It’s Okay To Ask
Independent game development has been one of the most incredible parts of the video games industry. The amount of tools, knowledge, and access that creative people have continues to grow, and they’re putting that to work in making news games of all kinds, filling niches of all sorts, and building something for all to enjoy.
Sterling Silver is one such developer. He’s the sole developer for his company, Stingbot Games, which recently released its first game, an action-adventure platformer called The Forbidden Arts. The game went through some of the pre-release motions you might be familiar with, like Steam’s Early Access feature. Sterling would work on the game and his fans would help him work out its best form.
There’s one fan in particular that caused Sterling to connect with us, and that’s Sasha Zenko, a gamer with a YouTube Channel called No Hands! Let’s Play which showcases his playstyle of primarily using his chin and a mouse to play all kinds of games. Sasha tried out The Forbidden Arts and encountered some issues with the build at the time and reached out to Sterling to recommend some technical suggestions to help himself out. Most notably, Sasha needed some additional keybind options and, to help the software he uses to emulate controls with his mouse, he requested some video options.
Based on reading this here, you can probably guess what Sterling did: he followed through on the request. He added the options and made the tweaks that helped Sasha’s, and probably others’, setup work correctly so that they could enjoy the game. While it can be complex to manage for huge game teams, Sterling says, “If people are interested in playing your game, then taking a few hours to modify your code to enjoy your product is a good thing.”
Sterling had been developing games since 2011, primarily in the mobile space prior to The Forbidden Arts. I asked if Sterling had experience in working with people with disabilities prior to this experience. He says Sasha was his first real, direct experience in his work, though he did previously build educational applications for children, which included some design elements for those of different levels of ability.
Personally, I think that’s outstanding. Not everyone has the focus that those of us with The AbleGamers Charity hone in on, but when asked, Sterling was more than happy to accomodate. In today’s world, with online communication making us more and more connected, we’re more closely connected than ever. Devs and gamers can interact directly, and when done constructively, it leads to good things. Sterling even says, “If a game isn’t accessible, then reach out to the dev. You never know if they’ll make the adjustments for you!” and I couldn’t agree more. There’s no harm in asking. You know, we just want it so everyone can game.
Like this story? Show some support to The Forbidden Arts, now available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Follow the Forbidden Arts on Facebook. You can find Sterling’s company Stingbot Games online and on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Kevin is a games & tech industry marketing nerd with an affinity for duct tape and playing an orc in every game he can. You absolutely should @ him on Twitter @norumu.