Hi Tom,

Interesting points you raised. As a gamer and software developer I
have to say I see both sides of the argument too. As you pointed out
just because someone like you or I is able to do without feature x
doesn't necessarily mean everybody can do without it.

For example, let's take targeting in Shades of Doom. Most of the time
I don't need the night scope beeping away in my ear to line up and
shoot a target. In fact, I personally find it a bit distracting so
usually turn it off. However, that doesn't mean that such a feature
should not exist, because I happen to know people who are physically
unable to play without it.

I happen to have a very long time friend who is totally blind from
birth, but she also has problems whith her hearing as well. She has a
difficult time playing anything as complex as Shades of Doom because
she can't hear things very well on her left side. As a result since
targeting requires centering a monster in her headphones she's not
able to do that because she can't hear very well out of her left ear.
She can, however, target using the night scope because it will
increase in pitch as she lines the target up.  So an accessibility
feature like that is not just for someone who is blind, but may have
some hearing impairment too.

Same goes for this argument over weather or not there needs to be a
step sound for traps. Now, I've tried my best to work it into the
background ambience so it isn't exactly intrusive and sounds like it
truly belongs there. Again, personally, I probably don't need it. I
can usually judge by sound alone when or when not to jump. However,
coming back to my friend if she is walking left in MOTA she doesn't
have much functional hearing out of her left ear so judging when or
when not to jump a fire pit, lava pit, chasm, by sound alone is just
not possible for her. However, since adding the crumbling ledges she
knows she should try and jump because it plays out of both speakers,
and is an absolute indicator of a trap. So once again this feature
just doesn't help a blind player, but someone who may have other
disabilities such as being hard of hearing as well.

The point I'm getting at is when it comes to accessibility I don't
think there is any single one-size fits all solution. There are your
advanced gamers who don't need targeting sounds, step sounds for drop
offs, or any number of things. For others they simply are unable to
play the game without it. Either because they don't have the
experience you have, or they are physically unable to do that for one
reason or another. We really should not come down too harshly on the
developers who are trying to provide accessibility in the only way
they know how. I myself am having a serious challenge trying to make
Mysteries of the Ancients both accessible, but not dumb it down in the
process. It is not an easy balance to make given the fact that that no
two gamers are alike.


On 4/8/11, Tom Randall <kf6...@comcast.net> wrote:
> Hi all.
> I've been following this very stimulating discussion.  I'm also a bit of a
> mainstream gamer as most of you know, I started out on the old Atari games
> back when home computers were first coming out and audio games had not even
> been thought of yet.  For that reason I too am used to doing without audio
> cues to a large extent and I mainly agree with the idea that figuring a game
> out is more than half the fun.  Having said that though, those of us who are
> into these kinds of games and who enjoy figuring things out do need to
> remember that not everyone is at this level and we don't want to discourage
> new people from getting into gaming, the gods know there are few enough of
> us as it is whether you are talking about mainstream or audio games.  Just
> as a for instance.  I tried to get into audio quake a few years back, I even
> went so far as to get hold of an old copy of the full game.  I tried
> learning how to make it work but I found it pretty impossible.  The sound
> cues just did not make any sense at all and I eventually got frustrated and
> gave up.  So I can see where some of these new gamers are maybe coming from.
> From a programming standpoint I would not think it should be too hard to
> satisfy both sides here, if a cue is subtle such as a slightly different
> sounding footstep such as you encounter in shades of doom when you are close
> to a wall this should not be intolerable to the advanced gamer who doesn't
> want them.  For things like targetting sounds I think these should be
> optional so the beginner can use them but the advanced player can dispense
> with them if he wishes.
> Well that's my two cents' worth on this for now.
> Game on.
> Tom

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