[games_access] MMOG Topics for Terra Nova?

Barrie Ellis barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk
Mon May 21 14:47:53 EDT 2007


Hello Mark - nice to have you with us. Great site redesign by the way at
www.ablegamers.com - The frag pedals you have on-line were interesting -
will add these to my accessible gaming shop shortly.

Barrie
www.OneSwitch.org.uk



----- Original Message -----
From: "d. michelle hinn" <hinn at uiuc.edu>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] MMOG Topics for Terra Nova?



> Lol...well, I'm not sure why I do this, as I'm not sure it's a common

> dyslexic thing but I meant to say MARK from AbleGamers and not Mike! :)

>

> Michelle

>

>>Thanks Tim and Barrie! I'll gather together a post that covers your ideas

>>(and, no, Tim...you aren't crazy!). I have a whole bunch of posts ready to

>>go and I think I'm just going to overload the TN crowd. I like how one

>>person assumed that I was wholesale rallying AGAINST the industry -- yes,

>>in part...but only because I want people INCLUDED and not the usual "let's

>>shut down the industry" rants.

>>

>>And I'd like to welcome Mike from AbleGamers to our list! It's great to

>>have a MMOG group joining in! Mike -- please let us know some of the

>>exciting things that you are up to. We're not a huge group but we are loud

>>and passionate. Sometimes we argue but we all are on the same side -- what

>>family doesn't have it's spats now and again? :)

>>

>>Michelle

>>

>>>Excellent post, Tim. I think you've covered most of it there.

>>>

>>>I think it's worth posting up some information on

>>>http://www.ablegamers.com/ - as they are particullarly into Massively

>>>Multiplayer On-line Role Playing Games (MMORPG's). They aren't huge, but

>>>they seem a good bunch.

>>>

>>>Bit more on them here: http://ablegamers.com/content/view/16/66/

>>>

>>>I think that the partitioning idea may be essential for some gamers where

>>>they can play according to ability. I remember going to MegaZone

>>>(http://www.rayleighmegazone.co.uk/index.php?page=gallery&sub=picsub)

>>>where you wear a special flak jacket and carry a laser gun in a warehouse

>>>full of dry ice. My friends and I were obiliterated by 'hard-core

>>>gamers'. I.e. some pathetic geeky kids that probably spent all their

>>>spare time playing this game. We'd have had much more fun if they'd had

>>>their seperate gaming arena - and us - less-able - gamers our own. Can't

>>>see any problem at all in that for MMORPGs either.

>>>

>>>Anyway, my witterings done - keep chipping away. Perhaps we really do

>>>need to reassure the insecure hard-core gamers with 12-year-old-boy

>>>mentality that they can still keep their zen-master settings and gameplay

>>>alongside others being able to play their game too.

>>>

>>>Barrie

>>>www.OneSwitch.org.uk

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Chase" <agdev at thechases.com>

>>>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>>>Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 1:36 AM

>>>Subject: Re: [games_access] MMOG Topics for Terra Nova?

>>>

>>>>>I have LOTS of ideas for posts but I don't think that they

>>>>>will be received well by the Terra Nova crowd -- if anyone

>>>>>can help me think through how to post about a particular

>>>>>topic, even if it's only very narrowly related, I'd

>>>>>appreciate it!

>>>>

>>>>In these forums (forae?) at TN and on other popular gaming

>>>>boards, I repeatedly see a couple issues thrown in the face

>>>>of efforts here:

>>>>

>>>>1) adding accessibility features "dumbs down" the game

>>>>removing the fun/challenge for the hard-core gamers;

>>>>

>>>>2) equating the accomodation of all disabilities with

>>>>accomodating even *some* disabilities; and

>>>>

>>>>3) the difficulty of adding certain accessibility features

>>>>to MMOG worlds

>>>>

>>>>Yes, it's hard to be all things to all people without it

>>>>dominating the design of the game--an aspect that may churn

>>>>the stomach of even the most socially-minded game designer.

>>>>However, even small advances on any of these fronts may make

>>>>significant headway for accessibility in gaming.

>>>>

>>>>For #1, there are repeated themes of how *certain* features

>>>>added for accessibility benefit all gamers. Things like

>>>>remappable controls or [CC] are often mentioned. Also, a

>>>>variety of difficulty levels, though not mentioned quite as

>>>>much, offer entry points for the casual gamer, but allow for

>>>>deeper challenges for the "industrial-strength" gamer.

