Tunnel Vision for Computer Players
In a recent paper for the ETRA ’20 ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research and Applications, we took a closer look at the gaze behavior of computer gamers. The gaze behavior of players in different difficult situations is examined in order to gain potential insights for game design.
A comparative study was conducted in which the test persons played the game Pac-Man in three difficulty levels while their gaze behavior was recorded with an eye-tracking device. Various measures were observed, such as the current position of the players’ gaze, the current position of the Pac-Man figure and the game object currently being viewed.
While some aspects of the game showed no significant results (e.g. the distance between Pac-Man and the viewpoint), the time spent looking at one of Pac-Man’s enemies showed a highly significant effect on the difficulty level. As the difficulty level increased, more and more people stared at their own game character (“Pacman”), and less and less at their enemies (“ghosts”). So when the difficulty level starts to get too high, a kind of “tunnel vision” appears.
With the results, we want to inform designers and researchers about the pitfalls of using the gaze as an analytical tool in the field of challenge in games. In addition, the findings of our efforts form the basis for providing orientation and support to players in challenging game situations by visually complementing objects located in the peripheral visual field.