Wacky indie game dev wants you to Throw Trucks With Your Mind


Lat Ware is quite the character, and his game reflects his humor. Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac
Lat Ware is quite the character, and his game reflects his humor. Photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

Lat Ware is a pretty loquacious dude, without a bit of shyness in his persona. We came across Ware at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco the first week of March and tried out his upcoming game, Throw Trucks With Your Mind. He was strapping headsets onto conference attendees and keeping up a steady stream of patter to keep them off balance when trying to manage their character in-game.

You see, Throw Trucks With Your Mind uses an $80 headset from NeuroSky to actually read your brainwaves. Ware has set it up in the game to track opposite parameters: focus and relaxation. When you focus intensely, the onscreen red bar will fill up, allowing you to do things like jump, push, and toss heavy in-game objects. When you relax, a blue bar fills up and lets you do four other cool things for a total of eight different ways to interact with the game using your mind.

Try that while some chatty indie dev is all up in your ear, trying to distract you.

Ware is the main developer of Throw Trucks With Your Mind, only hiring an art team with funds from his successful Kickstarter. It’s crazy, he says, to be responsible for people’s salaries.

“Who gave me this kind of power?” he asked. “I’m not an adult — I just look like one!”

The game itself takes place in one of three different maps, each an arena that you’ll match off against other opponents also using their brains to drop trucks and boxes on you while you try and block or avoid their attacks. Picture Halo or Twisted Metal where you chuck heavy stuff at your opponents, and you get the idea.

The NeuroSky headset runs a cool $80 (there’s a $100 version for mobile games), and fits easily on any head, with a little clip that attaches to your earlobe. Ware and his team at Crooked Tree Studios created the game — currently on Windows but coming soon to Mac OS X — with Unreal Engine 3, which gives it a polished, cartoony look.

It takes a bit of training to get it right, as you’ll be concentrating on relaxing, which is tricky, and then focusing in on the game, all the while hitting buttons one through eight on your keyboard to select the power you want to use. You move around with the W,A,S,D keys, while activating powers and looking around with the mouse. It’s all a bit overwhelming at first, but our brains are pretty awesome — you’ll settle right in to the game after a few minutes with it.

The best thing about being an inde dev is the control it affords him, says Ware. “I’m able to fix what’s wrong,” he said, “there’s no one in the chain of command who can say that there’s not enough ROI to put the engineering time into a given fix.”

You can order the game for Windows PC (with a bundled headset) for $149 right now. The Steam Greenlight community approved the game for publishing on Valve’s distribution platform, too: things are looking up for this wacky indie dev with his innovative game.

“Plus,” said Ware, “there’s a cat in a robot suit – deal with it!”