With the help of eye tracking, designers and developers can quickly learn more about how players perceive their game without the need of any obtrusive tools and questions during a gaming session.
Knowing what players pay attention to, what they ignore and how they find their way through an environment is instrumental when learning how players interact with your game. For example, being able to determine what players are paying attention to just before they fail to perform a certain game interaction task or when they get frustrated can quickly help improve the environmental queues or interaction design.
One use case for eye tracking analysis in games is to improve the skill level of players. By learning what experts pay attention to and when they shift their attention, more novice players can gain insights on how to improve in an efficient way.
We have a collaboration with Mobalytics, focusing on improving the skill level of players in League of Legends. With this toolset, players become aware of their attentive behavior and get detailed information on their focus patterns throughout the game. This can give a competitive edge to players wanting to improve their skill level.
Visual attention can be studied to understand the different player perspectives in order to test games that are currently in development and for post-release evaluation purposes. This can help designers connect with their target audience to better understand how the game environment or interactions are perceived and how they can be improved.
One paper presents a method proposal for player behavior analysis within a game level, based on interactive (player movement) and visual (eye movement) behavior data. With the results of this work and method proposal, game and level designers can better grasp how players visualize and interact with video game level scenery.1
In addition, this can be done remotely, allowing for an unobtrusive method to gather insights on a large scale. Questions can be asked after the session, using gaze data to pin-point specific events in which the player was searching for something, missed something, had a strong emotional reaction to something, etc. This data can be collected from people playing at home and without the need to interrupt the player during the session, which allows for more authentic data. The combined insights of eye tracking together with other data points and qualitative analysis allows for improving the players' engagement and understanding in the game.
Eye tracking in games can also be used as a means of cognitive training to treat people with certain disorders. For example, one study aims to treat infants with ADHD by letting them view animated games on a screen where different events take place, contingent on where on the screen the infant is looking. This is done with the aim of training early executive skills and thus increasing resilience and reducing later ADHD symptoms and impairments.2
Goodwin, Amy & Salomone, Simona & Bolton, Patrick & Charman, Tony & Jones, Emily & Pickles, Andrew & Robinson, Emily & Smith, Tim & Sonuga-Barke, Edmund & Wass, Sam & Johnson, Mark. (2016). Attention training for infants at familial risk of ADHD (INTERSTAARS): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 17. 10.1186/s13063-016-1727-0. ↩︎