Hey Tom,
all you said is so very true and it is why I don't think I will ever see an accessible rpg of the type I enjoyed so much and that I enjoy seeing others play. Even if all the developers banned together I don't think it would be enough. I wish I could help get one started and contribute, but I am not a programmer as much as I find it interesting. lol
Kellie and my lovable Lady J.
Resident Adviser, Guide Dogs for the Blind Oregon campus
www.guidedogs.com
----- Original Message ----- From: "Thomas Ward" <thomasward1...@gmail.com>
To: "Gamers Discussion list" <gamers@audyssey.org>
Sent: Sunday, August 09, 2009 4:14 PM
Subject: Re: [Audyssey] making old video games audio games


Hi Michael,
I agree that it would be nice to see some classic vidio games be made in an accessible format, but unfortunately accessible game developers are confronted with three basic problems. First, there is the sticky issue of copyright infringement. Whenever a game company like Activision, nintendo, Capcom, Edos, EA Games, etc creates a game it is copyrighted and trade marked by the company that produced it. So any third-party developer who wants to come up with his own Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantacy, or Legend of Zelda game should apply for copyright permission from the company that created the game. I can say from personal experience getting permission from these companies is very unlikely. Even if they give you permission they wish to charge you royalties on the game which most small time game developers can't afford. Failior to apply for written permission could result in a big fat copyright infringement lawsuit. There are, however, some ways to work around the copyright laws, but they aren't absolute protection. Under the fair use provisions in the U.S. copyright laws if a software product is for free, is released for educational purposes, open source, etc it can be protected under the fair use provisions. However, even so, it isn't safe because several companies, including Microsoft, frequently challenge the fair use provisions all the time. So what this means if I or another accessible game developer were to consider writing a game clone it better be free, open source, and disclaim any commercial interest in the product. As a result the developer would have to forget about selling the game for the time and money spend on developing the game. Since high quality sound effects costs quite a bit it could get expensive with no way of earning that money back. Second, there is the complexity of the game in question. Games like Final Fantacy and Legend of Zelda aren't simple games to create. I should know as I've actually thought several times of doing just that. However, after reviewing the walkthroughs to refresh my memory on the games I've discovered various problems in converting them to an accessible format. The major issue is the time involved to create a game like Legend of Zelda. Legend of Zelda features several overworld and underworld locations with several special items, monsters, and so on. All of that takes a considerable amount of time to program, and I currently don't have it to give to a project of this size. Then, you have various items and monsters that don't have sounds. converting them to an audio format is often tricky. You might just simply have to depend on Sapi to tell you the item is there and how far it is away etc. I'm sure there is a work around for this, but i wanted to point out that vidio games depend so much on vidio that most items and objects don't require sound. Since we need sound to find things it is up to the developer to come up with a way to cue the player into that silent object either by speech or by finding a sound that seams somewhat realistic. For example, In a science fiction game like Shades of Doom it is fine that doors and items beep. It seams quite realistic in that environment. However, in a fantacy game like Zelda a developer would have to come up with different sounds like bubbling potion bottles, clattering swords, rattling keys, etc to make a fantacy sounding scheme. Sometimes that isn't easy. Especially, if the game is low budget. Anyway, I am not saying that writing games like Frogger, Legend of Zelda, etc is impossible but it is problematic. That's wy quite a few developers stay clear of them. It is sometimes more of a hastle than it is worth.


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