Design Tips For: Head Tracker Games

Image of a Natural Point Head Tracker.A Head Tracker is a device that translate human movement to on-screen pointer control. As with an Eye Tracker, a Head Tracker also replicates what a mouse does in function.

A typical head tracker consists of an all-in-one camera and light source that points directly at the user. The user wears a reflective dot, on the peak of a cap or finger tip for example, which beams back a small spot of light to the camera. This reflected light is tracked and translated into corresponding pointer movement. If the user tilts their head up, the on-screen pointer moves up. If they look left, the on-screen pointer moves left too.

So, if a game can be played with a mouse alone, it's playable (to a degree) with a head-tracker or eye-tracker. Take a look at the "Design Tips For: Eye Tracker Games" which is very relevent, but do take the following key points into account:

1. A Head Tracker gamer will generally find it easier to accurately manipulate an on-screen pointer than an Eye Tracker gamer will.

2. Head Tracker users can generally move their pointer deliberately to an approximate point whilst looking at an entirely different part of the screen. Eye Tracker users can not do this normally (unless a plane of movement is locked to a certain area - such as with Demon Attack or a Super Breakout type game).

Retro Remakes, Special Effect, OneSwitch and the IGDA's GASIG are all very happy to take a look at any works in progress, to give support and ideas for tweaking and improving accessibility. Often times there might be just one or two things stopping an average game from being a really great game for disabled/enabled gamers. It would be great to have the opportunity to support people in getting the best out of their ideas.

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