#GACONF USA 2022

The hybrid edition of #GAconf USA 2022 was held on 11th-12th October across Zoom, Discord and the Archer Hotel in Redmond.

ALL PREVIOUS CONFERENCES

DAY 1

 

Ian Hamilton

News update

Ian Hamilton

A round-up of some of the great progress made in the past 6 months.

 


Enid Brown

Seven Pillars of Strategic Accessibility

Enid Brown, Riot

When we think about accessibility, we often think of compliance and the various standards we need to meet. Strategic Accessibility is actually a job for all of us and is woven into the entire organization. In this talk, we’ll cover the “Seven Pillars of Strategic Accessibility” and how we can successful build an accessibility program.

 


Fusing Accessibility with Game Design

Brain Fairbanks, Daisy Ale Soundworks

Brian Fairbanks created Lost and Hound to demonstrate what happens when accessibility has a seat at the table from day one of game design. In this talk, you’ll find out how much easier, cheaper and quicker making games accessible can be when accessibility is a priority from the early days of development.

 


Kyle Abbate

Accessibility on the Go – a mobile gaming accessibility panel

Felicia Preh, Jesse Anderson, Kyle Abbate, Shell Little

In this session, Kyle, Jesse, Licia, and Shell discuss mobile gaming. They cover topics like how their disabilities affect mobile gaming, their favorite mobile titles, and recommendations to developers on making their mobile games more accessible.

 


Rachel Kowert

Design challenges and solutions: Mental health representation in games

Rachel Kowert & Kelli Dunlap, Take This

This talk will explore the ways in which mental health representation in the media, and games specifically, impact the larger discussion around mental health and mental illness. The aim of this talk is to provide a foundation for understanding how mental illness is represented in digital games and a new perspective for thinking critically about representation on mental illness in games. The talk will conclude with a presentation of a dimensional model of mental illness representation in games, which is a new framework for assessing video game content in this area.

 


If You Build It… How Captions Can Grow Your Community

Courtney Craven, Epic Games

Put your accessible practices to work! Learn how captions serve your brand beyond accessibility to build a larger and more inclusive community.

 


Marc Fourtier

The Road to Accessibility in Rocksmith+

Marc Fourtier, Ubisoft

The first Rocksmith game launched in 2011 with the goal to teach gamers how to play real guitar using rhythm game mechanics. With the recently launched Rocksmith+, the dev team has challenged itself to consider the needs of a more diverse set of players, and remove as many barriers as possible. This talk traces the steps the team has taken to execute an accessibility overhaul of an existing franchise, guided by inclusive design principles.

 


Morgan Baker

You are Enough: Imposter syndrome, resilience and finding your people

Morgan Baker, EA

What is imposter syndrome, and why does it feel like everyone has it? Especially for disabled developers who currently are–or aspiring to be–in the games. With the use of research and personal anecdotes, this session will explore how we can build resiliency, as well as how we can better advocate for ourselves and others.

 


Grant Stoner

JOURNALISM

Grant Stoner & Ben Bayliss, independent

Grant Stoner and Ben Bayliss discuss accessibility coverage across the video game journalism scene. They discuss why specialised coverage is important, how it’s being incorrectly handled, and how the vertical can be improved for the better.

 

 


Nisha Patel

Accessibility In-Person: Making Industry Events Inclusive

Nisha Patel & Brannon Zahand, Xbox

As in-person game industry events begin to come back after COVID lockdowns, it’s an excellent time to take stock of the accessibility of your own company’s presence at GDC, E3, gamescom, Tokyo Game Show, and more. In this talk, members from the Gaming Accessibility Team at Microsoft will share how they tackled the accessibility of their latest event – what went well, what could have gone better, and how you can take their learnings and apply them to your own events.


DAY 2

 

Alexis Miller

The SG Accessibility Matrix: Invest Your Scope Wisely

Alexis Miller & Francisco Souki, Schell Games

Schell Games have developed (and continues to refine) a process to help teams plan and budget early for meeting accessibility goals. In this talk, I Expect You To Die 2’s Design Director, Francisco Souki, and Director of Product Management, Alexis Miller, will walk attendees through the process the studio used for the VR game and share the main document used to start the process: The Accessibility Matrix. This process will allow developers to brainstorm, research, and implement accessibility features in their game and streamline their approach to limit scope creep, wasted time, and major expenses. The audience will learn that many accessibility goals can be accomplished for free through intentional design decisions if the priorities are made clear early on in the development cycle.

