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  1. #1

    Default TO Game Developers & Execs, From Gamers with Accessibility Needs:

    The results of my research for one of our Armistice Day/Veteran's Day videos, riled up some serious emotions for those who attended and watched this video. We feel this is as good a time as ever to take a look at our game, DDO, and have an open discussion (this means clean) for those in need of adaptive devices and/or simply better programming code, in order to allow them to play DDO.

    My video is meant to inspire us ALL, and to get developers and most importantly the industry EXECS that make these kind of decisions to THINK, and ACT. We need ONE big company to make waves, and change the way other developers think.

    ------**------

    My question to our playerbase: What can Turbine developers do to make DDO more accessible to those of us with disabilities?

    Thank you for your participation.

    ------**------

    Our video, which I hope can raise awareness:




    ------**------

    FIND HELP if you need it:


    Recommended organizations to seek knowledge:

    http://www.ablegamers.com/ in the US

    http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/ in the UK

    ------**------

    The research:

    VETERANS & ADAPTIVE DEVICES FOR VIDEO GAMING
    ...what Developers Can Do To Help.


    Button-customization

    Relatively simple and inexpensive to implement, button-customization functionality is just one of many ways gamemakers can make their products more accessible for players with physical disabilities. And it's not just people born with medical problems who could potentially benefit from the implementation of accessibility standards: Genetic diseases and injuries can affect anybody at any time.

    "We have ticking time bombs in our DNA," said Mark Barlet, co-founder of AbleGamers, a nonprofit that has been agitating for gamers with disabilities. "A bad day at work or a split-second at a stoplight on the way to the store and your life could change."

    Barlet, who has limited use of his legs because of a spinal cord injury he incurred while on active duty at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., says button remapping is just the tip of the iceberg. As games get more complicated, poor design choices can make them difficult even for gamers without disabilities.

    "So many games are using button combinations that make it almost impossible for all but the most practiced able-bodied person to play a game, much less a disabled person," Barlet said in an e-mail. "Just because you can use all the buttons at once does not mean you should."

    Closed captioning

    Game designer Reid Kimball, who has worked on titles like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Tony Hawk: Ride, said it's sad how rare closed captioning is in games.

    "It's cheap to develop compared to other game technology," Kimball told Wired.com in an e-mail. "The players love having it as an option and there's tons of opportunity to innovate in this space."

    Nonverbal sound cues

    In many games, nonverbal sound cues can be essential for success. AbleGamers' Barlet says text-based representations of a full spectrum of sounds and visual cues would be immensely helpful for the hearing-impaired.


    "These are not features that nobody has ever done before, or features that need lots of exploration and research," said game designer Matthew Burns, who has worked on titles in the Call of Duty and Halo series, in an e-mail. The problem, he says, is that accessibility options are often the first thing cut during crunch time, when time and money are at a premium.

    Color-blind features

    "It will continue to be piecemeal and slow unless a large, influential company took a stand and made a conscientious effort to be better about this stuff across the board. "That would be the turning point."


    Should Microsoft mandate that all Xbox 360 games ship with certain accessibility options, developers would have no choice but to make them a priority. But he doesn't see this happening.

    "We have high-level contacts at one of the big [hardware makers], and they have shown little interest beyond lip service at pushing content producers to think about accessibility," he said.

    Still, the issue's not going away.

    We have two wars going on, and our soldiers are not all coming back in the same condition as they left. Those men and women are gamers.

    -------------------------------------------

    ** If you guys wanna help Keith or anyone at Muscular Dystrophy Canada, here's their page! : http://www.muscle.ca/national/home.html To learn more about Keith, his fight for MD, here are the full length videos and credits from which my presentation was made:

    VIDEO: The Aieron: A Knight's Story

    Music:
    "The Big Idea" by Terry Devine King
    "1901 (Remix)" by DLID
    "A Season for Learning" by Jesse Chui
    "Rising Horizon" by Kevin Browne
    "Dream the Dream" by Terry Devine-King/Gavin Harrison
    "Love in Morse Code" by Paul Yoon
    "Absence of Recourse" by Jesse Chui

    The original kickstarter page:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/5...

