The Castellanos Combat! Client

The Castellanos Combat! Client is a biologicaly controlled game of the Atari 2600 Combat!

The BodyDaemon Collaboration

This work is one facet of a larger collaboration between Carlos Castellanos, Aaron Siegel and myself. I developed this client to run off the BodyDaemon server created by Castellanos. A second client, "Gravitons and Graviolis" was developed by Siegel. The BodyDaemon server must be worn to operate. It runs off of, as well as transmits biological data from its host body. The Combat Client receives the host body's heart rate, respiration, muscle movements (EMG) and galvanic skin response (GSR). Those stats are randomly teamed up and then pitted against each other in the arena of Combat!

Golden Age History

Combat is a game developed by Atari in 1977. It runs on the Atari 2600 home consol system. Two tanks, each controlled by a different player, battle it out in a single screen arena. The pixels are big and mighty and carry with then a good helping of nostalgia.

Conscious and Subconscious Control

The task of controlling each tank in Combat is split between two body statistics. One controls steering and the other controls thrust and shooting. All actions are determined by the rise and fall of each stat. For example, if heart rate was in charge of steering then a drop in the user's heart rate would cause that particular tank to turn right, and a raise in heart rate would cause that tank to turn left. Each round ends after 2 minutes, 16 seconds at which point the next round starts and new teams are formed.


The Combat Client was created with Max/MSP, Jitter, and Javascript. It utilizes two key externals, in order to function. The first of which is the OSC and UDP objects by Matt Wright which allow Max/MSP to communicate with the BodyDaemon server. The other external is jit.atari2600, an Atari 2600 emulator/manipulator object written by Kyle Buza. This external allows me to directly access the original Atari Combat game ROM.

ISEA 2006

The Castellanos Combat Client along with the BodyDaemon server was featured in ISEA 2006 / ZeroOne. This international symposium of art and technology took place in San Jose, Ca USA August 7 through 13. The project was exhibited in San Jose's big blue tent known as South Hall.


BodyDaemon Site
Gravitons and Graviolis

John Bruneau 2023