[games_access] SoundDesign

Matthias Troup foreversublime at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 3 14:26:59 EDT 2009


The slang term is "even playing field", but there's probably a snappier one-word answer. "Even playing field" is a good term because it suggests that although both sides are not exactly the same, they are balanced (Might vs. Magic, for instance).

I'm very selective about how things are phrased when it comes to eSport. Hearing people are not in advantage with no CC. Hearing people are the standard - the control group - the common demoninator. Hearing-impaired people are, however, at a disadvantage.

Unfortunately, CC does not offer equal representation of sound. Here's an example: Today I said "Good Morning" to my coworker as she passed by. She said "sdafj;asdf" at the same time. I have no idea what she said because the sounds happened at the same time. If you applied this to a game - you're attacking a monster (any one of the following: growling, gunshots, alarms, explosions) and some unrelated atmoshperic cues and other monster sounds happen but are overshadowed by the your event's sounds you wouldn't hear them. However, if you had CC you would unfairly and unrightfully see that information displayed in text. It's not just a matter of sounds overlapping one another - but also of focus. When you're focused on one thing you are less attentive to other senses. Even if you could hear something you may not be paying attention - but the more sensory cues you get - the better the chance it may grab your attention.

It's a sticky situation. Sports are like science experiments. You want an "even playing field" and have only one variable separate the competitors - their skill. From an eSport Perspective (not an accessibility perspective), the question for me would be "Should the differentiating variables only be allowed between the game avatar and the game system? Or can variables exist between the user and the game system? For years games have allowed variable changes between the user and game avatar (choosing different characters than your competitors), that in turn affect the interaction between the avatar and the game system (my avatar has different abilities than your avatar). Is it okay to bypass this so that the user can obtain different information directly from the game system and then affect his avatar?

Could it ever be perfect? Or is to make CC available to everyone "good enough"?

I think it'll be interesting in the future - perhaps medicine will be able to reverse some of these disabilities - I wonder what design conventions will live on and gamers will say "why is that option even in the game!?" or "why is that feature a standard in all games?".

Thanks for opening this discussion, Sandra.

> Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2009 14:12:11 +0200

> From: sandra_uhling at web.de

> To: games_access at igda.org

> Subject: Re: [games_access] SoundDesign


> Hi,


> well it will always be little bit unfair:


> no [CC]

> * hearing is in advantage


> [CC]

> * one who use it could be in advantage

> * special one who can also hear


> The point is that the [CC] should have "equal" information like the represented sound.

> And that is something [CC] wants to be anyway?

> I never heard about it, that [CC] will give someone an advantage :-)

> (Maybe hearing people have to train their hearing little bit more?)


> My personal opinion is, that [CC] available for everyone would be the best.



> I am looking for a term, a description of this.

> Universal Accessibility has another meaning.

> Bring them to the "same level" is also not useful.

> Does anyone has an idea?


> Best regards,

> Sandra




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