Gaming charity SpecialEffect has announced a new version of its eye-tracking software for Minecraft, EyeMine. The free software allows anyone to play Minecraft using just their eyesight, and has already brought the much-loved game to thousands of players, but with version 2.0 the small team behind the program have made some big improvements.
If you're not familiar with EyeMine, it's a project from the UK-based charity to enable a playable experience in Minecraft using only vision. The UI is built around the use of toolbars and clever shortcuts for eye movement, which translate to actions in-game otherwise linked to inputs on a keyboard and mouse or controller. It's this UI that will be even more flexible to both the inputs available in-game and the user's needs with EyeMine V2, and that's just one of several improvements.
EyeMine V2 extends support to a greater number of eye-trackers, including Tobii Dynavox systems, gaming trackers, and the Irisbond Duo; and any others that are able to fully control a mouse cursor. And don't underestimate the importance of that, either, as a wide range of support is pivotal to reaching more users.
Then there's some changes to how the game actually plays with the expansive set of controls that EyeMine offers. Targeting advanced players, it's now possible to look and 'dwell' on an area in order to build and mine in "lightning quick time", which will dramatically reduce build time in action for bigger, expansive projects. A new ironsights mode also aids players to hit blocks with accuracy.
"Dwell control lets a user place (or remove) lots of blocks quickly with free eye control of the crosshair," developer Kirsty McNaught writes in a blog post on the new features. "As well as speeding things up, it also prevents mistakes where users would steer the crosshair to their chosen location and then have to look down at the EyeMine keyboard, accidentally nudging the camera on the way.
"One of our users, Becky, sent us a video of a pet emporium she built in about three hours the first time she tried out this new dwell method—she said this would previously have taken her two days to build."
Similarly, weapon handling has been improved, and it's now possible to change your pace with adjustable walk and look speeds. Take a look at the video below to see EyeMine V2 in action.
EyeMine was first launched in 2018. Since then, it's been developed further alongside a small group of users to create the new and updated version before you today.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the EyeMine team and the committed group of EyeMine users around the world who’ve worked hard together to bring EyeMine V2 to this point," Mark Saville from SpecialEffect tells us. "We hope that the new version will enhance the gaming experience for many more people with severe disabilities across the globe.”
EyeMine is a free tool, and SpecialEffect say it always will be.
SpecialEffect's mission is to offer gamers with physical disabilities the means to play games at their very best. If you'd like to help them develop more great tools like EyeMine then head over to the donate page.