Audiogame Jam Asbjoern Andersen


James Kyle is a Scottish game artist and volunteer with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). From 26 August to 5 September, he is running Audiogame Jam, an international game jam focused on blind-accessible games. The event is hosted by Game Jolt, and all donations benefit the RNIB. Here’s the story behind the project – and how you can support it:


Written by Adriane Kuzminski



 

Hi James, please introduce yourself:

My name is James Kyle. I’m an aspiring game artist and a volunteer with RNIB. I’m also the organiser of Audiogame Jam, a game jam event held to raise money for RNIB and promote awareness of accessibility issues encountered by visually-impaired gamers.
 

Where did the idea for Audiogame Jam originate?

I began thinking about organising an audio game jam at the end of 2015. Last September I took part in a pre-employment course with RNIB, and while I’ve had sight loss from macular dystrophy for almost 20 years, I wasn’t aware of most of the tools available to visually-impaired people to allow them to engage with technology. The course was led by someone with no sight at all, and it was obvious that people with sight loss could access computers and smart-phones with little difficulty, providing the right accessibility tools and training were available.

It was obvious that people with sight loss could access computers and smart-phones with little difficulty, providing the right accessibility tools and training were available

Since video games are a hobby of mine and I’d studied games development at the University of Abertay in Dundee a few years before, I was interested in how I could use that to help RNIB. I’ve received a lot of help from them over the years and I was keen to give some of that back. I looked into instances of charities running game jam events and found a few interesting examples, such as Accessibility Jam and HELP!, which gave me confidence that such an event for RNIB could work.
 

How to participate

To participate in the game jam, please visit their Game Jolt page. To donate to the event and support the RNIB, head over to their JustGiving page.
 

Why did you decide to focus on blind-accessible games?

There are several reasons for this, the most obvious one being that I’d like people with sight loss to be able to play the finished games. It also seemed like an original challenge to developers who may not have ever needed to create a game so reliant on audio. I also have concerns over the separation of audio games and video games, and I’d love to see developers inspired by this event to create games that appeal to and are playable by gamers with any level of vision.
 

How will the games be used to benefit the RNIB?

I hope people that play the Audiogame Jam games will learn more about the work RNIB does and consider supporting them. I didn’t want Audiogame Jam to just be an awareness-raising event, so I’m encouraging everyone to make donations via Audiogame Jam’s JustGiving page. The raised money will provide necessary help and services to visually impaired people across the UK.
 

How did you become interested in blind-accessible games?

My interest in blind-accessible games only started once I’d been exposed to the access blind people have to technology. Before then I’d been playing exclusively video games. My level of sight loss still allows me to play most video games, provided there isn’t a great deal of reading or I can enlarge the user interface to something I can manage.

There was no mention of audio games and precious little concern for accessibility issues other than colour-blindness

Even studying games development at the University of Abertay, one of the best places in Europe to study games development, there was no mention of audio games and precious little concern for accessibility issues other than colour-blindness. Once I’d started volunteering with RNIB, I became interested in what games were accessible, who was campaigning to make games more accessible, and what the alternatives were when video games are no longer accessible. It was clear that there was a large section of people who weren’t well-served by the existing video games industry, and seeing how visually-impaired gamers and developers have created their own community has been fascinating.
 

What are some of your favorite blind-accessible games?

I’ve quite enjoyed the Blindfold series of games and I’m currently playing A Blind Legend and Rhythm Rage.
 

What do you see as the future of blind-accessible games?

I’d like to see more developers include blind-accessibility in their games where possible, and for more audio game developers to create games with strong visual elements. Pure audio games are great, but the separation of video and audio-based games is, in many cases, unnecessary and restricts the audience it appeals to, especially on smartphones where features like VoiceOver (iOS) or TalkBack (Android) come as standard on every device. Using these features and ensuring a strong visual style you have access to both markets, and perhaps more importantly, everyone is included in playing, discussing and enjoying the game together.
 


Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • This is a unique bicycle library that captures this characteristic bike in clean, quiet, nicely performed true exterior rides. Including multiple perspectives, speeds and actions. From fast passbys on asphalt to slow onboard recordings and smooth stops.

