Game news Accessibility: What Is Lost In Blindness?
By putting the player in the shoes of a blind archaeologist, Lost in Blindness is a primarily sensory experience relying solely on sound with no visual element displayed on the screen. On the occasion of the game’s release on Steam and itch.io, we spoke extensively with its developers to discuss their intentions in this project, which should be as accessible as possible.
A logo with a broken eye, waves that form with every sound and that’s it. These are the only visual elements that are visible during a chapter of Lost in Blindness, a project developed by three young French developers, recently graduated from the Paris game design school ICAN. While initially it was only about the end-of-study project, which was accompanied by enthusiasm for the game, especially from the visually impaired community, the title became the first professional project of the young studio Unseen Interactive.
But back to the core of the title. What is lost in blindness? Presented as a “blind adventure game”, it is an experience based on the spatiality of sound and does not rely on any visual element or aid.
“”It is a game that is suitable for the visually impaired but is not made exclusively for that as our goal is to make it 100% accessible for everyone“Explain your intentions to the developers. To this end, the game is based entirely on binaural sound, a technique that allows you to recreate a 3D universe around the player so that he can find his way around the environment thanks to sound. In order to enjoy the experience to the fullest, it is of course more than recommended to play it with a headset. In an adventure of this kind, the dubbing available in English and French obviously plays a more than central role in the experience and in the narrative. Note, however, that the sighted player can view a summary at the end of a chapter to see how they moved during the level.
At this level the obvious question is how to play the title with the joystick (or keyboard / mouse) in hand. As with most games, we move forward with the left stick or keyboard keys and move the camera with the right stick, mouse, or other keyboard keys to suit all audiences. To find your way around this invisible environment, you have two tools: The first is a sound beacon that continuously emits noise and increases in frequency the closer you get to it. As for the second, it is an echo that emits a sound when it hits a wall, which allows the player to estimate the distance separating them from an obstacle. “”We wanted to reproduce the echo localization that certain animals such as dolphins and bats are capable of.
If this is the gameplay during the exploration phases that are a big part of the game, Lost in Blindness encompasses other approaches depending on the situations in the 19 chapters that make up it. Therefore, the title contains several sequences of action in which you have to stay focused and avoid enemy attacks. Stages of infiltration are also at the meeting point to escape a creature from Mayan mythology. Finally, some puzzles will ask you to move on musical tiles in order to solve them. With this diversity, the developers make no secret of their desire to create a real adventure game with choices that lead to two different endings.
However, despite what we’ve just said, there is a special mode that allows visual elements to appear on the screen: streamer mode. To play the game, videographers must blindfold while their viewers see the real-time visual representation of the game in simple black and white graphics on the screen.. Many have already rubbed their shoulders, starting with the streamer Maghla Who had tried the demo live over a year and a half ago. A very useful mode to talk about a title that is not necessarily easy to present due to the lack of visual elements.
If you’re interested in the project, you know that Lost in Blindness is available on PC, Mac and Linux through Steam or itch.io and that a mobile version is also planned for the next month.
By TheXsable, Journalist igamesnews.com