One focus of this project was blind accessibility, specifically for students at Perkins School for the Blind. Many virtual reality games ignore or underutilize the player's other senses, making the world feel emptier and significantly harder to navigate for the blind or visually impaired. So, many of the mechanics were focused around the sense of sound, and the player is equipped with many sound-producing gadgets to navigate and mentally construct their environment.
Late Returns is a virtual reality audio based stealth game set in a library. The player must navigate past a series of noise-loathing librarians in order to return their extremely overdue library book without detection. The architecture of most libraries includes designs and acoustics which allow for engaging sound and level layout for stealth. There are sprawling mazes of bookshelves, and a variety of sound dampening and exaggerating features. The detection is heavily based around the sound levels of the player, so as they navigate and use their gadgets, they must be careful to avoid alerting any nearby librarians. The game and level were designed with the game engine Unity which allowed for easy implementation of virtual reality, audio-based mechanics, and AI navigation.
Late Return: a VR stealth game set in a darkened library in which the player uses audio navigation tools to locate a return cart. Late Return is a VR experience that demonstrates the use of sound for navigation in VR. Due to its use of specialized navigation tools, Late Return can be played by the visually impaired. The player explores a completely darkened library with nothing but several audio emitting gadgets to navigate. In order to win the game, they must use the gadgets to return a book while avoiding detection from the librarians that patrol the shelves.
Unfortunately, most games in VR that can’t be played by the visually impaired because, without visuals, the players have no indication of where they are, the player has no idea where they’re going and where they are in relation to the virtual world. Drawing inspiration from a partnership with Perkins School for the Blind, this project was designed to solve this problem with an intuitive audio based teleportation mechanic that the visually impaired can easily use.
Arrow Catch is a virtual reality game with the goal to catch arrows by depending on an individual's visual or hearing ability. The audio in this game is panned spatially, allowing people with or without visual impairments to enjoy the game. Arrow Catch was inspired by the students of the Perkins School for the blind. Due to the fact that most of the students who attend this school are visually impaired, the students heavily rely on audio to have great gaming experience. Students at the Perkins school expressed frustrations and the limitations of mainstream video games. Arrow Catch was designed to allow the user to know the direction of the arrows based on sound, making it possible for a user to hear when an arrow is coming near. The user can then catch the arrow based on its proximity.
Arrow Catch was created by two different software programs called Rhinoceros which was used to make sharp, precise, and scaled objects for the game. Lastly, Unity was used for coding the objects, adding sounds and bringing everything into playing motion.
"Escape The Minotaur" is a VR game where the player's objective is to complete a maze without visuals and only using audio cues.
The game was designed for students at Perkins School of The Blind. The students want to play games just like everyone else but they can't because of their visual impairment. Escape the Minotaur is a game accessible for everyone, regardless of seeing abilities. The player enters the maze and depending on what direction they are heading, there are specific audio cue's notifying them of what direction they are traveling in. Footstep sound effect plays when the teleportation function is activated, giving the player a sense of how far they traveled and their location within the maze. To ensure the player is making forward progression, they can keep track of where they have been by dropping digital "breadcrumbs" which release a dim beeping sound. Lastly, ambient fantasy music will be present in the background of the game to add to the immersion factor of the game. "Escape The Minotaur" was designed and created differently than other games, allowing everyone to play and enjoy this new gaming experience.
Escape the Minotaur is a VR game designed to be accessible for people with visual impairments. The objective of the game is to escape the complex 3D maze and escape the Minotaur in Virtual Reality without visuals.
While the game can be played by everyone, it was designed to be accessible specifically for people with visual impairments. The video game industry as of now is not super visually impaired friendly and most people with those impairments cannot enjoy the video games that sighted people know and love. Escape the Minotaur was designed so that those with visuals and those without can have the same experience. Between original designs and preexisting accessibility features, the maze is completely navigable using only audio. Travel through the maze is done through teleportation. When the user points at a teleporter, the direction they are pointing is stated aloud. There is also a breadcrumbs feature. Breadcrumbs allow the user to essentially drop audio clip behind them as they move through the maze. When the user returns to a place they have already been they will hear the distinct noise of the breadcrumbs which will allow them to know that they have already been that direction. Lastly there is narration that tells the player how to play, the objectives, and the storyline of how the user became trapped in the maze.
The maze was created using Unity, a Virtual Reality platform that allows users to create their own game worlds. Using this in conjunction with Rhino and Visual Studio the maze was created. With Escape the Maze users with visual impairments can take full advantage of a video game without having to sacrifice parts of their experience do to lack of accessibility.
After the Final Presentation, you have the opportunity to consider your presentation in light of final feedback and discussion. You will spend additional time reviewing you presentations, refining you portfolio, and polishing you work before it is made public on the internet.
The Self Evaluation is an opportunity for you to reflect on your work during the Studio. Students and Coaches receive the same prompts and categories, and the students will evaluate their own progress and skill levels in Design Skills and Subject Skills applicable to the studio both numerically and textually. Through a narrative, you will also reflect on the quality and rigor of your work, give feedback on the studio, and have the opportunity to receive similar feedback directly from the coach.