2017-10-25 12:32:17

Hi all. I am a game developer that recently started to explore world of accessibility games. I am not calling them audiogames, because from my understanding this genre is reserved for application with sound design as the dominating way to communicate with the player. Anyway I was wondering about few things. I will ask mostly about mobile games, Android especially - I do this for my personal project that has nothing to do with my company I work for. I also don't own any iOS or Windows Phone devices for now.

Cut to the chase. I checked few titles and it seems that some games don't even work when Talkback is enabled. Is it ok to ask user to turn Talkback off? Is it common solution? I was also wondering if using speech to text user interfaces would be a good idea. Do voice commands sound as a good way to interact with a game? I mostly think about it in game's menu or giving player overall view of his current state in the game. I am not thinking about commands like in game called "There Came An Echo".

I am excited to hear your suggestions and thoughts. Any help would be appreciate smile.

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2017-10-25 18:49:38

Gypsy, welcome to the forum!  I'm excited to hear that we've gained another potential developer, since that is always a good thing.  I don't have any current experience with mobile games, and the experience I do have was not with accessible ones, so I don't think I'd be much help with that.  I believe mobile games written in Unity suffer with the problem you mentioned above, where Talkback needs to be disabled in order to get input to work properly.  I could be wrong, but I do remember reading about that when I was doing some Unity stuff several months back.

Sooner or later someone will chime in who has more experience in this area.  Mobile developers may know the answer, but mobile gamers will definitely know if they're ever asked to disable certain phone features to get games to work.

Once again, welcome!

- Aprone
Please try out my games and programs:
Aprone's software

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2017-10-25 20:15:54

Hi Aprone, thanks for a warm welcome. I indeed use Unity 3D, maybe other developers will find it interesting that input works in latest (2017.2.0f3) version of the engine. But it is still far from being intuitive and user friendly in my opinion.

On one hand talkback helps in regular phone usage and I have mixed feelings to ask user to turn it off, on the other hand I want to have full control over input. Maybe I did something wrong, but to do simple swipe I had to tap the screen to gain focus, then double tap to start gesture where second tap was starting swipe. And I had to do it in right timing. Dear mobile gamers, is it common to play accessibility games like this?

About second part, I was wondering why Speech To Text is not in common use for user interfaces. I can only think of language support but maybe I am missing something.

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2017-10-25 22:19:14

For Android games that don't use native controls, turning off, or more likely suspending Talkback as that can be done faster, is quite common. You can thank Google for this. On iOS, there is an API to mark a view as requiring direct touch interaction, which makes VoiceOver (iOS's screen reader) basically get out of the way and pass through any gestures performed on that view. There is no such feature on Android, so people are quite used to having to turn off talkback in games that use their own interface.

For voice recognition, I guess it would depend on what game you're creating. For story driven things that require you to make choices, speech can be more realistic. But in most cases, traditional interfaces are faster.

<Insert passage from "The Book Of Chrome" here>

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2017-10-26 09:11:57

Thanks pitermach for valuable info. VoiceOver's requests for direct input sounds exactly what I need, bad Google!

What do you mean by traditional interface? The raw input with taps and swipes or interface that is adapted to Talkback and VoiceOver?

I think you are right about depending on game, so I will try to explain what I am doing and what I want to achieve. I've read a great article on Gamasutra about developing a game called FREEQ. There was also a comment saying something important in my opinion: "I would say the trick is not to make a game for blind people, but rather make a game that blind people can play." And this is my rule of thumb.

My game is a tribute to cassic 70s maze games like Adventure or Hunt the Wumpus. It has 2D graphics and basically was designed for sighted people. I changed my game a bit to make it more accessible so I am not worried about controls of core gameplay - one of the features is that the maze is getting darker and even after disabling graphics you still can find your way out. Still, it has a list of levels to choose, regular UI with panels and buttons and so on. That is why I thought about voice commands.

I guess describing some mechanics makes no sense so if there are people willing to test the game I could add you to project. All I need is an email and you have to create an account on Unity's website. You must be warned, this is simple game, more like an experiment, so lower your expectations smile.

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