At Good Trouble, our dedication to creating inclusive gaming experiences extends beyond just the physical interactions or visual pixels in our games. In this installment of our Accessibility Standards series, we focus on auditory accessibility, and our commitment to ensuring that our games are incredibly enjoyable and playable for those who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing.
For all in-game information that is conveyed through sound, we will also implement visual on-screen information in the form of text, icons, and indicators.
Audio, such as dialogue and sound effects, is one of the most common ways games communicate what’s happening to players.When a game doesn’t support people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, they’re left out of often-critical information key to world-building, telling a story, and being transported into the game. Good Trouble is committed to providing visual versions of both critical gameplay sounds, as well as environmental details such as waves crashing or critters scuttling, in adjustable formats.
So what does this look like in practice?
First and foremost, we consider some things critical and essential, such as including subtitles and optional closed captions for all dialogue, or letting players change the styling of subtitles and/or closed captions. We commit to providing this support.
Our commitment includes localization of subtitles and closed captions, support for motion-sensitivity in controlling how text appears, and letting players choose the way spatial captioning appears.
Beyond subtitles and closed captions, we’ll ensure any auditory information such as alerts about combat or major strategic events is multimodal in how it’s conveyed. For example, if a player needs to be alerted to a battle that’s happening, we’ll provide robust and customizable visual alerts, supplementing the auditory alert.
However, we also want to take it a step further than just the essentials. We feel auditory accessibility is greatly under-explored, and we want to push the boundaries to design new approaches to empower players who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing to get the most from our games. We commit to including gamers who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing in our testing process, so our explorations are refined and actually helpful.
As we move closer to revealing our project, we'd love to get your feedback on any Auditory Accessibility considerations we haven’t yet included, and learn how Good Trouble can raise the bar for Real Time Strategy games. Head on over to the Good Trouble Discord server, where our #accessibility channel hosts conversations like this every day.