An Accessible Virtual World for the Totally Blind? Could It Really Happen?

Virtual worlds have been around for many years and have become a staple in the gaming community. Some of the more popular titles of virtual worlds include Second life, World of Warcraft and Planet Calypso just to name a few. These virtual environments, however are not accessible for the blind at all because they lack the proper kinds of extra audio information needed for someone to navigate the world and interact with it.

For example, in Second life, if a resident wants to build themselves a virtual home on a piece of land and they cannot see the screen, the implementers could include audio voice prompts that would allow the resident to choose the kinds of flooring to go in their home for example, or whether they wished to include a porch or a deck on their home to entertain guests. If they wanted to purchase some items to go into their new home, this same voice prompt could give them a browsable list of items that the shop has for sale, and then the person could press enter on their chosen item and thereby make the purchase, placing the item in their inventory.

Looking at Planet Calypso as another example, if the player wished to make their way to the door of a building, or a door within a building, the builders of the game could create tones or other types of sounds to indicate dors nearby along with a voice prompt saying "door," whenever a key was pressed on the user's keyboard. Another example for Planet Calypso could be a feature where the player could board a space ship, ad once an empty seat has been located by using voice prompts on either side of the player's speakers informing them of seats on their left or right-hand-side, the person could then step to that seat and choose to sit down from within a list of options and then buckle his or her safety belt by pressing the operate button on the seat which could automatically be done after the person has seated themselves properly.

We as blind people cannot only play video and computer games, but we can also play virtual worlds if given the right kind of technology and equipment in the virtual world, and yes, contrary to some people's popular belief, blind have just as much capacity to learn to play video and computer games as the sighted community does, we are not stupid nor do we need to be put in special education classes. I sincerely hope that this article has served to open your mind as to what these virtual worlds could be like for the blind, and I hope you realize that we can play them right along with you if we are given the right chance and opportunity. There do not have to be any barriers as far as the sighted and blind communities are concerned, we can all play and interact together on the same level as the rest of you.

Article Source: Daniel L Perry

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