[games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Sat Nov 17 14:55:39 EST 2007

Hi Robert,

Yes, the book is still on the agenda -- we had to switch editor contacts with the publisher, as the woman we were working with left for a different opportunity not related to games. So that's slowed things down. As soon as things get settled down a bit more with the publisher we'll be able to provide more information such as dates, etc.

Re: submissions -- what is meant by this is proposals for papers and/or talks that would be given at the one day accessibility conference. It's like the submission process to be able to speak at conferences such as GDC.

Re: May -- The initial worry was from Eelke who wasn't sure if he could make it but there was also the "is May too short a time frame to get the one day conference ready" questions. Since Ben's group is handling the conference logistics such as getting hotel conference room contracts, etc, this means that we can focus on the content and so May isn't that scary a target date. Basically I think that after I took a personal loss of $5000 from E for All (money that I'm not likely going to get back), this was concerning that it could happen again. But this is far from the same situation so we don't have to worry about that.

At this point we have this initial funding but there are no plans to pay for staff right now. For example, I easily spend close to (and often more than) 40 hours a week on the SIG, all volunteer, and I don't expect that will change for a while. Right now the funds are giving us badly needed money to, for example, create high quality SIG materials to increase visibility -- this is money we have never had before. This will hopefully help us gain more matching funds (in addition to the ones we are already trying to get) so that at some point we can pay people small stipends for their time. But for now our focus should not be on salary because if we focused on that we'd be left with no money to actually afford to fund the activities that help get information out to a much wider audience to make games more accessible.


---- Original message ----

>Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2007 14:10:48 -0500

>From: "Robert Florio" <arthit73 at cablespeed.com>

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games Accessibility

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


>Hi Michelle about seeing how many games we can directly impact also the book

>is that book still in progress from our group to be published. When will it

>be written and who is writing it and how ?


>The other thing where you suggesting that it's difficult to come out to a

>conference personally yourself in May for what Ben is organizing or you mean

>all of us it's too short of the time frame I'm not sure if that's what you



>What did you mean by a submission process I'm not sure what would that be

>submitting their ideas or submitting games or possibly research? I hope

>this comes across the right way I am just curious just want to understand

>what you mean.




>-----Original Message-----

>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]

>On Behalf Of hinn at uiuc.edu

>Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 5:17 PM

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games



>A couple comments -- I agree that it would be nice if we could have a ways

>to see how many games we have directly impacted. This is something like what

>Microsoft Research does as an alternative job evaluation mechanism for those

>who largely work on a single project that on it's own isn't "sellable" but

>is something that they can show directly impacts, say, 1 game, excel, word,

>and 4 more products. I don't see this as something to judge the "whole SIG"

>on but it is one thing that could add to the overall picture.


>A conference by May 2008 might be tough -- this is something to discuss. But

>an option is doing what other conferences have had their start doing -- have

>those of us already doing research give our papers but then the following

>year focus on getting more people outside of the SIG through a submission

>process. Also, the IGDA is very supportive of our SIG (and others) having a

>conference and Jason has said that the management group they work with could

>also help with all the stuff that's "too much" for us (ie, the

>registrations, hotel space rentals, etc). That was we don't have another E

>for All situation where I learn "all the things we never wanted to know

>about expos" and then I'm personally out $5 grand. :|




>---- Original message ----

>>Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 11:14:59 -0800

>>From: Eelke Folmer <eelke.folmer at gmail.com>

>>Subject: Re: [games_access] Games for Health to Invest in Games


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




>>This is great news! good job!


>>- A good metric for this SIG's success could also be the number of

>>games that we were able to make more accessible. (Not by us but by

>>game developers).

>>- I am submitting a number of NSF proposals with the sole purpose to

>>gain more insights and understanding on what makes games more

>>accessible. I can share my personal research roadmap with you off the

>>mailinglist if you want.

>>- standalone conference; I welcome a research oriented conferences,

>>since there is plenty of research to do in this area and It would be

>>nice to get more researchers involved in this SIG. I would go but I

>>don't know whether we can attract the number of people that we would

>>like by as early as next may 2008. I know some researchers that do

>>work in game accessibility but are not part of the SIG.


