Kati and Lucinda enjoy an ‘international gaze-controlled chess challenge’ even though they live nearly 2000 miles away from each other and, due to their vulnerability, are unable to travel. They’re playing on SpecialEffect’s new Eye Gaze Games website, which features the world’s first online multiplayer fully eye-controlled web games, enabling eye gaze users to meet and play against almost anyone across the globe, anonymously and on a level playing field.
Finland-based Kati, who has used eye gaze or head movement to communicate and access technology since experiencing a severe stroke 25 years ago, is playing against Lucinda from Sussex, who played chess internationally while she was at school.
Both have provided invaluable advice and feedback during the development of the website, whose eight ‘free-to-play’ web games make global play possible for people who use eye gaze. Although the games are optimised for eye control, the accessibility settings also accommodate a range of other inputs including switches, touchscreen and a mouse control pointer, enabling inclusive and competitive play between almost anyone.
The launch of the Eye Gaze Games website extends the charity’s mission to help people with severe physical challenges all around the world to play video games to the best of their abilities. The games are designed to herald a new era of gaming inclusion for disabled players and represent a model for developers who wish to offer the millions of potential gaze control users all over the world the additional enjoyment that can be gained from providing an option to use gaze-control in their games.
The current games on the website are Mole Miners, 4-in-a-Row, EyeDrive, Chess, Draughts (Checkers), Solitaire and Sudoku and Sudoku Monsters. They can be played using any Windows eye gaze system which offers mouse control. More games will be added to the website as they are developed.
Eye Gaze Games was inspired by the memory of Google Executive James Howard who was an enthusiastic supporter of the charity. We’d like to thank all of the remarkable funders from all over the world who have made this project possible over its five-year development.