[games_access] New Member and thoughts about legislation
d. michelle hinn
hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue Dec 4 22:32:46 EST 2007
Hey Michael -- great to see you here and great to see your support.
Don't worry -- I'm sure we'll come up with an idea for you to program
away on! :)
Welcome again! You did enter into the midst of a heated debate -- I
should have warned you that it was in progress. Not that posting was
bad -- it's always encouraged. But you probably just didn't realize
how heated things were on the topic. We have a lot of passionate
people on board!
> I think I managed to mail the bounce folder directly the first
>time, thanks for catching that Michelle!
>I'm gonna back out of the legislation/petition discussion for now.
>As far as why the game industry, and the software industry as a whole,
>don't currently make their products accessible - here's the reasons I
>1.) It's expensive, and the relative financial return on investment is
>small. Same reason why there aren't many games ported to Macintosh or
>2.) We don't know how, or aren't aware of the specific problems our
>products may present to each type of disability. I've worked on
>products where all the indicators were little circles of different
>colors. Changing them to be different shapes as well as different
>colors took about 5 minutes, but the original implementors hadn't ever
>thought about anyone having difficulty telling the difference between
>green, yellow, and red circles and no one had complained. Someone
>just had to point out the problem and provide an easy solution.
>Here's my thoughts on solutions to the above. I don't know if I'm
>adding anything new idea-wise, but as an engineer looking for ways to
>help I'm still currently looking for a problem to solve ;)
>1.) First, solve any problems that can be solved by third-party
>software for multiple games. This is where you'll get the most bang
>for the buck, and it means you get benefit from it now on multiple
>products. It also provides examples for the software industry to
>follow on what actually works. I don't know what the problems that
>are left in this category are right now - I see a lot of specialist
>software to solve different accessibility problems, but I don't know
>what works and what doesn't or what's been left out.
>2.) Second, make generic libraries that can be integrated by game
>developers that provide those functions as easily and transparently as
>possible - and preferably make them open and free for the developers
>to use using BSD-style licenses (not GPL ones). If possible, get
>these libraries integrated with the big game development libraries
>like Miles Sound System, Microsoft's DirectX and XBox SDKs, Sony's
>SDKs, etc. so that any new major game gets the features for free. The
>cheaper and easier it is for game developers to make their games
>accessible, the more likely they will.
>3.) Third, keep doing what ya'll are doing for awareness. It got me
>here, others will come. I do think that specifically targetting Open
>Source groups will get you a lot of mileage in the long run, although
>there will be a lot of false starts in the process (fair warning: when
>people are doing things for free in their spare time, the stuff can
>get derailed easily by events in the individuals' lives. Try not to
>get too frustrated by this. Best defense against it is to get multiple
>people working together on projects so that leadership can be
>transferred if a problem arises).
>4.) Finally, keep trying to change the design process of video games
>to be more inclusive to those with disabilities. As you already know,
>this part will be extremely hard in a lot of cases, and it will affect
>the game as a whole for everyone. In a lot of cases there will be
>tradeoffs between accessibility and normal gameplay that require a lot
>of thought and time. The fact that most development efforts are
>*already* behind schedule, over budget, and are throwing out features
>they wanted left and right won't help. It's definitely worth doing,
>I'm glad ya'll are doing it, but I think it's the hardest and slowest
>I'd like to have a shot at my #1 up there. If it looks like I'm doing
>something useful and enjoying it, I'll toss around the idea for #2
>(libraries) and see if I can find others interested in it as well.
>So, what software would be useful?
>I've taken a look at the QuadController, but aside from pictures and
>video I don't have any experience with it. It looks like the PC
>version installs as a native game device with one joystick, some
>toggles, and a few buttons. It also looks like they've got some form
>of Joystick->Mouse emulation available for it that could work both
>with games and with normal applications.
>What are the common hurdles you currently face interacting with modern
>games that existing hardware and software don't fix? Are there
>problems still around that could be generalized and solved by external
>software for multiple games? I can put just about any kind of
>interface up inside modern PC games and/or reroute just about any kind
>of input switches you can throw at me into any other kind of input or
>output. I may be able to slow down or change the rendering behavior
>of a lot of modern PC games, but it'll depend on how they're written.
>Let me know if there's something I can do that'd be useful.
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