[games_access] Ideas for GDC 2008

Thomas Westin thomas at pininteractive.com
Tue May 22 17:51:40 EDT 2007


Hi,

I agree with a lot of what was said here,
__
I think the main thing is to find a way to communicate how GA can
_enable game designers_ in making new types of game play. (My mantra:
"be Yoda")

After all both MS and Sony gets their buts kicked by Nintendo who
focus on innovative interface and gameplay rather than high-end
rendering. If we can build on that I think we can start making GA
cool, as Michelle suggested, which is the hardest nut to crack to
attract game developers in general as I see it. And at the same
time, keep "accessibility" in the title.

So my vote for a title would be something like

"Pimp Your Game - with Accessibility!"

OK, I've read this long e-mail, it's getting late here but just a
quick response to the rest:

- The Arcade, definitely, one day thing - on the expo floor perhaps?
that would be really cool. Wednesday would be best for this - then we
can promote the other sessions. Perhaps this year I can video record
the Arcade so we can share it on Youtube in detail, and not only rely
on what the media selects to show?

- Other sessions, on Thursday would be ideal as we can promote them
on the Arcade/expo on Wednesday. Friday - many going home earlier,
Expo closing earlier etc. So Thursday should be the best day. Just
make sure we plan it carefully in regard to keynote speaks so we
don't have our main things at the same time. We should also have a
session talking about the book of course.

And yes, I totally agree with having a flat organization where
Michelle don't have to be in charge of all things. I think it will
also make everyone (well, me at least) more motivated to focus on one
thing than all sessions and not knowing exactly what to do where and
when. It will help us all I think.

/Thomas


> We've talked a lot already about applying accessibility to how it

> would help people that don't have a disability (like curb cuts that

> help bicyclists and parents with baby strollers, etc). What if we

> had a session called "Innovation: Game Accessibility for Able

> Gamers" with the session planned around taking what we know about

> accessibility and targeted the solutions for the "abled" in order

> to help them out by taking them out of the lull of "boring,

> predictable gaming"? This would be a session for the really "out

> there" stuff like biofeedback and games like demor. When I

> presented at last year's Montreal Game Summit, I found that it was

> the "wow" stuff that got people thinking about the whole issue of

> accessibility being "cool" -- it was the carrot that got them to

> listen to the more basic design information. After that, people

> came up to talk to me about how they never thought about

> accessibility as NOT limiting game design.

>

> I'm not totally sold on the title (I just came up with it now so

> catchier titles would be greatly appreciated!) but it would give us

> a way to present accessibility information pertaining to disabled

> gamers, sell it as something that helps more than just disabled

> gamers without straying too far from the fact that we are the game

> accessibility SIG.

>

> Another thing to think about is not how gamers is with disabilities

> are limited but, instead, how maybe the increased skill in another

> area makes them even MORE competitive and so "able" gamers should

> know about these -- it's a turn around of telling them what they

> are doing RIGHT in games by pointing out that they could even the

> score with regard to accessibility by keeping these things in their

> games (I know...that last one's trickier because it could lead to a

> developer thinking that they are unbalanced in their gameplay by

> making things easier for one user group...even though they already

> do that when they are INaccessible).

>

> I've seen how easy some find it to forget the original audience

> that a design was aiming for by making changes that end up not

> serving that original audience. So that's why I remain resistant to

> totally taking the word "accessibility" out -- I'm afraid of NOT

> reminding the industry to keep gamers with disabilities in mind

> because it's so easy for them to come down with selective amnesia.

> We've tried a LOT of tactics over the years -- from serious to

> humorous, from roundtables to much more ambitious workshops. So we

> need to think about what we've learned from the four years we've

> presented as a SIG at GDC. We won't do "accessibility idol" again

> but I think we *should* do another competition (and we can again --

> we got the tentative "thumbs up" to do an hour-long competition,

> rather than the two hour overkill). I'll write another email about

> ideas for a competition that removes us from "idol" but helps us

> better make accessibility into a challenging creative design

> process rather than this "forced, non-creative" thing that it's

> rumored to be (and this year I know to jump on the signage and web

> advert issue immediately).

>

> BUT...as a SIG I think we should stick to a fun competition (with

> the devs that showed interest last year but couldn't do it but can

> this year), the expo (with the fall back of another "arcade" thing,

> only not three days worth), a "wacky session" like "innovation,"

> and some sort of longer session (like a tutorial) where we can have

> "short burst" info about the things that SIG members have been

> doing -- ie, Eelke might take 20-30 minutes to discuss his stuff,

> Dimitris taking the same amount of time to overview his latest,

> Barrie and his stuff, etc, etc, etc. Then if any one person wants

> to do a longer presentation on their own stuff, they can do so at

> their own session, promoting it at the SIG workshop. And if it

> helps, we can present the more solo-acts as SIG-sponsored sessions

> to make sure it gets on the schedule better -- I know Reid and

> others have had a really hard time getting onto the schedule as

> solo acts. But in the end the longer presentations would be the

> onus of the person who is presenting their work and not something

> that the entire SIG needs to be there to set up for, etc (that

> doesn't mean that we all wouldn't try to be there for them!!).

>

> We learned in March that 78.4 SIG sessions (ok, 8) isn't the way to

> go but I also think going back to the single roundtable isn't the

> answer either. So now we have to find our happy medium that allows

> us to all ATTEND other sessions and help increase the buzz about

> all of our sessions, our existance, etc but also maximize our

> limited (simply by the fact that there are just a few of us that

> can make it to any one GDC) efforts in the sessions that we do. And

> we have to find our happy medium so it's not just a couple of us

> pulling all-nighters the weeks before! So instead of me being in

> charge of every session for the organization, we can share the

> wealth a bit by having some on the committee for the competition,

> others on the tutorial/workshop committee, and so forth. I realize

> that we aren't a big lot but even NON attendees can help serve on

> committees to help share ideas!

>

> Ok that's the end of this email that had started out short and

> sweet. :) Sorry -- just feeling the GDC pressure and I realllly

> want to get as many people involved as possible so we can present a

> more united effort and help best support one another!!

>

> Thoughts? Reactions? And, yes, I'm now very removed from the

> emotions of GDC 2007. :) But please be thoughtful in your

> suggestions -- underneath that black leather jacket I keep wearing

> to GDCs (for good luck?), I can get rather down sometimes (yay!

> depression!) and I'd hate for us to have a flame war. I promise I

> will count to 10 before hitting the "send" button if I find myself

> taking things too personally. Ok, deal? :)

>

> Michelle

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__________________________________
Thomas Westin
VD / CEO

Pin Interactive AB

:: Digital Culture Analysis :: Tools :: Worlds

__________________________________
Award Winning Developer
www.pininteractive.com


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