For Blind Gamers, Equal Access to Racing Video Games

For Blind Gamers, Equal Access to Racing Video Games


my name is Brian Smith and I’m a PhD
candidate in the computer vision lab here at Columbia and I’m the creator and
the developer of the racing auditory display “the RAD” and what it is is a way
of making it possible for people who are blind to play racing games and have the
same sort of experience playing those games as sighted players can to be able to do things like cut corners,
anticipate upcoming turns, remember the track layout and all of the things that
sighted players are used to doing in racing games. It was interesting to try
the RAD because of the the new experience that it gave to me as a
visually impaired person in relation to playing racing games the RAD is a user
interface that can be added to any racing game it’s just a means of, given a
racing game, a developer can plug in the RAD and then that will output sound to a
player’s headphones to give them information about the race track and so
just to prove that he is not using the screen or the visual information the
graphics at all I’m going to turn the screen away from him so he’s not looking at the screen at all
and yet he’s still able to play the game and even kind of cut this corner– this
is turn 17, it’s a really long turn. this feeling of I guess you can say the
feeling of adventure that it gave, the sense of control that it gave me as a
player was totally different than what you would usually get from other audio
racing games that were specifically designed for the visually impaired
community so right now if you look at the types of video games that are available to people who are blind it’s a pretty– it’s a pretty sparse field
they’re very simplified versions of what sighted people would play they either
cut out a lot of the game mechanics and higher-level strategies that you might
expect so in racing games for example there are
no concepts of cutting corners or they overload the player with too much
information and so here our goal was to give people who are blind an authentic
experience that they could play racing games the same way that sighted players
would experience racing games with all of the information that they would
normally have to decide how to race themselves without overloading them with information I am listening to the different information that I get which is the sounds of when I’m approaching a turn we’ve actually found that the RAD helps
people who are blind race as well as casual sighted players can. We compared
lap times from sighted people and blind participants and they were comparable.
Now if you have a really good sighted player they can do better because they
can hug corners just even more precisely than what the RAD would allow you to do
but the fact that like a regular 3d racing game can be playable by someone
who’s blind at a level that’s comparable to sighted players is is a completely
new thing

6 Replies to “For Blind Gamers, Equal Access to Racing Video Games”

  1. Wow. Truly brilliant and helpful! Surprised this isn't all over the news/web by now. Story shared on www.bystandrresearchanalyticsdata.com though!

  2. I know this is a really late reply but I think I need to talk to you, Brian. I want to change the whole gaming for the blind landscape.

  3. I’m totally blind and I find this amazing. I lost my sight 4 years ago to a gunshot to the head. Really miss cod zombies but stuff like this keeps me hopeful.

  4. You cant have the same experience of a sighted person when you blind. You dont see anything wich mean you miss a lot of things and cant enjoy all things sight give you, graphic, cant see what you do have to rely only with the sounds. Reading a book blind or no I agree it doesnt make a difference but video game is a combination of visuals and sounds and both are very important if you miss one you dont have the same experience so far. Im still happy that blind can play video game and people try to help them.

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