There are a lot of areas that go into developing a game, with functionality, storytelling, graphics, and vocal talent being a part of this, overall, there are many things to consider. Combine this all together and you have a finished game.
However, there is one area that still has a long way to go and that is video game accessibility.
Accessibility is a key part of developing a game but can often be forgotten or put aside. Depending on what the developers hope to achieve with the game, accessibility is frequently sidelined. In an ideal world, this would be one of the first things that would be considered in the planning stage of game design.
So where do you begin with making a game accessible? First, let’s start with the obvious.
What makes a game accessible?
Accessibility in a game is the action of making it functional and playable for everyone. This means that the game should be accessible to those with all impairments. Making a game accessible means making sure absolutely anyone and everyone can play, participate, and enjoy the game.
Because someone has a disability, should not prevent them from having fun and enjoying a video game. Therefore, considering accessibility at the beginning of development is vital to making sure that everyone can access the game once completed. If this is considered at the beginning of development, then the game can be built to include everyone. That will enable someone with an impairment to navigate, participate and engage with once complete.
What are the main areas of accessibility?
The main areas to focus on when talking about accessibility are Mobility, Cognitive, Vision, Hearing, Speech & General. These areas focus on improving functionality for people with disabilities. Most games do have some form of accessibility for these categories however these are often with very basic criteria.
There are a variety of areas in each category of accessibility to be considered when developing a game. Here is a breakdown of what is considered a basic level when developing the accessibility of a game according to gameaccessibilityguidelines.com :
- Controls can be reconfigured to the players desired format
- Ensure that the user interface is accessible using the same control method as gameplay
- Control sensitivity is adjustable
- Controls are simple or that a simpler alternative is available
- Interactive elements and/or virtual controls are well spaced out and large
- Haptics are adjustable via a slider or toggle.
- Allowing the game to start without multiple levels of menus
- Enable easy to read default font
- Make language clear and simple to understand
- Make text simple in format
- Include interactive tutorial for use
- Enable players to move text prompts forward at their own pace
- Avoid the use of repetitive patterns and flickering images
- Text to speech
- Make sure no essential information is visible through colour alone
- Set an appropriate default for the viewing environment if using a field of view
- Avoid simulation sickness triggers in VR
- Make sure font size is easily readable
- Text formatting is simple and lean
- Make contract high between text and background
- Interactive elements and virtual controls need to be large and well-spaced, especially on games that are compatible with mobile devices
- Subtitles provided for speech
- Volume controls available for speech, background music and effects
- No essential information is provided by sounds alone
- Subtitles and captions are presented in a clear and easy way to read
- Ensure speech input is provided as a supplementary or alternative input method
- Enable a choice of level difficulty
- Make sure accessibility features are listed on the game packaging or website
- Display of accessibility features in-game
- All settings are able to be saved or remembered
- Accessibility feedback is enabled
A great place to find information on accessibility in gaming is the reviewing guide on the website Can I Play That. Made up of a group of people who live with impairments. They review accessibility to gamers and whether they managed to fully experience the game.
Why is accessibility so important?
Creating accessibility settings in your game has a big impact on those with disabilities. It provides a massive step closer to inclusivity where so many other industries fail.
With this in mind, developers should be looking to games such as the Last of Us 2 as a standard example. With over 60 accessibility settings, this game has become one of the most playable games of all time, with gaming for the impaired players.
The basic criteria that many current games demonstrate is now not enough. The Last of Us 2 has now highlighted how much can be done to improve accessibility. Showcasing how much can be done to make games more inclusive.
Some things to consider when starting to develop your game. Take time when planning to focus on the accessibility features that you build into the game. Gaming provides massive escapism across the world and making sure you are inclusive to all, allows more people to enjoy what you create and of course, leads to additional sales opportunities.
Voice in gaming
Using voice, you can make sure that accessibility is refined for an audio cue, interactive tutorials, character vocals and directional assistance. These are just a few of the things where vocal talent can assist in making your game more accessible.
Consider that many people with a visual impairment will heavily depend on vocal cues. These people will often use reader programs to assist with gaming such as Apple’s VoiceOver & Windows Jaw. If the game is not compatible with these types of software, then this will prevent a disabled gamer from playing.
With this is mind, with game progression looking to become more inclusive in the future, we can help!
Looking for talented vocal artists for your game? Then look no further. With over 1000 professional voice artists, we can provide exactly what you need. Be it character vocals, tutorial guides, or advertising dubbing, you are bound to find what you’re looking for with Chatterbox.
Contact our friendly team and give us a call on +44 (0) 203 744 3558 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.