Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jeru

Accessibility in 0 A.D.

Recommended Posts

A user writes on our contact form (emphasis mine):

Because my age is 59 and the reaction is not the best, so I like to ask you for a real pause-mode (the possibility to give commands while pausing the game). The game should not start again if I give a command.

I´m not sure how your plans are for this, but please, if you don´t want that, so put it at least to the options, so everyone can decide to play with or without.

I am wondering if we can implement this, and what other features would be needed to make 0 A.D. accessible to as many people as possible, e.g. people with visual impairments, the hard of hearing, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's as good as planned I believe, at least it's something that's been discussed. Can't remember if there is a ticket or not though, hmm, after a quick search http://trac.wildfiregames.com/ticket/785 is the closest I can find. Should probably be implemented in conjunction with adjustable game speed anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What should be nice is that in pause mode some actions should be performed instantly, e.g. ungarrisoning a unit and giving him a new order. I remember a discussion about this with Phillip. IIRC he said the game is based on turns, and as it is now it should be modified to work like this, otherwise this instanct actions won't work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We already do something similar for paused multiplayer games. (You can give commands while the game is paused)

The feedback is a bit problematic (training units doesn't add them to the queue immediately, resources aren't subtracted instantly, etc), this is caused by the simulation being paused and thus not excuting the commands.

Aviv: I suppose adding a config option to not unpause in single player shouldn't be much work. (The limitations above will still remain)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Multiplayer in RoN doesn't feature pausing. Apparently they thought It would be annoying if someone could keep stopping the game the whole time. They instead introduced "Cannon Time", a feature that slowed the game drastically for some seconds and could only by used a fixed number of times by each user.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest a 'pause voting', pausing a multiplayer only works when two or more players agree on pausing the game. You could, for example, say: 'I need to go to the toilet, could we pause please,' and then press the pause button. If one of the other players agrees within a certain time limit, the game pauses and you can go to the toilet.

Or, if you want to pause to give commands, you should probably say that in advance when starting the game and make sure all other players don't mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AoK used a simple system of a fixed number of pauses/unpauses per player. So if one person keeps pausing then the majority have enough unpause actions to keep the game going. Similarly it someone wants to unfairly unpause the game can be put back into pause until the bad player runs out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what other features would be needed to make 0 A.D. accessible to as many people as possible, e.g. people with visual impairments, the hard of hearing, etc.

  • Adjustable font / UI scaling
  • Careful and consistent use of colors to distinguish things (preferably use shapes and/or text)
  • In-game volume controls
  • Combine audible alerts with visual alerts and vice versa

I would suggest a 'pause voting', pausing a multiplayer only works when two or more players agree on pausing the game. You could, for example, say: 'I need to go to the toilet, could we pause please,' and then press the pause button. If one of the other players agrees within a certain time limit, the game pauses and you can go to the toilet.

Or, if you want to pause to give commands, you should probably say that in advance when starting the game and make sure all other players don't mind.

Instead of any two players, why not make the host responsible for approving it? They should have other "super powers" anyway, like ability to kick/ban disruptive players. If they use powers fairly, they get a good reputation, otherwise a bad reputation and it polices itself :) We could do some system of voting but then you have to resolve splits and it won't be much less contentious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of any two players, why not make the host responsible for approving it? They should have other "super powers" anyway, like ability to kick/ban disruptive players. If they use powers fairly, they get a good reputation, otherwise a bad reputation and it polices itself :) We could do some system of voting but then you have to resolve splits and it won't be much less contentious.

I'd just like to point out that when you are playing with random people, you may get a not-so-friendly host that will always protect his/her friends instead of doing what's right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Adjustable font / UI scaling
  • Careful and consistent use of colors to distinguish things (preferably use shapes and/or text)
  • In-game volume controls
  • Combine audible alerts with visual alerts and vice versa

All of these are great

Perhaps there could be an option in the match lobby like "free pause". When not ticked, only the voting could be used.

This is usually the best approach for MP accessibility issues, allows everyone to play in the way that best suits their own preferences. Halo Reach's 'chattiness' matchmaking preference is a great example (very useful for people with hearing or speech impairment who can't chat, who often get kicked out by players who rely on it).

what other features would be needed to make 0 A.D. accessible to as many people as possible, e.g. people with visual impairments, the hard of hearing, etc.

There are four different types of impairment that relate to gaming, five if you're dealing with voice chat in online multiplayer:

Visual

Hearing

Cognitive

Motor

Speech

You hit the nail on the head with what you said about 'accessible to as many people as possible', that's what it's all about, as opposed to it being just accessible or inaccessible. Disability occurs when people's impairments come up against barriers, so accessibility means avoiding the barriers that are unnecessary, ie. aren't the core thing that your players are going to be buying the game for.

