Not so long ago, we announced Tobii Eye Tracking support for F1™ 2017, which you can check out here, and to find out more we spoke to Experienced Programmer, Nick Chemin, who was part of the team implementing it here at Codemasters.
Why did you decide to incorporate Tobii Eye Tracking in F1™ 2017?
To be honest, it’s not something we’d initially considered adding to our title. However, when we saw Tobii Eye Tracking in action, we could instantly see how it would enhance the player experience in F1 2017. It also reminded us of a great video that Sahara Force India, Tobii and Sky Sports F1 created last year, which demonstrated exactly where Nico Hülkenberg is looking when he’s driving the car. You can check this out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjkUUMZnTnU. We knew that we could recreate this sensation and experience by integrating Tobii Eye Tracking.
What specific eye tracking features have you added to F1 2017?
We have integrated “Extended View,” which is where the game makes use of both eye and head position to influence the camera view. We also make use of “Clean UI,” where elements of the heads-up display are naturally transparent and only become completely visible when the player is looking directly at them. This is helpful for a racing game, as much more of the track becomes visible in your periphery.
Tell us more about your partnership experience with Tobii. How have they partnered with your development teams to bring eye tracking into the game?
Tobii is a great company to work with and was fully involved on multiple levels. We had close communication at all times, including on-site visits which covered implementation of new features, testing and design feedback to name but a few.
What problems does eye tracking solve for the development teams? How does it impact UX and design?
For us, it’s not so much about solving problems as opening new doors. It allowed the team to expand the experience thanks to this extra source of control.
It also makes providing a better user experience easier. For example, normally we cannot get both wing mirrors visible on the screen without compromising the camera view in other areas. With eye tracking, you simply look at the wing mirror, and it becomes fully visible. You don’t have to compromise.
What do you feel are the main advantages to gameplay that eye tracking brings, and which ones do you feel are the most exciting for gamers?
The Extended View feature is, without doubt, the key benefit. Having the camera respond to where the player looks, especially while in cockpit view, perfectly simulates the feeling of being inside the car. It makes every corner more involved as the camera tilts towards the apex because the player is directly looking at it, or, for example, allows the player to focus away from the car to look at an opponent overtaking you.
As eye tracking becomes more commonplace, how do you see it affecting the way gamers will interact with your titles?
The way we interact with technology is becoming more natural and intuitive. Voice control is almost common place these days, adding head and eye tracking takes it to the next level. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a free controller button for one of the many game actions, whether that be menu selections or a core game mechanic. Replacing this with natural input where appropriate would streamline the experience.
How do you see the technology impacting the future of the industry?
Eye Tracking could provide a remarkable insight into how players are interacting with games. Using analytics and AB testing could help guide how the next game iterations will be developed.
Don’t forget that F1™ 2017 with Tobii Eye Tracking is out now, head to http://bit.ly/F12017-Buy-Now to get your own copy. For more information on Tobii Eye Tracking, head here: https://tobiigaming.com/games/f1-2017/