[games_access] Games for All research

Reid Kimball reid at rbkdesign.com
Tue Jul 31 22:50:34 EDT 2007


You are right Michelle, this new branding of "Games for All" came out
of my desire to speak in the language that mainstream developers are
speaking. After reading some articles and what I hear from my own
co-workers, broadening the appeal of games to a wider audience is a
very important and easily understood problem for the industry. We no
doubt have seen and attended sessions at GDC that talked about this
and presented the concept of "game accessibility" in other ways
besides appealing to disabled gamers.

Developers seem to be more comfortable adapting their game so it can
be played by novice gamers, they understand their problems more and
are actively developing many different solutions. However, those
solutions just so happen to be the same ones we recommend for the
disabled. What I hope to do with the article is make them aware that
we understand the fundamental issues they are trying to solve and
actually already have the solutions because of our previous focus on
those with disabilities.

-Reid

On 7/31/07, d. michelle hinn <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:

> What I like about it is that GA can mean both "Games for All" and

> "Game Accessibility." What we must be careful with is not

> disassociating ourselves with game accessibility because that's why

> we are here -- we all want social justice for gamers with

> disabilities. But we can reframe the way we present accessibility to

> the industry as a way that opens up the path for ALL gamers,

> ESPECIALLY/EVEN gamers with disabilities.

>

> I don't totally agree that "games for the disabled" has a bad

> connotation in all cases and you probably only meant to refer to the

> mainstream gaming industry -- as a SIG we are also concerned with,

> well, games designed for the disabled such as games for the blind

> that are not necessarily concerned with being accessible to those who

> are not blind. Catch 22. :) So we have to remember that we DO also

> support games that maybe only children with severe learning

> disabilities might find fun. And we also support controllers that are

> purposefully designed for those with mobility disabilities. So we

> have this side of the issue to keep in mind as well. It's out of the

> mainstream but it has a very valuable purpose.

>

> I think (and Reid, please correct me if I am wrong) that Reid is

> motivated by the question of "how can we get our accessibility

> message out in a more palatable way to the industry that is driven by

> money (not a criticism...just a reality)?" Yes, it would be great if

> we could just say "gamers with disabilities" and have a packed house

> at industry events like GDC. But it hasn't happened in five years.

> And I know that members like Reid who have been with the SIG for much

> of its entire run are getting frustrated. I'm frustrated too -- This

> past GDC was extremely disappointing because we went out on the edge

> in terms of our presentation styles (rather than the same old

> underattended roundtable discussion). It worked "better" than the

> past as far as number of people we reached but let's face it...it

> wasn't even CLOSE to the turnout we had wanted and worked so hard for.

>

> So we need to keep working on how we market "the good fight" (as

> Barrie often says) to those who can't or won't hear the message "as

> is." If we have to sugar coat things a bit to do it, that's what we

> have to do. It's not a lie -- We already know that so many

> accessibility features in all sorts of facets of technology have been

> innovative solutions to all. But we need to get that across more

> forcefully now.

>

> Reid's the new committee exec for the Industry Committee (those newly

> formed SIG committees we need to flesh out a bit better). So he's

> coming to us from that perspective and the need to move that

> committee forward. Hopefully in the next month we'll start hearing

> from other committee execs (Eelke who co-runs the Research and

> Development Committee has also put in his two cents here) about other

> projects.

>

> Michelle

>

> >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

> >> _______________________________________________

> >> games_access mailing list

> >> games_access at igda.org

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

> >>

> >

> >

> >--

> >----------------------------------------------------------------------------

> >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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