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Educational Feature: ‘Student Postmortem: AudiOdyssey’

Singapore-MIT Game Lab has created AudiOdyssey, an innovative Wiimote-utilizing game that can be played equally by both blind and sighted players, and sister site Game Career Guide is featuring
April 08, 2008
The first ever Wiimote-using PC game that can be played equally by both blind and sighted players was developed by students at the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab. GameCareerGuide.com, Gamasutra’s sister site dedicated to education in the game industry, has an in-depth postmortem of the game in question, AudiOdyssey. Though created by students from the Singapore campus of MIT, the game’s development took place primarily in Boston, where one graduate student and a professor lead the team. Eitan Glinert, the graduate student, and co-author Dominic Chai here explain that the game was part research project and part game-making project: AudiOdyssey is a research-based game that explores the notion of who can play games. It’s designed for a mainstream audience, yet it is completely accessible to the visually impaired. That is to say, a blind person can play AudiOdyssey just as well as a sighted person. Moreover, the game has been designed in such a way that (in theory) both the blind and the sighted person could play the game with the same level of difficulty, frustration, and learning curve. We chose this research goal because we wanted to see if we could make a game that would bring blind gamers into the same realm as the mainstream. Several visually impaired accessible games already exist, however almost all of them are inaccessible to sighted players, either due to lack of graphics or awkward controls. Furthermore, most visually impaired gamers themselves want to play the same games that all their sighted friends play. Thus, we felt it would be worthwhile to make a game directed at mainstream, but that had an accessible theme. The game itself stars Vinyl Scorcher, a DJ in a nightclub trying to get people to dance. Because AudiOdyssey is a rhythm game, the DJ adds different tracks to a song to get club goers moving by matching changing rhythmic beats. However, if the party gets too crazy, there's a chance the DJ’s table might get bumped, causing him to lose tracks and forcing him to re-synch his music. The user can control the single-player PC game either with the keyboard or with the Nintendo Wiimote. In fact, AudiOdyssey is the first visually impaired accessible game that has support for Wiimote controls.” Visit GameCareerGuide.com to read the complete postmortem. [Game development students may submit their industry-standard formatted postmortems for possible publication by sending an email to GameCareerGuide.com’s editor, Jill Duffy at [email protected]]

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