Using Serious Games To Create Awareness On Visual Impairments-Books Pdf

Using Serious Games to Create Awareness on Visual Impairments

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Nightjar 11 is a role playing mobile game where players o Lighting illuminates the virtual environment and adds
use only their hearing to help navigate within a spacecraft depth to the 3D objects
called Nightjar Players respond to the game by tapping on
the screen and control the avatar s movement using very a o User Interface UI provides the Graphical User
simple UI The game simulates the effects of blindness and Interface GUI components to ease the process of
does not promote itself as a serious game However it does creating menus and present static information to the
deliver subliminal messages that are found in edutainment and user UI s are essential as they provide real time data
highlight the success non visual applications can have in the such as a health percentage in a visualised format for
current market the user
The Impairment Simulator Software 12 developed by the o Input maps the appropriate user s action via human
University of Cambridge is a web based tool accessible by the interface devices such as keyboard and mouse to in
general public to gain a better understanding of different vision game actions to control the avatar s actions within the
and hearing impairments Human Computer Interaction HCI virtual world
students and practitioners who need to understand the effects o Scripting enables the developer to utilise the game
of the impairments use it The software features a vision engine functionality and programme the flow and
simulator which mimics visual impairment conditions such as interaction of the visual impairment simulator without
macular degeneration diabetic retinopathy glaucoma and the need to change the game engine implementation
retinitis pigmentosa Users set the severity of the condition and
see the effect on a still image from a first person perspective o Level Editor provides a visual environment that allows
This tool is not aimed at promoting awareness for visual developers to construct the virtual world and to alter
impairment but nevertheless can be used as an educational the game related parameters with ease
tool Game engines only provide the technological solutions that
The reviewed computer games are unique as they require enable game software to operate Game software also requires
users to rely on their hearing to navigate Though these games content such as graphics models sounds and animation data to
do not promote awareness about the challenges of visual provide them with the necessary visual and auditory
impairment they do feature messages on the importance of representations Game content can be produced using
vision There is no simulation available that could be used to digital content creation tools these tools specialise in different
re create the effects of partial sightedness and there is no areas including 2D image manipulation Photoshop 3D mesh
simulator which focuses on raising awareness for the blind By generation 3ds Max animation Motion Builder and
taking advantage of games technology the effects of partial Audio development Audacity Alternatively free or paid
sightedness and blindness can be simulated within a virtual content could be sourced from the web marketplace such as
environment and the serious game application could be TurboSquid or be developed via Autodesk Character
used as a tool to generate awareness and educate the general Generator
SOURCING The reviewed computer games and applications provide
Computer games initially were programmed as a singular insight on game applications that simulate the effects of visual
entity in native programming languages 13 an approach impairments To simulate the effects of blindness the use of
replaced with game engines A game engine is a software 3D audio is vital as it provides the direction of sound For
library with components that perform game specific tasks such simulating visual impairment 2D overlays and filters are used
as rendering graphics 2D or 3D computing motion collision to disrupt a 3D virtual environment Partial sightedness causes
detection simulating intelligence handling user s input and limited field of view and difficulty in perceiving depth and 3
managing game data 14 dimensional space accurately In this section the design and
implementation of the simulators for partial sightedness and
For simulating partial sightedness and blindness in a 3D virtual blindness using modern game technology are discussed
environment the following game engine components are
pivotal to the development of the simulators A Requirements
1 Requirements for Partial Sightedness Simulator
o Renderer performs all the computations that generate
A challenging real world scenario for partially sighted
both 2D and 3D imagery that composes the virtual
sufferers can be observed when the individual descends a glass
environment and visual effects for the virtual world in
staircase similar to those installed in hotels or Apple stores It
the simulator
presents a great challenge to these individuals to process
o Game Physics facilitates the computation of motion cropped real time visual information obtained from a single
collision detection and collision response to mimic the eye resulting in refracted images due to varying depth
