1 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-05-27 01:17:17)

Good afternoon,

I am a computer science student from Spain. For my bachelor thesis I am trying to make a game engine accessible for users with visual functional diversity. I am looking for people to

  • Answer 2 short questions about how do you interact with your computer

  • (Optionally) test the prototype of my solution by doing some simple steps on the program

  • (Optionally) telling me your opinion about my prototype

I am interested in people with some degree of visual functional diversity and previous experience programming or developing videogames (by experience I don't necessarily mean professionals; students and amateurs are fine as well as you have some knowledge and practice).

In case anyone would want to help, my email is [email protected]

I thought it is a good idea (specially for new people who may see this list) to provide you with some context of what my project is about and what are my plans for the future. Some of you will recall this from private emails I sent to you; I wanted anyone to know this before hand so that emails with questions are shorter.

My idea is not to reinvent the wheel and to get the highest possible level of inclusion of visually impaired developers on big game studios and companies. For these reasons (and also given the short time span I have to write my thesis), I am trying to take an already existing game engine / game development kit called Godot Engine and to adapt it so that it is accessible. The advantage of Godot Engine is that, while being young compared to Unity 3D or Unreal Engine, it is Free and Open Source Software, it has a huge community releasing constant updates, it is cross-platform and it can export games to many architectures. Godot is written in C, C++ and Python, and communication with screen readers (at least on Linux and Orca) requires using the AT-SPI interface; there are C++ bindings but from what I have heard from AT-SPI developers it is better that I stick to the C implementation of the API.

Also, the idea for this thesis is to develop a small prototype (making it accessible for Debian using Gnome desktop environment and Orca screen reader), as most of my thesis is focused on the Human-Computer Interaction study of users and their needs in the context of video game development. That being said, I would like that this project is actually useful apart from the theoretical HCI conclusions I may get from the thesis, and using Godot instead of coding a small game engine on my own comes from this will. Of course my source code will be made free and open source software once I finish my bachelor thesis, and I would like to continue developing the accessibility layer for Godot Engine.

Thank you in advance; best regards,
Alvaro Caceres

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Hi
I've sent you an e-mail.

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Alvaro, welcome to the forum!  We're always happy to see new people, and anyone interested in audio game development is an extra bonus.  I am sure you will have plenty of helpful volunteers in no time, and please feel free to ask anything you might want to ask.  There are a lot of audio game experts floating around here, and a ton of people that can share what things work and what things don't work when it comes to accessibility.

I view political correctness like a long stick or pole that lets us poke at something unpleasant without getting our hands dirty.  Things like "differently abled" is a pretty good one, but I think "visual functional diversity" might be my new favorite!  smile  The length of that pole is staggering, and I can't help but admire the engineering that went into it!  big_smile  I apologize for my strange sense of humor, lol.  No disrespect was meant by it... I genuinely found joy in hearing a phrase I have not heard before.

- Aprone
Please try out my games and programs:
Aprone's software

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4

Hi.
I have also sent an email alvaro.
I am not a programmer but I do dabble with sound design, I do a lot of testing and other things especially with sonnar and this looks like a straight forward task.

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5 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-05-25 00:14:03)

Aprone wrote:

Alvaro, welcome to the forum!  We're always happy to see new people, and anyone interested in audio game development is an extra bonus.  I am sure you will have plenty of helpful volunteers in no time, and please feel free to ask anything you might want to ask.  There are a lot of audio game experts floating around here, and a ton of people that can share what things work and what things don't work when it comes to accessibility.

I view political correctness like a long stick or pole that lets us poke at something unpleasant without getting our hands dirty.  Things like "differently abled" is a pretty good one, but I think "visual functional diversity" might be my new favorite!  smile  The length of that pole is staggering, and I can't help but admire the engineering that went into it!  big_smile  I apologize for my strange sense of humor, lol.  No disrespect was meant by it... I genuinely found joy in hearing a phrase I have not heard before.

Hi Aprone,

I (sincerely) apologize if the term was somewhat excessive. I took it from a Spanish researcher that has done lots of important research in accessibility and theorized that the correct term to refer to "disability" was "functional diversity". As far as I know her point was that having a disability should not be referred to as being "inferior" compared to "normal" people, but rather as being a user with different needs and preferences. In fact I use that term on my thesis report as I thougth it was more correct, both academically and personally.

By the way, how do you (anyone) think that I should refer to blind people being respectul and making it sound natural? It is more of a personal doubt, but anyway...

Thanks to everyone that has emailed me (you are right Aprone, it was surprising for me to receive so many replies and so fast!), I appreciate your will to help. And again, I am really sorry for what I said before. Best regards,
Alvaro

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No worries at all Alvaro!  My comment wasn't meant to criticize your wording in any way.  This community represents people from all walks of life, countries from around the world, and vastly different levels of sight from fully sighted (like myself) to people born without eyes.  It is amusing to see how so many different people bring so many different terms to the table, and I was just taking note of a new one that I hadn't seen yet.  I don't really think there is a right or wrong way to approach it around here.  I think you'll see people use the phrase "blind" just as much, if not more, than "visually impaired" or anything else.

- Aprone
Please try out my games and programs:
Aprone's software

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7 (edited by defender 2017-05-25 05:06:30)

I'm not a coder my self, but I know of two people who are that you may want to talk to.


The first is Oriol Gomez, he's from Spain as well,  but he's also blind and has made several popular games for the community.  He's on this forum but you can also find his website at oriolgomez.com where you can find his games and contact info.
He also has a Skype "oriolgs58" but I don't know how current that is.


The second is Guillem LeónAKA guilevi who is also from Spain, is blind, and has made a couple games for the community, his twitter "@guillelv_2000" seems to not be active any more, and I don't remember his Skype, but he's on the forum even though he doesn't post much and Oriol and him worked on a game together, so you can probably find him through Oriol.


PS. Having a disability does make you inferior, on the most simple level of comparison to the human baseline, I'm fine with that, if not particularly happy about it, and I can mostly overcome my innate disadvantages from day to day, though some can do it better and I have off days, but I'm not going to put my fingers in my ears and yell "La La La I can't heaeaeaear yououououou" while frantically wishing the blind away either.
Terms like that are for making the people who are forced to interact with you feel more comfortable about their own natural empathy, rather than learning how to temper it so that they can still feel sympathetic towards you, but also treat you like a person. Basically, it's a shortcut, saying a few empty words is easier than restructuring your outlook in order to suppress your built in biases.


That said however, I can pretty much guarantee you that no one on this forum will be offended either way, including me, sure we may have our opinions, but anyone with a bit of common sense can tell that your just trying to be kind and do the right thing, and the only reason I'm saying anything about it is because you using it brought up a long running, and not even particularly contentious conversation which already existed in this community, not because I connect it's usage to you personally.

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

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8

When you say game engine, do you mean developer tools like GameMaker, Unity, etc. or while playing a game? What perspective and solutions are you going for?

-BrushTone v1.3.0: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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magurp244 wrote:

When you say game engine, do you mean developer tools like GameMaker, Unity, etc. or while playing a game? What perspective and solutions are you going for?

Exactly: here I am talking about a game developer kit like Unity3D, Unreal Engine or Game Maker. In fact what I am going to do is to create an accessibility layer on top of a game engine / game development kit that is Free and Open Source Software, called Godot Engine. I have edited the first message of the forum with more details about this.

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defender wrote:

I'm not a coder my self, but I know of two people who are that you may want to talk to.


The first is Oriol Gomez, he's from Spain as well,  but he's also blind and has made several popular games for the community.  He's on this forum but you can also find his website at oriolgomez.com where you can find his games and contact info.
He also has a Skype "oriolgs58" but I don't know how current that is.


