There are racing games out there for the blind but Brian A. Smith feels that they are still not up to the mark and he created RAD, an audio-based interface that can be integrated into any racing game according to him.
“The RAD [racing auditory display] is the first system to make it possible for people who are blind to play a ‘real’ 3D racing game with full 3D graphics, realistic vehicle physics, complex racetracks, and a standard PlayStation 4 controller,” says Smith, a Computer Science PhD candidate at Columbia University.
“It’s not a dumbed-down version of a racing game tailored specifically to people who are blind.”
RAD has changed the racing games for the blind by cutting down the extra information that would overwhelm the players. However, it doesn’t destroy the game experience by simply giving them instructions to follow. What it does is that it incorporates just two auditory guidance systems.
The player hears these through a standard set of headphones. One of these is the sound slicer which is the tone that allows the player to judge the car’s speed and trajectory. The second one uses directional sounds to alert the player about upcoming turns on the track.
“The RAD’s sound slider and turn indicator system work together to help players know the car’s current speed; align the car with the track’s heading; learn the track’s layout; profile the direction, sharpness, timing, and length of upcoming turns; cut corners; choose an early or late apex; position the car for optimal turning paths; and know when to brake to complete a turn,” says Smith.
He got 15 volunteers to test the system which he applied to a racing game he created. The volunteers preferred his version of the game over other games made for blind people. Smith is developing the RAD further to introduce further elements into the game and to adapt the technology to other video games as well.
You can learn more in the video below: