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Classic Games (Games) Games

Gaming Group Seeks Volunteers To Create Accessibility Guidelines For Tabletop Games (meeplelikeus.co.uk) 75

Meeple Like Us is a group of gaming academics, developers, hobbyists and enthusiasts with a keen interest in board games, tabletop games, video games, and all things in-between, co-founded by long-time Slashdot reader drakkos. Today he reminds us that accessibility "has become an increasingly visible part of video game development." It's even become something of a selling point for many games, with Naughty Dog's focus on the accessibility of Uncharted 4 gaining it pages and pages of enthusiastic support across the industry. Tabletop games, despite being much older an entertainment format, lag behind video games in many respects.

Meeple Like Us has for the last year been working hard to identify the accessibility issues in tabletop gaming, and is currently recruiting for volunteers for a working group aimed at developing v1.0 of the Tabletop Accessibility Guidellines.

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Gaming Group Seeks Volunteers To Create Accessibility Guidelines For Tabletop Games

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  • How do you make Unchartered 4 "accessible"? A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter (or any shooter), no matter what you do to it, any more than he could play tennis.

    • Re:Um, I'm confused (Score:5, Interesting)

      by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @11:59AM (#54642855)

      Well accessibility can be a lot of things. It is not uniquely being blind.
      You could have bad vision (make the text bigger), colorblindness (make sure important color schemes have symbols associated with them), deafness (make sure there are subtitles), deafness to particular sound (make sure they are not critical, or if they are, add a visual cue).

      Note that there have been FPS for blind people.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by kugeln ( 680574 )

      How do you make Unchartered 4 "accessible"? A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter (or any shooter), no matter what you do to it, any more than he could play tennis.

      They'll add a "snowflake" mode, where nobody is actually trying to kill you and you're really just an urban explorer who's only real concern is falling down a collapsed flight of stairs or getting caught by a surprisingly friendly security guard who is only concerned for your safety.

    • by abies ( 607076 )

      A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter (or any shooter), no matter what you do to it, any more than he could play tennis.

      Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      No idea how this works, but tenis for blind people is a thing.

    • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Sunday June 18, 2017 @12:10PM (#54642891)

      A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter

      That's fine; I believe that 3rd person shooter tabletop games [wikipedia.org] are rare enough that I doubt too many people are going to be concerned about the accessibility issues.

    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @12:16PM (#54642907)

      "How do you make Unchartered 4 "accessible"? A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter (or any shooter), no matter what you do to it, any more than he could play tennis."

      Straw man argument. Really. There is more one accessibility issue and some of them are applicable to games like uncharted.

      Simple stuff though. Red / green colorblindness isn't that uncommon. So if your forest setting shooter game has a red targeting reticule over predominantly green background.

      Or the red heading berry powerup looks identical to the green berry powerup. .. those are the sorts of things that can make a game unplayable. Or you put red text on green background...

        All you'd need to fix is give multiple reticule options, and give the green berries its own model so that the only distinction isn't color, and put the text on black and white...

      Same sort of tips to address blue-yellow blindness, or complete color blindness.

      I like to play a lot of games on the big screen TV in the living room. There were lots of games that played well enough, via controller or steam controller but which didn't work well due to the text being not quite legible at couch distance on a 52" 1080p set. Some games had bigger text, or allowed you to increase... others not.

      Hell, I like to have windows set to 'larger fonts' just to make navigating the desktop at couch distance easier and THAT setting screws up a lot of games. (They usually screw up their own magnification somehow and all you can see is the top left quarter of the game taking up your entire screen.) Simply designing your game to not choke when windows accessibility features like that are turned on would be a plus.

    • A blind person is never going to able to play an 3rd person shooter (or any shooter), no matter what you do to it, any more than he could play tennis.

      Back in the late 60's or early 70's pinball manufacturers made their games playable by mean deaf, dumb and blind kids.

      I would be interested in seeing a game developed for blind folks, but also *created* by blind folks. That would be fascinating. To see how they would "play" with all the other senses . . .

      • Back in the late 60's or early 70's pinball manufacturers made their games playable by mean deaf, dumb and blind kids.

        But only if they were wizards.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I'm sure there's some text adventures (or ~interactive fiction~ if you prefer) out there that have been developed by blind people, especially if we include blind creators on MU*s.
        The genre is very much suited to the visually impaired, besides the tendency to use pitch-black rooms as a hard obstacle (and come to think of it, I'd love to see an IF game that subverts typical dark rooms.)
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'd love to see an IF game that subverts typical dark rooms.

          Zarf's Hunter, in Darkness and Emily Short's Bronze each do some of this, though perhaps you had something bigger in mind.

    • Actually with echo location they could.
      Now add a smart gun ...

      Echo location btw is processed in the visual cortex, some blinds who original were not blind, feel it indistinguishable from seeing. Well, besides resolution and colours.

  • by R_Ramjet ( 994878 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @02:36PM (#54643395)
    The concept of Universal Design https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] is what should be aimed for. So well integrating "accessibility" into the core of the design of the environment (or game) that it just works, and works better for all. Curb cuts on sidewalks is an example: yes, they help people in wheel chairs, but they also make life just a tad better for folks pushing baby strollers and kids on skateboards.
  • Color blindness settings, reads any and all plot text out loud? A game engine for different input devices. 4K-8K graphics so the game can be projected onto a wall so everyone can enjoy it.
    Map creation software so everyone can create or be helped to create their own adventure as part of the game.
    The ability to slow any part of the game down so everyone can win.
    An outside group to rate the game plot and characters in the game for their diversity?

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