[games_access] Ideas for GDC 2008

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Thu May 24 22:09:15 EDT 2007

Hi all,

I think I pitched this idea sometime ago when we were having this big
conflict ;-) but I'd like to pitch it again because I seriously would
like you guys to consider this.

It's pretty obvious after the low turnouts of our events that game
developers are just not interested in what we have to say so why
don't we do something more rebellious and just shove the facts in
their face? My idea for next year's GDC would be to stand right
outside the Moscone center (between the north and west pavilion where
at least 5000 game developers walk by) with a number of disabled
people holding signs saying WE WANT ACCESSIBLE GAMES. If we really
want to get attention I think this is what we should do. At the same
time we can hand out small flyers. Lets make four different little
flyers (so people can collect or trade them ;-) (combine it with the
persona idea) for each disability one little flyer which obviously
states a) a problem b) a solution(s). E.g. "tim" is a quadripleghic,
sees gears of war on tv all the time but can't play it because it
doesn't support his quad controller (maybe not use names of existing
games not to piss of epic studios). Solutions : "allow configurable
keys and map actions to different buttons & use autoaim to minimize
the amount of interaction".

I don't know if you would be into this, or whether it would be
appropriate but I think its an idea at least worth exploring.

Cheers Eelke

On May 23, 2007, at 1:25 PM, d. michelle hinn wrote:

> The main thing to consider (worry about) is that the fewer sessions

> we have (and the expo doesn't count), the fewer passes we get that

> allow us to get into the main part of GDC. So we reallllly have to

> think about the number of sessions we could realistically do (and

> perhaps this means that the SIG sponsors sessions that are meant

> for, say, "research on accessibility" that just a few people take

> and run with). So...I need to be tricky...er...innovative. ;)


> Michelle


>> I like something along these lines for a GDC session title,


>> Innovation: True Next Generation Gameplay for Everyone


>> However, it risks sounding like marketing hype and devs see right

>> through that. Anyway, this could be our "wow that's cool shit"

>> type of

>> presentation where we talk about the Demor sound based game for the

>> blind and Brain Fingers and the Haptic device. We try to make this as

>> flashy and cool as possible, even if tech isn't 100% there or games

>> widely available. It should be entertaining for people who like to

>> see

>> what's around the corner and educational in showing people that there

>> are those with disabilities that can't play their current games.


>> Aside from that, I'd like to try the Expo booth more than a GDC

>> session. There's only a few ways I can talk about closed captioning

>> and I think I've tried them all.


>> -Reid




>> On 5/21/07, d. michelle hinn <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:

>>> Ok...so now's the time to get the write ups going for the proposed

>>> SIG sessions for GDC 2008 (it always takes us a bit to get things

>>> finalized and GDC is even earlier in 2008) and I some ideas that I

>>> want to run past people.


>>> 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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>>> games_access at igda.org

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


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Eelke Folmer Assistant
Department of Computer Science & Engineering/171
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557
Game Quality usability|accessibility.eelke.com

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