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Accessibility In Game/Level Design
R.P.G. says: Does anyone ever put thought into making their maps/mods/whatever accessible? And I mean to people with disabilities, not necessarily newbies.

See previous comments in the General Abuse thread.
RPG: 
going back to your web browser/web content analogy, I agree that web content must be designed with accessibility in mind, but what that actually means is designing it to conform to standards set up in advance and supported by browsers or other accessibility software.

So to apply this to level design, there's not much a mapper can do until those standards are defined and are supported by game engines/mods.

On the other hand, since quake maps do conform to some sort of standard already (the .bsp format for one, and the expectation that it will work with a standard progs.data for another) an engine could do a lot with maps that already exist, if you knew what was needed.

r_lightmap, r_fullbright, and gl_picmip, are three examples of features that could be re-appropriated for accessibility purposes in single-player quake. And the "gamma" cvar is an example of a feature that actually IS designed for a certain kind of accessibility. These kinds of features could be built on in an engine to provide even more accessibility, if the needs were defined, without any cooperation from map or mod authors.

Beyond that, if we did want to provide accessibility that required map and mod support, i still think the standards would need to be defined, hooks added to the engine and/or mod, and then content creators would have an API (as inertia mentioned) to use those hooks. 
Also: 
Getting on to some of your comments about dexterity-based challenges, there are two answers to this: 1. one of the defining qualities of most games is that they present a challenge to a specific ability or class of abilities that humans have, or can learn to have. To say that an action game shouldn't require too much dexterity is like saying that a computer chess game shouldn't be so good at chess that some players can't beat it.

But like I said, that is only one of the defining qualities of games, and one of the issues with it is that the rest of the game (the art, the storytelling, the music, and the other, non-challenging aspects of play) are off-limits to anyone that can't get past the challenge of it. This is somewhat of a problem if you ever wanted your mom or girlfriend, for example, to appreciate a game like Shadow of the Colossus, which has a lot to offer artistically, but only people that can actually face up to the platforming and exploration challenges can experience them.

Part of this is the raw "game-playing talents" that gamers build up over time, and which games are designed to cater to. Another part is just insider knowledge, the kinds of tricks and tactics that gamers are familiar with and that game designers assume are part of your arsenal when playing their game. (Would any non-gamer think to break open a crate to get a health refill?) But this is the same problem that "challenging art" has in other media -- movies or books that require close attention and perhaps also a knowledge of the history of literature and movies to appreciate. Should arty movies be more accessible, or should people that don't like/get them seek out movies they do like?

But the other answer: 2. that games should aspire to having multiple solutions to problems, and those solutions should be diverse enough that different skillsets are required. (see "difficulty tuning" thread)

In addition, and this seems to be a pretty common approach to games nowadays, is that games should be relatively easy to beat in the narrow sense (complete the story, get a feeling of closure), but with plenty of additional, harder challenges that players can seek out as they desire them. Recent Mario games generally require about 50% completion to get to the final boss, for example. Many other games have things like "achievements" that provide extra challenges.

But while this is progress, the spectrum of abilities is huge, and there are casual gamers that can't get more than 10% into a Mario game, and probably non-gamers that can't get past the first level -- though part of this may depend on their willingness to keep trying, and part of that may be based on social expectation that they shouldn't bother because they're not Gamers.

So I don't know... I see some value in both sides. First, accesibility is good and should be a consideration when building games. Second, not all art needs to be available to all audiences, and it might be better that a diverse selection of art is made, so that each person can get a good supply of something they like. 
Creating Accessible Content For Accessible User Agents 
Ok, I agree that many web accessibility guidelines are based on existing user agents and how those agents interact with the content (lists and alt tags for example). But again, some of it is independent of the user agent Examples include giving links unique, meaningful labels instead of a generic "click here"; or avoiding red content on a green background. I don't think creating accessible content only means to design for the existing user agent(s) and standards; especially if those do not yet exist.

So for Quake no one is going to make dramatic progress unless someone makes a new mod and/or engine, but there are still a few things I already brought up in the GA thread that can be taken into consideration when creating maps and mods. I'm wondering if anyone has any more ideas, or any suggestions for building a game from the ground up with accessibility in mind. 
Nitpicking... 
To say that an action game shouldn't require too much dexterity is like saying that a computer chess game shouldn't be so good at chess that some players can't beat it.

This is nitpicking, but I disagree with your phrasing. For me, the key word is require. A chess game that required you to have an IQ >= 100 in order to win would just be silly. In this case, the difficulty settings would provide accessibility for mental disabilities. Going back to dexterity, I was trying to pick some reasonable starting ground--"above average"--which could then be tweaked as necessary.

However, as you said, there are certainly some things that some people will never be able to do. 
Metl 
You should copy the relevant posts from GA. 
Well, Anyway... 
philosophy aside, you wanted to hear about specific guidelines that might make a more accessible level with the current technology?

The one that comes to mind immediately is not to use colors alone to indicate special states, such as a red light that turns green, since it might not show up as a difference at all for color-blind players. Better to mix color with shapes or symbols, or (like quake usually does) also use blinking vs. non-blinking for buttons that are pressable vs. already pressed. 
Another... 
maybe make sure your in-level sound effects are mixed to include some sound at all frequency ranges, so that people that can't hear certain frequencies will still hear something. 
Inertia: 
really? seems like that would be more annying to read.... on the other hand i think i killed the conversation.... 
Metl 
you removed the ability to check out the context 
Inertia: 
what about that link i provided in that says "in the General Abuse thread" ? 
Metl 
just copy the rows over... :) 
I Got All Excited When I Saw This Site 
http://helpyouplay.com/

And then I realized that it's been down for about eight months. :/ 
Really, So What Does "impossible" Mean? 
So, if a blind man can beat Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time even though he is blind, maybe universal accessibility isn't as out of reach as some of you seem to think it is? 
Bionic Eyes 
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/bionics/fischman-text

i wonder if they come with that sweet shimmering sound-effect too :G 
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