[games_access] Worthwhile project?

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Fri Mar 28 18:51:16 EDT 2008


It's all in the spin -- unfortunately the duty falls on us to think
of how many more people than just disabled gamers can benefit all
while meeting the needs of disabled gamers. And getting an accurate
number of how many people have "X that affects 1, 2, and 3" versus "X
that affects 2 and 4" is a task that's going to take some major $$$
and may end up giving us more confounded info than we want/need to
make real differences. So we have to think of situations where these
changes can help grow their audience in a financial market where if
they can suddenly get 70 year olds buying console XYZ then we're
talking (ok, that was a stretch).

The financial stuff is bleak...it really is. Unfortunately we're in
an economy that SUCKS (at least for the US-based devs) and anything
that sounds risky or one extra penny in a new direction is scary. A
know a lot of people have said "get away from the financial stuff,
focus on the stories of the gamers." But the reality is after years
of dealing with companies...it's the financials at the end of the day.

And how many people WOULD be gamers if they COULD be gamers? That's
the other unknown variable. We could say that it would be the same
percentage as people without disabilities -- but were those numbers
crunched leaving OUT gamers who may game without disabilities? My
personal feeling? My gut? Is that there will be a HIGHER percentage
of gamers with disabilities than without out there with controller
changes, game changes, etc because it's one more route to having
leisure opportunities -- even movie theatres, required by law to
provide captioning of some sort do not comply. So disability and
leisure is already a bleak picture for many people with disabilities.
So I think the potential percentages of people with disabilities who
would game if they could compared with the non-disable population
would be much higher. But I can't prove that without accessible games.

Another question we are asked goes something like this "So...what
types of games do people in wheelchairs like to play?" Well, that's
like asking "So...what types of games do random people on the street
like to play?" Now an argument can be made that people with a certain
type of disability like playing certain kinds of games because they
happen to be more accessible with assistive tech they already use.
Does that mean that's the only genres they might like? We don't know.

The web accessibility people know this all too well -- every time
they turn the corner there's a NEW web tech that is inaccessible and
they start again. The thing is? If we believe that game accessibility
is the right thing to fight for, we must keep fighting. We're getting
there -- we are starting to break through. It's a tough battle -- and
it's not getting easier. But that doesn't mean we should give up
pushing for it.

Michelle


>It sounds bleak, I know, but it's the truth. With big corporations

>like that it's all about the numbers. Until we can prove how many of

>us are out there and that it wouldn't necessarily hurt their sales

>to accomodate us nothing's going to happen.

>Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

>

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

>From: <mailto:foreversublime at hotmail.com>Matthias Troup

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

>Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 3:26 PM

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Worthwhile project?

>

>How these past few messages have read to me is: "There really isn't

>a population strong enough to support the SIG's practice".

>

>Is there a different [more pleasant] spin on this? If getting the

>numbers is the problem then make the solution the first priority of

>the documentation. You can document for the next 10 years, but if

>you don't meet the client's [big company's] needs then it will be

>ignored almost as much as it is today.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>> From: b-peterson at hotmail.com

>> To: games_access at igda.org

>> Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2008 14:11:55 -0600

> > Subject: Re: [games_access] Worthwhile project?

>>

>> Exactly. We'd almost have to round up every disabled gamer and would-be

>> gamer in the world and line them all up nice an neat in front of the devs to

>> show them how many of us there actually are.

>> Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

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

>> From: "Reid Kimball" <reid at rbkdesign.com>

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

>> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:35 PM

>> Subject: Re: [games_access] Worthwhile project?

>>

>>

>> > Hi Jason,

>> >

>> > The SIG plans to make a book about Game Accessibility and I think we'd

>> > include examples of what you are proposing. There would be sections on

>> > what can be inaccessible and solutions for those issues including how

>> > to implement those solutions.