    Here's more information about ablegamers.com:

    VIDEO: The AbleGamers Foundation - Helping Disabled Gamers Everyday!

    AbleGamers works and advocates on behalf of the disability community to increase the accessibility of video games and to achieve further inclusion by those who need special considerations
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-17-2013 at 08:29 AM.


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  2. #2

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    Another thing is.. what mice/joysticks/custom built input devises are successfully being used with DDO? I'd really like to get this information out there.


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  3. #3
    Community Member Lauf's Avatar
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    Personally, I wish we could change the font size of the chat text.

  4. #4
    Community Member Gauthaag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauf View Post
    Personally, I wish we could change the font size of the chat text.
    this and resizable hotbars would be much appreciated.

    aside from this i like the OPs idea, tho from the other hand i think it could be rather difficult implement some changes into game which is based on old code and being patched n updated so much - much more difficult than puting those features into new product done from scratch with those features in mind. i have mostly control features in mind. This is action game mostly dependant on both hand coordination, thus much more difficult to improve that way than classic point n click games.

    Subtitling and features to help color blinded are imho things which could be implemented when designing content , like for example dots in reavers fate and such.


    I use Logitech G600 for playing http://www.legitreviews.com/logitech...se-review_2135 - bit hard to get used to it, but with some training one could control game one handed using mouselook, including base movent, hotbar management and combat.

    I mostly use Revoltec fightpad for other hand http://www.legitreviews.com/logitech...se-review_2135 - nice toy tho f- buttons n numbers are hardly accesible if u have short fingers

    Aside from those i could recomend zboard/steelseries merc keyboard - also nice design for playing action games

  5. #5
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    Default great video

    Thanks for posting this video which I hope raises both awareness and sensitivity for this issue. As someone who works in the rehab field IRL I can't tell you how important it is for developers to be more aware of accessibility issues from a design perspective when games are being created. I hope that there can be a future standard within the developer community for taking steps to improve accessibility. With expenses spread out over thousands of subscriptions, I can't see how most could object to the very small amount of increased cost for game designers to include accessibility features.

    We have seen the good heart of Turbine's development team re: demonstrations of in game support for those impacted by the Marathon bombing. There is room for social consciousness and community - after all these are social games. I hope the management at Turbine can look into these important accessibility issues that you raise.

    Vallin.

  6. #6
    Community Member redspecter23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauf View Post
    Personally, I wish we could change the font size of the chat text.
    You can do this already. It's in that mess of an options menu somewhere so it's not easy to find. I know I've made my chat font smaller so I can fit more in the box at once.

    I think adding more accessibility options is a great thing, but it shouldn't come at the expense of current game mechanics if it doesn't have to. I keep thinking of the Reaver change which added numbers to the puzzle. A great change, but unfortunately they also completely washed out the actual colors at the same time, making it harder to tell colors apart. I myself have a harder time telling between black, white and blank on the results side now and have to take a very close double check each time. So it's easier for colorblind players at the expense of people with just plain old bad eyesight like myself. Yes, it's good that they added the numbers, but why did the colors have to be washed out in the process?
    Kaarloe - Degenerate Matter - Argonnessen

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gauthaag View Post
    this and resizable hotbars would be much appreciated.

    aside from this i like the OPs idea, tho from the other hand i think it could be rather difficult implement some changes into game which is based on old code and being patched n updated so much - much more difficult than puting those features into new product done from scratch with those features in mind. i have mostly control features in mind. This is action game mostly dependant on both hand coordination, thus much more difficult to improve that way than classic point n click games.

    Subtitling and features to help color blinded are imho things which could be implemented when designing content , like for example dots in reavers fate and such.


    I use Logitech G600 for playing http://www.legitreviews.com/logitech...se-review_2135 - bit hard to get used to it, but with some training one could control game one handed using mouselook, including base movent, hotbar management and combat.