>>>>

>>>>Just because a game offers remappable controls doesn't mean

>>>>hard-core gamers are going to be impared by it. Just

>>>>because someone can turn on [CC] and play with the audio off

>>>>while their wife/kids are sleeping, doesn't mean they have

>>>>some advantage over other folks. And if a hard-core gamer

>>>>finds the "easy" level too easy, well, that's their own dumb

>>>>fault and they should crank up the difficulty.

>>>>

>>>>Requiring less complex controls (whether as drastic as

>>>>one-switch or simply cutting back on the 20-buttons, 2

>>>>D-pads, 2 analog sticks, and 6 DoF gyro controls) makes the

>>>>game more accessibile not just to folks with mobility

>>>>problems, but to casual gamers in general. Cell-phone games

>>>>and one-switch games seem to be made for each other and for

>>>>marketing to the casual gamer.

>>>>

>>>>With #2, I think it would be helpful to enhance our

>>>>suggestions/top-10 list with annotations regarding the

>>>>difficulty to implement such a feature, how it impacts game

>>>>design, and how it helps reach a larger demographic (and how

>>>>large that market-increase is). The idea of creating a game

>>>>for the Who's _Tommy_ scares a lot of folks. When we

>>>>mention the word "accessibility", folks see a

>>>>black-and-white world in which a game is either

>>>>inaccessibile, or the "deaf, dumb, and blind kid [that] sure

>>>>plays a mean pinball" can play it. Perhaps clarifying that

>>>>there's a gradient of accessibility would soften our

>>>>message. While, yes, it would be great to make games that

>>>>Tommy can play against the hard-core gamer where they're

>>>>both on an equal footing, there's also a range of less

>>>>drastic measures that game designers can incorporate that

>>>>allow them to retain freedom of design while still

>>>>increasing their audience.

>>>>

>>>>The third item is one of the hardest and something that's

>>>>not been discussed quite so much on the list. A number of

>>>>features for accessibility come at odds with these worlds,

>>>>often because they mirror the same barriers that the real

>>>>world presents. Some of the items in our top-10 are

>>>>difficult if not impossible to implement in such a world:

>>>>

>>>>- slowing the game down like bullet-time impacts the whole

>>>> world, or

>>>>- giving everybody access to auto-aiming reduces the

>>>> challenge for those crazy hard-core gamers, and unlevels

>>>> some of the playing field

>>>>- adding [CC] becomes more difficult because there's not

>>>> just a pre-scripted set of lines that the audio department

>>>> records, but you have live voice-chat that doesn't [CC]

>>>> easily

>>>>- a broad range of difficulties is hard to implement when

>>>> the hard-core gamers are in the same world as those that

>>>> need easier challenges

>>>>

>>>>Theoretically, one could use voice recognition software to

>>>>do dynamic [CC] of voice-chat, but voice recognition

>>>>software still has a long way to go, and sucks up a lot of

>>>>processor time/power from games that may want it.

>>>>

>>>>I understand that some MMOGs have a partitioned world in

>>>>which the newbies (and those that need the "easy" setting)

>>>>can gain their footing. This is an elegant solution to the

>>>>problem, that players can stay in such a world as long as

>>>>they want/need, and venture into harder partitions as their

>>>>skills grow or as they need more difficulty.

>>>>

>>>>Perhaps a way to address some of the disparity in the world

>>>>is to make it publicly known which settings a person is

>>>>using and perhaps partition players by assistive

>>>>technologies; or reduce assistance as the player levels-up.

>>>>Or newbie players in the sandbox world may have very sloppy

>>>>aiming where auto-assist helps them. However, as they level

>>>>up, or adventure into more challenging sectors of the

>>>>universe, the auto-assist features start dialing back. This

>>>>could allow a player that needs assistive features to still

>>>>play, but also allow the hard-core gamers to get their fix

>>>>of difficulty.

>>>>

>>>>Anyways, if you've read this far and haven't written me off

>>>>as a loonie yet, thanks for playing the audience to my

>>>>long-winded ramblings. Michelle, I don't know if any of

>>>>this is helpful fodder for future postings, but it's mostly

>>>>a brain-dump of my reactions to some of these myths and

>>>>mis-impressions I see on such gaming boards when the topic

>>>>of accessibility comes up.

>>>>

>>>>-tim

>>>>

>>>>_______________________________________________

>>>>games_access mailing list

>>>>games_access at igda.org

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

>>>>

>>>

>>>

>>>

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