physics in the physical world which adds realism and between the glass and air which can lead to falls This would
simulates the effect of inability to accurately judge be the ideal scenario for the partial sightedness PS simulator
distance when interacting with virtual objects within
The PS simulator s goal is to model a multi storey glass
the virtual world
staircase highlighting the effect of a cropped field of view
o Audio provides the facility to playback sound effects with the inability to accurately judge distance between objects
to accentuate the experience of false spatial judgement within sight This simulator aims to target 18 50 year old
when interacting with virtual objects in the simulator audiences with the assumption most users within this age
Modern game engines support the use of three group live an active lifestyle and have most interaction with the
dimensional sound via a set of X Y and Z public It would be appropriate to use the PS simulator as a
coordinates this creates a realistic representation of medium to educate the user group about the effects of partial
real world sound visual impairment
The PS simulator must be easy to use and provide a first Once the design of the visual impairment simulator had
person perspective Clear instructions will be set out and the been finalized production and sourcing of art assets for the PS
controls introduced should be familiar to the user reducing the simulator took place Developed assets were created using low
learning curve and thus lowering the barrier when using the polygon techniques whilst resembling the identity of the object
simulator It is important that the PS simulator offers two in real life minimizing lag time in runtime
modes 1 normal mode and 2 impaired mode The normal
mode should allow the user to calibrate their senses to the High quality assets were then imported replacing the low
virtual environment and the impaired mode should then fidelity 3D models into the prototype All 2D graphics were
virtually alter their perception allowing them to experience the replaced with themed graphics to provide a unified look and
effects of partial sightedness feel for the simulators Texture maps were used to enhance the
virtual 3D environment These maps include normal maps
The PS simulator will be using the conventional first person which provide the illusion of bumpy surfaces specular maps
PC game controls WASD or arrow to move and spacebar to for adding a shine effect to objects and gloss maps which add a
increase the speed of movement and the mouse to navigate the smooth lighting effect to objects such as glass or marble In the
player in the virtual environment The virtual camera will be PS simulator lights were tuned to provide the view of a poorly
placed at the eye level of the player s character The player lighten environment Collision effects menus and additional
must be able to experience the jittery motion and the visual player attributes were scripted within the simulators The FB
sense of losing balance when descending on the staircase simulator also includes simple path animations scripted for the
Audio will be used to maximise the user s experience car movement The final version of the prototypes will be
immersing the user into the 3D virtual setup The virtual tested for bugs before use in the planned experiment for
camera will be shaken to simulate the effect of loss of evaluation See Section V
balance The glass staircase should also be populated with
static 3D objects that act as obstacles presenting some form of C Choice of technologies
challenge In addition some areas will be poorly lighten The development of the simulators can be categorised into
adding complication to the already cropped field of view two stages 1 production of assets for the 3D virtual world
and 2 implementing the simulators using a game engine Both
2 Requirements for Full blindess Simulator stages require different types of tools and technology that
The full blindness FB simulator will place users in a road support the activities stated
crossing scenario which in the impaired mode requires the
user to rely solely on auditory cues to get from point A to point In this project most of the custom 3D assets for the virtual
B Projecting an individual who suffers from blindness does not world are produced using Autodesk 3DS Max 3DS Max can
require such specific conditions as the partial sightedness export files in multiple formats one of which is FBX FBX file
requirements due to the blind encountering problems more formats are compatible with UDK and Unity as valid meshes
often with simple daily tasks A simulator which renders the Complex models such as 3D characters that are time
user s monitor black and the objective of getting through a consuming to model are sourced from the web based
street will suffice as the setting for the FB simulator marketplace Due to constraints short development time frame
and zero budget on this project only royalty free and no fee
Within the FB simulator there will be signposts which 3D assets are used Adobe Photoshop produced the 2D static
prompt on screen messages to alert users of their presence graphics such as user interfaces and textures due its image
Upon finishing the simulator a final on screen message will editing efficiency The textures were created by painting UV
