16.1 First Tutorial

Yesterday was my first supervisory tutorial with Ewan Steel, during which the direction of the project was discussed, along with the challenges of designing an original game versus adapting an existing game or creating a parallel system through which a visually impaired player could play alongside sighted players who would be using the standard physical elements for a chosen game. We agreed that designing an original game in this short space of time for the course would be potentially risky, as focusing upon devising and refining mechanics would leave little time for working on the visual presentation of the physical elements and any companion app UI, but integrating a digital reflection of a physical game state into the experience of game play presents its own issues; how does information flow between the mirror game and the standard game? Would sighted users find it distracting? How does interacting with the system change the experience of gameplay – does it detract from the experience of playing the game or could it even enhance it? Is there a risk of replacing the physical game, destroying the atmosphere created by interacting with abstract rules through physical pieces? Aside from the last (which deserves a post of its own), these are questions which I will only be able to answer through exploration and prototyping of potential supportive systems, and answering these questions is more constructive to the goal of better integrating visually impaired players into the gaming community as a whole than creating a game specifically for people with visual impairments as that risks defining them in the minds of others as sight-impaired players rather than simply as players. Furthermore designing a game specifically for such players does little to increase the tiny number of games available to visually impaired people, and nothing at all to assist them in accessing the wide range of popular and award winning games which they have a strong desire to play, as evidenced by their experimentation with their own adaptation strategies.

Decision made.


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