We’re creating a video game with no graphics, played entirely using audio. It is an audio adventure, set in a fully 3D world that you’ll never see.
It's called BlindSide, and it’s one of the first games to bring a brand new gaming experience to sighted players, that can also be fully enjoyed by visually impaired gamers. So far we’ve completed 10 minutes of gameplay to prove out the technology, and demonstrate that our core mechanic is fun. There have been a handful of audio-only games, but nothing like this before.
We hope to raise money on Kickstarter to complete the first 45 minute episode (which could end up providing even more gameplay, depending on your skill level) and need to pay professional actors, buy sound effects, buy software distribution licenses, support coding time, eat ramen etc. If we raise our target, we plan to launch the PC and Mac versions of the game at the end of January 2012. We’ve done the hard part, now we need to do the expensive part.
Why are we doing this?
Aaron was blind for a short period of time in high school following a serious chemistry accident. This provided much of the inspiration for BlindSide.
As long time gamers we were searching for a new gaming experience. Think of the most amazing gaming experiences you may have had:
- the first time you played a fighting game like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter
- the first time you played an FPS like Wolfenstein 3D
- the first time you played an online multiplayer game with your friends like CounterStrike or StarCraft
At the time, those were NEW experiences and they were amazing. We've had beautiful experiences from games like Limbo, Alice, Flower, and Braid, and we've had new adventures from games like LA Noir and Mass Effect, but we wanted to let players explore something new, and something from Aaron's past. To do that, we decided to take the "video" out of video games.
This is not a social game, this is not an MMO, this is not a game designed to make money. This is a game designed to be fun, to be hard, and to push the boundaries of what players expect video games to be. This is a game designed to challenge us the way Zork and Super Mario Brothers have. This is a game designed to reward those who persist and overcome it, the way you might have felt after completing The Dig or Half-Life. But most of all, this is a game designed to thrill its players in brand new ways.
Wait, is this game for blind people?
The answer is no - this is a game for everyone. The game will be fully accessible to the visually impaired, however, the primary objective of the game is to create a fun gaming experience for all gamers. When complete, the game will be able to be experienced identically by sighted and visually impaired players alike.
How has the progress on the game been so far?
It's been a blast! We are friends from college and now live on opposite sides of the country. We've coordinated mostly through Google Docs, DropBox, and email to get what we have accomplished. Aaron develops on Mac and Mike develops on PC, but we are using Unity 3D, so we both access the same project files and both can produce builds optimized for either system. Writing is done in Los Angeles and actors are recorded in New York.
How is the game played?
The game supports surround sound, but we know most people will just use stereo headphones. We've put a lot of effort into the stereo mode. On the PC and Mac you use the arrow keys to move forward, backward, and turn, as well as the spacebar to interact and the 'h' button for hints if you get lost or turned around. On mobile, accelerometers are used to control movement and the left side of the screen is tapped to interact, the right side is tapped for hints.
What is the game about?
Because of the significant role that discovery plays in the game, we don't want to give too much away, but here's what we can tell you: BlindSide is about a young couple, Case and Dawn, who wake up blind, and find that there are monsters outside in the darkness eating people. You control Case as he and Dawn try to escape danger, and uncover why they can no longer see, what's outside eating people, and what they are going to do about it.
You guys are crazy!
We know :-) But the game is going to be tons of fun, so click over there on the right and back us!
[Note from Aaron & Mike: In the original cut of the video, we erroneously stated that BlindSide was the first equivalent gaming experience for sighted gamers and visually impaired gamers. While it is the first adventure game of its kind, and likely a new gaming experience for both groups of gamers, there have been a number of other audio-only games. The video has been updated to reflect this more clearly.]
- (45 days)