The second is Guillem LeónAKA guilevi who is also from Spain, is blind, and has made a couple games for the community, his twitter "@guillelv_2000" seems to not be active any more, and I don't remember his Skype, but he's on the forum even though he doesn't post much and Oriol and him worked on a game together, so you can probably find him through Oriol.


PS. Having a disability does make you inferior, on the most simple level of comparison to the human baseline, I'm fine with that, if not particularly happy about it, and I can mostly overcome my innate disadvantages from day to day, though some can do it better and I have off days, but I'm not going to put my fingers in my ears and yell "La La La I can't heaeaeaear yououououou" while frantically wishing the blind away either.
Terms like that are for making the people who are forced to interact with you feel more comfortable about their own natural empathy, rather than learning how to temper it so that they can still feel sympathetic towards you, but also treat you like a person. Basically, it's a shortcut, saying a few empty words is easier than restructuring your outlook in order to suppress your built in biases.


That said however, I can pretty much guarantee you that no one on this forum will be offended either way, including me, sure we may have our opinions, but anyone with a bit of common sense can tell that your just trying to be kind and do the right thing, and the only reason I'm saying anything about it is because you using it brought up a long running, and not even particularly contentious conversation which already existed in this community, not because I connect it's usage to you personally.

I have sent an email to Oriol and Guillem. And thank you for your explanation of terms and the like; despite of not being able to express it in English, I can say that I got your point XD.

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11

Hello,
You're doing a wonderful thing. I'm Amit from India, and I'm also looking for what game engine / language I should choose for my first game project. As soon as your software comes out, I'd be happy to try it. and who knows, if the software is good enough I may be able to create something from it. that said, you're doing a unique effort, keep it up and as soon as you develop something feel free to let me know. I will be happy to try it and give you feed backs so that you can keep improving it.

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12 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-05-30 19:50:46)

Amit wrote:

Hello,
You're doing a wonderful thing. I'm Amit from India, and I'm also looking for what game engine / language I should choose for my first game project. As soon as your software comes out, I'd be happy to try it. and who knows, if the software is good enough I may be able to create something from it. that said, you're doing a unique effort, keep it up and as soon as you develop something feel free to let me know. I will be happy to try it and give you feed backs so that you can keep improving it.

Thanks for the support and the enthusiasm Amit, I appreciate that! Before trying the software, could I send you some questions via email? I need to consider these questions before getting into the development of the solution.

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Hi,
I'm out of town for 20 days from tomorrow, so I will be able to answer your questions today. email is
[email protected]

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14

I wrote you an email.

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15 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-06-06 14:56:08)

Hi everyone,

This is a message for those of you who answered my questions. According to my university I am legally obliged to ask you for a proof that you let me put your answers in my bachelor thesis. I know it sounds stupid because your name is not included in any way, but I have to do it otherwise Spanish government could sue me.

There are two ways in which you can do this.
1. Record an audio like this: My name is YOURNAME and my ID number is YOURIDNUMBER. I was interviewed by Alvaro Caceres Muñoz for his bachelor thesis, "Designing User Experiences: A Game Engine for the Blind". Before the interview, I was explained how my data is going to be used. I authorize Alvaro to use my data in the way I was told.
2. Sign a document with more or less the same thing.

What is more comfortable for you? Please send me an email telling me your preference.

Best regards,
Alvaro Caceres

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16

Hi again,

I am developing a small demo to test one part of the user interface. Basically you have a 3D space with some game objects placed in there. No windows, no buttons, no menus; the idea is to keep it simple. Each object makes a different sound. You can navigate the 3D world with your keyboard. You can identify position and type of objects either with sound or with a verbal description.

You have to identify objects in space. Examples: how many enemies are in the scene? Is the car close or far away from the enemy?

You only need a computer that can handle basic 3D, keyboard and headphones. In principle it will work in Windows / Linux / Mac, 32 / 64 bit.

I have to finish the thesis before next week so I will be creating the demo during these days. I will give you a link to download it. If anyone is interested to try it please let me know.

