1.1 Background to the project
1.2 Summary of aims and objectives

2.Research achievements

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1: Motivation
1.2: Goal
1.3: Approach of the project

Chapter 2: Research

2.1: Game Fundamentals
2.2: Essence of game-genres
2.3: User Research
2.4: Research Results

Chapter 3: Concept

3.1: Motivation of choice
3.2: Essence of a racing game
3.3: Concept of 'Drive'

Chapter 4: Production Report

4.1: Technical Walkthrough
4.2: Tests and feedback
4.3: Production Results

Chapter 5: Conclusion

3.The Summary Report

Summary of aims and objectives

Future research


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1: Motivation

A quick glance at the "gamesfortheblind.com"-website reveals the huge gap between present-day games and games made for visually impaired users. A gap that is getting bigger and bigger.

While seeing gamers venture into 3D gaming worlds such as 'Myst' and 'Final Fantasy', blind gamers are forced to play yet another game of Blackjack, Battleship or Memory.

Several attempts have been made, though, to create a game that is as exciting as a game for the seeing. But almost all of these attempts consist of translating (read: 'sonifying') the visual content of existing games, in order to make them accessible. Unfortunately, various aspects of what makes the game fun to play get neglected in this process, because these other aspects are not translated into the audio-domain.

Such an approach is often taken, not only in computer games, but also in other multimedia-products for the blind. We think it is quite possible to create a product that is accessible and also gives the blind user the same experience a seeing player gets when using a similar product with visual output. Figure 1 shows the two different approaches.

1.2: Goal

The basic goal of the project is to investigate a design process of a non-visual computer game that resembles the same level of accessibility and fun as a game with visual output. The demonstration game has to be as exciting and challenging as visual games. The game is designed for blind children at the age of 10 to 14. During our concept phase, we eliminate all visual terminology and base every output on sound only. Elements of visual concepts are avoided, which makes sure that blindness is not a handicap in this game. The design process contains two parts; a design process purely based on sound and a design process that focuses on the blind.
This project is the first step in researching the possibilities of using sound as the main fundamental throughout a design process. Our research indicates that there is a difference between designing and styling audio. Further studies may lead to a definition of Audio Design Principles.

1.3: Approach of the project

Our research phase contained the following items:

  • Literature and repertoire
  • Good and bad practice
  • Research of fundamentals and essence of games
  • Target group research

After the research phase we specified:

  • A concept during our conceptualization phase
  • Design parameters

The production phase contained:

  • Prototyping
  • User research: the prototypes were tested on blind children in the target group
  • Feedback of prototypes
  • Production of 'Drive', the game
  • Feedback of 'Drive'
  • Documentation en dissemination (national press, free download of the game, conventions, lectures)

(c) 2001-2002 Richard van Tol, Sander Huiberts & Hugo Verweij. Please visit http://www.soundsupport.net.