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 5: Conclusion

We playtested 'Drive' with a large (blind) audience and the overall opinion was that 'Drive' is an exciting and accessible game. The blind users could handle the game just as good as the seeing users. In general, we discovered that blind users are capable of reaching higher scores than seeing users. This shows 'Drive' is a game in which the blind gamer is not handicapped. Several seeing users joked they felt handicapped themselves, because they were used to receiving visual feedback.

We based 'Drive' on the essence of a racing game. Throughout the concept-phase, we tried to sonify every element of this essence. This proved to be quite fruitful because once we laid down the first copy of the concept both the accessibility-factor and the fun-factor became clear. This shows that 'Drive' is a good example of a design-process purely based on sound, one of the aims of the project. It also illustrates that accessible does not mean 'an adapted original' but 'a re-designed original based on the essence'.

During our research phase, we drew attention to the relationship between sound and emotion in a game environment. We found out that a game doesn't generate real emotions but a reflection of these emotions. We defined this reflection as immersion. This is quite important for the game experience, especially for an audiogame. We decided to pay attention to immersion and the meta-game aspect so we made an intro, menu, website, downloadable audiotracks and a highscore-system.

We wanted to find out how one can design for the blind computer user. Prior to this project, we had already researched the needs and characteristics of this user group. We avoided terminology of the visual domain and eliminated all aspects of visual conceptualization. Instead, we used terminology that fits the perceptive world of the blind.
We learned that the blind children prefer racing games and shooters above all and that they would like an exciting game that is equally challenging for blind users as well as seeing players. We also learned that competition is highly important between players and that dynamic game-elements like levels and score should be applied.
The blind users indicated that they would rather have a real voice than the synthesized voice they are used to hear all day when using the computer. We used recorded voices to give the game more depth and to add variety in the experience of using the computer.
The balance between functional sound and figurative sound is very important. In 'Drive', we kept a clear balance between these two.
Our first tests gave us the idea of force-focusing (using obstruction sounds to break the concentration of the player) to make a game more difficult to play. We also found out that sometimes the content of a specific sound is responsible for the difficulty of the game. Parameters for this remain undiscovered; we would like to explore this issue in a future project.
We applied adaptive music to create a more dynamic environment. This, together with the voice recordings, the intro, the website and the menu all contribute to the immersion and the metagaming.

All this provided us with a better view on how one can design for the blind community. Not only games, but other projects based on sounds as well.


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