    The UglyBike is a typical old bicycle that’s working fine, but needs some TLC. It is a bicycle that’s just average, a little rattle a gentle scrape, a bike that everyone has had but got traded in for a newer one. A story of unrequited love.. :)

    Speeds and actions:
    Three speeds. Departures from slow, medium to fast getaways. Arrivals from slow stops with gently squeaking handbrakes to heavy stuttering skids.

    Five perspectives:
    1. Onboard Front: captures the whirring tire and surface sound.
    2. Onboard Pedal: nice overall combination of pedaling, crank creaks, chain rattle, tire and surface sounds.
    3. Onboard Rear: close up sound of the rear axle, with chain, sprocket and switching of gear.
    4. Tracking shot: mono recording of the passby, keeping the bike in focus while passing by.
    5. Static XY shot: stereo recording of the passby that emphasizes speed.

    Overview of perspectives and mic placement:

    Onboard recordings are 2-3 minutes long depending on speed. Higher speeds > shorter duration.
    All 3 onboard mics are edited in sync with one another to make layering easy.
    All Passbys, Arrivals and Departures move from Left to Right.

    Metadata & Markers:
    Because we know how important metadata is for your sound libraries we have created a consistent and intuitive description method. This allows you to find the sound you need easily, whether you work in a database like Soundminer/Basehead/PT Workspace work, or a Exporer/Finder window.

    However, we are aware that some people have different needs for different purposes, so we’ve created a Metadata Reference Guide that explains the structure. And because we’ve automated the metadata proces, you can be confident that a ‘find & replace’ command will always replace all instances.

    Download our Metadata Reference Guide

    Download complete metadata PDF

    If you have any questions about this, contact us!

    Additionally, we added Markers to some wave files, so specific sound events are easy to spot in Soundminer or other database apps.

    Need more?
    The UglyBike library is part of the complete ‘City Bicycles’ library package available at www.frickandtraa.com. It consists of all 4 bicycles and includes additional surfaces and extras ranging from one-off  bicycle passes captured in the city and bounces and rattles. The extra bicycles surfaces and additional effects are also available seperately here on ‘a Sound Effect’. If you’ve bought a single library and want to upgrade to the full package, contact us for a reduced price on the complete City Bicycles library. Every part of City Bicycles that you paid for will get you an extra reduction on the full package.

    Video Thumbnail
    Responses:

    344 AUDIO:City Bicycles has a plethora of content, for a great price. The perfect balance between a great concept, great presentation and outstanding execution, lands them an almost perfect score of 4.9..

    The Audio Spotlight: City Bicycles is worth getting if you are in need of great sounding and well edited bicycle sounds.

    Watch a video created by Zdravko Djordjevic.

    Video Thumbnail

     

    Add to cart
  • Environments Museums & Galleries Play Track 272 sounds included, 800 mins total $100 $80

    This library features a wide range of recordings from various museums and galleries, each differentiated by the nuances of their size and space. All recordings feature pristine echos, walla and movement. The library includes stereo & 5.0 recordings from:

    • War Museums
    • History Museums
    • State Museums
    • Science Museums
    • Art Galleries
    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

    All sounds were recorded using a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, DPA 5100, Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 and Sound Devices 788T.

    20 %
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  • The American M5 High Speed Tractor includes over 20 gigabytes of recordings of a WWII US military vehicle with a Continental 6572 six-cylinder petrol engine with 207 horsepower. 188 sound fx document a full suite of performances from M5, also known as versions M5A1, M5A2, M5A3 and M5A4.

    The performances include starting, idling, departing, arriving, and passing by from 6 exterior perspectives at slow, medium, and fast speeds. 10 additional perspectives feature motor, interior, exhaust, tracks, and other locations that capture idles, driving, and steady RPMs from onboard the tractor.

    Includes extensive Soundminer metadata.

    Add to cart
  • Cars Volvo 242 DL 1975 Play Track 364 sounds included $249

    The Volvo 242 sound fx collection includes 271 sounds in 13.51 gigabytes of audio. The 242 is a DL 1975 version of the car, also known as models 240, 244, and 245. It features 25 takes of recordings from the Swedish vehicle and its 4-cylinder B20 A, 82 horsepower engine.

