[games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

John Bannick jbannick at 7128.com
Sat Dec 1 12:51:14 EST 2007


Well put.

So OK. I volunteer to assemble, contribute to, and be responsible for
delivery of Item 1.

This means:

1. Getting from you good folks any work in progress you want to share,
synthesizing it into something that works, getting a quick review by anyone
here who is interested, and delivering a first cut of SIG Game
Accessibility Criteria.

2. Getting from anyone here who wants to contribute, and contributing to, a
list of target developers, organizations, institutions, and distributors we
send this to, getting a quick review, and delivering a first cut
Distribution List.

3. Writing a first draft cover letter / promo piece, that is sent with the
Criteria, getting a quick review, and delivering this first cut Cover Letter.

All of the above sent to you, Michelle NLT 15 January, 2008.
That way you get the volunteer work, you maintain control, and everyone is

BTW. This isn't nearly as formidable as developing coding standards for the
50 engineers who did the software that laid out the NY Times, and surviving
the process.

Does this work for you, Michelle?

John Bannick

At 12:24 PM 12/1/2007, you wrote:

>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?




>>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


>>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



>>>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.




>>>games_access mailing list

>>>games_access at igda.org





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