FORZA MOTORSPORT INTRODUCES AUDIO CUES FOR BLIND AND LOW-VISION PLAYERS
Forza Motorsport, the popular racing game, is taking a step towards becoming more inclusive with the introduction of Blind Driving Assists (BDA). Developed in partnership with accessibility consultant and blind gamer Brandon Cole, BDA will allow blind and low-vision players to race around tracks using audio cues instead of visual aids.
HOW IT WORKS
The audio cues used in BDA include beeps and boops that signal different actions to the player. For instance, “left three” indicates a medium sharp left turn, while track limit sounds beep when the player is getting too close to the edge of the track. Additionally, haptic feedback on the controller helps players feel when the ground surface changes to grass.
BEHIND THE DEVELOPMENT
Turn 10 Studios, the team behind Forza, initially came up with the concept of BDA and presented it to a user research panel for feedback. Cole was brought on board to help fine-tune the system and make it a reality. The development process included experimenting with various audio cues and sounds that would not conflict with each other.
THE LEARNING CURVE
There is a learning curve for blind and low-vision players as they familiarize themselves with the audio cues for track limits, deceleration, turn countdowns, and other elements of the game. The system includes customizable audio cues and voice-overs, allowing players to adjust the volume and pitch to their liking.
Apart from BDA, Forza Motorsport will offer other accessibility features such as screen narration, one-touch driving, dynamic audio descriptions, and text-to-speech and speech-to-text features. There will also be colorblind modes, filters, subtitles, text scaling, and controller remapping to make the game as flexible as possible.
Forza Motorsport’s accessibility features demonstrate the importance of inclusivity in the gaming industry. These efforts not only benefit blind and low-vision players but also create a more positive gaming experience for all users.