[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!


>Greetings again,

> 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.



>Mike Ellison


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>games_access at igda.org


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