appear providing two options whereby users can replay in maps which were produced in 3DS Max Real world images
normal mode or quit During normal mode users will have the can be placed onto any UV map creating a realistic effect
ability to see within the 3D virtual environment This aids users Different types of maps can also be created such as reflection
to evaluate the differences between normal sighted mode and refraction normal or specular
blindness mode
For the PS simulator the Unity Game Engine is chosen as it
The FB simulator will include moving vehicles on the roads allows computer games to be published to multiple platforms
with collision detection which on contact will cause the such as Windows PC Mac Android iOS and the web where
character to fail the simulation prompting a message informing audiences can run interactive real time 3D within the web
that they must restart the simulator The vehicles are added to browser using the Unity Web Player plugin The tool is
create a level of difficulty and realism better replicating the available for free to use for non commercial PC and web
difficulties imposed on individuals with blindness in day to deployment
day life Conventional first person controls applied to a
keyboard and mouse will also be utilised for this simulator The FB simulator was developed using the Unreal
increasing familiarity for the participant Development Kit UDK with the default first person view
setup The player controls the movement using the arrow or
B Methodology WASD keys and the mouse is used to control virtual
The PS and FB simulators were developed in three stages character s point of view and direction of motion UDK s
design asset production and prototyping This project adopted Matinee an animation tool within UDK was used to
the rapid application development RAD methodology 15 manipulate the animation paths of objects and UDK s Kismet
allowing for the addition of features or functionality to the visual scripting facility was used to script events and game
simulators This methodology places less emphasis on activity play The menu interface for the FB simulator was developed
planning and more emphasis on developmental activities The using Adobe Flash and integrated using Scaleform to output
scope and requirements of the simulators were incrementally Flash content in the UDK environment Both utilised game
outlined throughout the project alongside development The engines boast a large online support community including
design and software underwent a number of iterative revisions email support and online forums in search for advice
before the final versions were acknowledged and produced
defining the flow and feel of the applications
D Implementation of Visual Impairment simulators structure of an object This ability is lost when an individual
Both the PS and FB simulator are designed to operate at can only see through one eye which results in monocular
two modes The normal mode provides the correct view of the vision In the 3D virtual world the computer screen projects
virtual world see Figure 1 and Figure 2 monocular vision In order to exaggerate the inability to
perceive accurate distances between objects the rhythm of
1 Features implemented for PS Simulator descending the stairs is broken A rhythm is introduced
In order to simulate the effects of partial sightedness whereby the user experience the same pattern of motion when
imperfections such as limiting the field of view altering descending the stairs reinforced with the playback of
perception of depth and simulating fatigue were programmed footstep sound effects An additional collision box that is
into the PS simulator raised from the surface of the glass staircase to extend the
depth of a step and not made visible to the user is placed on
each segment of the stairs see Figure 4 This is done to break
the rhythm and create an artificial sense of losing balance as a
result of falsely judging distance between steps This effect of
losing balance is also reinforced with the playback of a losing
balance sound effect human shock where each of the sound
boxes are scripted to playback a sound file
The default motion of descending the staircase is at
approximately the average walk speed One of the programmed
Figure 1 Screenshot of the PS simulator in normal mode Source features allows users to increase the speed of descending the
Author s own collection staircase In a real world scenario a partially sighted person
may find the increase of speed overwhelming as the brain
needs to process the limited visual information quickly and
calibrate with the motor system Often one may experience
fatigue when doing so In order to simulate the fatigue effect a
scripted camera shake function was implemented to provide a
jittery motion to the display
Figure 2 Simulator in progress playing in normal mode Source
Author s own collection
The horizontal field of view for normal sighted individuals Figure 4 Setup of additional collision boxes and sound effects in the
is approximately 180 190o with 120o of overlapping area and impaired mode Source Author s own collection
30o to 35o of monocular vision on each side of the eye 16 The
loss of sight from one eye would reduce the field of view by
2 Features implemented for FB Simulator
