What happens when you mix a dozen young people and a common problem: creating games for the blind?
Figure 1: From the camera to the bottom: Yone, Tomás, Elena and Ángeles.
The first day of the AudioJam, October 13, Friday, was very interesting. I am grateful to have arrived early to INFECAR, at 4 o’ clock one hour before it began. This gave me time to relax, as well as to meet people I knew but saw in person for the first time as Jonay. I also met his brother Jeremy who encouraged me because he shared his aspiration to enter the Conservatory of Music. As for Jonay, I was interested to hear about his studies, which are two cycles of web development and multiplatform programming — which I haven’t said, but Jonay volunteered as a volunteer organizer, just like his brother to carry the computers and all that -.
Next, I would like to greet Laura, the vice-president of ACADEVI, and immediately afterwards the presentations began. First, Carlos Mendieta was the organizer of the SPEGC. Then came the interesting thing: Lucas and Daniela — an Italian Canarian couple — informed us about what they are and why audio games are a great commercial opportunity.
Figure 2: Lucas talking about audio games.
Then I got to meet the comrades — because three groups of friends participated in the event, and another one from strangers where I signed up. That’s how I met Elena, who studies the cycle of animation and games in Sebadal. I met Ángeles, a classmate in the computer science degree at ULPGC. Next we brainstormed on the board to choose which idea to implement. Elena proposed a puzzle with memory and Jeremy proposed a horror game, so we mixed the two together. We also have the feedback of Lucas, and another designer to refine the idea. To top it off, we had free pizza -one day is one day-. Fortunately, Elena did me and Ángeles a favor by taking us to the Guaguas station.
Figure 3: Friday’s Brainstorming, at left midway from left to right Elena (backside), Jeremy, Yone.
The next day, Saturday the 14th I woke up from six o’ clock in the morning to have breakfast and go to the station, thanks to my father who caught up with me. I arrived at the enclosure at eight o’ clock, an hour before the beginning, and I was entertained by reading a curiously read an article that reflected the decrease of computer women in Spain -what is curious is that the great computer scientists have been them, but look for Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace and you will see-. They soon opened at 8:30 and gave me time to talk with a teammate from another team called Victor about his studies. We then entered the computer room around 8:45 a. m. thanks to Jonay and Jeremy who opened the doors early.
We were surprised to be joined by a new member, Tomás — who would later become the lead programmer by being the most experienced C#/Unity programmer. As the other teammates arrived, I and Jeremy explained the idea of the game to Tomás and he seemed motivated. When Elena came, we split the chores. I remember that in principle we all started on our own: Elena modeling the 3D objects, Tomás with the enemy called armor and I with the enemy called ghost. I soon became obsessed and asked Tomás for help, because the ghost did wander round and round, but he didn’t follow the player.
However, with his help we soon managed to get him through. I also appreciate the continuous teaching of his work by our musician Jeremy. Of course it is interesting the laboriousness of Elena when creating 11 3d models in one day. I thank Angeles for their concentration and problem-solving ability (for example, Unity’s recognition of audio file format) and their courage in asking Lucas to see if he could help us with the imports. She also resolved to connect what Elena, Tomás and I did, becoming the programmer of the scene. I also remember that Tomástaught us how to use the animator to animate the rocking chair. I even appreciate Laura’s support in encouraging us to use Colab — a version manager similar to Git but used in Unity-. Besides using IQ’s PCs and headphones — which generously lent us-, I’m reluctant to carry my laptop around, right?
Who else but the least has no idea what controls to use in a game, but for the blind what? Thanks to Lucas who told us that they doesn’t use mouse, therefore Angeles made his script controller to move the Player with W and S backward and rotate with A and D (or arrows as well).
Figure 4: Dark Sounds Interface
I also remember that the team next door consulted us because they had the problem that when they went from one scene to another, the controls froze, that is, they didn’t work. Tomás and I tried to help them — at least, by listening to them and researching it— but in the end it was Lucas who fixed it. Then, I appreciate that one of its members shared the solution — which I no longer remember, but I still aprecciating him because of sharing it. I remember that lunch was catering style and I chose salad -I’d rather avoid filling myself up and the later nap time will slow down- Also the most interesting thing was that Tomás talked about his TFG which is to make a game with an Open Source engine, which was called something like GodusEngine -although I have to investigate what it’s really called.
Figure 5: The team next door.
