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Everything posted by OJR

  1. So this is something that I have had bubbling inside me and it's time to vent. I know it's somewhat gauche to whine as what is possibly only my fifth post, but perhaps I'll get a sympathetic ear. But as a tl,dr - Modern Gaming is Less Accessable to Visually Impaired Gamers. Also any suggestions on how I can improve my lot, and any other stories of people who've found disability becoming more of an issue in gaming. So I've been at this gaming malarky for a couple of decades now, but even before that (since I was born in fact) I've had quite a severe visual impairment, among other maladies. Without boring you with details my retinas are scarred and I'm myopic, which means small detail is difficult for me to pick up, and I have to get close to things to see them. And I just want to lay out things that have become part of modern gaming that have made enjoying my favourite hobby more difficult than once it was. 1 - Online Passes So everyone hates online passes, yes? Awkward codes that must be typed in using a controller to unlock content. But those codes are so muddily printed in such a confusing font, in what seems like grey ink most of the time. I kid you not I am more often than not forced to take photographs of the little cards that come in my new console games using my phone and zoom in on them. I've even had to resort to uploading them to my PC to be able to see the digits, and when 0 looks like O, j looks like i, G looks like Q or O or 0 or even B. 1 looks like...look, you get the idea. I implore game makers, if you're going to insist on packing these codes in? 14pt Arial Bold please! 2 - Screen Resolution/UI scaling So I run from the console and drop a load of cash on a decent gaming PC, and though online codes are still there one may just copy and paste. But a new problem has reared its head. I crank up the resolution to see the games in all their glory and, to my horror, many games do not allow UI scaling. I've literally had to ask for refunds of games that had no demo and an unusable UI. Strategy games are the worst for this, and I'm a big strategy fan. I can turn the resolution down and sometimes the UI is usable, but then the game will look far worse and I'm wasting all that processing power I spent two months wages on. 3 - Motion Control An entire section of gaming control that requires you to be further than a certain distance from the screen. Move, Kinect and Wii - all useless to me. I suppose I could set their sensors up behind the TV or to the side, but that's hardly ergonomic, and I literally have to be within one or two feet of most screens to see them. Am I just going to have to accept there's going to be a whole group of games I'll never get to play? Am I even missing out? 4 - Head Mounted Displays (Though this may be slightly positive) I pondered a solution to the motion control issue, and then thought about HMDs. But anything available in the commercial space is useless. The phrase "Like sitting eight feet from a 60 inch TV" does not sell something to me. If it said "Like sitting 6 inches from a 19 inch TV" I'd be down. I've even had shop demonstrations of video glasses and they just don't work for me. However, the reports of the Oculus Rift certainly give me hope, with the idea of a screen that takes up my whole field of view, along with 3D. Seeing will be believing. All the way up to the end of the last console generation there was very little keeping me from my games. All the way from the NES up to the PS2 and PC pre 2005 or so was a fine time. But resolutions go higher and the assumption that a person can see lots of small detail or be more than six feet from their screen just does me in. I can assume that people with physical impairments are probably not happy with the motion control developments too. Should I even complain? The disparate, broad nature of physical and mental impairments that can hamper a person's enjoyment of the interactvie medium would make accessibility for everyone almost impossible. But I can't help but feel aggreived that every current innovation in gaming is making it hard for me to enjoy games. What is a reasonable request. Oh, and one shout out to Civilization 5, and the option to disable UI scaling along with a gorgeously usable UI treatment. Bravo Firaxis. Bravo.
  2. First of all, thanks for the responses. I shouldn't be as surprised at how reasoned and valid you've all been, I guess I'd just become internet-jaded. I don't know about the big/small developer thing, though I think smaller developers and indies are more likely to listen to and act on fan input. I heard stories of honourary Thumb Brendon Chung changing a display settings to make Flotilla run better on Scoops' netbook, and the above quoted story about Grimrock. Also the two games that pop into my head on both sides of this are the 2K Games flagship PC title Civilization 5, with it's awesome UI, and the very indie strategy classic Sins of a Solar Empire by Ironclad and published by Stardock (Starduck? Stardog? Starforce?), and a UI that is incredibly fiddly and difficult to manage for those with sight impairments. It's sometimes the little things than can make all the difference too. Fallout 3 and New Vegas allowed a player to change the UI colour. That's a tiny but incredibly useful detail, allowing a person to switch to a colour that is most comfortable. Plus their friendliness with the PC mod scene means that one needn't suffer elements they don't like, just find a mod to change it or even build the mod yourself. So I think I may compose two e-mail lists. One will comprise developers such as Firaxis, Bethesda, Blendo Games, Gearbox and the like. They will recieve a kindly worded missive on how appreciated their interface choices are. Special honours will go to Q Entertainment for making a flagship Kinect game, and sequel to Rez, that DOES NOT NEED KINECT! That, my friends, is freaking genius. The second will include developers such as Ironclad, Paradox, Blue Byte and off to Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft detailing politely how I'm very disappointed in them and that they should be more considerate in future. Nintendo gets something of a pass for not making 3D an essential part of the 3DS, and for essentially releasing 'large print' versions of both of their last handhelds. Mmm, pixels big as dinnerplates!
  3. Yager's Spec Ops: The Line