 


Rayna Anderson

Closed Captions in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: From Design to Implementation

Rayna Anderson & Kasper Hartman, Eidos Montreal

There are many factors, from design through to localization, that can impact the quality of closed captions in your game… or prevent them from being implemented altogether. Rayna Anderson (Sr. Narrative Coordinator) and Kasper Hartman (Narrative Director) are here to share the knowledge and findings they’ve learned working on AAA closed captions.

Both speakers worked on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was recipient of the CIPT Award for best Deaf/HoH Accessibility & also was nominated at the Game Awards for Innovation in Accessibility.

 


Ideas for Accessible Typography

Riley Cran, Lettermatic

Riley will explain research and prototyping work that he and his colleagues at Lettermatic have done for Double Fine, exploring new ways to provide accessible typography experiences in future Double Fine games. The lecture will discuss ways to provide players with new subjective typography settings which could improve their gaming experience, with new options not typically provided to players in the past.

 


Amethyst Begley

Addressing Accessibility: A look behind the curtain

Amethyst Begley (Arkane), Angela Li (Blizzard), Dr. JC Lau (ProbablyMonsters), Mihai Alexandru Nuta (Ubisoft)

We all know that accessibility is important and should be included in any game development process, but what does it actually mean to create processes and develop practices that lead to accessible games? Join a panel of producers as we discuss methods for including accessibility into a game project at various stages of development, best practices for planning, resourcing, and prioritizing accessibility policy, and our experiences creating great games that can be enjoyed by all players.

 


Prioritizing Accessibility: How an indie publisher threads empathy, responsibility, and education to support accessibility in their titles

Brittanee Dye, Whitethorn Games

Indie publishers and developers can be limited by time, budget, human-power, and development timelines. Faced with the same challenges, this talk outlines how Whitethorn Games, an indie publisher, works with and for developers, players, and communities to enable and support accessibility in their games by weaving together empathy, responsibility, and education.

 


Kaitlyn Jones

Creating the Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals Training Course: A behind the scenes look

Kaitlyn Jones, Xbox

The Gaming Accessibility Fundamentals course is a free resource for game developers or anyone looking to establish a foundational understanding of gaming accessibility core principles and building blocks. In this talk, we’ll provide an overview of the course components and structure. Additionally we’ll discuss valuable insights gathered throughout the development of the course and subsequent outcomes following the course’s launch.

 


Ian Hamilton

A Brief History of Blind Accessibility

Ian Hamilton, independent

While blind accessibility for games is only just beginning to hit the mainstream industry in earnest, it isn’t a new phenomenon. So I’m going to take you on a little trip through history.

 


Expanding Accessibility in The Last of Us Part 1

Matthew Gallant, Naughty Dog

One of the motivations behind remaking The Last of Us for the PlayStation 5 was being able to port the many accessibility features that were developed for The Last of Us Part II. Looking beyond simple feature parity, new challenges and opportunities emerged to go above what was possible on Part II. This talk will discuss the development of cinematic audio descriptions, DualSense features, and other new accessibility features developed for The Last of Us Part I.

 


David Tisserand

Don’t let your vision be a dream – Building Ubisoft’s accessibility program

David Tisserand, Ubisoft

Lessons learned from building a global accessibility program at Ubisoft over 5 years. How do you build trust? How do you get buy in at every level of the company? How do you cope when it finally works and everyone is onboard? The audience will leave with 8 clear takeaways to apply to their own journey

 


Caleb Kraft

How being lazy, egotistical, and not particularly smart helps me build a charity. The controller project: 3D printing parts for limb difference

Caleb Kraft, The Controller Project

The controller project strives to put 3d printed parts in the hands of those who need them, in order to be able to play games with a standard controller. The parts are free to those in need, and are made by volunteers around the world.

GAconf Awards 2022

January 25th 2023
9am PST
(12pm ET, 5pm GMT)