View Full Version : Games for the blind
09-10-2007, 01:56 PM
So here's a piece of fat to chew; we've employed a blind person to QA our software and, as a developer, it's really amazing to see him get around the office and operate a computer.
Then my mind started thinking, what kind of games would he play and what kind of casual game would appeal to the blind. I imagine even the blind get bored of blackjack and battleship (http://www.gamesfortheblind.com/)
Your thoughts, suggestions and demos...
09-10-2007, 02:28 PM
Fengol, I don't normally comment much here so I don't know how much this would matter but I know that somebody who is blind would probably have to rely on sound almost all the time for everything.
I remember watching my brother drag in Underground 1 just by the sound of the engine. Okay, yeah, it was not easy but when you have trained your ears to the sound of the engine revolutions, you probably could win without much hassle. Only problem is that monotony would set in rather quickly I should think. Not being able to judge where your opponents are. Maybe a basic dragging game in that sense. The thing is that a lot of games are relying on something heavily cosmetic at the end of the day. Sound, while important, will not keep you alive as long as your eyes will in a FPS.
Otherwise, my final answer would probably be a basic dragging game that would have to be really focused with their sound and also avoid having AI that would think too much to change lanes.
09-10-2007, 03:37 PM
Well, there are two guys from Japan or China or one of those countries that play Starcraft and they blind!!! I may be wrong but Ill try find where I read it! (Either that or I was dreaming, I hate it when that happens :P)
-- EDIT --
Ok, I wasn't dreaming. Here's a link:
There's a video there to watch too!!!
09-10-2007, 03:40 PM
I think you're missing my intent. I'm not asking how they play a normal game, I'm asking you what kind of game would you make for a blind person? What would be the Peggle equivalent if you didn't have a fluffy and shiny interface?
09-10-2007, 08:15 PM
I would think it would need to be non time based as this would make things extremely difficult for the player, because it takes him longer to ubsord information with his ears than it takes you with ears.
I would also need to provide audio cues for everything that is of importance. As for any games I would think turn-based games would be the best.
09-10-2007, 08:15 PM
As far as I can see, the only two methods of conveying the game's state would be through tactile feedback and audio cues. The former is possible with the right hardware (although force feedback mice aren't available anymore AFIAK), and the latter is pretty obvious, provided you use a large enough library of sounds/cues. The idea would be to present situations that could be effectively and efficiently conveyed through those two media.
As for what types of game you could make, that's a little trickier... A match-three puzzle game could work, using sound effects to indicate different colours. The ideal, as far as I can see, would be to convert a text adventure into full spoken audio. That would rock, although it doesn't really classify as a casual game then. ^^;
EDIT: Oh! Shadowmaster! Didn't see you there. Back to your old tricks of posting while I'm posting, eh? :P
I think your comment on reaction time is valid, but remember that people adapted to working with those stimuli will have tuned their reflexes accordingly.
09-10-2007, 08:21 PM
I have another idea of a type of game they can play: Browser based mmo's
Seriously those are addictive and everything is text based.
10-10-2007, 05:03 AM
Hmm... I wonder how detailed a mental model an average blind person might be able to form using sounds? Specifically, how great is their audio resolution, both spacially and in terms of differentiation of sounds?
I am wondering, you see, how detailed a world one might be able to describe using a good sound system and spacially-positioned sounds.
Could you, for example, effectively describe a surface parallel to the screen using sounds that sound further away for positions on the surface that are further "into" the screen? Could you provide additional information using tone, and would that detract from the usable resolution of the spatial component? How would identifiable sounds (a bird call, for instance) placed "on", "before" or "behind" this surface affect matters?
10-10-2007, 07:57 AM
While I would agree with ShadowMaster up to a point, even for sighted people games that require quick reactions are harder to get into and require some practice before getting it right and I wouldn't count it against the blind.
What research I've done shows that most games for the blind exercise good memory skills and allow the player to navigate the playing area (think of it like mousing over) to get information about the playing pieces.
While I think spatial sounds might be too subtle to differentiate even for someone with excellent hearing, there seems to be no problem with spatial orientation so you can probably even put them in a 3D grid environment and they'd get around.
Don't forget that most of these people haven't played "the classics" because of poor or no accessibility options, so even a game like Elite built for the blind is a viable option. It's my personal opinion that casual games fit the skill level and time constraints of the blind and visually impaired just like it does for housewives and office workers.
D? Cairnswm? Nandrew? Your thoughts?
10-10-2007, 09:35 AM
Sweet! The blind guy I work with is going to bring a CD with demos of games for the blind and SoundRTS (http://jlpo.free.fr/soundrts/) (includes online multiplayer)
10-10-2007, 06:08 PM
Awesome! I, for one, am very keen to see how they work. :D
10-10-2007, 06:12 PM
I dont want to sound callous or anything, but is it really worth it to cater for blind gamers. How many blind people actually play games?
I think a better question would be the following. IF games were blind-accessible would there be a significant amount of blind gamers?
10-10-2007, 06:36 PM
Yes, that's very callous; I would bet there are more blind people than DOTA players and I reckon they're just as keen to play games as we are (no matter how available they are).
And you missed my point: What can we learn from making games accessible to blind people that'll improve the experience for sighted people. Surely sighted people can also benefit from decent audio cues and better keyboard use
10-10-2007, 07:17 PM
Yes, that was callous. I apologise.
And yes, I do agree. Games can benefit from having decent audio cues.
12-10-2007, 04:10 AM
That CD sounds very interesting, Fengol - I'd like to hear what you have to share from it. ^_^
12-10-2007, 06:32 AM
Are you planning on uploading those games on the forum? That would positively rock. :)
12-10-2007, 10:00 AM
You can already download SoundRTS at http://jlpo.free.fr/soundrts/ and I seriously encourage you to; it's mind blowingly fun and gave me a lot of ideas for making a blind-friendly game. When I get a break to go through the other games myself, I'll definitely share the them.
12-11-2007, 04:01 PM
awesomerific . . . . i am new to game programming but i have an idea . . . how about a game that has random objects placed about the level then a target randomly wonders around the level and when it goes over an object it makes a sound . . the player must then push a button according to the sound and then gets points or loses points according to the sound etc . . . its just an idea . . . but it might work :-)
12-11-2007, 09:26 PM
I had an idea. Say that there is a car and the player drives it forward and tries to follow a path to avoid obstacles. A note of varying pitch would let the player know how far away they are from the path and which side. So if the note is really high you are way too far to the left, if the note is low, you are too far to the right and if the note is about middle c then you are on the path. Also, as you speed up the note gets louder so you know how fast you are going.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.11 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.