GAME ACCESSIBILITY

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BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
After reading an article on the Dyslexie font, I wondered whether game makers here have taken the need of disabled players into account when designing their work. True, controllers can be remapped, and most often dialogue is done in text, thus removing the need for subtitles, but are we choosing easy to read fonts, including visual as well as audible clues, and making certain the controls are easy to use?
Are we taking these pointers into account? In short, are we doing our best to make certain our gamers are usable by EVERYONE?
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6138
This article doesn't even mention any of the more difficult disabilities to design for.

- Blind users can use software that hooks into a computer game's text to send the text to a screen reader and read it out loud to them. However, this requires that all the text in your game be in plain text format, including in the menus and splash screens - not in images that contain drawn text. For character movement in the field you'll also need subtle sound effects when bumping into walls, and different sound effects when bumping into different types of interactive objects. Combat needs to include a skill name for every enemy skill, including normal attacks, and the text at the top of the screen needs to specify which enemy is using it instead of just naming the skill. It also will help tremendously if the battles are turn-based rather than ATB, so that the screen reader will have time to read all the skill menus and so forth.

- Mentally disabled users are probably doing just fine, as 99% of commercial games seem apparently designed for people with no brain activity may have a variety of issues that cause different aspects of games to be difficult. For example, memory issues are one of the most common mental disabilities in the world, thanks to illnesses like Alzheimers. Quest trackers that point to your current goal, quest logs that describe what you're supposed to be doing and why, and something like FF13-2's "Previously, on FF13-2!" scene that shows 30 seconds of short clips of the major events so far each time you load the game are all extremely helpful features to anyone who's having trouble with memory, or has other problems like planning that involves multiple steps.

It's of course impossible to design a game playable by people with any imaginable disability. And be careful: many of the things designed to help people with disabilities can make the game feel too easy to people without disabilities, since they reiterate the most important pieces of information multiple ways instead of testing the player's ability to notice and respond to them, so you may want to allow the player to disable these features in the menu.
author=GreatRedSpirit
This is a good site that gives good suggestions to design with accessibility in mind.

Handy! I hadn't thought about some of these before.

I hate the thought of someone wanting to play a thing I've made, but then being unable to for X reason. I mean, regardless of whether or not it's technical issues, or body issues, or mental health or whatever!

This article is about web design and colorblindness, but obviously the things he mentions apply to color schemes to games, too. I've noodled around with one of the tools mentioned, but I also know a few colorblind folks so I try to take a moment to ask "hey does this look decent". One dude I knew couldn't play fatal frame 2 since red was the color of the camera control, so he could never hit anything. Edit: Ha ha, the one LouisCyphre posted is super easier to use

I don't think devs can account for 100% of every factor that could stop someone from playing, but it doesn't hurt to make an honest effort.
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
author=LockeZ
This article doesn't even mention any of the more difficult disabilities to design for.

- Blind users can use software that hooks into a computer game's text to send the text to a screen reader and read it out loud to them. However, this requires that all the text in your game be in plain text format, including in the menus and splash screens - not in images that contain drawn text. For character movement in the field you'll also need subtle sound effects when bumping into walls, and different sound effects when bumping into different types of interactive objects. Combat needs to include a skill name for every enemy skill, including normal attacks, and the text at the top of the screen needs to specify which enemy is using it instead of just naming the skill. It also will help tremendously if the battles are turn-based rather than ATB, so that the screen reader will have time to read all the skill menus and so forth.

- Mentally disabled users are probably doing just fine, as 99% of commercial games seem apparently designed for people with no brain activity may have a variety of issues that cause different aspects of games to be difficult. For example, memory issues are one of the most common mental disabilities in the world, thanks to illnesses like Alzheimers. Quest trackers that point to your current goal, quest logs that describe what you're supposed to be doing and why, and something like FF13-2's "Previously, on FF13-2!" scene that shows 30 seconds of short clips of the major events so far each time you load the game are all extremely helpful features to anyone who's having trouble with memory, or has other problems like planning that involves multiple steps.

It's of course impossible to design a game playable by people with any imaginable disability. And be careful: many of the things designed to help people with disabilities can make the game feel too easy to people without disabilities, since they reiterate the most important pieces of information multiple ways instead of testing the player's ability to notice and respond to them, so you may want to allow the player to disable these features in the menu.
Agreed, Locke that we can't necessarily always design to cover every disability (designing for screen readers would be hard for many of us here) but clear graphics, quest logs, and other such things are all helpful, and I will definitely check out the sites you guys have recommended and recommend them to others here. I myself have ADHD.

author=PentagonBuddy
I don't think devs can account for 100% of every factor that could stop someone from playing, but it doesn't hurt to make an honest effort.
Exactly; that's what I'm getting at.
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
Who's the stud in your avatar, BTW? You or someone else? (NO sense wasting this box :)
I haven't really ever thought of this... but I'm so glad now that I know, because many of those things are simple to do. Cool!

It is indeed impossible to design for everyone, as the definition of 'game' requires some kind of challenge and rules, and any kind of challenge translates into some kind of barrier for someone.

Remove all barriers, and what you have left is a toy or a narrative, rather than a game.

So rather than designing for everyone, it's about being concious of what barriers are present in your game, and whether or not those barriers are necessary. Someone who is deaf is not going to be annoyed about not being able to play a music game, but they are going to get very annoyed about cut-scenes not being subtitled.

There are only really two ways of avoiding barriers, and they're both things that are just generally good game design practice anyway -

1. Communicate information in more than one way (e.g. symbol as well as colour, text as well as audio)

2. Give players some control over the way they want to play the game (e.g. difficulty levels, choice of input device)

If you think about accessibility early enough in the process there's a huge amount that you can do for very little effort, and the results are better too. For example if you think about colorblindness late in development you're likely to end up with a mode, that required extra dev work to implement and won't be found by all of the players who could benefit from it. However think about it at the start and you're likely to just have visuals that don't rely on color alone to communicate information, with no mode required.
Also re: screenreaders, there's a really nice hack that bypasses all of the usual API stuff. If when an element recieves focus it outputs its label to the clipboard, there's a third party bit of software that just passes on whatever is in the clipboard on to the screenreader.

That's how the skullgirls interface (the gameplay was already 100% blind-accessible, as with many fighters) was made screenreader accessible, took him all of 14 hours to apply it to the whole UI.
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
author=ianhamilton_
If you think about accessibility early enough in the process there's a huge amount that you can do for very little effort, and the results are better too.
I'm hoping this topic encourages designers to do just that.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
This is something I honestly have never thought about at all.

When I draw a five figure income from videogame making, I will think about it. In the mean time, my games are in the top 1% in their accessibility to the POOR PEOPLE demographic, because they're free. And that's awesome.
BurningTyger
Hm i Wonder if i can pul somethi goff here/
1289
author=Max McGee
This is something I honestly have never thought about at all.

When I draw a five figure income from videogame making, I will think about it. In the mean time, my games are in the top 1% in their accessibility to the POOR PEOPLE demographic, because they're free. And that's awesome.
Indeed. But it wouldn't do any harm to make certain your visual cues are clear.
These things are helpful to a great many people, including everyone who plays with sound muted or even just has a noisy house.

How I hate sound based puzzles. Anything from 'examining that object moved something, but there wasn't a notification beyond a noise' to 'the door to the rest of the plot is locked and the only way to open it is by inputting a series of sounds in the right order.'

I can only imagine how much worse those games would be if I were deaf.
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