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The Blind Eye

title:The Blind Eye
url:No link!
download page:link
genre:Adventure Games
developer:AM Production MultiMedia and AM3D,
features:sound, visuals
last edit by:Dark


The Blind Eye is a hybrid audio game, like The Curb Game and Terraformers. The game is the result of The Blind Eye Research Project, which main purpose was to reveal the specific visual, pedagogical and technical problems relating to the development of a 3D sound game for the blind. It was decided early on that the focus of the Blind Eye demo was to be on auditive navigation, but that the virtual world should also have a actual graphic expression, so when the development of the Blind Eye demo began in the summer of 2000, a substantial element of the work was to begin the graphic design of the virtual world in which the game was to take place.
The game is the first to use AM3D's interactive binaural sound engine, Diesel Power. The focus on auditive navigation has been controlled by a wish to stress upon binaural (3D sound) information rather than verbal information. Therefore, the challenge has been to create a realistic sound environmentand then, in volume, to reduce some sources of sound while enhancing others.
The developers hope that the project's results will aid in setting new norms and standards for the construction of auditive user interfaces that actively compensate for an absence of visual ability, thereby availing to the blind the opportunity to use computer technology for both information and entertainment purposes and we at AudioGames.net net believe they have succeeded very well in setting the first step!

The game's objective is quite simple: you move around in a city-like audio environment where you have to locate a number of musical instruments that have been placed in different locations. The instrument will start playing when you are in its vicinity. You will easily be able to hear where the sound is coming from and when you get to where the instrument is, you will automatically pick it up. Then, a voice will tell you how many instruments are left for you to find. When you have located all of the instruments, you have to find a garage where a hurdy-gurdy man is playing. All of the instruments will play for you and the game ends. You have a maximum of 60 minutes to complete the game and you must beware of colliding with cars and walls or you will lose energy. If you have not located all of the instruments within the time frame the game is over and you will have to restart.
You move by using the arrows on your keyboard and listening for the location of the stationary sound sources. Just like real life, the city you are moving about in will have different sounds coming from different places. There is a main street with heavy traffic and there are narrow alleyways. Music is streaming out of bars, caf�s and clubs. When you walk around you can hear your own footsteps. The city features a good variety in audio-terrain: sidewalk, flagstone, asphalt, steps, sand and trash. Listen to where you are and use the sound of your steps to orient yourself. If you hear your steps clearly you are near a wall and in turn, if you hear them faintly it is because you are walking in an open area farther from a wall. If you walk very close to a wall you'll hear an echo portraying this fact.
The developers have found a very creative (and briliant!) solution in navigating the walls and obstacles. First there is the echo of your footsteps of course. But if you happen to bump into a wall a voice will speak, telling you you should watch out (choosing out of a variety of humorous sentences). But while the voice speaks you can turn around and you'll hear the voice pan left or right, its location portraying the location of the wall! Although this method won't keep you from bumping into a wall (that's what the echoing footsteps is for), it will help you out of one effectively!
The 3D sound in the game is not yet effective enough to really navigate on alone (thus needing some verbal help) but still the game is an excellent example of good sound- and gamedesign and it clearly shows the potential of (hybrid) audio games.

The game is now abandoned and not available for download through the original website (which also has disappeared). A back-up copy of the game is available through the download-link above, however. All rights remain with the original developer.

The Blind Eye screenshot, showing is dark street  and the side of a garage.

The Blind Eye screenshot, showing a yellow vehicle driving down the dark street.

The Blind Eye project logo

Though the status of the actual project is unknown and the website has disappeared the game itself can be downloaded courtesy of The audio archive site.


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Updates: entry 2 Feb 22 and description 2 Feb 22

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