    This game annoyed the hell out of me. It was often Not Fun. It was also brilliant, and I'm glad I put my money on it. I have a hard time reconciling it though. So many aspects of the narrative and delivery are so beautifully and deliberately brutal and unpleasant it made me wonder if the slightly lacklustre gameplay wasn't completely intentional too. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit. What really struck me was some of the little design choices that all seemed to be there to engineer a sense of frustrated despair. The checkpointing was generous, but always left you just before some hairy firefight. It seems to know you're going to die a lot, giving you a little more ammo each time you reload let you get a little bit further, but then you would still die. Then it pulls a Capcom and asks you politely lf you want to make it easier. That's such a backhanded feature, allowing you to continue deeper into the spiralling madness by admitting you're not good enough to keep going on Normal and take the cowards way out. "Man. You aren't doing very well. We can make your morally dubious slaughter of your fellow countrymen easier for you if you'd like. That way you get to kill all of the mans and see the ending. Hooray for You."
  4. I was hoping to pimp the Idle Thumbs shirt at ALcon in Leicester, but unfortunately it might not happen. Still I shall wear it with pride and insist that when I wear it all shall refer to me as M. F. Wizard esq.
  5. Here's one of the wonderful, silly things about the emerging narrative of my Minecraft experience on the server. I never thought I would get to say this: Zombies keep appearing in the middle of the day by my house because that giant Swedish flag is blotting out the sun in the late morning. Ahh...video games.
  6. Thirty Flights of Loving

    That was strangely powerful. At least I think it was accusatory. I just don't know what went wrong! I think I'm going to have to play it through a few more times to really spot everything. Maybe thirty times. Also were the in the actually using a real physics simulation? All the spoiler tags in this thread make it look like it's been redacted by the military, which is sort of apt considering the seeming plot of the game.
  7. I'd rebutt the rebuttlal of my rebuttal but Chris answered me so I'm just kind of in a pool of fangasm. And we will just never agree, nor should we, though I did find Paradise City kinda devoid of life and found the 'super reflex' pedestrians in Driver SF rather charming. All I know is that I've put more time and got more enjoyment out of Driver than Burnout (and Burnout 3 is still the bestest one). On another note I kept trying to get into Lords Managment with LoL, but that overwhelming pressure that was mentioned almost crippled my enjoyment. I'm not great in high pressure multiplayer and the only thing that was pulling me through was the fact I was on a team. Maybe if I try DotA2 and join the Consortium I might find a game where I'm not weeping because I am the weak link in the team and they all call me a noob and a feeder.
  8. Uplay

    @Gwardian Very Yes
  9. Great casting as always, but I couldn't agree less with the interpretations put forward of Driver San Francisco. I thought it was so much more ethical than most games, with it being actually impossible to kill anyone. The game goes out of the way to make it clear that everyone gets out of every crash just fine. Oh except Tanner himself, the only guy in the game injured in a car crash. Plus the story doesn't take itself at all seriously and the tone is light and fun all the way though, like a daytime cop show. And Reflections suck at anything that isn't awesome open world driving so they just did awesome open world driving. Trying to tone down the violence, trying a fresh aesthetic and working to a dev team's strengths, plus really innovative multiplayer? Shouldn't we be celebrating all that?!
  10. Uplay

    Again it's just another stupid inconvenience to the consumer. I'm not a fan of any DRM or always-on system by principle, but I'll take it if it's stable and doesn't get in the way. Valve could, theoretically, just pull the plug on all the hundreds of games I've bought from them, and I'd have to go to court to get my property back, but it's not in their best interests to do such a thing. They've made their DRM so unobtrusive and shoved in so much extra support and content for things like modding that it's worth the trade-off. Ubisoft, EA and Blizzard/Activision are absolutely heinous at inconveniencing new players. Pirates offer a more tempting service by having their price point at 'free' for starters. But these companies are not going to beat the pirates even marginally by locking off content and instigating draconian DRM and code entry stipulations. And the whole war on the pre-owned market is going to kill retro-gaming from this console generation onward, where the only way you'll ever be able to get all the content for a game is to pirate it, as most of it would be locked away behind codes or held as retailer exclusive content. And DLC will only be on their servers for a limited time. If I go buy a copy of Ace Combat 2, one of my favourites, from eBay I know I'm getting all the content. If I did that with Ace Combat 6 or Assault Horizon in a similar number of years in the future I'm never going to be able to have the whole game, even if I were willing to pay for all the extra content. Companies have no incentive but customer goodwill to take into account things like convenience and potential retro gaming. Companies like GOG help, with DRM stripped versions, but this can't be done for all games. They want control of the content, even after you have paid them, like a one-time rental payment where you actually own nothing. And with the percentages the actual developers get most of the time I'm almost loathe to part with my money sometimes. So I'll wait for sales and swallow my woggle and fork over as little cash for games I want from companies whose practices I don't agree with because, dammit, I want their product, but they don't deserve the asking price for their audacity and I don't want to pirate their software. I speak with my wallet. You put draconian DRM in your game and charge £40 for it? I'll wait until it's £10 and buy it then, and screw your first week sales figures. You'll probably release a Game Of The Year Super Special Gold Edition for half the price of the original, if I'm lucky.
  11. Odd quotes that stick

    "They're masterworks all, you can't go wrong!" - Blacksmith, Dragon's Dogma This stuck because it's the ONLY THING HE SAYS IN GREETING! Capcom still keeping up its stellar track record of writing/voice acting in video games. "...age is always advancing, and I'm pretty sure it's up to no good." and "Paranoid? Maybe. But that doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face." Harry Dresden, The Dresden Files. "Oh my God! What's wrong with your face!?" Harry S. Plinkett (mainly for the goofy accent)
  12. New people: Read this, say hi.

    Hi all. Longtime listener, decided to dip my toe into the waters of the forums. Maybe find good discussion and the inside (hot) scoop on video and computer gaming. OJR