Inspired by this video of eye tracking while playing video games, I used a Pupil Labs’ pupil tracker while playing one of my favorite video games – Rocket League.
I did this based on interest in how my eyes move around the game’s UI, and to see when my pupils dilate/retract during the game.
Here is the full match including a view of my body, my pupil, and the game with an overlay of my gaze as provided by Pupil Labs applications:
I posted this on reddit – the comments have some interesting analysis. Here are some highlights from the session:
Quick Visual Checks & Pupil Dilation
At the beginning of the clip, you can see me quickly shuffling between various elements including other players, the glowing orb at the edge of the map (boost), and the ball itself.
You can also see how quickly my eye dilates as I boost to approach the ball and shoot. Wild!
In this game one can communicate with other players – seated in front of some other screen somewhere – by quickly bringing up a menu of pre-defined statements and then selecting one.
Pro players don’t need to look at the chat options because they know what button to push for which command. However, I am not (yet) a pro player so I still need to check before sending.
In this clip I accidentally knock into a teammate (blue car) and call up the chat menu to apologize before returning my focus to the defense at hand. Who says chivalry is dead?
I was surprised by how little I blinked during the game; ‘eyes on the prize’ as they say!
It seems like I subconsciously blink to refresh my eyes in ‘downtime’ when I am away from the ball and don’t need to capture every frame.
This clip is an example of such ‘downtime’ and you can see I take big, refreshing blinks. 💦👁
You can also see I sort of botch my bid for the ball after these blinks. Maybe these blinks influenced my focus. Or maybe I suck at Rocket League 😛
The glowing yellow fields and balls on the map are fuel for the car’s boost, which is trackable through the meter in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Players keep track of their boost fuel with the meter in the bottom right corner of the screen.
I consider myself a little obsessed with boost-management, sometimes a boost hog on the field. I though I would discover my gaze constantly checking the boost meter, but the eye tracking says differently.
I think it’s likely that I’m checking so quickly that the tracker can’t pick up on it – but mayyyybe I internalize the number without looking directly at it!
There were also other moments in the game where I felt my gaze didn’t match my attention, or my gaze was looking at an ‘average’ spot between two different points I wanted to observe. Perhaps this explains my boost obsession without gaze attention.
How does one really view an entire screen at once anyways? What is the difference between gaze and visual attention?
Eyes are very weird and cool, operating at the micro-second level with little conscious though from our minds.
It was super fun to try this pupil tracker and am interested in trying it with other Rocket League match types (e.g. 1v1 as opposed to 3v3) or with other video games.