[games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Sat Dec 1 12:24:07 EST 2007


All of the things John mentions are projects we have talked about
and/or taken passes at (the top ten list from two years ago and now
the new project that Barrie has started up, etc). Others have brought
up other ideas that we've either done or attempted and then the
projects lost momentum. All these things are great but there's a
problem...these things also take active volunteers in the SIG and
from that perspective our numbers are low. So we need people who are
willing to put in the time and may/may not get any reimbursement for
that time and every project cannot be started and maintained by me.

So instead of continuing to criticize ourselves (I know...I started
it but I was really mad after killing myself over the proposals at
deadline), the industry, the GDC etc...who from WITHIN this SIG can
put in the time needed for these things AND actually follow through?
No, it's not fair that we aren't in a position to reimburse people
for time and that won't change in the near future. But it's something
that will have to change and it will change but we can't just wait
for that day to come (because it won't come if we don't put in the
sweat equity now). People need to honestly commit the time and work
because they believe in making change. Take some of that anger and
tell me what YOU are willing to do to help us make change. Take
ownership of something on behalf of the SIG. Ideas are great...but we
need people who will put in the work so that the "SIG" is able to do
these things.

So who will join in putting in some volunteer time so that these
ideas can become reality?

Michelle


>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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>>games_access at igda.org

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>>

>>

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>

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