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Abertay University Project to Create Disability-friendly Video Game

Ross Kelly


Disability friendly games

While gaming is a very popular activity among children and young people, disabilities can often restrict people’s ability to participate.

Students from Abertay University will collaborate with Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) to create a video game specially designed for children and young people with disabilities.

Eight third-year students will design a game based on the Paralympic sport, Boccia, which is similar to bowls.

The game will include a number of easy control methods to ensure it is accessible to all people, regardless of physical ability.

While video games are highly popular among children and young people, they can often prove to be restrictive to people with physical conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy due to the intense motion-based controls and the need to rapidly press buttons.

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Speaking on the project, team lead James Hunter said: “You tend to think of gaming as an activity that anyone can enjoy, but as we’ve discovered that’s not the case.

“For example, many modern video games include quick-time events, where you need to press a button quickly. Some disabilities limit your reaction time, meaning that game immediately becomes inaccessible.”

Hunter added: “We want to create a game that almost anyone can enjoy. The feedback from CHAS has been invaluable, and we hope the end product will be enjoyed by children at their hospices for years to come.”

It is also hoped that, in the future, the game can be opened up to an even larger audience through the introduction of eye gaze technology.

Eye gaze is a way in which users can access digital devices by tracking the movement of their eyes, as opposed to using their hands with a conventional mouse or controller.

Andrew Reid, lecturer in Games Production at Abertay University, said the project had been a valuable learning experience for the students, which has allowed them to view gaming in a different light.

He said: “We’re pleased to be able to work with CHAS on a project that should open up gaming to children who may feel shut out of the activity.

“The project has been a learning experience for the students, and they’ve been able to look at gaming in a completely new way. As their careers progress, I’ve no doubt that they’ll take these lessons with them.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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