GameSalad Game Accessibility

greg.gaygreg.gay Member Posts: 3

We are looking at game development tools for a number of game based learning projects we'll be undertaking over the next little while. We are located in Ontario, Canada, and as a University in the province we are obligated under our provincial accessibility laws, to develop content, and procure IT, that is accessible to people with disabilities. GameSalad is at the top of our list, but we need to understand what accessibility support is available.

I'm quite familiar with the challenges of making games accessible to everyone, so I get that whatever system we choose it's unlikely we'll be able to create games that are "fully" accessible to everyone out of the box. But, we need to make every effort to do so. Being able to work with code in behind would be a good work around, though I see this isn't available yet. I'll +1 that as a new feature.

Some of the accessibility basics are being able to control game elements by keyboard, and providing readable text alternative for visual elements. I see in the demos there is the ability to assign rules to control keyboard navigation of actors with arrow keys. In the Airship Defender demo that comes with GameSalad for instance, it is possible to move the player/actor around on the screen using a keyboard. It's good to see that. However, I could not find a way to assign a keyboard command to the Play button, or the Choose buttons when selecting a player. Also I did not see a way to navigate around elements on the screen by keyboard when choices are available, typically with the Tab key. For example, when selecting a player, using the Tab key, or perhaps arrow keys, to move between available players, then pressing Enter to select one.

Being very new with GameSalad, perhaps I've just not found the keyboard options I'm looking for.

Are they there?

Or, are accessibility features such as these on the radar for GameSalad?

Has anyone look at accessibility in GameSalad that we could read about?

As an example, perhaps someone could explain how to add a shortcut key to activate the Play button in the Airship Defender game.

I appreciate any guidance.

greg

Comments

  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,668
    edited September 2016

    I haven't messed with the Airship Defender game so I'm not certain how that works exactly. But you should be able to pretty easily add a keyboard equivalent to any button on screen and/or set up a system to tab between button options.

    Edit: I've attached a quickly hacked together demo. You can tab through the 3 buttons and then touch or click the active button to perform a function.

  • greg.gaygreg.gay Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2016

    That's what I'm looking for, I think. Where is the game.activeButton attribute coming from? I'm not seeing it in my Attribute Browser, though I do see it in the demo you provided. thx

  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,668

    It's a Custom Attribute I added myself. You can add your own Game or Actor Level Attributes as needed using the Plus (+) button at the bottom of the Attributes window. It sounds like you're pretty new, I suggest following some tutorials and doing some exercises just to familiarize yourself with things like that before starting any large projects. There are tons online, in the Gamesalad Academy and I also have a bunch at my websites linked in my signature below.

  • greg.gaygreg.gay Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for the help and the resources. I will definitely dig deeper to learn more.

  • tatiangtatiang Member, Sous Chef, PRO, Senior Sous-Chef Posts: 11,926
    edited September 2016

    Greg, welcome... it's great to hear from other educators interested in using GameSalad. I work at a K-8 school in the U.S. and teach students how to use GameSalad for game design. As @jamie_c mentioned, you can do everything you asked about with this tool. It's actually very flexible in terms of how "actors" (buttons, players, text, etc.) are controlled via keyboard. You can also have text appear/disappear/move or have narration through included sound files.

    If you have any questions about using this for education or specifically in regard to accessibility (my wife worked in outpatient rehab and now is a learning specialist for elementary school students), feel free to contact me directly through private messages. I encourage people to post questions publicly because it helps us all learn the tool better but if there's something you want to run by me, feel free.

    Also, I recommend changing your forums username to remove the period. It prevents people from notifying you like this: @tatiang.

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  • jamie_cjamie_c ImagineLabs.rocks Member, BASIC Posts: 5,668
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