Reducing accessibility barriers on an adventure game

Detailed articles illustrating how the game is being made, technical and behind the curtain details.

Reducing accessibility barriers on an adventure game

Postby tgk_javi » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:09 am

As most of you already know, we are quite proud that “The Last Door” has important in-game accessibility features. To that effect, we counted on the help and experience of AccessAble Games (http://accessablegames.com) in order to design “The Last Door” as much accessible as possible.

The most remarkable functionalities towards accessibility are: the possibility to play with a special font adapted to dyslexia disorder and closed captions.

Since the beginning of the game development, we had clear that we wanted to add accessibility features so that any player could enjoy “The Last Door” experience. Now, each time we undertake a new chapter design from the scratch, accessibility it’s in our mind, on the starting grid.

Some of these features make the game more accessible and include no time limits to read the texts, a simple control (mouse and left-click), no need of speedy or long clicks, etc. In the top of that, and as main features we focused, in the two above-mentioned aspects: audio and texts.

Taking as a starting point that the soundtrack orchestral music and all the sounds and Fx’s present in the game play an essential role in the gaming experience, and that they have been added to support and go with the players’ imagination, a person who is unable to listen those sounds and music is missing a very important part of the game. He or she will live a completely different game experience far away from the one is designed and intended to be so that’s the reason why we added the option to play with closed captions.

In the upper side of the screen, the players will be able to find music and sound descriptions in the exact moment they are being played in the scene. This description can be also shown in the top left of the screen, in the center or in the top right, depending on where the audio is coming from. This feature is almost indispensable at the point of the game where a given puzzle needs to be solved and it’s much easier to figure it out if you are aware of where the sound is coming from.

A screenshot of the game using audio subtitles:

Image

Being a game adventure, “The Last Door” has many texts: the main character thoughts, object and places descriptions, letters, diaries and journals that Devitt comes across with, etc.

The original font is of pixel-art style, following the overall aesthetics of the game but additionally we added an optional font specially designed to people with dyslexia to be easily read not only by these ones but also by other persons with reading problems.

The same screenshot we used before but applying closed captions as well as the font adapted for dyslexics:

Image

In the second chapter of “The Last Door” we tried to expand the accessibility options by increasing the available languages of the game and most importantly, adding a full-screen mode in both episodes (“The Letter” and Memories”). Indeed, this option was a highly demanded feature by our community.


At this point, I would like to show you the usage statistics of the different accessibility options we have implemented so far:

Accessibility options usage is higher than expected. Taking our first 150.000 gameplays as a reference, the percentage of our players who end up the game with the dyslexic font or the closed caption active, is the following one:
  • 12.33% of the game players who end up the game, they do it with closed captioning activated.
  • 13.78% of the game players who end up the game, they do it with the font for dyslexics activated


Besides, “The Last Door” has received many positive feedbacks regarding our accessibility options, we post you hereunder some of them:

Pyrophex
"I love that dyslexia-friendly font. This is just amazing for someone like me. I didn't have to read everything 3 times to understand every little bit of sentence. That is the exact reason why i gave 6/5 to your game. That is also a message to every other developer. If you could implement that type of font to your games."

Deus1
"Wow, I haven't even started playing, and I already have to applaud you for adding accessibility options."

jimmyhaha
"Great work on the accessibility options as well. I was glad to see the subtitling wasn't hastily thrown in at the end, that it included those great atmospheric sounds, and actually indicated direction. Those are little touches that make a huge difference to players that need them."
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Re: Reducing accessibility barriers on an adventure game

Postby cbee » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:27 pm

Great post, and just wanted to say - yes - the accessability options are a really fantastic thing! When I showed TLD to a friend, one of his first reactions was "Wow, dyslexia friendly fonts - this game is awesome!" Good to hear other people felt the same way.
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