The bulk of today’s press release announcing a March 10 release for the PC port of Assassin’s Creed Rogue is strictly boilerplate. Then you get to the last paragraph and read that “the Assassin’s Creed Rogue PC development team in Kiev has partnered with Tobii Tech to integrate eye tracking input as a component of gameplay.” Wait, what?
Thankfully, the folks at Tobii go into much more detail in their own press release, describing what they’re calling an “infinite screen” experience in Rogue. When a player looks to the left side of the screen, for instance, an eye tracker can measure that gaze at 50 frames per second and report it back to the game. That causes the in-game protagonist to look to his left and the camera to automatically pan to show what he’s looking at.
A Tobii illustration shows how eye tracking works.
You can still use traditional mouselook at the same time, but the idea seems to be that you won’t want to once you’ve experienced what Tobii calls “the next evolution of human interfaces in gaming.” A short video from the developers demonstrates how the technology will work, showing the game reacting as the player’s “gaze point” moves across the screen. “The screen automatically centers around whatever you’re looking at, which in essence provides you with this infinite screen where your point of gaze will always control what’s being shown on the screen,” Tobii Tech Software Partners VP Anders Olsson says in the video.
As if that’s not enough, eye tracking users will find the game pauses automatically when they look away from the screen and resumes when they look back. Sounds perfect for gamers who find it too onerous to reach for the escape key every time they want to look up at a Big Bang Theory rerun on the nearby TV.