>>Cheers Eelke



>>On Nov 16, 2007, at 5:54 AM, Ben Sawyer wrote:


>>> Hi everyone,


>>> I've got some big news. As many of you saw Games for Health is

>>> part of a new round of investment by The Robert Wood Johnson

>>> Foundation into games and healthcare. We're extremely excited

>>> about this new development.


>>> As part of our specific grant we have allocated resources

>>> specifically to support the IGDA Accessibility community.


>>> Over the next two years we will directly contribute funds to SIG

>>> activities. The amount is set but I can't reveal it yet as much as

>>> I want to because I'm actually looking to make it more by finding

>>> some other organizations who will join us with matching funds.

>>> Right now I can tell you this - it's more then $10,000.


>>> The funds will be used to support your activities but there are of

>>> course some simple strings. Basically the funds will be released

>>> once there is a written plan in place that provides for how and

>>> what the funds will be spent on. That plan needs my approval and

>>> subsequently I have to have the approval of the foundation for all

>>> my work. I don't want it to sound dictatorish -- I'm pretty

>>> liberal for what they should be used for but my basic goals are as

>>> follows:


>>> 1. I'd like to see the community double is size as outlined by some

>>> simple metrics (i.e. number of subscribers to the listserv, number

>>> of people in the industry you are in regular contact with, number

>>> of talks in front of audiences, etc.)


>>> 2. I'd like to see the community produce some written plans that

>>> outline roadmaps for better accessibility efforts -- especially

>>> research roadmap.


>>> 3. I want to establish a standalone conference on games

>>> accessibility attached to our Games for Health Conference (so we

>>> can combine logistics and hit on overlapping communities of interest).


>>> 4. I am also specifically interested in identifying and doing what

>>> we can to nurture research into how accessibility to games improves

>>> people with disabilities mentally, socially, and physically.

>>> Eventually leading to some great empirical and evidence based

>>> research published - to the extent we don't already have this.


>>> Beyond those goals I look to everyone here in the community to

>>> really drive things. So the restriction is the production of a

>>> plan that seems smartly aimed toward these goals. Within that

>>> framework the funds can support travel subsidies, creating really

>>> nice brochures, improved Web site content and access, etc.


>>> I've already discussed the gist of this with Michelle and I've

>>> asked her to produce with everyones help the plan and present it to

>>> me before the end of the year. The funds are for 2008 and 2009.


>>> Games Accessibility Conference

>>> I am very serious as I've said before in establishing a one-day

>>> conference on games accessibility along side our Games for Health

>>> Conference. We have facilities, hotel blocks, registration

>>> systems, logistical support, massive PR support, already in place

>>> for this.


>>> The date to hold this would be May 7, 2008 which is the day before

>>> Games for Health opens. It would be a one day conference with a

>>> single track to start and a demo area. We would also probably

>>> feature 2 sessions on accessibility at Games for Health on Thursday

>>> and Friday. I hope this date works for everyone as much as

>>> possible - I can't really move it. Hopefully it just works as best

>>> it can. In 2009 we hope to have more flexibility for you.


>>> I want the SIG to take on the role of developing the content. My

>>> only stipulation is 25% of the content MUST be focused on talks

>>> that explore how accessibility technologies, research, and efforts

>>> can be applied to health for people with permanent, temporary, or

>>> on-setting disabilities. The rest of the content can be focused on

>>> core needs, case studies, research, etc. that will improve the

>>> accessibility of games in general for any purpose -- especially

>>> entertainment.


>>> Speakers would attend for free. All other registrants would be

>>> charged an amount <$200 to attend. My goal is that the event be

>>> break-even or even profitable within itself. I would share 50% of

>>> the profits from the event back to the SIG by adding it to the

>>> grant funds we have available. The other funds if there is a

>>> profit would be reinvested for planning the following year, etc.


>>> We very much want to make this event happen. The Robert Wood

>>> Johnson Foundation team we work with has someone on it with deep

>>> contacts in the accessibility community and is going to talk with a

>>> variety of government agencies involved with accessibility to drive

>>> them to support this event. That becomes a doorway to driving them

>>> to support more pervasive accessibility activities.


