Shynosaur is a simple game where the player needs to save as many cuties (the yellow animals) as possible before the shynosaurs (the red monsters) can steal them to eat them. The player needs to click with the mouse on a cutie and drag it to a pen where it will be safe. As the levels go up, there are more and more cuties, a smaller pen, and more shynosaurs! Fortunately, the player can also take advantage of one fact: the shynosaurs are... shy! As soon as the player looks at them, they will whistle and pretend they weren't doing anything wrong; if the player actually stares at them, they will be intimidated and run away crying!

This game takes advantage of a dual behaviour of our eyes. On one hand, we usually use our eyes to look around us and gather information. For example, we look at something before we reach for it - and we do the same thing when we want to click on a computer screen: look to aim, and move the mouse where we're looking. On the other hand, we sometimes also use our eyes to influence our world: for example, staring is a significant part of intimidation and is generally interpreted as aggression, even in animals. The eyes can thus have different functions: gathering information, or expressing a feeling (and influencing someone).

In addition, we can only focus on a tiny area - the rest with peripheral vision. It means that when we are looking at something, we are also not looking at everything else. This can be turned into a playful behaviour, such as the children's game 'Red Light, Green Light' for example. Shynosaurs uses this dilemma: the player can either aim at cuties with the mouse or stare at dinosaurs to slow them down, but cannot generally do both at the same time. Can the game develop player's peripheral vision? Do people have different strategies?





Papers:

Shynosaurs: A Game of Attention Dilemma,
M. Vidal, Proc. of CHIPlay ’14. October 2014 (Demo). Nominated for Best Game Award
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