    I mostly use Revoltec fightpad for other hand http://www.legitreviews.com/logitech...se-review_2135 - nice toy tho f- buttons n numbers are hardly accesible if u have short fingers

    Aside from those i could recomend zboard/steelseries merc keyboard - also nice design for playing action games
    Excellent post! Thanks for the two gear options.

    I would love to get developer feedback on what would actually be involved in making DDO more accessible, as I see it as a real potential benefit for current community members as well as something that can directly attract new business in the future. The free marketing exposure alone could be worth more than the cost of making some of these changes, at least in the long term.


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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vallin View Post
    Thanks for posting this video which I hope raises both awareness and sensitivity for this issue. As someone who works in the rehab field IRL I can't tell you how important it is for developers to be more aware of accessibility issues from a design perspective when games are being created. I hope that there can be a future standard within the developer community for taking steps to improve accessibility. With expenses spread out over thousands of subscriptions, I can't see how most could object to the very small amount of increased cost for game designers to include accessibility features.

    We have seen the good heart of Turbine's development team re: demonstrations of in game support for those impacted by the Marathon bombing. There is room for social consciousness and community - after all these are social games. I hope the management at Turbine can look into these important accessibility issues that you raise.

    Vallin.
    This is really great to see. My wife works in the rehab field as well, in a nursing home.

    I'm hoping that seeing a very uman side of such a wonderful human being as Aieron, might motivate those with the power to write checks, to push this cause to the front of their minds. Their are many, many more like Aieron, and far more that have all kinds of disabilities that can benefit from any work that Turbine takes on. I'd love to see them step up and be a leader on this.


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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by redspecter23 View Post
    You can do this already. It's in that mess of an options menu somewhere so it's not easy to find. I know I've made my chat font smaller so I can fit more in the box at once.

    I think adding more accessibility options is a great thing, but it shouldn't come at the expense of current game mechanics if it doesn't have to. I keep thinking of the Reaver change which added numbers to the puzzle. A great change, but unfortunately they also completely washed out the actual colors at the same time, making it harder to tell colors apart. I myself have a harder time telling between black, white and blank on the results side now and have to take a very close double check each time. So it's easier for colorblind players at the expense of people with just plain old bad eyesight like myself. Yes, it's good that they added the numbers, but why did the colors have to be washed out in the process?
    I believe they needed to add transparency to help the numbers stick out more. But I wonder who they advised on this, and if it was really necessary. I give Turbine major kudos for making that one puzzle easier for color-blind, but it surely came at the expense of making others colorblind <---- me included! Perhaps placing a noticeable solid color border around the transparent colors would have been a better solution.

    I totally agree that effort should be made to avoid any significant changes to the game mechanics. Features you can turn on/off would be perfect.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-13-2013 at 07:00 AM.


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  10. #10

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    This isn't specific to DDO so not everything on the site will be relevant to DDO's mechanic, but the following is a free resource on accessibility with a broad range of considerations that can make a big difference to gamers with a wide range of impairments, from colorblindness to autism, dyslexia to deafness:

    http://www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com


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  11. #11

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    I'd like to see some standards set voluntarily by the industry that makes it a requirement before the game exits the alpha stage that it IS accessible/playable by a majority of our disabled community. At the end of the day, this is the only way Executives across the industry will heed the call.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-14-2013 at 06:43 PM.


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  12. #12
    Intergalactic Space Crusader Livmo's Avatar
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    Default Section 508

    You may find this site useful, http://www.section508.gov/ Maybe another resource as well for you, http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/508standards.html

    I do want to point out that you should NOT rely soley on automated checkers, whether its W3C or Adobe. Lots of content and code requires visual inspection. For example, a complex sentence may be unusable by someone with dyslexia and a checker won't catch that.

    I try to make all my stuff accessibile and/or usable in general. I don't know how well some of this would fit into games like DDO, but I found this site helpful in the work I do.

    I admire your goals. TY for wanting to make this happen for the people.