approximately 22 26 To simulate the effect of the sight
The blindness mode in the FB simulator projects a black
loss in the PS simulator an opaque black filter was
screen to simulate the loss of vision There are two notifications
programmed on the left side of the user s display to reduce
on the top of the display one notifying what the user needs to
approximately 25 of the visual in the simulator See Figure
press to access the options menu and the other informing the
user that the simulator is running When interacting with the FB
simulator the user will be prompted with messages which
overlay the black display to inform them of the current
situation for ease of use For example if the user walks beside a
signpost a message is prompted instructing the user Press E
to use the signpost see Figure 5
Figure 3 Screenshot of the PS simulator in impaired mode Source
Author s own collection
The slight gradient on the opaque filter applied is to mimic
the bokeh effect depth of field effect experienced when the Figure 5 Simulator in progress playing in blind mode Source Author s own
left eye s vision is not present The textures are created in collection
Photoshop and used as a GUI Texture in Unity which appears Since the primary goal of the FB simulator is to raise
as an overlay in the impaired mode The GUI texture is then awareness for those who suffer from full visual impairments
positioned to the left of the screen to simulate the loss of sight developing realistic visuals is deemed redundant More
in the left eye attention is placed on the use of sound Cars within the
simulator have no unique form and appear as a generic car
A normal sighted individual possesses stereopsis vision
chassis see Figure 2 Within the FB simulator there are 3D
which enables one to perceive depth and the 3 dimensional
sounds placed both on static and dynamic objects around the A total of 20 participants took part in the PS simulator
3D virtual world These sounds will be the only form of input experiment with a split of 35 7 female and 65 13 male
from the virtual world that users can rely on to achieve the However only 19 participants completed the post simulation
objective in the FB simulator Cars which patrol the simulator survey Out of the 20 participants 85 17 were aged 18 to 25
have different sounds attached to each one enabling the user to and the remaining 15 3 were matured participants 26 to
identify multiple vehicles nearby If the user collides with a car 50 Amongst the participants 25 5 of the participants
the simulation ends and user will be prompted to restart the suffer some form of visual impairment and only 1 out of the 5
simulation again experienced some form of discrimination When asked about
the degree of awareness and the effects of visual impairment
At the start of the simulation users will be prompted with a has on an individual 20 4 responded that they are very
message displaying the simulator s purpose and goal to reach aware of it 35 7 are aware while the remaining 45 9
the subway The subway is a visible building in the normal have little awareness on how the condition would affect one
mode and has a train sound effect which is placed by the
station and is the crucial auditory cue for participants in the The data from the PS simulator experiment suggested that
blindness mode As the FB simulator has a larger map than the the awareness of the effects of visual impairment is affected by
PS simulator the character s walking speed is faster The one s age and visual ability with participants with no visual
options menu allows users to view the controls restart and exit impairment indicating minimal awareness for the conditions
the simulator concluding younger persons and those who are not affected by
such impairments are more likely to have little awareness
V EVALUATION OF VISUAL SIMULATORS compared to the contrary
Experiments were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness
of the simulators as a tool to promote awareness about the All participants from the PS simulator experiment rated
outlined visual impairments Participant feedback was gathered themselves good to excellent in terms of competency with
using questionnaires observation and interviews Through the computing and therefore should have little issue when using the
utilisation of multiple data gathering methods cross validation simulator However 21 05 4 of the 19 participants from the
of data can be performed therefore improving the integrity of PS simulator experiment responded that they find it difficult
findings for this study navigating within the virtual 3D environment It was then
discovered that these participants did not play PC games and
A Experiments Setup felt unfamiliar with the control setup used The usability of the
The experiments were carried out in a computer lab with a Four simulators was unaffected this is evident when most
PC setup to be used by participants during the experiment The participants 18 responded in the post simulation questionnaire
first PC with headphones was used to run the PS simulator that the simulator was either easy 52 63 10 or very
with the second used to gather pre and post simulation easy 42 11 8 to use
questionnaires using an online questionnaire tool During the PS simulation participants were asked to
