[games_access] developing system for hearing impaired

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Tue Sep 1 07:18:04 EDT 2009

Hi Karen,

Nice to see you on this list as well and that you too are exploring
alternatives to sound in games. I guess you are already aware of the article
I wrote about this subject, but just in case you aren't, here's the link:


I have only watched the movies on your site and have not yet played the
example game but will do so when I have time. I'm wondering: what is your
solution for sounds / sound sources that cannot be represented by iconic
signs, especially when there are more sounds playing that are important for
gameplay? For instance, introduce a new (non-)iconic sign language, or use
an existing sign language, such as text/textual descriptions (see my sound
balloons* example in the article)? Or something else?

In your Island-example the gameplay focuses on finding the crystals. Why did
you choose to use the tick-sign, and not merely an iconic representation of
the game objective - the crystal? To me it seems like a weird design
decision. Also, the design is comprimised of three signs: a triangle
indicating "direction", a tick-icon indicating "crystal/good/gameobjective"
** and colour indicating "good". Why did you choose to make a combination of
these three, while you could easily convey the same information with a much
simpler design such as a (color-blind accessible) colored arrow (like the
TomTom WoW-addon:
http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info7032-TomTom.html ) ?

And have you considered animating your signs?

If you are interested a European partner, email me.

Best regards,


* one benefit of adding diegetic properties to the design of the sign (in
the case of sound balloons, tying it to a location in the gameworld) is that
the focus of the player is stimulated to remain in the diegetic part of the
gameworld, and does not focus the player to switch his/her focus between the
diegetic part of the gameworld and the non-diegetic part of the gameworld

** ? if you are unaware of the game context/objective (finding crystals)
this sign is very unclear.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Collins" <collinsk at uwaterloo.ca>
To: <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 11:11 PM
Subject: [games_access] developing system for hearing impaired

> Hello Everyone

> I've been developing a system especially for hearing-impaired gamers

> called SoundSign. It involves an icon system that illustrates what sound

> effects are occuring where/when, giving an icon and proximity and

> directional information. I'm hoping that if people like it we can get it

> into some mainstream games.


> For now, we've developed a game you can download and play to see how the

> technology works. The game is called Robot Island: collect gems and avoid

> robots. The gems and robots use sound to indicate where they are--for

> those without hearing abilities or who just want to turn the sound off,

> the SoundSign icon system substitutes the information in a visual form.


> Get it here: www.gamessound.com/ss.htm


> I'd love to have your feedback and feel free to share the link. If you

> like it, tell your favourite game developer you want to see something like

> this in their games!

> Karen


> --


> Karen Collins, PhD

> Canada Research Chair

> Canadian Centre of Arts and Technology

> University of Waterloo

> 200 University Ave W

> Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

> 519 888-4567 x 38326



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