Inclusive Pong Documentation

For “Inclusive Game Design” we had to implement changes in the game to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

I’ve identified the following problems with the original game:

  • PROBLEM: The speed of the game can be an issue for the motion or learning impaired. Reference/source:
  • SOLUTION: Allow user to change the speed of the game and skill level of computer, as proposed in the following article:
  • IMPLEMENTATION: I created a settings menu that allows the user to:
    • Adjust the speed of the ball.
    • Adjust the speed of the computer player.
  • RE-BALANCE GAME: Adjusted the skill level settings of the computer player and limited how fast and how slow the game can be set to.
  • PROBLEM: There is no audio feedback for the learning or visually impaired. Reference/source:
  • SOLUTION: Add sounds that indicate game play events, as proposed in the following article:
  • IMPLEMENTATION: Add sounds
    • Game begins
    • Ball hitting the paddle
    • Player scores
    • Game ends
  • RE-BALANCE GAME: Tested different sounds to see which one would fit the game play.
  • PROBLEM: The game has no instructions or a pause when a player scores which could be a problem for the learning or motion impaired. Reference/source:
  • SOLUTION: Provide instructions for the user, as proposed in the following article:
  • IMPLEMENTATION: Added a start screen with instructions and a pause screen in between scores.
  • RE-BALANCE GAME: Added a counter to start the game once the user clicks to start/continue.

Now have to dive into the code to make all this work 🙂

Reading assignment

For “Computers for the Rest of You” we had to read two texts about consciouness: What Consciousness is Not and Power of Now and comment on them.
Here are some excerpts that I found interesting:
“Consciousness actually reduces our earning abilities of this type, let alone not being necessary for them.”
“Members of a psychology class were asked to compliment any girl at the college wearing red. Within a week the cafeteria was a blaze of red (and friendliness), and none of the girls was aware of being influenced.”
“At this point, we can at least conclude that it is possible – possible I say – to conceive of human beings who are not conscious and yet can learn and solve problems.”
“And our memory fades as to what just happened even as we are trying to express it.”
“We often talk about the three B’s, the Bus, the Bath, and the Bed. That is where the great discoveries are made in our science.”
“Here it is only necessary to conclude that consciousness does not make all that much difference to a lot of our activities.”

Here are my comments on the readings:
a) What struck me the most is that learning does not seem to be a conscious process – we seem to just absorb things as they come, to be processed later – makes sense if you think of babies – they have no idea what school is or that they are learning by simply being around language. The collective consciousness also was very interesting (tell girls in red that they look great and in one week every girl is unknowingly wearing red) – which for me indicated the notion of God being a social/collective unconscious phenomena – you tell people every time something “miraculous” or disastrous happens that it was an act of God – sure enough, after a while, everyone is able to see and feel God as if it was real.
b) I agree with Caleb in the sense that there is no magic pill yet the if the methods of the book are taken seriously, I believe that they can truly work. In an interesting parallel to the previous reading, this book starts with the assumption that consciousness is not only real but that it affects your body. I remember not wanting to go to school when I was a kid because I had not done a homework, and sure enough I would wake up with a fever. I actually learned that behavior and repeated it a few times – though after the third time I realized that a fever hurt more than the teacher’s scorn or the bad grade. I guess the conclusion here is that there is mind over matter but there is also matter over mind (red is said to be cool, and suddenly everyone is wearing red – a thought is transposed to reality).

Pong Flash Game

For “Inclusive Game Design” we had to improve on this Pong game in Flash… what I did was the following:

– score decreases instead of increasing
– added color to the ball so that it can be seen better
– added a pause between scoring points (click mouse to continue)
– added a game over state
– allow player to move stick around – actually makes game playing harder

Here it is:

The KISS Principle

Now this is a great solution! They definitely understand the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid – forget Microsoft’s multi-touch table, Apple’s iPhone and other research projects (here) – these guys came up with a very clever way of doing a touch surface to control the mouse using your fingers, a plastic bag and some water with color! Check it out: dyeSight $2 Multi-Touch Pad

Computational Forms

This is the 4th class I am taking – “Computational Forms” taught by Jared Schiffman – a class that will look at building and creating 3D forms programmatically using C and openGL… yikes! Should be very interesting. One of my goals in this class is to create more efficient code for the eye tracking/photo rating tool that I have been working on for the past year (SPiRT)- Java was great for the first prototypes but to really create an efficient display application that tracks the eyes, rates the pictures and creates a database/web site with the findings I will have to do it in C since I intend to create a dynamic 3D world with inputs from a camera, a pointing device (VR glove or a Wiimote like device), photos and game play.
On another note, while going through Amit Pitaru’s site I was amazed by his Sonic Wire Sculptor… check out the movie! Basically he created a rotating 3D space that allows the user to draw on. The lines drawn generate sounds. These lines remain in the 3D space so that you can draw multiple lines and create a sound space with your drawing. The sounds are also placed in 3D so that if you have a surround sound setup, you will actually hear the sounds in the 3D space according to where the lines are within the virtual 3D space. Wow….

Machinimia Google Earth

For our first homework for “From Physical to Virtual Spaces and Back” taught by Jean-Marc Gauthier, we had to capture our first experience within a virtual world… I played around with Google Earth.
I went to São Paulo, NY, and Tokyo to compare the amount of information each city has within Google Earth.
I was actually surprised at the amount of information São Paulo has – I was expecting that of NY for obvious reasons – and then was surprised (ok – not so much) at how detailed the 3D buildings in Tokyo are.
At the end I played around with the flight simulator in Google Earth (ctrl+option+a) 🙂
Check it out: