Heal ’em All – an eye gaze platform game

An video introducing Heal ’em All Eye Gaze Edition.
Show Transcript

Heal ’em All – Eye Gaze Edition.

A spooky eye gaze platform game.

How to heal ’em instructions. 1. Explore the graveyard. 2. Find healing gun. 2. Shoot the zombies! 4. Find the exit.

[montage of game play with background music but no narration]

With customisable gaze controls…

[A view of the settings page options, and example clips of smaller and larger gaze controls]

And easier game options for beginners…

[A view of the game play settings page]

Brought to you by SpecialEffect.

Original game by Kris Urbas and Pawel Madeja.

Adapted for eye gaze by Kirsty McNaught.

Heal ’em All – Eye Gaze Edition

Here at SpecialEffect we’ve been on the lookout for web games that could be adapted to suit an eye gaze audience. We recently discovered a gem in amongst the winners of the 2013 Github Game Jam. Heal ’em All was a small platform game built by Kris Urbas and Paweł Madeja, who kindly agreed that we could take their code and modify it for our users.  We’ve added eye gaze controls, more levels and new options to adjust the game.

Heal ’em All is free to play online using any eye tracker that supports cursor control. It also supports touch if you want to play collaboratively. If you prefer traditional controls, you can use a keyboard.

A GIF showing someone reading the instructions for Heal 'em All
A GIF showing someone reading the instructions for Heal ’em All.

The game

Heal ’em all is an online platform game. You play a pioneering doctor who has discovered a cure for the zombie plague. You walk around an abandoned graveyard shooting your cure at any zombies you find!

You control the player by looking at arrows on the screen. The longer you look at a walking arrow, the faster you will walk in that direction. To jump or shoot your gun, you need to dwell or click on those buttons. These gaze controls are adjustable if you prefer them to be larger or smaller to suit your eye gaze abilities, or if you want to adjust the dwell settings. You can also change the game’s difficulty in the settings menu – which allows you to explore the game at a slower pace if you prefer.

In each level your goal is to find a gun, use it to heal as many zombies as you can, and then find the key and exit to complete the level. If you’re struggling with accurate eye gaze control, you can usually make up for it with slow cunning rather than quick reactions. There are five main levels of escalating difficulty, as well as bonus levels including extra easy levels, zombie-mad levels, and tricky puzzle levels.

If you’re confident with your eye gaze skills and just want the default gameplay, go straight to this link:

Heal ’em All game with default settings

If you’re feeling cautious, and want to try out a very forgiving version of the game, try this link to get started with relaxed settings:

Heal ’em All game with relaxed settings

A GIF showing Heal 'em All gameplay with eye gaze control.
A GIF showing some eye controlled gameplay.

Eye tracker support

The game runs in a web browser (tested primarily with Chrome), and uses the cursor as input. Any eye tracker that you can use to directly control the cursor will be compatible. For instance, if you are using a Tobii Gaming eye tracker, you would use the Gaze Point software from Tobii to turn on cursor control. If you don’t like seeing the cursor jump around while you’re controlling it with your eyes, you can hide it within the game, so that it doesn’t feel like you’re using direct pointer control.

The game should also be compatible with any other method for moving a cursor, for example using a head mouse.

Game options

As always, giving users options to play a game their preferred way can help to increase the reach of a game. In the Heal ’em All settings menu, you can change:

  • whether you want to play the game with eye gaze/touch or keyboard controls
  • whether to use in-built dwell or your own click method
  • how long a dwell time you want 
  • how large you want the in-game controls to be, and how visible/transparent
  • whether the cursor is hidden by the game
  • the difficulty of the game (including three suggested presets, or customised options)
  • whether the game instructions and results are narrated to you
  • sound and music options

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Kris and Paweł for creating the original game!

The game was adapted by Kirsty McNaught, who previously created the EyeMine eye gaze interface for SpecialEffect.

Thanks to Becky and Kareem, who tested earlier versions of the game with eye gaze and provided feedback.