[games_access] RE: Another list... (and follow up info on Top 3 forindies thread)

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Wed Apr 5 09:27:13 EDT 2006

It's actually it's a lot of the indie devs that are doing more with 
accessibility -- like the ones listed below (with the exception, of 
course, of value) so the list will more likely be weighted more 
heavily towards smaller dev studios and indies anyway. For instance 
"Strange Attractors" that was up for a design innovation award at 
this year's IGF was a "one button game" (or "one switch" game). One 
mod for Doom that was up for the IGF mod awards was a closed 
captioning mod that was a giant volunteer effort (and a very 
impressive one!). Sadly neither won this year but it shows that the 
small companies can come up with some pretty innovative stuff with 
regard to accessibility -- stuff that makes game design more exciting 
and isn't just something added on later.

Soon we'll have all our slides and such from our one day tutorial on 
the wiki in working order (like within the next week) and that will 
help provide more resources. It's too bad you had to miss the 
sessions -- but we'll be back next year. :) And we're here on this 
list all year long! We have lots and lots up our sleeves right now 
activities-wise. So hearing what different types of developers are 
looking for only helps inform us of our dev audience even more! So 
feel free to lurk and un-lurk whenever you'd like.  We're a chatty 
bunch (as you have probably noticed...).


>>  >I'd bundle everyone together and *only* developers deliberately working >on
>>>game accessibility.
>>I'm gonna disagree slightly on that suggestion Richard :) Indie developers
>>have SO much less to work with, especially those that are actually
>>independent and not 3rd party developers working with a publisher. It's very
>>easy to say "ok, when we're bigger, we'll do this stuff" knowing that our
>>games have the same accessibility problems as a bigger production's would.
>*quote end*
>I think you might have misinterpreted my comment. I mean to put any 
>developer on the list that has conciously added something.accessible 
>to their game. In my opinion it doesn't matter if it's major company 
>that made a completely accessible game or an Indie developer that 
>added a tiny feature to their game to make it more accessible. 
>Budget is not a factor for the list... there are many academic 
>and/or non-commercial (unfunded) projects out there that deal with 
>game accessibility. I'd like to have a list bringing all of these 
>people/devs in the light. Although it might turn out to be an 
>extensive database instead of a list (which is something that the 
>GameOn project seems to focus on), I'd first and foremost like to 
>focus on a simple list saying:
>AudioGames.net - developes audio games (Drive, Sudo-San)
>Flying Lab Software - added several accessibilty options such as 
>scalability for their MMORPG "something"
>PinInteractive - developed fully- accessible video game Terraformers
>Valve - added Subtitles to Halflife 2 to make it more accessible to the deaf
>or something like it... so ANY indie developer without budget is 
>more than welcome on this list!
>----- Original Message ----- From: "K" <k at kellyrued.net>
>To: <games_access at igda.org>
>Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2006 2:30 PM
>Subject: [games_access] RE: Another list... (and follow up info on 
>Top 3 forindies thread)
>>think it would be nice to salute the smaller companies for taking what's no
>>doubt a bigger chunk of their resources overall to do the right thing by
>>their players. It opens up new markets but since you don't really know how
>>much impact various changes will have it's hard to justify in a budget what
>>benefit, if any, accessibility feature X would have on the project's bottom
>>Plus it would be neat to show that so-and-so at the IGF who only had a 20k
>>budget still found a way to make closed captioning or something a priority.
>>:) Most games are made with C++, Java, Flash, Shockwave, etc. so I'm hoping
>>to see people release opensource code libraries/plugins with accessibility
>>features in them for mix-n-match use so it's a matter of
>>integration/customizing rather than engineering from scratch and researching
>>the design, then the technical design, then the implementation and testing
>>for general cases that could be done once and then shared and customized for
>>special cases. Throw in some tools- utility code that allows designers and
>>artists to *see* what their art/game looks like to someone with various
>>visual problems or audio problems (cripples it in some way), and you'd have
>>a turn-key suite of tools that any developer could use to put a big dent in
>>their accessibility problem-identifying and solving efforts.
>>But I am biased, as an indie working on funded and unfunded projects under
>>different brands right now. It's the unfunded one we're trying to squeeze in
>>accessibility for because the others fall under that suggested definition of
>>people who shouldn't make games LOL (heh, it's really not a game where audio
>>adds a ton to the play honestly- the audio is just a backdrop to create
>>tension/mood while they play (trivia games) and the sfx all have correlating
>>onscreen text-based feedback of visual effects to convey the same meaning-
>>plus they are already self-paced and trivial pursuit style (we have a beta
>>test copy, www.isergames.com The Sex Ed Game, if anyone is interested in
>>testing for accessibility issues, let me know off-list and I'll send you the
>>dl info)). It's too late to add *major* features to that release but I think
>>it does pretty well- might be issues with the art contrast/etc. but like I
>>mentioned before while I can *hear* where audio is important I can't *see*
>>where our graphics might be hard to see to people with different vision
>>issues (I don't know enough yet about the different visual impairments to
>>say either way).
>>In my spare time now (ha) I'm reading your SIG white paper 'Game not Over'
>>and going through your top 10 list and other resources to analyze our bigger
>>game, Rapture Online (an MMOEG, basically an adults-only MMORPG), for
>>accessibility needs. Thanks so much for your feedback so far- I'm sure that
>>if I have questions and when I reach a final plan/analysis I'm going to
>>share a link to it here.
>>I doubt my process will be super or comprehensive as this is the first time
>>I've done this but I am going to document what I did anyways on our site in
>>case other game designers want to try the same thing. It's exciting though
>>to think that I could anticipate these problems and make the game a good
>>experience for everyone right "out of the box." I really hope to see more
>>guides and workshops about how to analyze your game design for accessibility
>>issues... there was an all day tutorial at GDC that ran up against my
>>serious games schedule for The Sex Ed Game, but perhaps that's what you all
>>covered. :) I'm especially ignorant on alt-input/controllers and how they
>>work to operate the game or how game controls are re-mapped to these
>>devices. Our primary mouse controls is just like The Sims 2 pie menu system
>>so figuring out how players can use those with any kind of input device is
>>really important (we have editable keyboard shortcuts for *everything* so
>>I'm thinking that's where we'll be able to make it accessible).
>>Again, thanks for all the input! Keep up the good work- this is an
>>informative list to lurk on (resumes lurker mode until I learn a bit more)
>>games_access mailing list
>>games_access at igda.org
>games_access mailing list
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