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We're currently developing a 2D Platformer and we decided to take some time to implement Accessibility Features. But we couldn't find good information about Accessibility Features, muss less how to implenent them. With Accessibility Features we mean things like to reduce risk of seizure (Photosensitive Epilepsy). There will be a Accessibility Menu to manually activate these.

So does anybody have some Ideas what Features we could implement and some helpful tips about how to implement them?

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The most relevant accessibility concerns for game developers are:

  • Color blindness. The most frequent one is red-green blindness which affects 9% of all genetically male people (it's quite rare for genetically female people, but not unheard of either). But there are also other forms of color blindness which might be worth accomodating. See this question for more details.

  • Other visual impairments. There are many people who have bad eyesight. These players can be accomodated by having large and easy to read UI elements and fonts. Designing a game which can be played by completely blind people is a very difficult challenge which greatly restricts your game design. It hurts me to write this, but blind gamers are a very niche demographic, and the concessions you have to make to accommodate them are next to impossible in most game genres. So it simply does not make much economic sense to develop a "blind mode" for most games. But if you manage to pull this off, then I am pretty sure that you will get some media interest in your game. I would certainly want to check out your game to see hear and feel how you did this.

  • Deafness. Your game should not rely too much on audio cues. Make sure that any information communicated via audio is also communicated visually. This is actually a great example for how accessibility features can improve your game for everyone, not just people with disability. Even players who can hear just fine might want to switch off sound for a variety of reasons. Maybe they like to listen to their own music while playing. Or maybe they need to listen to what happens in their real-world environment. Or perhaps they are in a voice chat with other players. Those are situations where it is very useful when a game is playable with sound off.

  • Speaking of voice chat: This is of course also a problem for deaf gamers and players with speech impairments. But there are also a lot of players who can't or don't want to engage in voice chat for a variety of other reasons. Perhaps they don't want to disturb other people in their real-world environment. Or perhaps they are afraid of racist, ageist or sexist discrimination from other players. Or perhaps they are just shy. So if your game is multiplayer, do not assume that every player will be able and willing to engage in voice chat.

    But on the other hand, voice chat can offer a way to communicate for those who can not type very fast. So it's still something you might want to have as an optional communication medium in your game.

    I don't think I have ever seen a game which does automatic real-time transcription of voice chat. But the technology exists and got a lot better in the past years. So IMO it's something worth considering to break through the communication barrier between those who don't type and those who don't have sound.

  • Motor disabilities. There are gamers who don't have two hands with 5 fingers each or can not move them as well as most people can. Measures to make your game playable for these gamers are:

    • Very customizable input configuration.
    • Support for a wide variety of input devices. You should also make sure that the game is fully playable with any single one of the input devices (mouse-only, keyboard-only or gamepad-only) or with a combination of multiple input devices (for example, distributing controls for one player over two or more gamepads). And, of course, support for adaptive controllers.
    • An ultra-low difficulty setting to accomodate players who are unable to make inputs fast enough.
    • Settings which remove mechanics which can be impossible for people with impaired motor-skills. Removing the need for button-mashing inputs is a typical example, and usually very easy to implement. Another example which is difficult for some players are inputs which require to make many inputs simultaneously. But those might require a bit more creativity.

Some resources for further reading:

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your Great Answer and very helpful Resources, we will definitely implement some of those! Unfortunately since we develop a Fight intensive 2D Platformer (like Hollow Knight) with a lot of Climbing and Jumping, I don't think it's possible to make it playable for completely blind People. Of course, if someone have some Ideas how to do that, then we will try to implement this. \$\endgroup\$ May 18 '18 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be interesting to see if a platformer could be made without visuals. You'd have to rely on sound cues and perhaps controller vibration, like maybe a sound that plays and gets louder as you approach a wall or something. but it would be near impossible to convert a game to do this, because it would change your whole game design. Great answer, btw Philipp. \$\endgroup\$
    – Millard
    Jun 10 at 4:13
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Phillip has the more comprehensive answer to this question but since you asked about seizures, here's some information.

For the subject of seizures, one resource you can use is the Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT). PEAT is a free, downloadable resource for developers to identify seizure risks in their web content and software. The evaluation used is based on an analysis engine developed specifically for web and computer applications.

PEAT can help authors determine whether animations or video in their content are likely to cause seizures. Not all content needs to be evaluated by PEAT, but content that contains video or animation should be evaluated, especially if that content contains flashing or rapid transitions between light and dark background colors.

The site contains additional information and resources that will ramp you up on this subject.

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