Messages to Game Developers?

iOS and iPadOS Gaming
Hello! At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) next month, I'm hosting a roundtable called "Beyond Graphics: Reaching the Visually Impaired Gamer". The goal is to educate game developers on the benefits of taking just a bit of time and making their game accessible. GDC is the worlds largest conference for game developers, with over 22,000 attendees each year. I would love input from this group as part of this session. If you have any suggestions for game developers to better serve the visually impaired community, or some specific anecdotes as to how accessible games on iOS have affected your and your life, I would love to hear them. Thank you, Brian Schmidt EarGames Here is the full session description: On the surface, the move to touchscreen devices and their visually oriented interfaces would seem to be an anathema for the visually impaired. Surprisingly, the opposite is true; they have had a rapid and life-changing effect, with smartphone uptake amongst people with profound vision impairments outstripping the rest of the population. Modern smartphones have powerful and sophisticated technologies to specifically facilitate their use by those with vision impairments. These technologies, and others, are actually very simple and straightforward for developers to work with, making it increasingly easy to accommodate those with vision impairments or even target them directly. In this session, speakers will present their experiences specifically creating or modifying games with the visually impaired in mind, during the development or refinement of games such as Zombies, Run!, MUDRammer and Ear Monsters. This session will discuss vision related accessibility in gaming, ranging from what there is to gain from it, creative gameplay issues, as well as technical and business challenges and rewards. Also presenting is blind video gamer and advocate, Brandon Cole, for his unique insight into gaming as a person with a visual impairment, and as a beginning hobbyist game developer. Takeaway Attendees will come away with a good understanding of the challenges, issues and rewards of making games accessible to those with vision impairments from a group with firsthand experience. They will gain a better understanding of the community of gamers with visual impairments. Intended Audience Game developers and designers who would like to learn how their games can be made playable and enjoyable by those with visual impairments, and who would also like to understand some of the business and financial benefits to expanding their audience to include that community.



Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, February 21, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Hi Brian, First, thank you so much for reaching out to the AppleVis community. Your session is a wonderful idea, and I for one would love to hear your report on how it goes. One of the most important things developers should know, in my opinion at least, is that implementing accessibility often isn't as hard as it sounds. Audio games are of course popular, but there are a lot of us who would like a simple card game--like Uno--to be accessible. And card games like that are the types of games that lend themselves to being made accessible really easily. Thank you again for reaching out to the AppleVis community, and please do let us know how the roundtable goes.

Submitted by Khalfan Bin Dhaher on Friday, February 21, 2014

Hello Brian. Thanks for your kind efforts. I got nothing much to say. As Michael said above, users are looking for more accessible card games. I love more audio adventure games, challenging games such as ear monsters. I got few comments, I'll be posting my suggestions in the iOS gaming forum. Good luck. Khalfan.

Submitted by Raul on Friday, February 21, 2014

Hello, I think the problem is that most developers don't know about accessibility as Michael said. Some think it is something really hard to implement, some others don't know what it is. For example, a blind gamer that participates in fighting tournaments talked to Ed Boon from Netherrealm Studios. He spoke about accessibility and soon after there was an Injustice game update, which added a sound indicating where the interactable items where placed. My suggestion is that you explain the benefits of implementing accessibility. Most developers focus on money, and an accessible game will reach more people than an inaccessible one.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, February 22, 2014

This is a great idea! Some developers think that they have to make a separate more simple version of the app, but that's not always the case. Plus when I approach a developer I always explain to them that it might take a little extra time but adding accessibility is just the right thing to do. If there's an interest in their app, why not reach the widest audience possible? I hope the round table goes really well!

Submitted by nmpettus on Friday, March 7, 2014

I am retired and have just started developing apps for the visually impaired. My first app was just released called Spoken Slots ( I am working on a second app, Spoken 21, a blackjack app. I am not using VoiceOver but text to speech and voice recognition. I am also trying to incorporate physical gestures in the apps. I was inspired by my uncle who has macular degeneration and loved to play computer games. Any comments, feedback, wishes, or direction is welcome. Glad I came across this forum. Thanks for your work.

Hi Nmpettus. Thanks for letting us know about these games. I will try the Slots game out as soon as I get a chance to download it, and I eagerly await a Blackjack game. I look forward to hearing of more of your efforts and appreciate you taking time to notify us of your work. Scott

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, March 7, 2014

Hi Brian. thanks for offering to take our suggestions to the round table. sounds pretty cool. My only suggestion is the mainstream developers, I'm glad we have our own niche of games, but speaking as someone who enjoys the "sighted" part of the world much more then the blind, it would be fantastic to play something even as fun as Angry birds or the like. To one of the previous posters who has a slots game, cool thank you will go get that one. P.s. Angry birds isn't a game i'md reaming of playing, just an example. If you want a better one, I need more coffee. ;)

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, March 7, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Brian, One thing I recently came across was a game developed using the Game Salad cross-platform engine. Unfortunately, Game Salad does not contain any accessibility support. This is probably because it is cross-platform, but it is still an issue that I hope to see resolved. I think developers need to know that if they want their games to be accessible, the best route to take would be to use Apple's native iOS programming language.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Friday, March 7, 2014

The game John Cenas fast lane created by WWE is inaccessible. I have already written to the developer of this game but no reply.

Submitted by BrianSchmidt on Friday, March 7, 2014

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will definitely bring up the issue of Game Engines and the benefits of making sure they contain accessibility features. The target crowd for this session is definitely mainstream game developers, so hopefully we'll spark some interest.. Brian

Submitted by Josue on Friday, July 18, 2014

In reply to by BrianSchmidt

Hello I am glad you're thinking of making games accessible more for the blind how about a strategy game like clash of clans I S a Bishali and pair will love play that game what do you think