[games_access] Games for All research

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Tue Jul 31 20:02:46 EDT 2007

Hi Reid,

I totally agree with you! Like i've said before in the past I think
games for disabled just has a bad conotation. Same with the term
"accessibility" i think it just freaks out game developers since they
are already so stressed out with trying to stay in business. Games for
All solves the same basic problems yet also makes clear that your not
developing for the exclusive "few" but for a huge market that has
previously been ignored. The wii & nintendo DS clearly proves that
there is a market beyond the hardcore gamer.

Providing different interaction modes for different gamers (where one
button would be suitable for elderly/ disabled), some in between modes
for kids (see for example viva pinata who offers you to choose between
a regular interaction mode and a simple one), and some more advanced
mode for the experienced, you could even go for interaction modes that
are even more advanced for the die hards, is in my opinion definately
the future of games.

As you pointed out one thing that differentiates disabled from
"novice" gamers is that novice gamers can improve their skills to some
extent (i think this is true for disabled too, since robert would
probably kick my ass with the matrix game ;-) so the problem will be
what kind of interaction is suitable for which player at which point?
E.g. a novice player may start out with a basic navigation mode but
will require the advanced at some point. Should the game suggest
moving to advanced more at some stage and will this confuse the player
or not? what if the players performance goes down with the advanced
controls? Its an interesting question and it is something that we are
investigating right now with our one button FPS.

Our idea is to create a number of different interaction "modes"
varying between a one button control to being able to fully control
the game. For simplicity we created the following four modes:
1. fire (one button)
2. aim + fire (moving goes automatically)
3. move + fire (aiming goes automatically)
4. move + aim + fire

The game starts out at a one button, if you play well for a while you
go to mode 2 or 3. if that goes well you move to mode 4. (we just
assume the player is not limited by any physical contraints and is
able to control the game in that particular mode, if not we will be
able to observe that by a decrease in performance in case we switch
back to a simpler mode). I'm just curious to see if this would work
and whether users will get confused or will find it helpful.

Cheers Eelke

On 7/31/07, Reid Kimball <reid at rbkdesign.com> wrote:

> 0_o... no one showed up to the meeting on Tuesday morning, here's what

> I wanted to talk about.


> Some of you have heard about my suggestion to begin talking about our

> work in a larger context of "Games for All" instead of "Games for the

> Disabled". I suggest this because I see an increasing trend from

> publishers and developers showing great interest in making their games

> more accessible, using the same techniques and methods we advocate.

> However, they are applying these approaches not to the disabled, but

> to the novice gamer who has never played before. The industry wants to

> continue this growth and the only way they believe they can do that is

> to broaden our reach to people who don't play games. Luckily, their

> approaches also benefit those who are disabled, for the most part.


> I think our new approach when talking with developers should be to

> highlight, that we can help them make Games for All, and as an added

> benefit, most features will already help disabled to play their games

> without them having to do anything extra.


> As an example, Peter Molyneux, famed game designer is working on Fable

> 2 which features a one button combat system.


> "I want as many people to play this game as humanly possible," series

> visionary Peter Molyneux told us as he began the demo. "To do that,

> it's all about making the experience as accessible as possible, and

> doing that comes down to this," he said, holding up the 360

> controller. The key to accessibility is simplifying the controls so

> anyone can pick up and play the game, he argues. "Action-RPGs like

> Fable are 60 percent combat," he said, "so we absolutely have to get

> that right. If we're going to make it so that anyone can play this, we

> need to simplify things. In Fable 2, all of the combat is executed

> with one button."

> Source - http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3161110


> EA Sports has announced a new control mode in some of their sports

> games called Family Play.


> "EA SPORTS Family Play on the Wii creates an incredibly accessible and

> user-friendly experience that the whole family will enjoy," said Dave

> McCarthy, Executive Producer for the three games developed at EA

> Canada. "While many fans love to control every piece of the action,

> novice players can have just as much fun jumping in to throw a

> touchdown pass, nail a three pointer or take a shot on goal. Family

> Play brings together fans of all ages to enjoy playing EA SPORTS

> games, and even let's them ease in to Advanced play if they desire."

> Source - http://games.ign.com/articles/801/801917p1.html


> LucasArts, the company I work for is in the this same mindset, that we

> must find ways to make our games more accessible so that we can

> attract people who don't normally play games.


> Because of this recent trend and our ability to position ourself as a

> leader in this area, I'm doing some research. I believe that novice

> players might experience the same exact control issues that disabled

> people do. The only difference is that the novice player is able to

> improve their skills to overcome the physical and mental barriers they

> first experience. I'd like more thoughts on this, data that proves

> this to be true. The only thing I've found yet is this artice,


> http://primotechnology.com/issues/004/04/warrior-woman.html, in it I

> think I've found many quotes that point to the same kinds of physical

> AND learning disabilities as Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia.


> In the end, I'd like to produce an article for Gamasutra with quotes

> from Peter Molyneux, Will Wright, Sid Meir, EA and anyone else I can

> find talking about the value of making Games for All and problems and

> solutions encountered.


> -Reid

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Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor
Department of CS&E/171
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557
Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com

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