[games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Sat Dec 1 13:29:04 EST 2007


I think the first places to look are the places Barrie mentioned in
his email -- synthesizing those efforts would go far as a first step.

Most of the ideas that are suggested aren't all that formidable --
they just can't get done if no one does them. :)




>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 included.


>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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