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January 16, 2021
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Make your game accessible with these tips

by Laura del Pino from Rising Pixel on 11/30/20 12:58:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Hello, I’m Laura from Rising Pixel. For those who don't know us, we are a dedicated team with expertise in accessible games developed in the paradise of the Canary Islands (Spain). Since we would like all video games to be played by everyone regardless of their physical circumstances, accessibility is very important for us. We would like all video games to be accessible to everyone, so we've written this article with a number of tips to make games more accessible. In order to see all the accessibility features, we are going to take our latest game, Space Wave Race, as a reference.

Space Wave Race is a space racing game where the player participates in different championships to become the best pilot in the galaxy. Each championship allows the player to unlock new spaceships, so it’s easier to overcome the obstacles encountered along the way. It includes multiple game modes with different complexities and gameplay: Championship Mode, Single Race Mode, Endless Galactic Mode. You can find the trailer for this game on YouTube

When we designed Space Wave Race, we considered visually impaired, deaf, and dyslexic players as well as players with reduced mobility. For them, we have specifically developed several accessibility options:

 - Voice Over - We added a companion robot voice to narrate everything that is happening to visually impaired players. The voice will help the player navigate both the menus and the game itself.

- On-screen text - The companion robot messages are shown as subtitles at the top of the screen to help deaf players.

- Difficulty. The game has several difficulty levels, so each player can have a fun challenge according to their skills (very easy, easy, medium, hard, and very hard). Every level has adjustable features like the speed of the different phases or the amount of speed you lose when the spaceship turns.

- Auto-accelerate - In order to help players with reduced mobility, we have added an option to allow the spaceship to accelerate automatically.

- Dyslexia font - We included the option to use a dyslexia-friendly font. We used OpenDyslexic from https://opendyslexic.org

- Keyboard control design and controller compatibility - When developing an accessible game, developers have to keep in mind the ease to find the keys in the keyboards. For visually impaired people it is difficult to find the key “E” to open the inventory, but other keys that are in the contour of the keyboard like Control keys, Return, or Escape are well known and easy to find. In addition, using other keys that have their own shape, like Space Bar, Right Shift, or the Enter key, is a good idea for accessible keys.

- Audio feedback and 3D positional sounds - In an accessible game, the graphics should not give more information than sound, so it’s important to give audio feedback when an event has happened. For example, in Space Wave Race when the player loses a position it’s shown in the UI bar and a short sound is played. There is also a different sound for when the player loses or wins a position, so that the visually impaired players know what is happening at the same speed than a non-visually impaired player.  Inside the game world, every object has its own positional sound so that visually impaired players can know when an object is at the right or left and get oriented inside the world.

It’s also very important to have just a couple of sounds during gameplay, so visually impaired players don’t get saturated with too much sound information.

- High-contrast mode - We added a filter to increase the visual clarity for players with reduced visibility, so they can distinguish the different obstacles more easily.

We hope these tips will help developers and designers alike create more accessible games so that everybody can play together. 

 

We would like to invite you to get Space Wave Race and give us your feedback.

You can get Space Wave Race for PC on Steam here

Or you can get it for iOS here.

Follow us on Twitter here to get updates on our next projects!


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