>>> We will be promoting this event heavily to all our attendees. We

>>> will be filming parts of it, we will make an expo area available to

>>> showcase work, and we will have dedicated PR staff on the event.


>>> The event is to be held in Baltimore, MD which is served by

>>> Southwest Airlines which makes it pretty inexpensive to get to. We

>>> are also quite proximate to the federal government which is a big

>>> plus. We've got two hotels blocked out and we're searching for an

>>> ultra inexpensive block as well.


>>> My goal is to have 50-100 people attend the event. My hopes are

>>> 25-50% stay over for the rest of our event that week so yes from a

>>> total transparency standpoint I'm hoping this increases my

>>> conference's core profitability. Win-win.


>>> If there is a good sense we can pull of the conference idea as

>>> planned I want to make it part of our conference announcements in

>>> the coming weeks. I also will be including games accessibility in

>>> our call for content next week. We expect to then forward those

>>> papers to a committee formed here to accept and mold that content.

>>> I will advise you on content just from my experience of organizing

>>> events but other then the 25% requirement I really leave it to you

>>> as the experts to decide what will be important for people to hear

>>> and learn from.



>>> So hopefully you're still digesting this all but the reason I'm

>>> writing this all and providing as much information as I can is I

>>> need the following help - please reply to the list with your thoughts:


>>> 1. I do need general feedback - ask questions, provide comments, I

>>> will do my best to answer them.


>>> 2. I need NAMES of people you think are in a position or at

>>> organizations in a position to possibly decide to match our funds.

>>> I really want our funds to catalyze others to chip in. There is no

>>> reason this can't eventually snowball to generate over $100,000 or

>>> more in due time. At least that's my hope.


>>> I am already reaching out to Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, IBM and a few

>>> others. The early reception has been ok but until we release this

>>> more publicly I expect things to be slow to develop. If you give

>>> me more names I'll follow up hard.



>>> The basic outline for this all for me is as follows:


>>> 1. I want to announce the funds and the goals for them before

>>> Xmas. My goal is we have 2 other funders matching 50% or more of

>>> the funds by then so they can be named in the Press Release.


>>> 2. I want to then announce in the press release that the original

>>> funders are challenging anyone else with resources to join this

>>> funding -- as part of this I was thinking it'd be cool to setup an

>>> individual fundraising effort too - let gamers, and individual

>>> developers provide funds to match the larger gifts.


>>> 3. In order to accomplish points 1 & 2 the goal would be to have a

>>> basic plan in place because the core goals of that plan would be

>>> articulated to the public so they can understand what the funds

>>> will hopefully accomplish. Ultimately if we raised enough my hopes

>>> are it would accomplish funding development of more accessibility

>>> technologies, standards, and SDKs to make it easier for all game

>>> developers to put these features in their games. I also hope it

>>> might fund prototypes or games that are specific for people with

>>> disabilities like some of the audio only games we've seen from the

>>> community thus far.



>>> I've been following the work of the SIG and all of you here for

>>> sometime. As I've said many times the work here is extremely

>>> relevant to the work I do on serious games, and games for health.

>>> I've been hoping to bring some funds to the table to help and while

>>> it's not as much as I wanted if I can parlay it with your help into

>>> a large enough amount it hopefully can help be the fuel for the

>>> spark you've more then created.


>>> Thank you all,


>>> Ben





>>> _______________________________________________

>>> games_access mailing list

>>> games_access at igda.org

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



>>games_access mailing list

>>games_access at igda.org



>these are mediocre times and people are

>losing hope. it's hard for many people

>to believe that there are extraordinary

>things inside themselves, as well as

>others. i hope you can keep an open


> -- "unbreakable"



>games_access mailing list

>games_access at igda.org




>games_access mailing list

>games_access at igda.org


these are mediocre times and people are
losing hope. it's hard for many people
to believe that there are extraordinary
things inside themselves, as well as
others. i hope you can keep an open
-- "unbreakable"

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