[games_access] XBox 360 TCR

Reid Kimball rkimball at gmail.com
Fri Jun 24 22:58:48 EDT 2005


OK, I am not going to divulge any confidential information but I would
like feedback on what I am going to try to discuss with MS regarding
their XBox360 Technical Certification Requirements list.

I think we should suggest that they develop game accessibility
features into the XBox 360 control panel. Right now for XBox, you can
use the control panel to set the system date, access saved games (I
think) and such. It would be helpful if the control panel allowed
gamers to choose various accessibility features that will be
automatically active when a game is played. Each game will check with
the control panel's accessibility features and activate the options
chosen. For example, this will let someone turn on closed captioning
in one place and every game played will have it active. Players waste
a lot of time turning on captioning for each game they play and they
also are forced to skip opening cinematics because captioning is not
turned on by default in most games.

Here's what I'd like to send to XBox 360 Certification team:

Dear XBox 360 Certification team,

I am a game developer at Ritual Entertainment and I am also a member
of the IGDA special interest group regarding Game Accessibility
(http://www.igda.org/accessibility/). Our group aims to educate
developers about various ways to make games more accessible to those
who may have a disability. We research and develop solutions so that
other developers may implement them into their games and thus reach a
larger audience. We feel that the XBox 360 has an opportunity to do
what no console has done before, to provide developers and gamers with
specifically design game accessibility features that will improve the
quality of experience many gamers will have with your XBox 360
product. Features such as closed captioning, scalable UI/text and
changes in speed of rendering can greatly improve the accessibility of
a game to someone who may have hearing, sight, mobility or cognitive
disabilities. Below, I have written several additions for the TCR list
that I would like your team to consider for inclusion into the XBox
360's Control Panel options. We firmly believe that the inclusion of
such accessiblity features into the console directly will enable
developers to take advantage of them without sacrificing development
time and in doing so, reach a much wider audience than ever before.

TCR additions:
Game Accessibility Features
The following requirements provide the gamer with a set of
standardized features that make the game more accessible if they are a
disabled gamer or one who is new to the activity of playing games.


Xenon Control Panel
Requirement: The Game Accessibility Features are located both in the
Xenon Control Panel and within each game's Game Options menu. This
allows the user to setup accessibility options in one place before any
game is played. Those options are applied to each game played and work
from the very first launch of the game. This will eliminate the need
for players to skip opening cinematics in order to turn on
accessibility features before watching.


Closed Captioning
Requirement: From within the Xenon Control panel the user can enable
Closed Captioning options that are applied to each game played. The
Game Accessibility Panel provides choices for SFX and Dialog as
separate check box options. Checking both options will enable full
closed captioning for the game. Only checking Dialog will display
subtitles for spoken dialog.

Remarks: Spoken dialog includes dialog in cinematics, pre-rendered
movies, and in game encounters with enemies, NPCs and so on.

Most sound effects should be captioned whether they are from
cinematics, pre-rendered movies and in game encounters with enemies,
NPCs and objects.


UI/Text Legibility
Requirement: The Game Accessibility Features provides the user with
the ability to scale UI/text that is rendered within games.

Remarks: GUI elements should be scalable to allow the text to fit
properly if a large size is needed for someone who may be legally
blind.

Game Speed Variation
Requirement: This option is presented as a slider and allows the gamer
to slow down or speed up the rendering of the game. Players with
mobility or cognitive disabilities will benefit from a game that is
rendered slower than normal. The effect of this may resemble the
popular "bullet time" as seen in games such as Max Payne.

This concludes the additional material that the IGDA Games
Accessibility SIG would like to see supported by the XBox 360. If you
have any questions or would like to discuss this further you can
contact Michelle Hinn (chair of the SIG) at hinn at uiuc.edu. Thank you
for your time,

-IGDA Game Accessibility SIG

--------------------------------------------------

Michelle, if don't want to be the point contact, I don't mind doing that.

-Reid


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