surveymonkey com A third PC was used to record findings navigate in both the normal mode and impaired mode All
from interview and observation during the experiment The participants 19 felt it was either easy 52 63 10 or very
fourth PC of the experiment ran the FB simulator easy 47 37 9 to navigate the avatar down the glass
Participants of the experiments were Liverpool John staircase In the impaired mode the results shifted towards the
Moores University LJMU students who expressed interest easy 63 16 12 and moderate 31 58 6 range Only 1
through a call for participation email or approached randomly of the participants 5 26 found it very easy to complete
on the day of the experiment Each of the participants were the task in the impaired mode One of the notable behaviours
given a short brief about the experiment and the process they observed during the simulation is participant s tendency to lean
will undergo The participants were first required to complete towards the wall side when navigating avatar down the glass
the pre simulation questionnaire consisting of six questions to staircase during the impaired mode that simulate loss of the left
gather demographic information They were then given brief eye s vision One of the participants stated in the interview that
instructions for the use of the simulator Participants begin the he was unaware of such behaviour and only upon reflection
simulation with the normal mode and move on towards the that he realized it was a subconscious decision This is a natural
impaired mode whenever ready The simulation session lasted form of behaviour for the visually impaired to make use of
approximately 5 to 10 minutes depending on the participant s static objects in the surroundings as aid to navigate around The
ability to navigate around the 3D virtual environment and if sound effect of surprise did also affect some of the
they choose to go through the simulation multiple times participants A participant mentioned in the interview that she
Participants were individually observed and notes regarding did felt slight uneasy as if it was an additional challenge that
their interaction and response were recorded Upon completion she has to overcome to stay focus and complete the task These
of the simulation participants were asked to complete the post indications suggest the PS simulator was able to simulate some
simulation questionnaire containing nine questions that record of the effects of partially sighted visual impairment
the participant s experience with the simulator Some of the The result from the PS experiment is encouraging Prior to
participants were interviewed informally on a one to one basis using the PS simulator 45 9 of the participants had little
gathering further details on their experience with the simulator awareness about the condition whereas 35 7 were aware
Each participant spent no longer than 15 minutes collectively of it and 25 5 were very aware because they have some
Both the PS and FB simulators follow the same experiment form of visual impairment After using the simulator 20 4
format of the participants have converted from having little
B Findings and Analysis awareness to aware of the effects of partial sighted visual
impairment Although the simulator is not able replicate the
Both the experiments were conducted once a week on the full effects of partial sightedness it has been a useful tool in
same day for the duration of two weeks with each session generating awareness All participants 19 were able to
lasting for approximately 2 hours identify the type of disability and the purpose of the simulation
1 PS Simulator Experiement outcomes and Analysis in the post questionnaire They also believe that it is important
to raise awareness about the effects that partial visual Furthering the research in this area a plan to extend the PS
impairment have on individuals simulator to run on the Oculus Rift and assess whether it would
provide amplification to the engineered effects of partially
2 FB Simulator Experiement outcomes and Analysis sightedness may benefit future prospects The FB simulator
In the FB simulator experiment 17 participants took part in could also be improved with the use of clearer and dynamic
the experiment 71 12 male and 29 5 female All 17 sound effects with greater variety to make the auditory in the
participants completed the post simulation survey 94 12 16 3D virtual environment more realistic
of the participants for the FB simulator experiment aged
between 17 to 26 years old and one aged between 27 to 36 Both serious games would also benefit by becoming a
years old When participants were asked if they understand the single application In addition other forms of visual
condition and difficulties of those who suffer with full impairment could also be added to the application to allow
blindness 41 18 7 strongly agree whereas 58 82 10 users to experience it Generating more awareness amongst the
replied they agree The responses received are expected as general public could help create communities that are inclusive
blindness is usually discussed in family and school settings and help sufferers of visual impairment live a better quality life
although the 58 82 10 that agreed shows further awareness It could also pave the way for the future of visual assisting
can be raised for blindness When participants were asked if technologies such as visual augmentations and other assistive
