Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
able for the visually disabled, and furthermore,
it differs from game to game. The International
Game Developers Association (IGDA, 2004) in
their study “Accessibility in Games: Motivations
and Approaches”, discusses the availability of
games to every person with a disability including
the visually impaired. The study presents speech
synthesizers, screen readers and speech recogni-
tion as assistive technologies which can contribute
to a greater availability of games for the visually
impaired. Unfortunately, the application of these
new technologies which would allow the adapta-
tion of the user interface to the ergonomics of the
visually impaired is not the primary concern for
the game industry. On the other hand, a connec-
tion between the visually impaired children and
these technologies is of a crucial importance to
their inclusion into the society.
User interfaces differ from game to game,
and consequently, their ability to be adapted to
the visually impaired, as well as the process of
adaptation itself, also differs from game to game.
In the literature video games are usually divided
in four classes: action games, adventure games,
strategy games and puzzle games. Action games
are the games where the point of the greatest
importance is a right-timed response to the audio
and visual information that the player receives.
Audio signals are the key factor of these games
when adapted to the visually impaired. These au-
dio signals have to differ from each other so that
the player can easily identify them and respond
at the right moment and in a right manner. The
characteristics of adventure games are interesting
scenarios, investigation of new areas and resolving
mysteries. The motion of the avatar - a figure in
the virtual world controlled by the player - is as
important as the riddles and the scenario. Because
of such characteristics, almost no games of this
type were developed for the visually impaired.
Strategy games usually require the player to
control armies, vast territories and resources by
using maps. The player must manipulate numerous
parameters to allow the survival and growth of
the population. Unfortunately the sense of sight
is vital for the use of maps, and thus only games
which are principally oriented on either manage-
ment or simulation are convenient for adaptation
to the visually impaired. Puzzle games are the only
games which are based on the same principles
regardless of whether they are audio or tactile. For
example, there are more than 300 audio games at
http://www.AudioGames.net.
In general, educational computer games should
be appropriate for the level of the cognitive de-
velopment of potential players. For example, if
a game is intended for younger pupils, it should
be kept in mind that presentations in the form of
images or sounds should have a dominant role in
the learning process. Also, when designing educa-
tional computer games for the disabled, it has to be
taken into consideration that their cognitive level
of development is in many cases different from
the cognitive level of the development of people
without disabilities. Beside the adaptation of the
game to the level of cognitive development of the
player, games for people with disabilities should be
adjusted to their ergonomics. Customizing games
according to the ergonomics of the disabled is the
issue in which educational games designed for the
disabled basically differ from educational games
designed for people without disabilities, and this
can sometimes be an insurmountable difference,
because the existing technology does not support
the development of appropriate solutions.
For mathematics teachers who work with the
visually impaired the major problem is how to
achieve visual representation of concepts and
phenomena. Beside the formulas, these visual
representations are a fundamental part of the
mathematical language that is used everywhere
in the world. Geometry as a branch of mathemat-
ics is one of the most difficult areas from the point
of view of adaptation for the visually impaired,
but on the other hand, it is very useful for orien-
tation in space and executing everyday tasks.
There are papers that show that it is possible to
make a very efficient geometric representation of
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