Technology

More accessibility makes games better


Outsiders, Developed by People Can Fly and published by Square Enix, and released recently To very positive reviews, Is another prime example of a game with remarkably useful accessibility features. When you select a mission to track, you can simply press the directional pad on the controller (the Tab key on PC), and you’ll see a white line on the terrain in front of you leading to the destination or mission target. Area maps are small and travel points are shown with large flag signs, and there is an icon to notify you of your current location on the map. If you played with friends and broke up during the battle, you don’t have to worry about looking for loot that fell near them or your share of any iron they might have harvested. Pressing down on the directional pad (the H key on the PC) will make the game automatically pick up items no matter where you are.

Mechanisms like these make it easier to navigate the game area, pick up items, reduce the amount of time you spend undoing, revisit places you have already visited, and do other challenging tasks when you have memory issues. When the confusion starts and you start to forget where you have been, these types of simple options become a saving grace. Path markers are crucial to memory loss, and they also make the game less irritating if you have a guide to help travel from point A to point B, with frequent checkpoints on the map making fast travel easier. I spent a lot of hours counting in games like Borderlands Going in circles trying to figure out where I should be. The sign could literally be about a cliff, yet I find myself staring at a wall for 30 minutes trying to remember, and another two hours trying to navigate whichever destination I’m heading to.

How can developers help

Beyond these examples, developers can go a little further with a pop-up message that includes something like “We’ve seen you’ve been in this field for a while. Do you need help where to go?” Or “Would you like to enable automatic routing to your next task goal?” ? ” Hints are crucial in helping players figure out what to do. Developers can also help by implementing the detection method if you’ve been searching for items for a while by adding arrows or hints to help pinpoint the mentioned items precisely. A number of games do something like this that if you spend too long looking for something, it starts to shine or make a sound as you get close to it. This can also be a toggle menu option for those who choose not to use it.

Controls can be another hurdle. When your character appears stuck or frequently loses to an enemy, it will be helpful to get reminders of what the buttons on the controller do, or common key bindings that may be useful but are buried in the list of controls. For games with complex structures, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have reminders that can be easily accessed via the pause menu. It is often difficult – for any player, not just those with memory problems – to return to the game and remember how it was played, or what the control scheme was for. It gets more confusing as levels advance and button combinations evolve in complexity. Just imagine sitting and thinking, “What was I supposed to do again?” While trying to enjoy your current gaming session, or even “Where do I go from here? I’m lost.” When your mind falls into a state of confusion and defeat, the first thing that comes to mind for me is to simply stop the game.

Accessibility is not the same as “easy mode”

Accessibility options don’t necessarily make this game easier. It gives people like me who face cognitive challenges the ability to look forward to having fun while playing.



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