.