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Improving accessibility in The Walking Dead

posted by unmigo on - last edited - Viewed by 994 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

34 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @thestalkinghead:
    We are not asking you to change the game for everyone.
    We are asking for the option to change certain aspects, which in this game would be pretty easy to change to greatly increase accessibility.

    You don't have to use those options if you don't want to, in the same way as you don't start playing other games in easy mode, and you do in normal or hard difficulty. Don't you?

  • We are not asking you to change the game for everyone.



    We are not asking Telltales to change the game for everyone.
    I meant.

  • @unmigo said: We are not asking Telltales to change the game for everyone.
    I meant.




    i know you wanted an accessibility option not to change the whole game, but you are being incredibly vague about the disabilities you are talking about so it is hard to even work out the problem you want to be solved let alone the solution, cognitive disabilities or just disabilities can mean anything, removing the timers wouldn't be enough for all disabilities.

    even for people who can read fast the decisions need to be made without thinking through each response and that is part of the game, the required quick thinking adds to the tension and is specifically directed to be like that.

    i do think the option to change the controls would be a big help for people with certain physical disabilities, but unfortunately there just isn't a solution to make this game accessible to people with some (incredibly vague) cognitive disabilities that isn't just to have help playing it.

  • @thestalkinghead said: i know you wanted an accessibility option not to change the whole game, but you are being incredibly vague about the disabilities you are talking about so it is hard to even work out the problem you want to be solved let alone the solution, cognitive disabilities or just disabilities can mean anything, removing the timers wouldn't be enough for all disabilities.



    Quite right, you can't make a game that's accessible to all disabilities.

    @thestalkinghead said: even for people who can read fast the decisions need to be made without thinking through each response and that is part of the game, the required quick thinking adds to the tension and is specifically directed to be like that.

    i do think the option to change the controls would be a big help for people with certain physical disabilities, but unfortunately there just isn't a solution to make this game accessible to people with some (incredibly vague) cognitive disabilities that isn't just to have help playing it.

    What he originally mentioned was impaired reading ability. The solutions he's talking about though are helpful for other cognitive impairments too.

    You're absolutely right about the pressured decision making. But abstract that out a little - what's important is having restricted time available so that you have just enough time to read it and make a quick decision without being able to think it through too much.

    What constitutes 'just enough time' will be different for different people. So why not just offer a choice? Allow people who can't read as quickly, can't make decisions as quickly or can't handle as much pressure to just adjust the time to a level that gives them an equivalent experience?

    That way they're able to enjoy the narrative and the pressured decision making, the core things that make the game enjoyable, instead of just being excluded. More happy gamers, more money for Telltale (particularly as their business model is based on repeat purchases), everyone's a winner.

  • @kjeevah said:
    What constitutes 'just enough time' will be different for different people. So why not just offer a choice? Allow people who can't read as quickly, can't make decisions as quickly or can't handle as much pressure to just adjust the time to a level that gives them an equivalent experience?

    That way they're able to enjoy the narrative and the pressured decision making, the core things that make the game enjoyable, instead of just being excluded.



    i think that is the big problem, because the timers could either still be to fast or be to long, maybe you could have a timer adjustment slider in the options but considering the timers are not all the same length how would you know until you play it if you have the setting correct?

    I'm not saying things like this shouldn't be done, i am just saying how hard it would be to please everybody

    Edit: also most of the timers are linked to the timing of the conversation so that would be an extra problem to overcome

  • @thestalkinghead said: i think that is the big problem, because the timers could either still be to fast or be to long, maybe you could have a timer adjustment slider in the options but considering the timers are not all the same length how would you know until you play it if you have the setting correct?

    I'm not saying things like this shouldn't be done, i am just saying how hard it would be to please everybody

    Edit: also most of the timers are linked to the timing of the conversation so that would be an extra problem to overcome



    Have a wide range, say for example three presets of easy medium and hard, with significant difference between each one.. and allow the setting to be adjusted at any point during the game.

    The wide range of control options in Bayonetta is a great example, allowing anything from extremely difficult combos all the way down to all moves being executed with a single button press. Even though it's catering for motor ability it's still the same principle.

    The dialogue doesn't give any problems as each chunk of dialogue is already a separate sound, triggered after the choice, that's why the hack in the original post works.

    It's not a dark art at all, and overcoming barriers to fun is what Telltale's designers do every day. They're extremely well equipped to come up with good solutions.. once they know what the problem is that needs solving.

  • @kjeevah said: Have a wide range, say for example three presets of easy medium and hard, with significant difference between each one.. and allow the setting to be adjusted at any point during the game.

    The wide range of control options in Bayonetta is a great example, allowing anything from extremely difficult combos all the way down to all moves being executed with a single button press. Even though it's catering for motor ability it's still the same principle.

    The dialogue doesn't give any problems as each chunk of dialogue is already a separate sound, triggered after the choice, that's why the hack in the original post works.

    It's not a dark art at all, and overcoming barriers to fun is what Telltale's designers do every day. They're extremely well equipped to come up with good solutions.. once they know what the problem is that needs solving.



    i guess if it was planned from the beginning you could have the slower timers and Lee (or a narator voice) could read out the highlighted dialogue options in an internal dialogue type way( it would need to pause the other people talking while that hapened though), so that you wouldn't even need to be able to read at all

  • What do you reckon then telltale? Any devs watching?

  • I think it would take a massive amount of effort, a huge undertaking, for a very small group of people. I'm not saying they don't deserve to play the game, but Telltale can't just say "Oh, let's double the length of all given time for choices if somebody needs that option!" The game and choices were probably all looked at very carefully and timed to work with what is going on on-screen. I really don't see how they could easily give you more time in decisions without completely altering and butchering the game... They would have to go back from the beginning and rework everything...

  • @Dildor said: I think it would take a massive amount of effort, a huge undertaking, for a very small group of people. I'm not saying they don't deserve to play the game, but Telltale can't just say "Oh, let's double the length of all given time for choices if somebody needs that option!" The game and choices were probably all looked at very carefully and timed to work with what is going on on-screen. I really don't see how they could easily give you more time in decisions without completely altering and butchering the game... They would have to go back from the beginning and rework everything...



    It simply becomes an option, the people that want to play the game at the regular speed can, and the disabled people can play at the doubled length. Similar to the easier to find hotspots for items, it is an option for those that want it, but those that don't can shut it off.

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