[games_access] FORUM (was Re: GDC 2008: VERY Bad News)

John Bannick jbannick at 7128.com
Sat Dec 1 14:05:08 EST 2007


Richard,

Yep. You're right. The spam that was there for the past couple of weeks is
gone. Someone did good.

But it's still not nearly as active as it warrants.

In the blind realm you see developer discussions of Audio Game Maker, some
stuff that Ryan is doing, maybe a couple more developers, and a really good
technical thread with Dark and Velu. What you don't see is an engineer from
EA asking for help with a UI accessibility problem.

A reasonable objective would be to have any developer, at any company, who
needs help or clarification on, say for example, blind / VI accessibility
to think FIRST of the GA forum, or some SIG-affiliated site.

Don't know anything about the politics of all this. But it seems something
that could be worked out by folks more knowledgeable.

jhb

At 01:39 PM 12/1/2007, you wrote:

>Hi,

>

>Just so you know: the GA forum was left unattended for some time but the

>spam was removed as far as I could see. The forum is still pretty popular,

>it's just that not that many SIG people attend it (because it is not an

>"offical SIG" forum?).

>

>As I also said in the past: the Accessibility foundation is still awaiting

>to be approached by the GA-SIG for collaborating on GA.com. I already

>explained to a couple of you that with me and Sander having left the

>foundation, most expertise left too. The foundation is currently focusing

>on other projects and does not have the resources to maintain this website

>at the moment. I already discussed a possible collaboration with GA-SIG

>with my boss - EVEN to the extend of GA-SIG ADOPTING GA.com and chaing it

>to a GA-SIG format - as if it was its own - with Accessibility only

>sponsoring the website in the form of hosting it. As far as I know, the

>foundation is still up for that. However, IGDA politics intervened which

>resulted in that IGDA GA-SIG still does not have a website to call their

>own. If GA-SIG does not want to collaborate with GA.com then I would still

>suggest to buy www.gasig.org and simply make a website under that for as

>long as IGDA politics keep intervening.

>

>Greets,

>

>Richard

>

>

>

>

>----- Original Message ----- From: "John Bannick" <jbannick at 7128.com>

>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 7:20 PM

>Subject: Re: [games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

>

>

>>Barrie,

>>

>>No. Not harsh. Just on point. (Programmers are not hired for their social

>>skills.)

>>

>>1. Yes.

>>

>>But this SIG is unique in that it is the one active place that covers

>>multiple challenges, has an international audience, and clearly has the

>>ears of some key industry players. If this SIG has its own concise,

>>specific, answer to "what do you want us developers to do?" please point

>>me to it.

>>

>>2. Again, this SIG has a unique position in that it can credibly publish

>>such a list, that address multiple challenges, internationally, and has

>>the ear of the major developers. Is there any such recognized list of

>>companies and games? Why not from this SIG?

>>

>>3. Please.

>>

>>I'm on the Game Accessibility Project forum every day. It's getting

>>spammed without intervention. It's much lower volume than such a fine

>>effort warrants. Richard says he's out of there. It's adrift.

>>

>>And Mark's forum is outstanding, but does not right now have the

>>attention of the industry leaders, or actual developers, that this SIG

>>does. (No criticism, he's doing a wonderful job.) I'm on Audyssey every

>>day and it has a very active set of game developers that help each other

>>all the time. But it's limited to the blind and VI folks.

>>

>>I'd not heard of the RetroRemakes forum (thanks for the tip) but

>>according to its main page, it's most recent post was in August.

>>

>>Show me a forum where mainstream game developers meet to help each other

>>make accessibility happen.

>>

>>The three proposals stand.

>>

>>John

>>

>>At 11:47 AM 12/1/2007, you wrote:

>>>A little harsh, John perhaps?

>>>

>>>1. Has been covered to various degrees here:

>>>

>>>http://www.oneswitch.org.uk/2/ARTICLES/physical-barriers.htm

>>>http://www.ics.forth.gr/hci/ua-games/game-over/

>>>http://www.helpyouplay.com/welcome.html

>>>

>>>(and other places too).

>>>

>>>2. Is is a good point. But there's so few mainstream developers making

>>>deliberate accessibity efforts that take into account specific

>>>disabilities. Here's a list of some:

>>>

>>>http://www.oneswitch.org.uk/2/pioneers.htm

>>>http://gameaccessibility.blogspot.com/

>>>

>>>3. Forums here:

>>>

>>>http://www.game-accessibility.com/forum/

>>>http://www.retroremakes.com/forum2/forumdisplay.php?f=84

>>>http://ablegamers.com/component/option,com_fireboard/Itemid,606/

>>>

>>>We need the support of more people though!

>>>

>>>Barrie

>>>www.OneSwitch.org.uk

>>>www.igda.org/accessibility

>>>

>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "John Bannick" <jbannick at 7128.com>

>>>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>>>Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 4:05 PM

>>>Subject: Re: [games_access] GDC 2008: VERY Bad News

>>>

>>>

>>>>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

>>>>>_______________________________________________

>>>>>games_access mailing list

>>>>>games_access at igda.org

>>>>>http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access

>>>>>

>>>>>

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>>>>

>>>>_______________________________________________

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>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>_______________________________________________

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>>>

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>>

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