Interviews with the creators of Deafverse: Duel of the Bots

[Transcript] Last week a new online game was released. The game was designed and created by deaf people for deaf people. Check it out!

Alex: I’m here at the University of Texas, home of the Longhorns. I’ve come here to film a group consisting mostly of deaf professionals. This group is called the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes. They research how deaf people can be successful after finishing high school.

Stephanie Cawthon, PhD (NDC Director):

The reason for this center’s existence is really based on our desire to understand the gap between the Deaf and hearing people within achievement, work and education in order to reduce that gap.

Carrie Lou Garberoglio, PhD (NDC Associate Director):

One thing we do here at NDC is to distribute data that is current and accurate relevant to deaf people. That data will help people all over to advocate for themselves, those in need of programs and services. We want people who write grants to use the numbers, the data that we share. That can be really beneficial for people who want to use it as a negotiating chip, advocating for changes, offer more services and allocating more funds.

Kent Turner (Game Designer):

In Deafverse, you can choose your own adventure. It’s an online game where you can pick your own path through what we call the “Deaf experience”. Here at NDC, we’ve collected different stories that make up who we are including our daily struggles, daily events, positive experiences, growth, school, families and many different circumstances. We’re presenting this gaming experience through virtual ASL holographic experience. The filming and everything has been done by a team of all-deaf people that made this game what it is now.

Chase Burton (Media Coordinator):

With any film, or games in this particular situation, we’ll always have a lot of moving parts. So, it’s really important to try to pull everything together so it becomes a story that can be clearly presented. It’s always the case for these stories, it’s best to learn something new like new skills. I think Deafverse is a good place for students to make mistakes so they can learn from these mistakes. When they go out into the real world, they will feel more comfortable and familiar with what to do in that particular situation.

Andrés "Flash" Otalora (Senior Videographer):

Students who play that game and watch the videos will experience some impact on self-advocacy skills like acquiring interpreters, captions and CART.

Carlisle Robinson (Cartoonist):

I’ve been drawing comic strips that reflect events that occur in chronological order. Certain situations may arise and you’ll have a CatBot, a robotic cat, to provide support to the players in making the best decisions, empowerment, make an impact, address accessibility needs and many more! Pretty cool, huh?

Brigette Gros (Costume Designer) This is my inspiration. It’s an electric circuit; it helped me understand how to work with the geometry, lines, holes, bumps and wires.

Justin Perez (Narrator):

Is my experience the same as yours? Not likely. I know that right now we’re making serious progress. Everyone’s really into this game, they’re comfortable with being guided into a virtual journey. Now, while we’re doing this, we can use it as a learning tool to simulate what you might encounter in the real world. I can become more comfortable with answering certain questions or solving certain situations or feel comfortable taking risks. With these new skills, we can go back to the real world where it can be tough, but you’d have the tools to recover and respond by seeking out resources, resolutions, some kind of help and numerous other resources. Getting comfortable is the key goal. We can through these virtual experiences and apply what we’ve learned in future scenarios.

Kent Turner (Game Designer): The game can be really beneficial for those who don’t have enough support at home, or in the school environment. Like with a deaf child who has hearing parents, goes to a mainstreamed school in a city that’s isolated and not in the urban region. There might be a lack of resources and support for deaf people. Hopefully, with this game, we can reach out to this specific audience. For those who already have these experiences, having gone to a residential school for Deaf students and having plenty of support, they might not have a need for this game. There will still be benefits to playing this game either way. It’s one nice way that we can hit on these important areas of concern that schools might not be able to provide. Some schools might cover math, science and STEM, but what about self-advocacy and especially understanding the Deaf experience. Not many teachers have the time or resources to teach that so that’s why we at NDC are developing this game. We want to make this experience fun for all, but educational as well.


Supported by:

Convo []

Gallaudet University: []

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