Eye tracking has - for quite a while - attracted usability specialists, researchers, and engineers to use this exciting new technology to interact with new forms of entertainment media, especially games, since from a viewpoint of game accessibility, it opens gaming up to people with severe motor disabilities. At this year's COGAIN conference, a paper with results from a 2007 study of a gaze interaction game was presented.
We have tested gaze interaction technology with a game mod created for the game Half-Life 2 (Valve Corporation), in which a player's task was to successfully navigate through a labyrinthine boardwalk area just by looking at the monitor (Tobii Eye Tracker). This was not just some random design, but we wanted to challenge players and use eye tracking explicitly as a successful game mechanic.
About 30 players participated at Swedish computer game festival Dreamhack. Researchers examined preferences of mouse or gaze interaction as well as positive or negative gameplay experience. The results show low tension and negative affect scores as well as high positive challenge, immersion and flow ratings, indicating a very immersing positive gameplay experience when playing with gaze.
Other gaze gaming researchers from the COGAIN conference also presented a very promising approach to gaze gestures in World of Warcraft. We conclude that gaze gaming is definitely a growing trend to watch, be it for making games more accessible or to simply for trying out novel methods of interacting with a computer game, which as Project Natal shows is something of great interest for the game industry as well.
Nacke, L., Stellmach, S., Sasse, D., Lindley, C. A. (2009). Gameplay Experience in a Gaze Interaction Game. In The 5th Conference on Communication by Gaze Interaction – COGAIN 2009: Gaze Interaction For Those Who Want It Most (pp. 49-54). Lyngby, Denmark: The COGAIN Association