  13. #13
    Community Member NaturalHazard's Avatar
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    yes be nice to make games more available and easy to use to all those with disabilities.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Livmo View Post
    You may find this site useful, http://www.section508.gov/ Maybe another resource as well for you, http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/508standards.html

    I do want to point out that you should NOT rely soley on automated checkers, whether its W3C or Adobe. Lots of content and code requires visual inspection. For example, a complex sentence may be unusable by someone with dyslexia and a checker won't catch that.

    I try to make all my stuff accessibile and/or usable in general. I don't know how well some of this would fit into games like DDO, but I found this site helpful in the work I do.

    I admire your goals. TY for wanting to make this happen for the people.
    Wow thank you very much for the kind words and the links, Livmo. This is very good information, I'll have to read up more on this. Today I was also PM'ed a telephone number to a division in Microsoft who's main responsibility is accessibility across the industry. Apparently they are very proactive with game producers.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-14-2013 at 06:48 PM.


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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by NaturalHazard View Post
    yes be nice to make games more available and easy to use to all those with disabilities.
    Thanks Natural. This is something I truly wasnt planning on doing. However, ever since reading request after request while modding another game forum, I've always wanted to do something ... But Aieron's situation and courage just inspired the **** outa me.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-14-2013 at 11:23 PM.


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  16. #16

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    Just to be clear, the mentions in the video relating to veterans are because this was originally designed to be played to a crowd focused on wounded warriors for Veterans Day/Armistice Day. As soon as I met Aeiron (November 9th), and began to tell his story and interweave it with what I had, I knew this video now represented something much bigger, that could reach much more than the military community. However, this video became "a cause" when I realized the affect it had on those who watched it.

    Hey if this can help one person become more comfortable playing whatever video game it is they want to play..... then this video has done more then I originally expected it could do. Maybe that game will be DDO... and many more games after it. That will mean mission accomplished.

    In reality, industry standards I believe are coming but are still a ways off. A series of "Best Practices" amongst developer houses however I believe are a much more reasonable set of goals to achieve, and that's what I'm striving for Turbine to sign on to!
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-15-2013 at 12:11 AM.


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeslieWest_GuitarGod View Post
    I'd like to see some standards set voluntarily by the industry that makes it a requirement before the game exits the alpha stage that it IS accessible/playable by a majority of our disabled community. At the end of the day, this is the only way Executives across the industry will heed the call.
    "Voluntary" and "requirement" are mutually exclusive terms.

    And I don't agree that games, as art forms, should be subject to any "requirements".

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2pleasegimmie View Post
    "Voluntary" and "requirement" are mutually exclusive terms.

    And I don't agree that games, as art forms, should be subject to any "requirements".
    Not sure we disagree yet. Here's why I say that... Any effort a studio would take to make their games more accessible would have to be on a voluntary basis... They can make it either a goal or a requirement to reach certain objectives to make their game playable by gamers with various challenges/needs. As a graphic artist and musician myself, I will say I'd most likely be against any changes that would suppress game play in any way. The #1 thing to remember is very few, if any, of these options affect game-play (or creativity/expression for that matter) to those of us that do not need the additional accessibility.

    I think that the closest that's easily achievable would be publishers and platforms setting requirements for their studios.. such as Ubisoft's requirement for all of the studios working for them to include subtitles in their games.

    What we really need to shoot for are lots of examples of best practice. The more studios think about accessibility, the more the solutions just become widely used design patterns that others copy just because it's the new status quo and what players are used to seeing. Anything that Turbine does will influence other designers somewhere else.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-15-2013 at 02:11 AM.


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  19. #19
    Community Member HernandoCortez's Avatar
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    An option for the Logitech is Corsair M90. Tried both and I think your thumb fits better between the buttons.

    EXTREME PREJUDICE™ - by Turbine.

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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by HernandoCortez View Post
    An option for the Logitech is Corsair M90. Tried both and I think your thumb fits better between the buttons.
    Wow that's an excellent looking mouse for how many configurable buttons it has.
    Last edited by LeslieWest_GuitarGod; 11-15-2013 at 06:42 AM.


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