This would actually be fairly easy to do with XNA, though I would be really interested in seeing the types of HLSL they write for the algorithms. The only difficulty, as I see it, is that XNA doesn’t have a generalized API for data transfer to a server. The networking API’s allow you to communicate between other clients in multi-player games but they do not let you upload results to a server. They might let you upload top scores and a few other minimal stats but certainly not the large datasets these researchers are looking for. It would be really cool if the XNA team created a complimentary server client that would allow 3rd party indie game developers to create server software to enable this type of application as well as ones that might involve persistent worlds and things like that.
I would be very interested in something like that.
This weekend I found a great new game on Xbox live called Castle Crashers. It’s basically a hysterical mix of River City Ransom and Super Mario Brothers 3. You are a knight of one of 4 colors (you can unlock more) and you romp around fighting all sorts of different looking monsters. The artwork is very original and full of detail. The game is gratuitously violet, scatalogical and random.
The gameplay is mostly button masher with some RPG elements. Combined with the cheap Xbox Live arcade pricing this game is high in the fun/dollar (fpd?) ratio. I haven’t beaten it yet and I’m not sure how long it is overall but I have a feeling that I still have a ways to go. It’s amazing how much mileage you can get out of a simple idea and fun artwork.