>> >

>> > Regarding Bryan's comments, they are true to some degree

>> > unfortunately. It's a catch-22, chicken and the egg kind of problem

>> > because game accessibility under the usability umbrella is a brand new

>> > concept. I have talked with many devs and publishers who have said,

>> > "We've never thought of that before." Then they ask what the numbers

>> > are, both in demographics and financial. Yet, I don't have many

>> > compelling figures to share because it is so new. As a result, they

>> > usually pass. Without the numbers developers are less likely to

>> > implement GA features, and without GA features we aren't going to get

>> > the numbers...

>> >

>> > -Reid

>> >

>> > On Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 11:02 AM, Bryan Peterson <b-peterson at hotmail.com>

>> > wrote:

>> >> The other problem though is that not all developers are willing to learn.

>> >> As

>> >> Michelle could tell you she's run into that quite a lot. THe general

>> >> opinion

>> >> is that accessibility is nice but it wouldn't work in our games. Or they

>> >> don't want to be known as an accessibility company, whatever that means.

>> >> Granted Nintendo seems open to the idea, but it still all comes down to

>> >> those colored pieces of paper with the numbers on them. Devs are usually

>> >> afraid they'll lose more of those little pieces of paper than they'll

>> >> gain

>> >> by making their games accessible.

>> >> Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.

>> >>

>> >>

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

>> >> From: "Tlaloc" <tlaloc.raingod at gmail.com>

>> >> To: <games_access at igda.org>

>> >> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 11:46 AM

>> >> Subject: [games_access] Worthwhile project?

>> >>

>> >>

>> >> > Would it be worthwhile to try an develop an "accessibility bible"

>> >> > which could then be given to game development houses making concrete

>> >> > suggestions for ways they can improve accessibility in games?

>> >> >

>> >> > I suspect a lot of developers don't really have the time to think

>> >> > about ways to make games accessible but if you put a laundry list of

>> >> > suggestions in their hands they'd at least consider some of them. I

>> >> > give an example below of a hypothetical accessibility bible entry on

>> >> > difficulty levels.

>> >> >

>> >> >

>> >> >

>> >> > DIFFICULTY LEVELS

>> >> > Description

>> >> > A difficulty selection is a common feature of games. Usually from

>> >> > three to five generic levels of difficulty can be chosen by the

>> >> > player. The difference in game play from easiest to hardest may be a

>> >> > function of the speed of game play, number of enemies, number of

>> >> > lives, difficulty of tasks, et cetera.

>> >> >

>> >> > Options to best increase accessibility

>> >> > The least desirable solution is to have a single difficulty level.

>> >> > This means the game will only be suitable to a narrow range of

>> >> > players. The more difficulty levels that are available, assuming

>> >> > there is a meaningful difference between levels, the wider range of

>> >> > people can enjoy playing.

>> >> >

>> >> > The best possible solution is to deconvolute "difficulty" into the

>> >> > component parts, and to make each selectable. For instance in a First

>> >> > Person Shooter you might have difficulty control the number of enemies

>> >> > and their accuracy. What would be better is to have two controls, one

> > >> > for the number of enemies and another for their accuracy. This not

>> >> > only allows people to better tune the game to their abilities but

>> >> > gives the game grater replay values as people explore how the game is

>> >> > different with few accurate enemies vs. hordes of inaccurate foes.

>> >> > Deconvoluting difficulty into component parts can also make testing

>> >> > easier and quicker because you have isolated variables instead of

>> >> > trying to test several changing variables at the same time and

>> >> > approximate what mix of each is "easy", "moderate", and "hard."

>> >> >

>> >> >

>> >> >

>> >> > -It's just something I wrote just now off the top of my head to give

>> >> > you an idea, I'm sure we could do a much more thorough job. What'cha

>> >> > think?

>> >> >

>> >> > Jason

>> >> > _______________________________________________

>> >> > games_access mailing list

>> >> > games_access at igda.org

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

>> >> >

>> >>

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>> >>

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>> >

>>

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