    16 synchronized perspectives capture both onboard and exterior performances. Eight onboard perspectives (12 channels, including 4 in AMBEO) recorded driving at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps using microphones mounted in the engine, interior, and exhaust. Eight other exterior perspectives (18 channels) showcase driving at fast, medium, and slow speeds approaching, departing, and passing by. There are also steadies in neutral, blips, and performed effects, as well as an Altiverb impulse response.

    All clips have 18 fields of Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.

    Add to cart
  • Sports Downhill Skiing Play Track 37 sounds included, 13 minutes 08 seconds mins total $35 $30

    Get ready to hit the slopes with this wintery gem of a sound library!

    Taken from many trips up and down the slopes in Upstate New York, this library gives you in your face gliding swishes, crunching carves, turns, stops, passbys from the left and right, falls, jumps, landings, poles poking and scraping the snow, chairlift machine sounds, bindings, and more!

    If you need authentic skiing sounds this library has you covered. Whether you need to create loops and insert carves in a video game or film project or if you need lengthy recordings of full trips from the top of the mountain to the bottom this library will give you it all. Enjoy Downhill Skiing!

    14 %
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    Ends 1555970400
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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

Now that the Audiogame Jam is beginning, how has the reception been?

I’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback and messages confirming participation in the jam. It looks like it will be a truly international event! I assumed that it would be mainly audio game developers who would participate, but the vast majority of people taking part are, from what I can gather at least, video game devs. Overall it’s going far better than I dared hope. We’ve even received our first donation!
 

If people want to join a team or participate in the jam as solo developers, where should they go?

If you are interested in participating in Audiogame Jam, please visit our website at jams.gamejolt.io/AGJam. There you’ll find information about the event, links to useful resources, and how to donate to RNIB. If you want to participate, you can do so as a solo developer or in a team. Those looking for a team should check the Audiogame Jam message board, though I would also recommend asking developers on Twitter with the hashtag #gamedev, #indiedev or #gameaudio. Submitting your finished game is easy and only requires that it be uploaded to the Game Jolt website with the Audiogame hashtag #AGJam somewhere in its description.
 

What resources do you recommend for those who are interested in blind-accessible video game development but are learning about it for the first time?

For those interested in playing or learning more about audio games a good starting point is www.audiogames.net. There you’ll find an active community of friendly gamers and developers, notifications on new releases, and a huge library of games to try. I also recommend the Monkey Gaming podcast, an audio game discussion and review programme recorded by the Fife Society for the Blind’s Monkey Gaming group.

Thank you to James Kyle for the Q&A and for running such an exciting event! To get in touch with him, you can visit his website, or follow him on Twitter.

 

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • This is a unique bicycle library that captures this characteristic bike in clean, quiet, nicely performed true exterior rides. Including multiple perspectives, speeds and actions. From fast passbys on asphalt to slow onboard recordings and smooth stops.

    The UglyBike is a typical old bicycle that’s working fine, but needs some TLC. It is a bicycle that’s just average, a little rattle a gentle scrape, a bike that everyone has had but got traded in for a newer one. A story of unrequited love.. :)

    Speeds and actions:
    Three speeds. Departures from slow, medium to fast getaways. Arrivals from slow stops with gently squeaking handbrakes to heavy stuttering skids.

    Five perspectives:
    1. Onboard Front: captures the whirring tire and surface sound.
    2. Onboard Pedal: nice overall combination of pedaling, crank creaks, chain rattle, tire and surface sounds.
    3. Onboard Rear: close up sound of the rear axle, with chain, sprocket and switching of gear.
    4. Tracking shot: mono recording of the passby, keeping the bike in focus while passing by.
    5. Static XY shot: stereo recording of the passby that emphasizes speed.

    Overview of perspectives and mic placement:

    Onboard recordings are 2-3 minutes long depending on speed. Higher speeds > shorter duration.
    All 3 onboard mics are edited in sync with one another to make layering easy.
    All Passbys, Arrivals and Departures move from Left to Right.

