Following further development of the pilot project, SpecialEffect is launching Eye Gaze Games a website of free games to play using eye movement alone using eye gaze technology. This post will go through the different eye gaze options and settings available.
The aim is for the site to be accessible to a wide range of eye gaze users. The Eye Gaze Games site uses the ability of eye gaze cameras to control the mouse on a Windows PC. Each game has been designed to allow you to play using two different onscreen eye gaze interfaces. One uses larger onscreen targets, which we call ‘Classic’, and the other uses more precise control.
On launch, players can play action games such as a marble popper style game called ‘Mole Miners’, a racing game called ‘Eye Drive’ (Beta) and also some board games, such as Checkers (draughts), Chess, Solitaire and Sudoku.
Depending on the game, online leaderboards allow you to compete against other players around the world or you can play directly against others online 1 v 1, such as in Chess and Checkers. Players will also be able to play some games against the computer and also against friends and family on the same device. Other control options are being added too, such as one and two switch access and using other assistive mice.
In this post we will go through an introduction on how your eye gaze camera’s Windows control software can be compatible with the site and then we’ll look at the eye gaze settings built into Eye Gaze Games, which can be adjusted in both the settings menu and the setup wizard. At the bottom of the post are also some troubleshooting tips.
Step 1. Setting Up Your Eye Gaze Camera
The Eye Gaze Games website has been designed to be compatible with as many eye gaze cameras as we possibly can. If you can use your eye gaze camera to control a mouse cursor or make a mouse click selection, to control Windows, then you should be able to use it on the site when configured correctly.
The site itself has been designed to include eye gaze interfaces, but it doesn’t have eye gaze software built into it. Therefore, it works with, rather than instead of the eye gaze Windows Control software that you use with your camera. Often some type of Windows control software comes with your camera, but some eye gaze users may use additional software such as The Grid 3 or Communicator 5 for their Windows control.
Depending on your camera, it’s software, and your preferences, the Windows control you use may either be ‘mouse emulation’ in which you move your eyes to move a mouse cursor around your screen with either a dwell, a blink, or a switch to click, or you may use a ‘gaze selection’ method, whereby you may zoom in on a target to click on it or, alternatively, just look at it to jump the mouse cursor to there and then click.
Below is an example of what is known as ‘mouse emulation’. In this example, we are using Tobii’s ‘Gaze Point’ software which is available for use with compatible cameras like their PCEye Mini camera:
It is also possible to move the pointer with your compatible eye gaze camera using software such as The Grid 3’s ‘Computer Control’ set to ‘move pointer’:
Below is an example of what is known as ‘gaze selection’, in this instance using Communicator 5’s Windows Control feature set to ‘Zoom to Click’:
Below is another example of a type of ‘gaze selection’, in this instance using Tobii’s ‘Computer Control’ Windows control software. This can be used on The New iSeries devices and their PCEye 5 camera. In the video below it is used to look (the circle shows the eye tracking) and briefly dwell on a target to move the mouse cursor position there and then selecting an onscreen button to left-click on its position. There is also a zoom/expand feature available within ‘Computer Control’ that allows you to include an extra set and expand target area size before selecting the target:
Step 2. Choose How You Want to Play
Different eye gaze users will need different settings to play. There’s a step-by-step setup wizard to help create an interface tailored for you. The eye gaze settings can also be adjusted at any time via the settings cog in the main menu and within in-game menus. As mentioned above, within each game there is also an option to play using larger targets or a more direct mode.
Input Device Option
On loading the site for the first time (or via the wand icon in the settings menu), a setup wizard for the controls will appear. For eye gaze, choose the option in the centre of the screen when prompted:
Built-In Left Click Option
You can then choose whether to use your own left-click to select or the one built into the site itself. Which one you choose will depend on what eye gaze software you use for controlling the mouse in Windows and also personal preference. Usually, if you control Windows with ‘mouse emulation’ by moving the mouse cursor, you can choose either, whereas if you a ‘gaze selection’ method, you will likely want to use your own left click and choose to use ‘My Own’:
If you do have the option to use the ‘built-in’ option, the site uses its own centralised dwell select with this option on, which can help some players by only having the option to left-click on appropriate targets so as not to interfere with gameplay and, as it is centralised, it can help some players target onscreen buttons more accurately by drawing your gaze to the centre of a target.
If you choose to use your own software you will be taken onto the option to choose the size of the targets you will use in-game (see the ‘Classic’ or ‘Precise’ Controls section below).
Dwell Time & Animation Options
If you do choose to use the built-in dwell select, you will be given the option to adjust your dwell time (the length of time the mouse cursor will need to be over a target until it selects it) and whether you want the dwell click countdown to be shown by a pie or a shrinking dot animation:
‘Classic’ or ‘Precise’ Options
Whether you choose to use your own left click or the site’s built-in left click, you will then have the option to choose whether to start with ‘Classic’ or ‘Precise’ controls. Like any other options, you can change these at any point and also within games during play depending on your preference for a particular game or at a particular point in-game:
‘Classic’ controls offer larger eye gaze targets in-game, whilst ‘Precise’ controls require selecting smaller targets. For instance, in Chess the image below shows the larger targets used to control the game when using ‘Classic’ controls:
And the image below here shows the smaller targets you select when using ‘Precise’ controls:
As mentioned, if you find that you would like to change your setup following this, you can open the wizard again from the wand icon in the settings menu, or change settings directly from the settings menu itself (not currently eye gaze accessible).
In addition to eye gaze, other input devices can be used to play, with plans to add more. Currently, you can play using mice and assistive mice, touch, and also using one or two accessibility switches. These can also be set up and customised through the setup wizard or the settings menu.
We hope this post has been useful in introducing Eye Gaze Games and its eye gaze controls and settings options. To try the options for yourself with your eye gaze camera or other compatible input devices, visit www.eyegazegames.com
Black Screen – If you get a blank black screen on loading the site, you may need to clear your browsers history and data, such as cookies and cache etc. Alternatively, if you don’t want to lose your browser history or data etc, you could try another browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge all work) or try a private or ‘incognito’ mode in your browser.
Eye Gaze Not Working – Please ensure you are using some compatible Windows control software with your camera to enable you to control the mouse (see Step 1 above). The site requires this to work alongside the mouse control. Then ensure that the Setup Wizard (access this via the settings cog icon in the homepage or any game) is followed carefully and the correct options are chosen for your method of Windows control for controlling the mouse (see Step 2 above).
Latest Games Not Available – If new games or features haven’t appeared on the site for you, you may need to clear your browsers history and data such as cookies and cache etc. Alternatively if you don’t want to lose your browser history or data etc, you could try another browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge all work) or try a private or ‘incognito’ mode in your browser.
Unable to Login – As it is important to us to not store personal information, it isn’t possible for us to retrieve login information or reset passwords unfortunately.