Last week, I described why we picked Blindfold Spin and Solve as the starting point for a braille contractions game.
Blindfold Spin and Solve has over 12,000 phrases, such as “A BLESSING IN DISGUISE”. To prepare the game to use contracted braille, I created a dictionary of all words in the phrases – about 8,000 of them – and used software created by Duxbury Systems to convert the word to its contracted form. Thanks to Neal and several people at the Hadley school who helped with the conversion.
Next we had to come up with a set of rules on how to play the game. In Blindfold Spin and Solve, you can either buy a vowel, or spin the wheel to determine your prize, and then guess a letter. You can also guess the entire phrase.
In Braille Spin and Solve, you can buy a dot pattern, a vowel, or spin the wheel to determine your prize, and then guess a letter. You can also guess the entire phrase.
As you swipe from word to word, the game tells you how many letters in the uncontracted word, and how many cells in the contracted form. If you remember from the prior blog, the contracted form of the word “CANDY” is the letter C, the dot pattern for the fragment “AND”, and the letter Y. As you swipe on the word CANDY, the game tells you the contracted form has 3 cells, and the uncontracted form has 5 letters.
The game also gives you hints to make it easier. If you guess a letter that’s not in the contracted word, but is in the uncontracted word, it tells you. With the contracted form of the word “CANDY”, if you guess the letter “N”, the game tells you that the letter “N” is in the uncontracted form of the word, but it’s not in the puzzle.
We released the first version of Braille Spin and Solve to beta testers who taught braille, and they liked the general direction of the game. However, they said it was way too hard, and requested that the game be easier for most people.