View Full Version : 10-year old boy made a game for his blind grandmother

04-14-2012, 05:36 PM
Called 'Quacky's Quest'


A Fifth-Grader made a Video Game for his blind grandmother using a free-version of GameMaker...

Dylan is a fifth-grader at Hidden Valley Elementary in Martinez, California. Using a free-starter version of GameMaker he managed to design a Video-Game for his blind grandmother. Called Quacky's Quest, this is a blind-friendly video game in which sounds play a fundamental role...

"[Dylan] wanted to figure out a way that he could share his love for video games with her," Dylan's father, Dino Viale, told me in a phone interview. "He thought, 'How can I create something she can enjoy?'"

So he downloaded GameMaker and started grinding through its tutorials. He read about basic design concepts, learning the ideas behind terms like objects and sprites. He figured out how to create a world that people could play in.

The visual layout seen in the screenshot below is the one he used before "turning out the lights and plunging it into darkness."


As Quacky, your goal would be to weave through a series of mazes and find a primitive MacGuffin called the Golden Egg. Dylan decided that maze-crawling would be the best way for a blind person to feel challenged without getting too overwhelmed by a fast pace or indecipherable mechanics. And he realized that without visuals, the sound design would have to be impeccable.

"Sound was the greatest tool for [Dylan's] grandmother to navigate through the game," Dino said. "He had to figure out how to associate each move through the maze with sound cues for whether you were doing something correctly or incorrectly."

The solution was to use collectible objects not unlike Pac-Man's pellets. Dylan sprinkled diamonds across each correct pathway, then set up a script so collecting each shiny jewel would play a "cha-ching" sound. If you made contact with a wall, you'd hear a deep, unpleasant noise.

To spice things up a bit, Dylan also added spiders. Go the wrong way down one passage, and you'd start hearing nasty spider noises as they crawled under your feet. Go too far and you'd set off dynamite. Boom.

Of course, he also faced some 'challenges' along the way. The game had a serious flaw. Once his grandmother tested out the game and collected the diamonds, she had no more point of reference and she got confused, but he soon found out how to solve it:

Baffled, Dylan took to the GameMaker message boards to ask for help. He browsed through FAQs and blogs and flipped through endless questions and answers until he finally figured out a solution. He would set up scripts to drop boulders behind Quacky as he progressed through each maze.

"If you tried to go backwards, it would make the negative sound of hitting a boulder or a wall," Dino said. "Once that happened, [Sherry] was really able to fly through the maze quite quickly."

After a month of development, Dylan finished his game...

He put it through rigorous playtesting using family and friends as subjects. And he entered it in the Hidden Valley Elementary School science fair.

It won first place.

Pretty story... Congratulations to this boy!

NEWS SOURCE: http://kotaku.com/5900846/meet-the-fifth+grader-who-made-a-video-game-for-his-blind-grandmother

Our thanks to 'Gauss' for this news story!