Chapter 1: Introduction
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.
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
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.
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
1.3: Approach of the project
phase contained the following items:
- Good and
of fundamentals and essence of games
- Target group
After the research
phase we specified:
- A concept
during our conceptualization phase
- Design parameters
- User research:
the prototypes were tested on blind children in the target group
of 'Drive', the game
en dissemination (national press, free download of the game, conventions,