Many physically disabled people may struggle to have the dexterity or movement to play Minecraft, but there's a way for many of them to join in - simply by moving their eyes.
Our Windows-based EyeMine software is free to download for anyone with a Minecraft account and works with a number of eye-trackers, including low-cost units like the Tobii 4C.
EyeMine caters for a wide range of abilities. If players can reliably use eye gaze to select a square about a quarter of the height of a monitor, they should be able to walk, fly and attack. More accurate eye control enables building, selection of items from the inventory and chat.
EyeMine Download and Wiki on GitHub
How does EyeMine work?
The inbuilt infrared cameras in eye-trackers track where your eyes are looking, letting you move the mouse pointer around on the screen. You can generally 'click' by dwelling (staring at a screen button for a certain length of time) or by using a switch that’s connected to the computer.
EyeMine harnesses this control specifically to play Minecraft. It consists of an assistive keyboard as well as a custom mod that makes changes behind the scenes to render Minecraft more accessible.
When you launch EyeMine you will see several options to suit your eye gaze abilities. If you’re not already an expert eye gaze user it’s recommended that you start with the simpler keyboards and work your way up to the more advanced keyboards.
If you can use eye gaze to reliably select a square button that’s about a quarter of the height of your monitor, then you should be able to:
- explore a Minecraft world, by walking and flying around
- mine and explore underground
- attack monsters and animals
For this level, you should start by using the Minecraft Intro keyboard from within EyeMine. This has two pages, with five keys each.
If you're comfortable using the Minecraft Intro keyboard, but you're not able to use the smaller keys from the Minecraft Intermediate keyboard, then you can find extra functionality in the Minecraft Intro++ keyboard which unlocks riding minecarts and boats, and very basic building without inventory control (you can only use the items in your hotbar). This includes additional pages of extra keys, which may be difficult to navigate if you're not already comfortable playing EyeMine.
If you can use eye gaze to select medium-sized buttons, you unlock more building functionality and inventory control (selecting items to build with) using the Minecraft Intermediate keyboard.
If you can use eye gaze to select much smaller buttons, the Minecraft Advanced keyboard provides more streamlined inventory control, including searching for items and quick selection. If you can directly control the mouse cursor for mouse clicks this gets even faster; but everything can be done just by selecting keys. You can also access a chat keyboard for playing with friends.
Most of our users play only in Minecraft Creative Mode but if you're feeling ambitious, it’s also possible to use EyeMine to pit your skills against Minecraft Survival Mode, where you have to mine all your materials, find food and keep yourself safe from monsters. This requires that you can use the smallest buttons shown below, and that you can interact quickly with the game.
Below: SpecialEffect Ambassador and eye gaze user Becky testing the advanced keyboard with Kirsty:
- A Windows PC running at least Windows 7 with the minimum spec for Minecraft, plus an eye-tracker device and a Minecraft account.
- Any of these eye-trackers will provide full functionality. Any eye tracker with its own software that allows you to control the mouse will also work, but with more limited functionality.
- If you don’t have a Minecraft account, you can try EyeMine to make sure the target sizes are appropriate before purchasing one.
- Our EyeMine software is not compatible with Minecraft on mobile or gaming consoles.
We’ve been working with eye-gaze and complex disability since 2007; modifying, training, advising and adapting the technology to suit individual needs. Our founder, Dr Mick Donegan, is an acknowledged world leader in the development and application of eye-gaze technology and has extensive experience in bridging the gap between the potential and the practical use of the technology. With such expertise to draw on, our teams are dedicated to doing whatever we possibly can to make eye-gaze successful.
EyeMine was developed by Kirsty McNaught for SpecialEffect and is part of the opensource OptiKey project.