Game project with visually impaired accessibility at the core awarded funding by UK Games Fund
07 February 2023
Game developer and MA Indie Game Development (Online) student Elliott Dodsworth is developing an accessible AR action-adventure game, entitled Fortune is Blind, inspired by his dad’s experiences with visual impairment.
With many video games being entirely reliant on visual elements, Elliott found he was unable to involve his dad in any of his previous creative work as a game developer; and this motivated him to explore the possibilities of designing with visually impaired accessibility at the forefront.
Fortune is Blind uses haptic feedback and 3D audio to replace traditional visual mechanics, and includes phone vibrations, gyroscopes and techniques like surround sound to represent where the player is in the virtual world. The innovative gameplay utilises both haptic and auditory feedback to convey aiming and shooting, branching choices and driving.
Built from the ground up to suit visually impaired players, every part of the game has been developed and tested extensively with their enjoyment in mind. Each playthrough could offer something different as the blind protagonist navigates the branching story towards alternate endings.
My dad lost his sight before I got into game development but has always been supportive of me, so I am really looking forward to him finally getting a chance to try out something I have created.
Fortune is Blind has recently impressed the UK Games Fund (UKGF) panel, making it through the highly competitive selection process to be named a Round 9 funded project. UKGF is a non-profit organisation supporting companies and individuals operating in the UK’s early-stage games, interactive and creative industries. Since launching in 2015 UKGF have run 9 rounds of funding of up to £25,000 and have to date received close to 1,500 applications from across the UK.
In addition to the financial support, being selected means joining the ranks of the UK’s most exciting indie game development community, which now comprises a portfolio of around 220 funded projects.
Elliott is developing Fortune is Blind with his company Scriptoria Illuminate, a team united by a shared goal of creating accessible and innovative video games. The UKGF funding will help the team to enlist more experts to work on the game; they are currently recruiting voice actors to voice the characters in the game.
On his experience developing Fortune is Blind, Elliott told us: “My dad lost his sight before I got into game development but has always been supportive of me, so I am really looking forward to him finally getting a chance to try out something I have created.
“Accessible gaming requires a lot of forethought and plenty of testing, as we must consider every mechanic and how a user may interact with it. Now, with the help of the UK Games Fund, I'll be able to attain a much higher quality than I would have been able to on my own, and hopefully be able to bring accessible gaming to a much larger audience. The tutors at Falmouth are also to thank, as with their guidance I am now more prepared than ever to produce my accessible games.”