[games_access] epilepsy and gaming

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Tue Jun 5 19:34:19 EDT 2007


but technically it is possible to measure the change in luminancy for
each pixel and when this exceeds a certain treshold you are entering
"epilepsy" zone. Not necesarily going from 0 to 1 is dangerous but
doing this multiple times back and forth is. You would be talking
about measuring the 2nd derivative of the value of the pixel and store
that into an additional framebuffer. When a series of adjacant pixels
exceeds a particular treshold you detected a flickering scene.


Here's a paper that talks about a plastic filter which you put on top
of your tv screen, but I think its possibly to do it in software and
make it available as a gui component. You can offer a game option
called epilepsy filter on which blanks the screen for a few seconds as
soon as a flicker sequence is detected. Not very usable or playable.

Cheers Eelke

On 6/5/07, Tess Snider <malkyne at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 6/5/07, Eelke Folmer <eelke.folmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> > I wonder what kind of guidelines game developers have to follow to

> > prevent people getting epileptic seizures? 50 million people worldwide

> > suffer from epilepsy. Maybe game developers can offer an epilepsy safe

> > mode which disables stroboscopic light effects in their games. (though

> > only 5% of the people with epilepsy are affected by strobe lights,

> > according to wikipedia)


> Traditional light-gun games use an old technique which requires

> strobing the screen rapidly, for them to work at all. These are

> potentially highly unsafe for strobe-sensitive players, and can't

> really be made safe. However, I expect that the Wii -- and some other

> recent hardware developments -- will probably render this entire

> method obsolete, eventually.


> Many games have epilepsy warnings, just to be on the safe side

> (especially after the Pokemon debacle in Japan). If frame rates are

> running smoothly enough, modern games should only be dangerous if

> there's a deliberate strobing effect (say, lightning, for example),

> but it can be hard to predict how the game might respond to every

> possible thing a player might do with it (say, casting a bright spell

> over and over really fast, or banging up against a collision volume

> repeatedly), so it's safer, from a legal perspective, to put the

> warning on everything.


> A sufficiently jerky, unresponsive, low-framerate, or otherwise

> non-smooth game experience can make even a non-epileptic get pretty

> darn sick. (We used to call this "VR Sickness" when I worked in

> telerobotics.) I, myself, have been known to feel ill from low

> ceilings, undulating cameras, and bad collision jitter. Back in the

> days before camera-bob became optional, Doom was practically

> synonymous with *BLOORCH* for some people.


> I'm feeling green just thinking about it!


> Tess

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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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