In the process of pushing accessibility practices further, AbleGamers began a new program to bring people with disabilities and game developers closer than ever before. AbleGamers revealed their new site Accessible.Games to give developers multiple resources for creating more accessible games, as well as giving people with disabilities a direct line to game developers to let them know what accessibility features are important to them… as well as getting paid to do so.
The first part of Accessible.Games is the Accessible Player Experience, or APX. It’s a tool that allows developers to study accessible game design methodology and bring out the best possible ways to make sure the game is playable by as many people as possible. The foundation of this is found in the Accessible Design Patterns, twelve areas to check out to find the best way to present a game. It could be something like giving players a second channel to receive information, Flexible Text Entry, Doing More With Less, or many other areas of interest. The second step of the APX is Challenge Design Patterns. With the first section being about the player being able to participate in the gameplay experience provided, the second is all about designing the gameplay in a way that people of varying performance levels can complete them. This comes in the form of in-game assists, auto-saving, undo/redo actions, and more. The APX is a good basis of guidelines for developers to follow and keep in mind during development to allow their content to be accessed by as many people as possible, and these options to the gameplay and design choices are much easier to implement early in the development cycle, rather than trying to be bolted on late.
The second part of Accessible.Games are both sides of the Player Panels. These come in two fronts: the first front is developers looking for gamers with a disability to test their games, the second being gamers with a disability looking to aid in the development process. This project has been in the works for years through AbleGamers and is the best ways for developers to get the detailed feedback they need on the accessibility questions they have. The basics of the Player Panels are developers can contact AbleGamers with a project in development, and specify what sort of accessibility feedback they’re looking for. AbleGamers can then contact players who’ve registered to be in the Player Panels with their specific gaming equipment as well as disabilities. The developers who submit their games for review by the panels receive the first-hand experience from people directly interacting with their projects, and players who participate get compensated fairly for their time. It’s a new initiative already seeing great results, looking forward to more success stories from developers in the future.
To see these services in action, head over to Accessible.Games and check out all the information available. The APX is freely available to check out at one’s leisure. If the Player Panel piques one’s interest, some set up time is required to get the players connected with the developers, so make sure plans include that time needed!
For any more questions about the panels, people are welcome to email [email protected].