This year, the GA SIG decided to branch out and do work with the Global Game Jam. Tara Tefertiller, the current chairperson, happen to live in an area with a local chapter. The Central Florida chapter was nearby, and working with the chapter leader, an accessibility advocacy motive was born. We wanted to get accessibility in and decided a merit competition would be the most appropriate fit. It would be a way to award those who participated with high accessibility goals with out punishing those who did not, all while still letting everyone learn something about accessibility. Games would be given a point score based on features incorporated into their game. More important features were given points, and the scoring took into consideration features that didn’t apply to titles. For example, if a game did not have speech it would not be penalized for not having subtitles. A few teams stepped up to the challenge and the Game Accessibility SIG could not be more pleased with the results.
Here is a gameplay video of our winner as it was at the end of Global Game Jam (for a video of the updated version please see the team’s Facebook page):
The winner of the IGDA GA SIG Global Game Jam Merit competition is Gaiya:The Origins of Deeproot by team Epic Wedgie. When it was time for scoring, this group did an amazing job of incorporating a number of key features in their game. Gaiya
provided a tutorial mode, which allows players to ensure that their controllers or custom equipment is compatible with the game, in addition to letting players practice. In game, there are no important sound effects or voice over to be missed, making the game deaf gamer friendly. There were never any points where the player would be required to tell the difference between something red and green, or blue and yellow. This made the title color-blind friendly. Finally, the game was a one switch, or a one button mode game, which can be very helpful to gamers with several types of mobility issues. Not only were all of these features incorporated into their game, but the game was fun. I really playing it.
Acknowledging that more work could be done on this title, team Epic Wedgie has taken even further steps post Global Game Jam to make their title even more attractive to the hearing and visually impaired. If one took a look at the game posted at the end of the GGJ, one would notice that the voice over on the main menu, which provides the game’s background story, was lacking subtitles. Additionally, in game one would notice there were several moments were brown objects were on a brown background or perhaps grey objects on a grey background and so on. This could make this title hard for some gamers with low vision. Since the end of Global Game Jam, team Epic Wedgie has continuedwork on their title and added subtitles to the main menu and adjusted the color in game
to make them more high contrast.
Also, the team has announced they they plan to make updates to the game, including more levels, checkpoints, and multiplayer. Be sure to be on a look out for those.
Again, congratulations to all the members of Team Epic Wedgie; Ben Bair, Michael Burroughs, Krystal Churchwell, Kawon Davis, Joe France, Adam Harte, Chad Hoover, James Lewis, Tim Mayo, Bryan Solero, Ryan Turner and David Weiss.
Quotes from the Team:
Kawon Davis: Creating GaiYa was a fun and amazing experience, because I got to work with highly motivated and amazing people.
Ben Bair: I thought the Jam was fantastic. I worked with a team of great people to make a fun little game. I can’t wait to do it again next year!