If you're after a good resource then this should help:

http://www.gameacces...yguidelines.com

Alot of it just looks like good general game design practice and you'll have quite a bit of it already in place, but actually everything on there is disability related, so anything at all you implement will make a difference.

I'd start by having a quick read of the 'why and how' page, and then have a look at the basic guidelines, most of them should be applicable, then see if any of the intermediate ones are too. The advanced ones are pretty niche and specific, but some of them can still be easy to apply to strategy games.

Two really important things though, firstly if you're doing any accessibility work do what you can to let people know about the features, so the work doesn't go to waste, and also track who's using them to help inform future work.

Hope that's of some use! Just ask me if you have any specific questions about accessibility, I should be able to help.

Edited by Ianhamilton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sometimes struggle with colour-blindness. It's usually not much of a problem in games because steps are usually taken to help prevent this.

The most common problem in an RTS would be Player/Team colours. Sometimes colours can look too similar to be distinguishable from one another.

Personally, I have a problem with reds, greens and browns. It can be hard for me to distunguish between these if they are near each other in terms of shade/pigmentation (usually mid-darker greens and reds, but virtuall any form of brown). I also stuggle with light green and yellow (lime green looks like yellow to me most of the time). Other people can also struggle with other colours, such as blues and yellows.

When playing AoE games I often stuggle with the mini-map. It can be hard for me to find resources, or the Red/Green Teams may blend in to much with the green/brown colours of the mini-map.

Anyway, I don't really know of any solutions that can be used other than trying to pick colours that avoid this problem. But it might be hard for people who don't have this problem. Some games (like puzzles) will use numbers as well as colours, to help identify differences, but I'm not sure how viable that will be in an RTS game (it would clutter the screen to have all units/buildings numbered).

There may be other methods out there that people have tried, but unfortunately I don't know much about them. I'll point out any time I have trouble with this for 0AD, and I trust you guys will keep these things in mind while developing the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say the best way forward is probably to allow users to set preferred colors. Us trying to pick colors which would work well for everyone is practically impossible + it would make it unnecessarily hard for people who don't have color-blindness to tell different units apart if we aren't able to use e.g. red/green etc. That said, if we can find good shades/hues that works ok for color-blind people as well that's of course nice (and as far as we can we should definitely not rely on only color to tell players something but only use it to enhance the experience for those who can distinguish between e.g. red/green etc :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When playing AoE games I often stuggle with the mini-map. It can be hard for me to find resources, or the Red/Green Teams may blend in to much with the green/brown colours of the mini-map.

Our minimap is currently awful for everyone ;) Especially on maps with lots of trees. We have/had some plans to improve it (see this topic), like using pixel art for resources and combining large clusters of entities together into single icons. Another thing that was mentioned was using HSL color model and separating colors by purpose within different S+L (saturation and lightness) bands. So for instance, terrain on the minimap would be one band, resources another, player colors another. That should make them more distinguishable for everyone, but I don't know how that would interact with different kinds of color blindness. Red-green is one we should always be mindful of.

The other thing is what Erik mentioned, having customizable player colors that can be chosen by the player in match setup. This has been discussed in the past, I seem to recall Spahbod was working on it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would be cool. An options menu that allows you to select a color for Players 1-8 and other necessities. It would be great for people who have visual problems, and for people who have preferences for certain colors.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing is what Erik mentioned, having customizable player colors that can be chosen by the player in match setup. This has been discussed in the past, I seem to recall Spahbod was working on it?

I think it would be better to have those in an options menu for each player, so each player can have colors for each player number that they can distinguish well. (it's not likely that everyone in a multiplayer game is going to have the same kind of colorblindness, after all :P)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be better to have those in an options menu for each player, so each player can have colors for each player number that they can distinguish well. (it's not likely that everyone in a multiplayer game is going to have the same kind of colorblindness, after all :P)

I'm actually not sure if that is a good idea. Do we want the confusion that arises when one player is talking about the 'blue' player and another player has set that player to be red?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually not sure if that is a good idea. Do we want the confusion that arises when one player is talking about the 'blue' player and another player has set that player to be red?

Hmm, I hadn't thought of that. But it might be annoying to have a colorblind host set the colors to some color other people won't be able to distinguish as well, too... Maybe we could just put a warning in the options screen for it saying they should make sure to talk about players using their numbers instead if they change the colors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are some ugly colors... better to just let colorblind people choose their own ;) Those could be among the options of course. Most matches won't have 8 players, so it should be fairly easy to choose, say, 4 distinct colors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually not sure if that is a good idea. Do we want the confusion that arises when one player is talking about the 'blue' player and another player has set that player to be red?

Doesn't matter the colorblind guy is going to see a different color anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Doesn't matter the colorblind guy is going to see a different color anyways.

It's irrelevant what color he sees. The point is whether he understands the words the same way as other players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...