Gaming charity SpecialEffect is back with a brand new game, and this one has a focus on eye control. Open Drive is a sandbox driving game with eye gaze control optimization, and it's out right now for you to check out on the charity's website.
What is Open Drive?
More and more games are launching with expanded accessibility options, with triple-A titles like Horizon Forbidden West emphasizing this element of their design. They don't go quite as far as SpecialEffect, though, which is a gaming charity focused on helping disabled gamers through tech. SpecialEffect's latest game, Open Drive, is available right now from the charity's Eye Gaze Games website, and as you'd expect, it has a significant focus on eye control (although you can play it through other input methods as well, including switches, touch, and mouse and keyboard).
Open Drive, like many of SpecialEffect's games, has big, bold buttons to help gamers with all kinds of physical challenges to play it. However, that doesn't mean it's easy; the game has different vehicles that handle differently, and some of the currently-available level's challenges are fiendish. You'll need to bring your A-game to take this one on, but there are a range of trophies to unlock if you do manage to master its tricky physics. If you're stuck for how to progress in Open Drive, SpecialEffect has made a rather handy little walkthrough video you can check out.
Right now, Open Drive is in beta, with just one world to explore and three cars to choose from. However, SpecialEffect says it intends to add more content for the game in the future, with three more levels on the way this year. The charity's project manager Bill Donegan says the goal for Open Drive, and all of Special Effect's Eye Gaze Games titles, is to "[remove] as many barriers as possible" for players with severe disabilities around the world. You can play Open Drive on both Google Chrome and Firefox, and you'll also be able to play it on other Chromium-derived browsers like Edge and Opera. It's well worth a look no matter what control method you're playing with. We've reached out to SpecialEffect for extra info.
Accessibility in gaming is becoming more prominent
The accessibility discussion in gaming is getting more prominent, with more and more major gaming companies and studios detailing their accessibility initiatives and projects. In October last year, Microsoft announced that it would expand its Xbox accessibility features, adding things like narrated menus in games, full keyboard support on Xbox consoles, and options for subtitles, among other things. Major projects like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart are also building in more accessibility functions on launch, allowing gamers to change visual shaders, alter the DualSense's adaptive trigger feature, and more.
Of course, there's still a very long way to go in terms of accessibility, but charities like SpecialEffect and AbleGamers are doing good work in this area. If you'd like to learn more about SpecialEffect, you can head over to its website, where you'll find a host of information about all of its accessibility initiatives including projects like EyeMine and StarGaze. You'll also find a range of games there developed in conjunction with various studios, all of which have a particular focus on accessibility.