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Hello and welcome to my blog!

Over the course of the next academic year I will be embarking on my final year project surrounding the accessibility of video games.

Please feel free to contact me through the forum if you have anything you would like to share with me; opinions on the project, advice or personal experiences.

This blog will follow the process of my work for myself and for anyone who is interested in the project.


Covid-19: A Road Block in Testing

Unfortunately, due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, testing of the accessible video game could not be carried out.

This decision, however sad, was not a difficult decision for me. It is important that the health and safety of participants is the priority.

In terms of the project, the paper will now take the form of a representative report. This means that representative (dummy) data will be created based around a positive hypothesis.

Analysis will still be carried out in the way it would with real-life data.

Ready for testing

With help from Matt Boslem at Immotion Games, the test game is now successfully working and ready for testing.

The video game that is used for the purpose of the testing is a simple map created in Unity terrain editor and then boxes have been implemented on top of this base map. Participants complete the game by collecting the boxes in a specific order. To encourage discussion, the boxes are not labelled, but flash red when corrected incorrectly and green when collected correctly. The game includes visual prompts to assist both hearing and D/deaf players as well as sound cues.

Screen shorts taken from the video game that will be used for testing. Grey boxes are yet to be collected, green boxes have been collected in the correct order and red boxes have been collected in the incorrect order.

The game connects via the host’s IP address through the wi-fi through an existing Unity plug-in called Mirror. Mirror is an old Unity framework that uses the computer’s IP address and decentralises it – this allowed for a multiplayer gaming experience.

Speech to Text Tool Solutions and Problems

Over the past few months I have been working on my speech to text tool. On my own, I had lots of coding and play-ability issues with my game and accessibility tool. With the help of Warren Hilton at The University of Salford, a solution has been found that will allow me to obtain testing data that will allow my dissertation to progress.

The main problem that occurred with my speech to text tool was not with giving my open source unity game the speech to text ability, but to allow cross-network communication so that the speech appeared on the other player’s screen. Cross network communication is a complex task to carry out which was outside of my abilities and outside of the abilities of people who have helped me throughout the project.

Microsoft Azure allowed me to create a simple unity application that recognised speech and outputted it as text; “Quickstart: Recognise speech from a microphone input“. Firstly, this was looked into – the possibility of using this in conjunction with my first person shooter open source unity game. This is when the issue occurred with multi-device conversation through the collaborative gaming network.

Recognise Speech to Text from Microphone Input – via Microsoft Azure

Due to the multi-device conversation issue being outside of my coding abilities, further research was carried out into alternative methods of testing my speech to text tool. Using Microsoft Azure, a translator tool has been found which allows speech to text communication running as a separate console; “Quickstart: Multi-device conversation“. The console can be run in “presentation mode” which allows constant speech to text, uninterrupted – this allows game-play and speech to text to run simultaneously. This method appeared to be the best solution to my problems to allow my research to keep moving and to allow for testing to commence in the very near future.

Speech to text via Microsoft Translator running alongside the First Person Shooter Video Game

Break in the Project…

After battling through other university assignments, this week, my project is back on the move.

Some problems surfaced with my laptop not being powerful enough to run the game smoothly, however, the simple test level ran perfectly. For the time being, I plan on working on the simple test level as I would rather the game run smoothly and efficiently than have a really professional looking game.

In preparation for the poster presentation in January, I plan on implementing my speech to text tool onto a simple unity game. This will allow me to present the testing to the people who are attending the poster presentation.

I will be tidying up my written dissertation and making sure the literature review, advisory group section and theory are well written and presentable before moving onto the creation of my in game accessibility tool.

Game Design Lecture

Thank you to Umran Ali, today I sat in the level 6 Games Design and Production lecture at Media City.

Umran introduced me to the class and I outlined my project to them – this has allowed me to connect with people who are great at unity and have experience when creating games.

Hopefully, one of the level 6 students will want to collaborate with me on my project.

Games Design and Production BSc (Hons) – University of Salford

Work is progressing on my dissertation project. Over the past few weeks, work has been carried out on my research paper, including, theory sections and literature reviews. My first draft of the literature review is finished.

On advise from my dissertation supervisor, I have contacted the Games Design and Production course leader at the University of Salford for their input into the project and hopefully some collaboration with fellow students.

Along with this, Naomi Sharples, who once worked for the D/deaf nursing course at Salford University, has been contacted via LinkedIn also.