Words of Power is a unique, adventure packed video game, designed to be playable by anyone, even those with physical challenges. It will run in most modern web browsers and incorporate voice recognition technology to allow full hands free voice control. It will also serve as a platform for the creation of many more great, accessible games. Words of Power is a role playing game that drops you into a danger filled dungeon armed with only your wits and your magic to help you survive. It embodies a concept that we at GLACI, Inc. have always believed, that words are powerful things, and with them, we can change the world.

GLACI co-owner Kirsten Carter is a programmer and avid gamer who suffers from Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that often results in spontaneously dislocated joints such as wrists and fingers. Words of Powers was conceived to allow her and other game enthusiasts to continue having fun even when it is not possible to use a mouse, keyboard, or joystick. That is where the voice recognition comes in. It brings a greater level of freedom and independence to the gaming experience. The game will also include traditional key and mouse controls for those who prefer it, but it is being designed from the ground up to allow hands free operation.

The idea for this game was born from the marriage of two different projects. Motivated by Kirsten's struggle with EDS, we began examining the Google Speech Recognition API to create web based applications that replace typing with speaking. Around this same time, we began looking at the Phaser game framework for developing video games in HTML5 and Javascript. That’s when the light bulb went on… we realized we could combine these two technologies to create a web based video game controlled by voice commands. Amazingly, it seems nobody has done this yet. Voice control in a game is not a new idea, but one that runs completely in a web browser… that is something new. Immediately, we knew we had to make this game.

Once the basic concept was there, the ideas kept coming. Soon we had the outlines of not just one game, but a wide variety of games that harken back to the dungeon crawlers, mystery adventures, and puzzle solving games we grew up with. As a dungeon crawler, Words of Power is a perfect starting point, allowing us to develop a rich set of tools and infrastructure that we can build on for future games in this and other genres. Click the screenshot to try the voice command demo

Click the screenshot to try the voice command demo

In many ways, Words of Power will be a modern take on the classic tabletop role playing game. Play is turn based, with moves alternating between a human controlled wizard and computer control monsters. You will explore dungeons, find treasures, discover secret doors, and fight a variety of strange creatures. Your primary weapon is your magic, and you will have many opportunities to increase your library of spells. While basic game play will incorporate a classic ‘kill the monsters / collect loot / level up’ dynamic, it will also have an element of storytelling and puzzle solving. And If we achieve the Multi-player stretch goal then you can do that with up to 3 of your friends.

For those that like a faster paced, higher tension experience, the game will also offer a ‘rapid play’ mode with a countdown timer. If you don’t initiate your turn before the timer expires, you miss your turn, and the monsters take their next turn instead.

We already have a demo that shows how the voice recognition system integrates with the game. You can use a few voice commands to move a red sphere around a small sample dungeon. Currently it only works with the Google Chrome browser, but we are working on support for other browsers. The demo uses only a small subset of the graphics and features being developed for the final game, but it does demonstrate the basic interface and potential of what we are doing.

The concept of accessibility is the heart and soul of this game. The Google speech recognition tools allow people with various physical challenges to play it. We chose to make it a web based game utilizing HTML and Javascript so it would be accessible to anyone with a modern browser, on any computer platform. Finally, we hope to include the voice narration stretch goal so that even the visually impaired can enjoy this game.

We will use an iterative, open design process with frequent playable demos where you, our supporters and partners, can provide feedback and help shape the final design. We are using open source tools like the Phaser game framework, and the final game software will also be open source. To increase accessibility we will use localization techniques to allow multiple language support.

Artistic components will be made available under various licenses. Some basic graphics and sound files will be licensed under the Creative Commons license to help others learn and adapt our open source framework. Most will remain under a more restrictive license that allows them to be used only with our demo or full game. Some artwork and game levels will be available only to YOU, our supporters and co-developers.

Ultimately, we see this as not just a fun game that anyone can play, but a platform to allow the creation of many more great, accessible games. We will be documenting our progress and communicating with you as we work, and we will use that experience to create a tutorial to help others create similar games.

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