Accessibility For Tsw2 Discussion

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by paul.pavlinovich, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2020
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    DTG JD TrainSim-Matt you asked about accessibility - I've had a bit of exerience in accessibility for daily life and for software first up take a look at WCAG - while this is aimed at websites a lot of it would be transferrable to the games - things like levels of contrast, font sizes, ability to work with screen readers etc.

    I wear glasses for reading and have a deaf brother so am a big advocate for accessibility - here are a few things I would like to see to help everyone
    1. High contrast for text - text needs to always have a background not render on top of whatever is on screen with no background - most places in the game are fairly good but there are places with transparent background and even no background which is hard for low sighted people. Different people have widely different contrast needs so it needs to be configurable for foreground and background colours
    2. Access for screen readers (or have it built in - eg hover cursor over something and button) to read aloud all important text in their localised language - these are important for
      • low sighted people who might have enough site to be able to play but not read
      • dyslexic people
      • people who simply cannot read but can understand spoken words
    3. On screen sub-titles whenever there is speaking or there are noises important to immersion
      • When a person speaks (e.g. tutorial)
      • When a train speaks (e.g. German locomotives)
      • When a train makes noise or there are background noises e.g.
      • <<engine sound increasing>>
      • <<car horns toot and traffic noises in background>>
      • <<people talking in station>>
      • <<brake application sound>>
      • <<flange screech>>
    4. Size of active areas for switches and levers for people with less fine motor skills - not everyone has fine control over their hands and may be using game pad controls built into a wheel chair - its important for everything that can be activated to have a large area for selection of that object.
    That'll do for now. I'll go dig out some of my guideline documentation and enrich this as time goes on but others might like to add their thoughts here too.
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  2. Luke8899

    Luke8899 Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2020
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    I was thinking of starting a thread like this myself, Microsoft have actually developed a set of guidelines that cover most of the above as well as many other accessibility features with a particular focus on video games. They are not requirements for games on Xbox, rather recommendations, in order to make the game accessible to the widest spread of people (but always keep in mind that nobody is the same, and a blanket set of recommendations won´t necessarily mean everyone can play the game even if you tick every box).

    Firstly I´d say TSW does quite well in some ways. The highlights for me are:
    - The HUD shows colour signals with a rectangular symbol that correlates with the state of the signal. This means people who are colour blind can read information otherwise only conveyed by colour.
    - The persistent dot that is available whilst playing gives players prone to motion sickness a point to focus on to reduce the effects, this can also be increased/decreased in opacity for greater visibility.
    - Similarly, cab sway and motion blur can be disabled which also helps reduce the effects of motion sickness whilst playing.
    - The speedometer HUD can be increased in size to be more visible.
    - The Y-axis can be inverted and the option is prompted to users when they start a new route, meaning the option is always headlined for any new players.
    - There are sensitivity options for the analog stick inputs.
    - The game has a decent list of audio customization options, with SFX and ambient sounds differentiated.
    - A good amount of audible information such as alerts, is also made visible on the HUD so is imparted in more than one way.

    This is a pretty decent list, there are certainly AAA games that do not even do some of this, so it is clear thought is being put into this. But as the OP mentions, gaps remain!

    From my experience with the game, the areas most lacking are:

    - Controller remapping. This might be the single best way to massively increase how accessible a game is, simply allowing players to set their own control layouts. Unfortunately the control schemes only keep getting more confusing, and relying on more simultaneous button holds, which are a barrier for people with limited motor skills.
    - Mouse support across all platforms. Similar to above, this can open up the game to people who otherwise will find it difficult to use the controllers available.
    - Descriptions and previews for options(!) - This is a big fail imo, for many the options may be self-explanatory, but many settings in a game like this do require a level of knowledge not everyone has, and absolutely no descriptions are provided for what the result of changing an option will be, less still a preview. A good and very widely experienced example is the auto-load journey´s option. It is not easily discoverable and when TSW2 launched many players didn´t know what the option did and so didn´t know it would fix the issue they were having being taken straight into the next tutorial/scenario when selecting a route.
    - Text size. An option to scale UI text and subtitle text size would be a good way to allow users to simply and quickly make all the information they need readable. I believe the MS guidelines have recommendations on specific sizes text should be scale-able to, but basically, whatever is currently the default, allow it to be at least 100% bigger.
    - Subtitles for hard of hearing. The subtitles in the game currently are clearly designed for general consumption, but as the op mentions, they are not honed to deliver clear readable text for those who absolutely need it. Start with the idea that white text on a hard black background is the clearest thing to read, even if it doesn´t look good to everyone, then seek to provide options for background opacity to be scaled down for users who don´t need clear contrast.
    - Tutorials. The game has a barrier to entry in that a lot of the functionality requires all sorts of knowledge that is not imparted within the game. Worse still, there is no central repository for what information there is. Youtube videos, some documentation on steam, threads buried in the forums, you could not make accessing useful information harder if you tried.
    - Colour blind filters. These are becoming fairly standard across more games to make the UI pop more depending on certain types of colour blindness, it´s possible Unreal has an in-built solution for this.
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  3. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2020
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  4. DTG JD

    DTG JD Staff Member

    Feb 25, 2021
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    Thank you for tagging, both. We'll take this away and aim to chip away at some of these!
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  5. paul.pavlinovich

    paul.pavlinovich Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2020
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    DTG JD I recently switched from mouse to track ball. I think the game has some kind of smoothing happening which helps with high resolution mice. It plays havoc with the trackball. Its really quite challenging to use it in game. Its quite smooth with everything else I use it with but with the game especially in cab its not a good experience at all with jerky and difficult to control movement.

    I might have found a solution for this... hunting for UE4 settings I found some and they seem to help

    mousesensitivity=1.00000 (this was 0.100000)


    These settings seem to help quite a lot.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021

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