[games_access] Sid Meier and Barry Caudill Sit Down WithAbleGamers

Barrie Ellis barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk
Tue Jun 26 02:59:38 EDT 2007


100% in agreement with you. Perhaps with the new IGDA page - a "How You Can
Help Now!" page could be a good start with some useful contacts and some
example letters. Perhaps a petition such as the Closed Caption one and then
for us to contact influential groups, web-sites and individuals putting them
our way.

I don't know about you lot, but I think the most important thing we need to
do to pull all our work together is to get our IGDA/Accessibility web-site
going. We need it easy to follow and to have place holders for the important
stuff missing. I think most other things need to be secondary at this
time...

I'll take a look at the WIKI when I get a chance and update a little, but we
certainly need to be doing this as a collective. Any news, Michelle on us
getting the go ahead for the main site?

Barrie
www.OneSwitch.org.uk


----- Original Message -----
From: "Reid Kimball" <reid at rbkdesign.com>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 2:06 AM
Subject: Re: [games_access] Sid Meier and Barry Caudill Sit Down
WithAbleGamers



>I thought the interview was great because it highlighted a big

> information gap between the disabled and game developers. I wish we

> could attract a larger following of disabled gamers and empower them

> to contact developers and give them the needed info. A large community

> of disabled gamers advocating for themselves can contact more

> developers than we can since we are such a small group and don't have

> the luxury of national exposure. Even if we did, it's still hard to

> reach everyone. It wasn't until Valve software received a lot of

> requests for the game script did they think of adding captions to

> their game. I get the feeling sometimes, maybe I'm wrong, that when we

> approach developers, they think we're trying to sell them something

> and get turned off and tune out. Yet, if we could get a whole

> community of hundreds, thousands of disabled gamers politely

> expressing the difficulties they face playing the next Splinter Cell

> or Ratchet and Clank game and then point the devs to our solutions, it

> could have a positive impact.

>

> -Reid

>

> On 6/25/07, Ioo <ioo at ablegamers.com> wrote:

>> Thanks for the plug...

>>

>>

>> Mark Barlet

>>

>>

>> Barrie Ellis wrote:

>> > Great interview, cribbed from AbleGamers:

>> > http://ablegamers.com/content/view/41/63/... We should get in touch

>> > with them too I think...

>> >

>> > Barrie

>> > www.OneSwitch.org.uk <http://www.OneSwitch.org.uk>

>> >

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

>> >

>> > Written by Mark C. Barlet

>> > Saturday, 26 May 2007

>> >

>> > I have been working on getting able gamers an interview with the

>> > legendary Sid Meier for over a year. Sending my first inquiry to

>> > Firaxis on May 18, 2006. At the time we received a positive response,

>> > but it seemed the activities around Railroads! caused our interview to

>> > be derailed. So I was all excited when a little over a month ago I was

>> > able to get the attention of the folks at Firaxis again. In short,

>> > Ablegamers was able to get an interview from Firaxis, but Sid was to

>> > busy for the interview. I admit I am disappointed, the views of

>> > someone as legendary as Sid would help the plight of disabled gamers

>> > all over the world, because when Sid talks, game developers listen. He

>> > was able to give us an opening statement, and for that I am grateful.

>> >

>> > That being said, Barry Caudill, Executive Producer, Firaxis Games sat

>> > down with us. Now I admire Barry a l lot, and he and I have a lot in

>> > common, he is a musician, as am I. He also started life as in the

>> > Quality Assurance department, and I have been in QA for 12 years,

>> > currently heading a QA department here in the tech corridor of

>> > Northern Virginia. Someday I hope to have Barry's job, just don't tell

>> > him.

>> >

>> > I am still holding out for an interview with Sid...

>> >

>> > Sid Meier:

>> >

>> > Hello AbleGamers!

>> >

>> > We're happy that Mark approached us for an interview. Its been a great

>> > introduction to your website and the start of what we hope to be a

>> > mutually beneficial relationship with your community. We want our

>> > games to be played and enjoyed by as many people as possible, and

>> > we're always looking for ways to achieve that goal. Firaxis has a very

>> > active and vocal fan community and the thoughts, ideas and concerns we

>> > hear from them have a big impact on the games we make. We invite you

>> > to become part of our community and look forward to hearing from you.

>> > Stay Civilized,

>> >

>> > Sid Meier

>> >

>> > *Ablegamers:* Do you take into account this large disabled segment of

>> > the US population (comparable to other nations as well) when

>> > developing games?

>> >

>> > *Barry Caudill: *We do make attempts to accommodate as many people as

>> > possible when designing our games. For example, we did include the

>> > ability to map any key to any action when we were developing Pirates.

>> > Mostly we work to support the predominant control systems available

>> > (keyboard, mouse, gamepad, joystick) wherever we can so people can

>> > choose what they want to use where it makes sense. We would be

>> > interested in hearing more about what the disabled community needs

>> > from our games.

>> >

>> > *AG:* Do you think that the disabled demographic is an underutilized

>> > market for mainstream games?

>> >

>> > *BC:* I have no frame of reference from which to answer this question.

>> > I think you'd be a better judge of that.

>> >

>> > *AG:* What is Firaxis Games doing to support the people with

>> > disabilities within the gaming community?

>> >

>> > *BC:* There is such a wide range of disabilities which makes it

>> > challenging to know exactly what players with disabilities need in

>> > games. We've made some accommodations with keyboard mapping, better

>> > user interfaces, and more graphic visuals and sound. Again, we're open

>> > to hearing more from disabled folks in the gaming community, we want

>> > everyone to enjoy our games

>> >

>> > *AG:* When you take a game into beta testing, have you ever

>> > intentionally brought people in that are disabled?

>> >

>> > *BC:* No we haven't specifically looked for people with disabilities

>> > for our beta testing teams. We want folks who are passionate about our

>> > games - we don't ask questions about their physical and mental

>> > abilities when looking for testers. Having said that, there may well

>> > be folks with disabilities on our beta teams, they just haven't

>> > identified themselves as such.

>> >

>> > *AG:* I know a few that would help (*Wink*)

>> >

>> > *BC:* We can always use more help (wink right back atcha ;) and we'd

>> > welcome your participation.

>> >

>> > *AG: *Simple changes to game interfaces, such as the ability to custom

>> > map actions to the keyboard or other input devices on the market (many

>> > for people with disabilities), or alternatives to the drag and drop

>> > (very hard for many) could make games better gamers with disabilities

>> > as well as those without.

>> >

>> > Do you think it is worth a developer's time to add these features to

>> > games?

>> >

>> > *BC:* I think we are in favor of adding anything that helps people

>> > play the game - provided it doesn't somehow hamper the overall

>> > intended game experience.

>> >

>> > *AG:* Nate, my partner in crime on AbleGamers.com, has a

>> > motor/muscular disorder; he says the best way for a fully able bodies

>> > person to understand what it is like to suffer from tremors or tactile

>> > issues is to try imagining the following scenarios: That one or both

>> > of your arms has fallen asleep, how well could you play the game? That

>> > you are shivering from the cold, how would that affect playability?

>> >

>> > Imagining that, would you still want to play the games you loved? If

>> > so, how would you do it?

>> >

>> > *BC: *I don't have a clue. It's incredibly hard for me to imagine

>> > exactly how I would feel under such circumstances and it's equally

>> > hard to imagine not being able to play the games I love. If Nate has

>> > some ideas to share with us we'd like to hear them.

>> >

>> > *AG:* Let me ask you something that has stumped me. There are 7.9

>> > Million people in the US who have a vision-related disability, with

>> > 1.8 million unable to see at all (according to the US Census Bureau),

>> > do you think main-stream gaming industry could do a better job trying

>> > to make games accessible to the visually impaired? Any ideas how?

>> >

>> > *BC:* The mainstream gaming industry is a very visual medium so it's

>> > definitely a challenge figuring out how to create the full game

>> > experience for the visually impaired. I think there could be an

>> > alternative kind of game designed around auditory clues or other forms

>> > of sensory perception. Games like this would probably require some

>> > form of private funding to get off the ground.

>> >

>> > *AG:* In addition, before we go, we at AbleGamers.com want to thank

>> > you for your time, I am sure that you are a very busy man with the

>> > expansion to Civ4 and maybe a Railroads! expansion also being worked

>> > on.

>> >

>> > So my last few questions:

>> >

>> > Has this interview made you further consider the issue of people with

>> > disabilities and how they play video games?

>> >

>> > *BC:* Yes it has. I'm looking forward to hearing more from the

>> > community with ideas on how we can make our games more accessible.

>> >

>> > *AG:* Will you factor that thought into currently developing games, or

>> > future works?

>> >

>> > *BC:* It will remain a part of the design discussions and we will do

>> > our best to make accommodations where we can.

>> >

>> > *AG:* Any final thoughts on this subject?

>> >

>> > *BC:* Thanks for the interview and keep the feedback coming.

>> >

>> > *AG:* What are you working on now? What can we look forward to from

>> > such a famed game designer?

>> >

>> > *BC:* We're working on a game that could very well be the best game

>> > we've ever made. Stay tuned for more details soon!

>> >

>> >

>> >

>> > Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 June 2007 )

>> >

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

>> >

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

>> >

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>> > games_access at igda.org

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

>> >

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