Finally, I am grateful that Elena took me, Jonay and Jeremy to the station, which saves a lot of time — especially at 9 p. m., after so many hours you feel like going home straight away. I remember the driver dropped her radio and we didn’t realize it until she stopped at a traffic light and we saw it. I also realized that Ángeles left his USB drive on one of the computers and I did him the favor of saving it — without looking at the contents, of course.
Some things I wrote down that Tomás taught me about C# — I come from Java, so I have a lot to learn — are: The use of corrutins — how relieving they are, I made my enemy with if else and don’t see. Using the command passage between GameObjects and SendMessage — how semantic is that? — using Debug. Break to test if the player takes things and makes ghosts reappear. He taught me how to use the AssetStore and import to define the Player driver -although in the end we used the one created by Ángeles-.
I also taught him something: for example in the MonoDeveloper -as in WebStorm- if you type if and press tab twice you get done with his keys and everything. I showed him how to debug using Debug. DrawLine to draw it and make the character’s address visible.
Finally the big day, Sunday, October 15th. After waking up at six o’ clock and going to the station with my father, I arrived at INFECAR at 7:45. I was fortunate that Laura woke up early and I think I went into the computer room at 8:00. I helped her by picking up and putting on breakfast. Jonay and Jeremy soon arrived. We immediately held the morning meeting with Tomás and Elena.
I remember the first thing we did was to organize the furniture with its AudioSource and AudioClip as prefabs. I was struck by Elena’s strong self-discipline and motivation in proposing to herself what to do and consulting with us. I remember he modeled the armor, the ghost, books, bookshelves and so on. Besides, Jeremy delivered the sounds to the point. Ángeles arrived at 11:00 a. m., caught up, I gave him back the USB and he cooperated by making the menu with Elena. I also thank Jeremy for letting me hear the sounds of the tutorial and give him an opinion — because I had free time. We also learned that if you connect headphones while the Unity is open, you don’t hear it, you have to restart it. I remember lunch was comforting, Russian salad and croquettes. I sat with another group, but I was relieved that their musician gave me a talk.
Figure 6: Appearance of the daytime game (version 1.0 on the download page), left backsides armor, front ghost.
Just after that, we only had a couple of hours left to finish, as the blind were going to test them at 5 o’ clock. Then Tomás, Ángeles and I sat down to implement the sounds when you hit the furniture. Lucas also gave us his opinion and reiterated that the important thing was the sound of the Player’s own steps -we hadn’t programmed it- and the 3d sound to know if the enemy is coming from the left or right -none of us had worked with 3d sounds before. Thanks to Ángeles we achieved the 3d sound, it turns out that we had to change 1 parameter in each sound, IN EVERY SOUND. Then we made pair programming me and Tomás to put sound to the steps of the Player.
At that time we had to ask Jonay for help because we were not sure what alternative, to implement the steps, between two choices; moreover, time was running out on us. We also learned how to use Gamejolt thanks to Lucas, -it’s a platform for uploading independent games like Itch. io, used in jams-. I remember that it motivated me to do something different, to help Angeles translate the game description into English — luckily Lucas, who seems to have a high level of English, corrected it for us afterwards.
By the time the blind arrived, we had finished in a hurry but satisfied with everything. Between Jeremy and me and Angeles, we introduced the games to the blind. In general they commented that more auditory reference points were needed for them to guide themselves and more or better way of knowing where the pick ups were — currently we have a box collider trigger from the front of the player a couple of meters ahead, maybe it would have been better to cover the entire length of the room, then when the pick up is in range you hear’ tiling’ a harp sound.
Figure 7: Appearance of the night game (version 0.1.0 on the page)
However, I keep the first and last testers who enjoyed it and took 2 of the 3 pick ups/words. Finally, to present the game was a joy to the press. I’m also glad that one of the four games was offered a chance to talk to one of the few audio game publishers. They sincerely deserved it — the game was a local multiplayer 1vs1 where the mechanics is a narrator who says several words <<game, fuet, egg>> and consists of pressing when he says <<fire>> to shoot the opponent in a kind of western duel.
Here’s what we do: You’re alone in a room, aren’t you? Your mission is to take three words to complete your soul. There are two types of enemies the ghost and the armor. When you pick up the three words you can escape through the door but EYE!, you still have to solve the final puzzle.
Press control to choose from the menu (you have to wait a few seconds until the narrator has finished speaking and the game is played)…
Left/right arrow to scroll through the menu.
AWSD and direction arrows to move, good luck.
Our Dark Sounds game:
And you are here: in a room without exits around you, apparently without anyone inside. You Flashlight is the only…
The four resulting games: