Hi John

To my knowledge, he, Eleanor, and I are the only developers of blind accessible games who are members of GA SIG.


Sander and I have been GA-SIG / IGDA members since almost the beginning of the SIG and we've been into audio game development since 2000.

I suspect that for a sighted gamer, not having eye candy is like having food without taste.

Several years ago a Dutch MA student did a survey of how audio games are received by a sighted audience. One of the outcomes was that the platform on which the audio game is played is a key factor in the perception of the gamer. Many gamers found that, on a PC, they were missing visual feedback - it simply felt like half a game. But they also indicated that if they were to play audio games on devices like, say, mobile phones, they wouldn't feel they were missing feedback. Of course this was in a time when the iPhone was not yet released. Interesting detail is that there are already commercial interactive audio adventures for iPhone available (http://www.rtaudioadventures.com/Soultrapper.html), although not yet accessible due to a visual game input interface.

More later,

Richard




----- Original Message ----- From: "John Bannick" <jbann...@7128.com>
To: <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 7:50 PM
Subject: [Audyssey] Accessible Mainstream Games


Folks,

Having now read the plethora of posts, it's again obvious why Audyssey is
a good place for developers to hang out. Lotsa good information and ideas.

Here are some responses:

1. IGDA

Thomas Weston, developer of Terraformers and co-founder of the Game
Accessibility SIG, is taking a DVD full of accessible games and related
stuff to GDC 2009.

To my knowledge, he, Eleanor, and I are the only developers of blind
accessible games who are members of GA SIG.

Why couldn't Tom Ward, Jim, Liam, Che, and other developers join the IGDA,
contribute their ideas to the GA SIG, and get their stuff on next year's
DVD?


2. Sighted Gamers find Purely Audio Games Boring

If Michael Feir's own sighted fiancee can't get into audio only games,
then there is a big clue there. I suspect that for a sighted gamer, not
having eye candy is like having food without taste.


3. Getting Mainstream Companies to Make their Games Accessible

Dark and I have had at least a positive response from one small European
developer.

I wrote a technical analysis of their user interface and Dark and I made
suggestions as to how it could be made more accessible. They at least did
not blow him off. Dark would have to respond as to whether they made the
changes or to what extent he thinks it affected their later games.

The point being that some smaller developers might be responsive to
specific suggestions.

Larger developers might be responsive via their own Modding features.
In the Serious Games industry, Doom's been modded to teach firefighters
how to work in burning buildings.

Could someone ask a big company if they could make their modding
capability such that it works with sound and can add the sound elements
that would make a game accessible.

BTW. That Doom exercise was done by Dark's own university, Durham.


4. Market Size and Money

The one segment of the blind community that's most likely to spend money
on accessible games is parents of blind children. Note that "children"
these days can be in their 20's or even 30's.

Parents spend money on their kids. Some parents of blind kids are sighted
and have decent incomes. Try the Yahoo Groups and similar venues.

We've seen posts where parents have asked where they can get accessible
games for their kids.

Obviously, this applies to free games too (Jim gets mentioned there.)


5. Publicity

Why can't Audyssey developers write articles for AbleGamers, GameForward,
GameCritics, The Accessible Friends Network, the IGDA GA SIG blog, and
other media that are eager for accessibility material?


6. Final Words

Having just surveyed the deaf and the motion-impaired gaming communities,
it is clear that the blind-accessible gaming community is far more
developed. There are more media that discuss blind issues. There are more
organizations and institutions that publicize blind accessible games.

All that being said, thanks for a lot of good information and insight.
Now I gotta get back to coding.

John Bannick
www.7128.com




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