Best regards,
Alvaro Caceres

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17

Hi.
I'm not a coder myself. I have tried for many years but always given up. So I hope your project can help me to learn making something useful. smile
I'm interested to try the demo. Sounds interesting that it's in 3D.
Keep up the good job. I can't wait to see what comes out of this.

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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18 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-07-11 16:38:04)

Hi everyone,

Sorry for not talking much during the last weeks. There's been a lot of work to do to finish my thesis. So here there are some news about the project.

Firstly, the bachelor thesis has been published, I have had the thesis defense, and results have been very satisfactory. This makes me think that my hypotheses are correct and that whatever I have proposed could be useful, so I encourage anyone here to have a look at my work and reuse it as you wish.

Secondly, I wanted to briefly describe what have I done for my bachelor thesis. The point of this project is to make professional game development software accessible for visually impaired users. In short:
1. I have seen what has been done before about this
2. I have asked users about their needs and preferences
3. I have designed a user interface for an accessible game engine
4. I have tested it with accessibility guidelines (WCAG), obtaining good results

This is another important point to metion that is related to the previous paragraph. I have proposed a design, because I wanted to focus on user experience. Implementation details have been provided as well as a small prototype. I have tried to leave everything prepared so that anyone can read my thesis and come up with ideas about how to code the user interface. This would mean looking at Godot Engines's source code, and to tweak it to incorporate the changes I have proposed. Here I want to say that I am not a super-expert-hacker-level computer scientist, partly because I have been focused on research, partly because I have been studying another career (classical music) at the same time as computer science, and I have had little time for each of the two studies. What I mean is that I will do my best to try to code the design I have proposed, but I know there are people out there with much more experience than me. This includes people here at the forum, so you are more than welcome to help with this project if you like the whole concept and have interest about it. Guys at Godot Engine development team have said they are a little bit busy with other parts of the game engine by now, so they couldn't help me; they also warned me that this project will take some time to be integrated with Godot Engine. Some people have also proposed leaving Godot Engine behind and joining forces with Michelle K. Martin, who has created an accessibility plugin for Unity3D.

(CONTINUES IN THE NEXT MESSAGE DUE TO MAXIMUM MESSAGE LENGTH)

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19 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-07-11 16:40:02)

(CONTINUES HERE)

Contributing to this plugin could be a more logical movement, although as far as I know, Unity's semi-closed source code makes it difficult to create a "clean" and 100% intuitive option for users. Making Godot Engine accessible would mean more freedom to make code work with the rest of software, as it is open source. What do you think it is the best move in this aspect? Continuing with Unity accessibility plugin or sticking with Godot Engine?

I also wanted to thank all of you, both for your help and for your support and excitement about this project. As I said before, I am not the best software developer in the world (not even by far), but I promise to do my best to make this project come to reality, which includes leaving it open so that anyone can improve it.

Finally, you will have noticed that I have been encouraging you to have a look at the thesis, but that it has not been included here. I still have to talk to my bachelor thesis supervisor, to make sure that I am allowed to publish my thesis and the prototype online. Probably there won't be any problem, and both of the two could be published shortly. By the way, if you have any problem reading the PDF, please tell me and I will either provide the LaTeX file with which it has been generated, or I will rewrite this LaTeX file to have a purely plain text file that is easy to read (if you prefer other formats, just tell me).

Best regards,
Alvaro Caceres

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20 (edited by alvarocaceresmunoz 2017-07-11 18:12:23)

Hi everyone,

The bachelor thesis can be downloaded from this link:
https://mega.nz/#!lbJC2LCa!hL7WqZ0Cnm10 … qR4eZbf2WU

The prototype can be downloaded from this link:
https://mega.nz/#!cXo0nDgK!orfOzdYSP2wd … iBco5l6_WM

The prototype is pretty simple. Right now I don't need you to send my any answers about the prototype, because I would have to redefine it and make it more complete.

Best regards,
Alvaro Caceres

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