they would be inclined to helping a blind individual 11 76 devices These assistive devices could help rehabilitate those
2 responded with no whereas 88 24 15 chose yes who have recently suffered from a serious visual impairment
indicating empathy towards those who are blind and direct them towards leading a normal lifestyle with their
Likewise participants in the FB simulator were asked to
navigate in the 3D virtual world in both normal mode and REFERENCES
blindness mode in order to complete the given objective to 1 N R Galloway W M K Amoaku P H Galloway and A C
reach the subway station Upon completing the FB simulation Browning Common Eye Diseases and their Management Springer
no participant found the simulator easy however 23 53 4 Science Business Media 2006
of participants developed relative comfort with it 35 29 6 2 K Shotliff and G Duncan Diabetic retinopathy summary of grading
of participants did not adapt well to not using vision whereas and management criteria Pract Diabetes Int vol 23 no 9 pp 418
41 18 7 managed to comprehend little interaction 420 Nov 2006
Participants documented they found it easier to manoeuvre 3 T Kersey C I Clement P Bloom and M F Cordeiro New trends in
glaucoma risk diagnosis management Indian J Med Res vol 137
themselves whilst closing their own eyes to focus better on no 4 pp 659 68 Apr 2013
what they could hear This result is expected because all
4 M Kalloniatis and E L Fletcher Retinitis pigmentosa understanding
participants have good vision and have been relying on visual the clinical presentation mechanisms and treatment options Clin Exp
cues for navigation By removing the reliance on visual cues in Optom vol 87 no 2 pp 65 80 Mar 2004
the blindness mode participants had to rely solely on the 5 J C Javitt F Wang and S K West Blindness due to cataract
auditory cues and process the limited information about the epidemiology and prevention Annu Rev Public Health vol 17 no 1
environment This is proven challenging for most participants 1 pp 159 177 1996
and it evidenced that the FB simulator did present similar 6 S Resnikoff D Pascolini S P Mariotti and G P Pokharel Global
challenges for those who lost their vision in a controlled and magnitude of visual impairment caused by uncorrected refractive errors
in 2004 Bull World Health Organ vol 86 no 1 pp 63 70 2004
safe environment
7 N Buys and J Lopez Experience of Monocular Vision in Australia J
Results from the FB simulator also proved the Vis Impair Blind vol 98 no 9 pp 1 28 2004
effectiveness of the solution as 35 29 6 of participants felt 8 C Pearce Productive Play Game Culture From the Bottom Up
they were vastly more aware of those who suffer from Games Cult vol 1 no 1 pp 17 24 Jan 2006
blindness after using the simulator and 52 94 9 felt more 9 M Zyda From visual simulation to virtual reality to games Computer
Long Beach Calif vol 38 no 9 pp 25 32 Sep 2005
aware but lacked on audio queues causing a fragmented
experience One participant felt FB simulator was not very 10 BlindSide The Audio Adventure Game Online Available
http www blindsidegame com Accessed 07 Jul 2015
informative and did not feel they gained any further insight into
11 The Nightjar on the App Store on iTunes Online Available
the effects of blindness These results do highlight necessary https itunes apple com gb app the nightjar id431598741 mt 8
further works but underline the potential for this application of Accessed 07 Jul 2015
serious games as 41 18 7 of participants agreed and 12 Impairment simulator software Inclusive design tools Online
58 82 10 strongly agreed that the FB simulator did Available
successfully portray the challenges that a blind individual http www inclusivedesigntoolkit com betterdesign2 simsoftware simso
would face in the given scenario Participants were also asked ftware html Accessed 07 Jul 2015
if they became more aware when driving near a blind 13 L Bishop D Eberly T Whitted M Finch and M Shantz Designing
a PC game engine IEEE Comput Graph Appl vol 18 no 1 pp 46
individual 12 5 2 stated that they felt no different where the 53 1998
remaining stated a change in their driving behaviour as they felt
14 S Tang M Hanneghan and C Carter A Platform Independent Game
more alert These answers reinforce an understanding among Technology Model for Model Driven Serious Games Development
participants towards blindness Electron J e Learning vol 11 no 1 pp 61 79 Jan 2013
15 J Watkins Agile Testing How to Succeed in an Extreme Testing
VI CONCUSIONS AND FUTURE WORKS Environment Cambridge University Press 2009
In this paper game technology has been utilised for serious 16 C G Healey and A P Sawant On the limits of resolution and visual
games to raise the awareness for individuals that suffer from angle in visualization ACM Trans Appl Percept vol 9 no 4 pp 1
partial sightedness and blindness Scenarios that highlight the 21 Oct 2012
difficulties faced by sufferers of the two types of visual
impairment conditions were created to allow normal sighted
individuals to experience the effects of visual impairments in a
safe setting Although the findings indicate that the experience
was not fully immersive it provides beneficial tools to convey
the awareness messages to the audiences

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