[games_access] Guidelines (was: Teaching Game Accessibility)

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Tue Jun 6 14:48:28 EDT 2006


MediaLT is a Norwegian company involved in projects concerning games for the 
blind for several years. Sander and I met them at the previous ICCHP in 
2004, where they did a presentation on the projects they did/going to do 
(including one research project together with Microsoft/EA Games, in which 
they were going to validate the accessibility of several of their games and 
then choose one to (try and) make accessible for the blind).
Anyway, they did a research project in which they developed "guidelines for 
game accessibility". Combined with the information in the IGDA Whitepaper 
these were combined to a next set of 
"guidelines"(http://gameaccess.medialt.no/guide.php). These were then 
presented by MediaLT at a 2-day Game Accessibility workshop 
(http://gameaccess.medialt.no/reader.htm - Goran of PinInteractive was the 
only one there... Goran?). And now either the same or a new draft of these 
guidelines will be presented by someone from the University of Linz.

Well, the good part is that it seems that there are many more people working 
on game accessibility, which I think is great! The bad part is that it seems 
these guidelines have been developed without any input from the SIG (in my 
opinion a leading authority on the subject of game accessibility and the 
only party that really does have links with the professional game industry) 
or collaborations with other parties. I know the people from MediaLT are not 
newbies to the subject (I think they have been busy for over 7 years) and I 
consider them to have a great deal of knowledge about the things they talk 
about. However, I think the 'guidelines', as how these are now described 
(without a clear link with their practical implementation as well as 
feedback from game designers) are not useful or usable...



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Reid Kimball" <rkimball at gmail.com>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 7:08 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] Guidelines (was: Teaching Game Accessibility)

> I've never heard of this MediaLT/Linz whitepaper. I did a search for
> it and didn't get any search results back. What is it?
> -Reid
> On 6/6/06, AudioGames.net <richard at audiogames.net> wrote:
>> Hi Thomas,
>> Yes, I have teached game accessibility to MA Game Design Students 
>> together
>> with Sander (Huiberts - also from Accessibility/AudioGames.net) at the
>> School of the Arts Utrecht (Netherlands) in the past. This year we have 
>> had
>> two projects concerning game accessibility: one in which game design
>> students had to develop an audio game (which should be accessible for the
>> blind) and another in which several students industrial design developed
>> alternative controllers for an audio game that Sander and I developed. 
>> The
>> purpose of the alternative controller was to evoke/stimulate physical 
>> (body)
>> movement of blind gamers. Although both courses did not focus on 'making
>> mainstream games more accessible', these courses gave us the opportunity 
>> to
>> introduce and cover a great deal of this subject. In the case of the 
>> audio
>> game designs, we did get the chance to teach about designing (games) for 
>> the
>> blind and using sound to improve game accessibility.
>> I prefer to avoid the guidelines copied from the IGDA White Paper by 
>> MediaLT
>> because of several reasons.  I for one think it is a shame that IGDA or 
>> any
>> other party like our foundation, One Switch.co.uk, AudioGames.net or
>> Games[CC] were never approached to help develop these "guidelines". But 
>> more
>> importantly, I think these "guidelines" cannot be *practically* applied 
>> to
>> game design. For instance, it does a horrible job (or actually no job at
>> all) at describing how to improve the accessibility of mainstream video
>> games for the blind. Guidelines 5.3 might be the only one to come close
>> ("Explanations of pictures and actions that can be switched off/on") but
>> realistically, how does this make a video game playable? "There's a maze 
>> and
>> 32 dots and three ghosts and one is coming right at you and the other is
>> coming around the corner, oh yeah you are this yellow piechart-figure- oh 
>> no
>> you're dead!" ON TOP OF the original game? And what does guidelines 5.6
>> actually *mean*? "Auditory feedback and rewards" should be explicit?
>> Literally, does this mean "auditory feedback and rewards" or "auditory
>> feedback and auditory rewards"? What is an auditory reward? Is that a
>> result, in sound, of winning? Where does it say this? Even so, why is it
>> important to distinguish "auditory feedback" and "auditory feedback of
>> rewards"? And wait, and it says that it is a Priority 1 Guideline "For 
>> ALL"
>> disabilities. Including gamers who cannot hear? Sjees...
>> (for everyone still questioning 400+ pages of WCAG 2.0 - that's why...)
>> In my opinion these 'guidelines' were written by someone very influenced 
>> by
>> W3C (literally "guidelines" and "priorities") but who never attempted to
>> create or even play an accessible game for the blind (my opinion only, am
>> very open to other opinions!). Interestingly, at the same time as we are
>> doing Develop Brighton (this years biggest game conference in Europe), 
>> Klaus
>> Miesenberger (University of Linz) will be presenting (a newer?) version 
>> of
>> these guidelines for game accessibility at the ICCHP (one of the biggest
>> conferences on ICT for people with disabilities: see:
>> http://www.icchp.org/content/view/79/113/#track3 > Thursday > Track 3 >
>> Session F).
>> Ok, I might receive that Oscar for over-acting but I hope you get my 
>> point.
>> Actually, this list has been dead quiet on the MediaLT/Linz guidelines so
>> far and I am wondering of what you think... *anyone*?
>> Greets,
>> Richard
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Thomas Christopher Roome" <thomas.roome at student.utdallas.edu>
>> To: <games_access at igda.org>
>> Cc: <thomas.linehan at utdallas.edu>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2006 8:15 AM
>> Subject: [games_access] Teaching Game Accessibility
>> >I have been thinking about how to get "mainstream games" more
>> > accessible, and maybe we need to approach colleges and other higher
>> > education institutions  that teach game development to teach
>> > Accessibility to the students.  If game developers are instructed on
>> > how games can be made accessible, then maybe we can avoid some of the
>> > problems that we have today.   There is a starting point using the
>> > Guidelines for developing accessible games  at
>> > http://gameaccess.medialt.no/guide.php.  Is anyone already teaching
>> > Accessibility for Gaming in a college or University program?
>> >
>> > -----------
>> > Thank You,
>> >
>> > Tom Roome
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> > games_access at igda.org
>> > http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access
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