0 Comments Published by OneSwitch.org.uk on Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 12:30 AM.
For a lot of disabled gamers, many games are frustratingly difficult to play, Golf included. Help is at hand though for developers interested in bringing their games to a wider audience. Implementing these few features won't remove all game barriers for all people, but it would be a fantastic start.
Golf Games Top 3 Accessibility Features List
1. Fully Re-definable Controls
The Problem: Many gamers struggle with pre-set controller layouts, as they just don't suit the way they play. Such people include gamers using just one or two accessibility switches (e.g. many quadriplegics and people with spinal injuries). Other people just might not be able to reach all the buttons (e.g. people with hands that are too small to reach all the buttons comfortably such as young children). Gaming can be uncomfortable, painful and even impossible.
The Benefits: A much wider range of potential gamers will be able to play the game with this facility, using many different types of controllers. Greater comfort and playability for many.
2. Compatibility with Alternative Controllers
The Problem: Many games do not recognise the fact that people may prefer to use an alternative controller to a standard joypad. This can rule out the use of simpler controllers such as arcade sticks to specialised controllers such as QuadController (a controller that is completely controlled by the mouth and head turns). Adding re-definable controls will solve many of these issues, but without also taking into account that many people would prefer to use the simple on/off digital controls, a game will remain frustratingly inaccessible for them.
The Benefits: A much wider range of potential gamers will be able to play the game with this facility, using many different types of controllers.
Extra Suggestions: Making a game playable with a digital arcade stick or a single Wii remote controller for the Wii, will open the game up massively to many. Take a look at EA's Madden Family Play and Advanced modes for one great example of how to crack this nut which uses game assist modes in basic mode.
3. Easy Play Modes
The Problem: For the vast majority of people, if a game is too hard, then it is not going to be much fun to play. If a game is impossibly hard from the start, then this just seems like a slap in the face. What makes a golf game too tricky? Some examples are: too much wind, too much hook and slice, too high a degree of skill needed just to hit a ball, no courses for beginners.
The Benefits: Including modes for easier play opens the game up to otherwise excluded gamers: the very young, certain disability groups and older people who may have slower reactions.
Extra Suggestions: Many golf games have got it right in some areas. Everybody's Golf (Clap Hanz) has some wonderful features. The "Easy Play" mode reduces wind(!) and removes hook and slice (i.e. when you hit your ball - it goes straight instead of going behind you). It features quick start modes, practice areas and lines you up with the hole on each shot. What would improve things further would be a reduced control mode for gamers using a single button (such as with Mini Golf 1 Button Style for the PC) or at least to keep the maximum number of controls needed to play a basic game to five (the D-pad and one extra button). See section three of Barriers in Games for the one-switch standard.