Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shades of Doom: An Audio Adventure for the Blind

One of the first audio games I ever played was Shades of Doom from GMA games. This is the most real-life audio game I've played, and man, can you get hooked.

My wife and I have played this game for hours and we never got tired of going through the various levels. The sounds are so real, and the adventure is wonderful.

Shades of Doom is a revolutionary Window's-based game for the visually impaired. It creates a virtual reality using sound as it's medium. It features multi-dimensional multi-layered sound, immersing the gamer into a world of action and suspense set in the not too distant future. The game is self-voicing, so no screen reader is required to play.

You are equipped with a medical kit, a few grenades, a gun, a knife, your fists, and a computer to analyze your surroundings. You must make your way through many levels of a top secret military research base, and shut down the ill-fated experiment. You will use the sound of the wind in the passages and rooms, the echo of your footsteps, the sounds of nearby equipment, and optionally, the guidance from your environment analyzer computer, to make your way through this dark world. You will definitely want to collect better weapons, armour, and equipment to help you succeed in this mission. Find the clues to shut down the experiment as you make your way to the ninth and most dangerous area.

Due to the graphic nature of the sounds, GMA recommends that this game should not be played by people under the age of 13.

Features include:

  • Dynamic and realistic Multi-layered, 3D sound with up to 32 sounds playing simultaneously which can make use of a stereo or surround sound system
  • Use of Doppler for realistic movement sound
  • synthesized 3D effects for non-surround sound systems
  • Real-time game play, that is, the game is not move based, and the game continues as in real life
  • A true 32-bit Window's application
  • Use of Microsoft's DirectX 8 and above
  • Full accessible help
  • Optional joystick support
  • Original music
  • Easy to remember one key commands
  • Five difficulty levels from easy to very challenging
  • Nine areas to explore, plus an aending level
  • Ability to save, and later reload, up to 9 game snap shots
  • Many types of weapons, monsters, armour, and other equipment and objects
  • Ability to pick your own way to navigate, that is, wind sounds, step echoes, maps, markers, and verbal navigation
  • Ability to create Braille-ready maps
  • Optionally, all major commands can be accessed through the menu
  • Cheat codes are available

To hear the introduction to Shades of Doom produced by Kelly Sapergia, click this link to download or play the MP3 file. Note that this was made from a previous version of the game and that some features have been added since it was produced.

System Requirements

  • a Pentium system 233 Megahertz or higher
  • 64 megabytes of memory
  • Windows 98 or higher
  • Microsoft's DirectX version 8 software (available free from the HTTP:// site or on any Shades of Doom CD)
  • a Windows supported 16 bit stereo or surround sound card (headphones recommended for stereo systems)

Note that Shades of Doom uses some advanced sound features available in most newer sound cards. You may need to update your sound card driver if you are having problems, for example, if you find sounds are not being played in stereo. You should be able to obtain the most recent sound card drivers from your card manufacturer's web page.

Click this link to visit the Shades of Doom page on the GMA Games website:

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