    Metadata & Markers:
    Because we know how important metadata is for your sound libraries we have created a consistent and intuitive description method. This allows you to find the sound you need easily, whether you work in a database like Soundminer/Basehead/PT Workspace work, or a Exporer/Finder window.

    However, we are aware that some people have different needs for different purposes, so we’ve created a Metadata Reference Guide that explains the structure. And because we’ve automated the metadata proces, you can be confident that a ‘find & replace’ command will always replace all instances.

    Download our Metadata Reference Guide

    Download complete metadata PDF

    If you have any questions about this, contact us!

    Additionally, we added Markers to some wave files, so specific sound events are easy to spot in Soundminer or other database apps.

    Need more?
    The UglyBike library is part of the complete ‘City Bicycles’ library package available at www.frickandtraa.com. It consists of all 4 bicycles and includes additional surfaces and extras ranging from one-off  bicycle passes captured in the city and bounces and rattles. The extra bicycles surfaces and additional effects are also available seperately here on ‘a Sound Effect’. If you’ve bought a single library and want to upgrade to the full package, contact us for a reduced price on the complete City Bicycles library. Every part of City Bicycles that you paid for will get you an extra reduction on the full package.

    Video Thumbnail
    Responses:

    344 AUDIO:City Bicycles has a plethora of content, for a great price. The perfect balance between a great concept, great presentation and outstanding execution, lands them an almost perfect score of 4.9..

    The Audio Spotlight: City Bicycles is worth getting if you are in need of great sounding and well edited bicycle sounds.

    Watch a video created by Zdravko Djordjevic.

    Video Thumbnail

     

  • Environments Museums & Galleries Play Track 272 sounds included, 800 mins total $100 $80

    This library features a wide range of recordings from various museums and galleries, each differentiated by the nuances of their size and space. All recordings feature pristine echos, walla and movement. The library includes stereo & 5.0 recordings from:

    • War Museums
    • History Museums
    • State Museums
    • Science Museums
    • Art Galleries
    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

    All sounds were recorded using a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, DPA 5100, Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 and Sound Devices 788T.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1556056800
  • The American M5 High Speed Tractor includes over 20 gigabytes of recordings of a WWII US military vehicle with a Continental 6572 six-cylinder petrol engine with 207 horsepower. 188 sound fx document a full suite of performances from M5, also known as versions M5A1, M5A2, M5A3 and M5A4.

    The performances include starting, idling, departing, arriving, and passing by from 6 exterior perspectives at slow, medium, and fast speeds. 10 additional perspectives feature motor, interior, exhaust, tracks, and other locations that capture idles, driving, and steady RPMs from onboard the tractor.

    Includes extensive Soundminer metadata.

  • Cars Volvo 242 DL 1975 Play Track 364 sounds included $249

    The Volvo 242 sound fx collection includes 271 sounds in 13.51 gigabytes of audio. The 242 is a DL 1975 version of the car, also known as models 240, 244, and 245. It features 25 takes of recordings from the Swedish vehicle and its 4-cylinder B20 A, 82 horsepower engine.

    16 synchronized perspectives capture both onboard and exterior performances. Eight onboard perspectives (12 channels, including 4 in AMBEO) recorded driving at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps using microphones mounted in the engine, interior, and exhaust. Eight other exterior perspectives (18 channels) showcase driving at fast, medium, and slow speeds approaching, departing, and passing by. There are also steadies in neutral, blips, and performed effects, as well as an Altiverb impulse response.

    All clips have 18 fields of Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.

  • Sports Downhill Skiing Play Track 37 sounds included, 13 minutes 08 seconds mins total $35 $30

    Get ready to hit the slopes with this wintery gem of a sound library!

    Taken from many trips up and down the slopes in Upstate New York, this library gives you in your face gliding swishes, crunching carves, turns, stops, passbys from the left and right, falls, jumps, landings, poles poking and scraping the snow, chairlift machine sounds, bindings, and more!

    If you need authentic skiing sounds this library has you covered. Whether you need to create loops and insert carves in a video game or film project or if you need lengthy recordings of full trips from the top of the mountain to the bottom this library will give you it all. Enjoy Downhill Skiing!

    14 %
    OFF
    Ends 1555970400
 
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