AGRIP AudioQuake and Level Description Language
AudioQuake and the Level Description Language were successful experiments started in 2003 to see if it was possible to make a mainstream first-person shooter (FPS) accessible to blind and vision-impaired gamers. We sought to afford access not only to the game Quake, but also to the surrounding community of modding and even the creation of new levels ("maps").
These aims were realised, with the help of the community during 2003, when we focussed on single-player and 2004, when the first networked accessible deathmatches were played and user-made mods were debuted. Level Description Language, which allows blind people to architect 3D maps, was released in 2008.
Whilst the original Quake game is no longer mainstream, the experiment was successful (in that a number of single-player maps and many deathmatch maps are accessible, and blind gamers have created additional mods and maps for the game) and the lessons learnt apply equally well to modern FPSs. Also, we developed some accessibility techniques we'd like to share and that we'd be delighted if others might adopt for their own projects; particularly the Level Description Language as this empowers blind gamers (and its present "90-degree expressiveness" limitation is due only to a lack of advanced geometry on our part).
Over the years since, it's been truly awesome to witness the strides and leaps in game accessibility that have been made possible by the continuing hard work of independent and large-scale developers, gamers and advocates the world over. We can't wait to find out what's next!
The aims of this repo are to...
- ensure it's easier than ever to play AudioQuake and use the Level Description Language;
- preserve this part of accessible gaming for the future and
- to welcome any contributions and improve upon components such as the base game, tools, sounds, and other aspects.
AGRIP stands for "Accessible Gaming Rendering Independence Possible". For more information and links to academic research papers, visit http://agrip.org.uk.
AudioQuake is a version of Quake (by id Software) that has enhanced audio and speech output, so that blind and vision-impaired gamers can play it (including a number of the standard maps). The code is based on the ZQuake engine, is mature and supports various forms of networked play. A tutorial, documentation and some specifically-designed accessible maps are included.
It is also possible to create mods for the game, by changing the sounds (and other content) and modifying the QuakeC gamecode. A number of community members have created mods, from the obligatory and most-welcome Star Wars conversions to "excessive overkill"-style fragfests. The standard modding tools can be used for this, as they are inherently accessible.
You need the official Quake data files for the game to work.
Quake has a "15" certificate. For obvious reasons, we do not recommend nor condone the use of this software by anyone below 15 years of age.
Level Description Language
The Level Description Language allows people to describe maps for the game using structured text and have the computer automatically create the 3D world. It has some geometrical limitations, as mentioned above, but is a robust and fully 3D map creation and styling system that has been used by blind people to make maps for the game.
You can access and use the Level Description Language tools via the AudioQuake launcher.