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Improving accessibility in The Walking Dead

posted by unmigo on - last edited - Viewed by 1.6K users

Hi there!

I have made a post about improving accessibility in the game for disabled people.

Since 90% of the game are dialogues, the game could have been very accessible for many people, especially in terms of mobility. But there are features that make it totally inaccessible to many people: no pauses to read the dialogue, have to make choices in very short time and some action scenes with quick time events.

I hope Telltales consider this issue important and add more options in the game to make it more accessible. Meanwhile this can help a lot of people that could not play it yet.


You can read it here:

http://www.videojuegosaccesibles.es/2013/01/the-walking-dead-mejorando-la.html (in Spansih)

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=es&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.videojuegosaccesibles.es%2F2013%2F01%2Fthe-walking-dead-mejorando-la.html&act=url (Google translated)

Or just watch this video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4_qOAIBRKo

36 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • a proper translation would fix that without breaking a core game feature of timed responses

  • It's not only about the language. Even in Spanish the are the same problems there for some disabled people.

    In terms of mobility, the times of choice between different options sometimes are too short and may not allow time to select it (if you are disabled on mobility), even if you have already read it.

    I terms of cognitive, if you are disabled, although it is in your native language, you may need more time than usual to read any text.

  • @unmigo said: It's not only about the language. Even in Spanish the are the same problems there for some disabled people.

    In terms of mobility, the times of choice between different options sometimes are too short and may not allow time to select it (if you are disabled on mobility), even if you have already read it.

    I terms of cognitive, if you are disabled, although it is in your native language, you may need more time than usual to read any text.

    maybe the ability to change the controls would help disabled people, and you can pause the game, but i guess if you struggle so much to play the game there could be a disability option that would take out the timer and auto complete the QTE but i think unless you needed those options they would be a detriment to the game and just playing with someone else (they control you decide) would probably be a better idea

  • I understand what you say, but disabled people want to play. You can't force them to rely on someone else to play for them.

    They don't care if those options would be a detriment to the game if they could play by themselves.

    Just imagine you are disabled and you can't play the game, and have to choose one of these options:
    [LIST]
    [*]Not play.
    [*]Play without some game features.
    [/LIST]

    I can assure you that the answer of a person with disabilities is the second one.

  • @unmigo said: I understand what you say, but disabled people want to play. You can't force them to rely on someone else to play for them.

    They don't care if those options would be a detriment to the game if they could play by themselves.

    Just imagine you are disabled and you can't play the game, and have to choose one of these options:
    [LIST]
    [*]Not play.
    [*]Play without some game features.
    [/LIST]

    I can assure you that the answer of a person with disabilities is the second one.

    i don't want to force people to do anything, but i am having a hard time imagining what disabilities you are describing where you cant play the game but not need any help with anything else.

    what i mean by playing with someone else is having someone else that can read fast and can do the QTE's but they just pause it every time there is a decision, that is no different to anybody else playing the game as a group.

  • @unmigo said: Hi there!

    I have made a post about improving accessibility in the game for disabled people.


    You have a point. I was trying to "demo" the game on my phone for an acquaintance at the pub the other night who has (I believe) cerebral palsy (or a similar condition) and it was pretty tough for him. Now I'm sure a lot of that was due to the small screen and playing it on like an iPad would have been better. But I think it would still have been challenging for him in ways that could be worked around.

    For instance, an accessible version could have the dialog choices on the iPhone and iPad divide the whole screen into quadrants. Click targets on the whole could be much larger, particularly in action scenes. That sort of thing.

    This could be a great game for the physically disabled market with just a few interface tweaks.

  • Fantastic thread.

    Telltale I really hope you're paying attention, as your games are perfectly suited to being highly accessible to the huge numbers of gamers with disabilities. Popcap's research came out with the stat of 20% of casual gamers being disabled, and on top of that there's also the 8% of males who are colorblind, the 14% of the US/UK (30% in Italy!) adult population who have a fifth grade or below reading age, and so on. Lots of money to miss out on.

    As well as the great stuff in the original post there are some more possibilities for improving accessibility here:

    http://www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com

    @thestalkinghead said: i don't want to force people to do anything, but i am having a hard time imagining what disabilities you are describing where you cant play the game but not need any help with anything else.

    Interestingly it does often happen, games can be one of the few things that people can do independently. If you need an example picture someone who is almost completely paralysed, can do almost nothing by themselves, but thanks to an eye-gaze system mapped to mouse movement they're able to play some games independently.

    @thestalkinghead said: what i mean by playing with someone else is having someone else that can read fast and can do the QTE's but they just pause it every time there is a decision, that is no different to anybody else playing the game as a group.

    Again if you picture that above situation that bit of independence you can have with gaming would be really valuable to you.

  • @kjeevah said: Fantastic thread.

    Telltale I really hope you're paying attention, as your games are perfectly suited to being highly accessible to the huge numbers of gamers with disabilities. Popcap's research came out with the stat of 20% of casual gamers being disabled, and on top of that there's also the 8% of males who are colorblind, the 14% of the US/UK (30% in Italy!) adult population who have a fifth grade or below reading age, and so on. Lots of money to miss out on.

    As well as the great stuff in the original post there are some more possibilities for improving accessibility here:

    http://www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com

    Interestingly it does often happen, games can be one of the few things that people can do independently. If you need an example picture someone who is almost completely paralysed, can do almost nothing by themselves, but thanks to an eye-gaze system mapped to mouse movement they're able to play some games independently.

    Again if you picture that above situation that bit of independence you can have with gaming would be really valuable to you.

    i guess i can sort of see where you are coming from, but even though TWD game is not that challenging it still requires 2 hands to play (mouse and keyboard on pc, i haven't tried any of the other platforms) but i guess if they added the ability to walk with the mouse and change the controls so "Q" could be a mouse button you could control it with just one hand with the mouse or mouse equivalent, i do think accessibility is important (the ability to change the controls can be really good for using different peripherals) but you can only go so far to add accessibility without either removing large parts of the game or ruining large parts of the game.

  • @thestalkinghead said: i do think accessibility is important (the ability to change the controls can be really good for using different peripherals) but you can only go so far to add accessibility without either removing large parts of the game or ruining large parts of the game.

    Yes, you're absolutely right, it's about removing unnecessary barriers, not harming gameplay. If you remove unnecessary barriers you've made the game accessible to more people, if you harm the gameplay you've made the original experience accessible to noone.

    Having a complex narrative and conversations is a barrier to some people with learning disabilities, but that's a completely necessary barrier, the narrative and conversations is what people actually buy the game for.

    However having to use two hands to play the game is a completely unnecessary barrier, allowing people to configure the controls would prevent people from being unnecessarily excluded. Would help everything from cerebral palsy all the way through to RSI or a broken arm.

    Slightly less clear cut but still a totally unnecessary barrier is the quick-time events. That needs slightly more abstract thinking applied, about precisely what they are in there for. The same goal, inferring a sense of urgency and requiring quick thinking, can easily be achieved without having to repeatedly mash the buttons. A simple preference would solve this, then option for basic or complex QTEs.

    I'd really recommend taking a look at that guidelines site, you'll see that there's a pretty huge amount from there that is applicable to Telltale's games, lots of it is already in there.

  • @RobtMyers said:
    This could be a great game for the physically disabled market with just a few interface tweaks.

    This :)

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