[games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

John Bannick jbannick at 7128.com
Sat Dec 1 11:05:12 EST 2007


Reid is right.

There are developers right now who want their work to be accessible.

This SIG could right now facilitate that by:

1. Providing, distributing, and publicizing a concise, specific set of
functional criteria that define what means accessible.
2. Compiling, publishing, and publicizing an annual list of which companies
and games meet those criteria.
3. Maintaining a forum (The currently rather drifting Game Accessibility
Project comes to mind) where developers can go for immediate help.

I'm a developer of games that are accessible.
Have shipped 22 different revenue-generating products in a wide variety of
vertical markets in the last 30 years.
Am neither stupid nor lazy.
And don't see any of the 3 above items.

None of the 3 items should take long to build as a first cut.

And if not from this SIG, then from where?

John Bannick
CTO
7-128 Software


At 02:26 AM 12/1/2007, you wrote:

>Please, can we stop with the negative talk about GDC and the game

>industry? I work in the game industry for LucasArts. Just last week I

>talked to a highly respected programmer and he's 100% behind us and

>wants to talk about what we can do to improve accessibility in our

>games after our current milestone is finished. There are dozens of

>people at LucasArts that support game accessibility. Nintendo totally

>gets it, EA Games totally gets it with their Family Play modes in

>their sports games. Peter Molyneux gets it, Will Wright... the list

>goes on and on.

>

>It's offensive to me when people of this SIG accuse developers of not

>caring because WE DO CARE. The last thing you want to do is insult the

>people you have to work with. It's the quickest way to turn them away

>from our cause.

>

>So, instead of complaining, lets do something about it! First,

>everyone here needs to understand what it's like for developers and

>why it's so hard for them to adopt accessibility features.

>

>1. Limited financial resources - Games are very expensive to make and

>any new features adds to the cost. Before you can add accessibility

>features you must have a game and that's where most of the money is

>spent first.

>

>2. Limited time - Game development is incredibly complex and hard to

>tame. No matter how much extra time gets budgeted into the production

>schedule, it always runs out well before all tasks are complete. When

>this happens, features get cut in order to save the core of the game

>and again, without a game, there can't be any accessibility features.

>Because this usually happens so late, there isn't enough time to work

>on accessibility features before the game has to ship.

>

>3. Limited information - Even if a developer was pro-active and

>scheduled the development of accessibility features into the games'

>development schedule, there's still a major lack of knowledge and

>tools that enable them to do their job. The SIG has been thinking

>about accessibility features for years and we have all the solutions,

>but developers don't yet. We need to make ourselves known and readily

>available to help them.

>

>What can we do to solve these issues? We need to develop our

>relationships with developers and offer our assistance. Our attempts

>to work with GarageGames is a good start. When a new game is announced

>we should contact them and offer our expertise.

>

>We have GOT to get a website up so that we can communicate our

>abilities and expertise to our target audiences (game developers).

>

>But there are technical issues and many of us are volunteers and so

>things move very slowly.

>

>Several of us are writing guidelines for implementing certain features

>but again, this is a slow process. Others are doing research. Going to

>conferences is awesome. Writing articles to Gamasutra is great as

>well.

>

>Eitan is right, we have to "sell" our expertise. It's not that

>developers don't care, they don't know that they SHOULD care.

>

>-Reid

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>

>

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