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Old 2011-09-30, 05:21 PM   [Ignore Me] #1
blakmarkit
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Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Tramell (and PS2 dev team), I am strongly in like with you for bringing something I dreamed as doing myself in some form (if Sony or someone else wouldn't) to fruition. Thank you so much!

I just read your interview with Justin Olivetti on Massively. You touched on one of my biggest concerns with the first game, and moving forward into the second...colorblindness accessibility. I am a digital artist, but I'm also red/green colorblind.

I don't mean this accusatorially, but do you understand what being red/green colorblind means? It means that because the color purple is a mix of blue and red, and because red/green colorblindness causes an inability to see low saturations of the color red, blue and purple are functionally indistinguishable. I played the first game with my brother for several years total, first when it came out, then again more recently we dived back in to see how things had changed. We are both red/green colorblind, and because we were completely unable to tell difference between the blue of NC and the purple of VS on maps and in battle, we were forced to remain TR, the only color that was distinguishable from the others.

I imagine that you are too late in the dev cycle to really make such a drastic change as changing the colors of an empire, and I'm sure there would be massive backlash from the community, but I think that if you are moving forward as you are, you need to STRONGLY focus on word labels for factions on maps, differentiated shapes, and possibly make the yellow (an easier color to see for the red/green colorblind) of NC much more prominent in design, labeling and iconography. It's not an insignificant portion of the population that is colorblind. You said in the interview: “...the percentage of colorblind players who engage in MMOs is so small as not to be a huge concern, but for those who are, the shape language and player silhouettes should make up for the difficulty in identifying colors. Plus, with green out of the picture, the most common type of colorblindness (red/green) shouldn't present an issue.”

Statistics say that 7-10% of all males have some form of colorblindness (usually red/green), and I imagine that PS2's player-base skews strongly male. Statistically, 10% of your players might not even be able to tell the difference between two empires. This seems to me a major concern, and something that needs to be taken extremely seriously in a game that relies so heavily on color cues. Do you have any colorblind people testing things? I believe that this is something you should strongly consider.

I don't want to be so presumptuous as to believe that I have any power to change anything, but I am so excited to play this game, and I want it to be excellent.
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Old 2011-09-30, 05:51 PM   [Ignore Me] #2
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Friend of mine is colorblind, sometimes whilst playing MW2 he had to ask us if the harrier on the map was friend or foe.
Its odd that lots of game devs(or even monitor manufacturers) dont think about people who are colorblind.
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Old 2011-09-30, 06:58 PM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Good post, when I was younger and had roomies, one of them were color blind...Had it really bad...Hes room carpet color was like a redish pink....the poor guy thought it was grey..He didint know until I told him years after lol...Not laughing at his color blindness but the situation that he had a pink carpeted room and we never told him.


Hopefully something will be incorporated into PS2 that will make things easier for you.
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Old 2011-09-30, 07:25 PM   [Ignore Me] #4
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Yeah, this is a problem that my brother (who tried playing with me and my NC friends) experienced first hand and made it hard for him to play well. That's why I posed my color-blind question in the Twitter Q&A thread the way I did, highlighting the problem with purple and blue.

Kudos for T-Ray for giving some passing thought to the issue, and rejecting green because of it. However, hopefully, some education like this thread can help them step-back and re-assess whether the things they have in place are enough, or whether there needs to be some either color swap palette options on the client side (that would hopefully be barred from exploitation and not provide unfair advantages to non-color blind players who used them -- matching brightness and saturation levels with the "real" colors, for example) or UI elements to further aid color blind players who aren't TR (and thus given license to shoot everything that looks at all blue to them, lol, NC and VS alike).

Because, as such, that's the only "good" solution, and it bars the color blind players from having their choice of empire or playing with friends who don't happen to be TR.
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Old 2011-09-30, 07:33 PM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Considering they will allow you to customize your colors, a widget in the options that overrides the color schemes of the enemy faction would be trivial.

Last edited by CutterJohn; 2011-09-30 at 09:40 PM. Reason: I fail at english
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Old 2011-10-01, 02:57 AM   [Ignore Me] #6
Gandhi
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Maybe the best solution would be a 'colorblind mode' that can be toggled on and off. With it on you could replace the red/green radar colors with something else, accent the teal and yellow secondary colors on the Vanu and NC and so on. Even just changing the name over the character from red/green to some other mix of colors would be a big help I imagine.
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Old 2011-10-01, 06:26 AM   [Ignore Me] #7
Mirror
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


What do other games do to solve this problem?

Im having a hard time trying to recall if any other games I've played have had colour blind options.
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Old 2011-10-01, 07:22 AM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Originally Posted by Mirror View Post
What do other games do to solve this problem?

Im having a hard time trying to recall if any other games I've played have had colour blind options.
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Old 2011-10-01, 07:41 AM   [Ignore Me] #9
kaffis
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Originally Posted by Mirror View Post
What do other games do to solve this problem?

Im having a hard time trying to recall if any other games I've played have had colour blind options.
Call of Duty: MW games have alternate HUD coloration options for the names that float over characters (I think it's blue and something instead of red and green). Also, the models aren't color-coded for anybody, so the color blindness there doesn't come into play.

I'm with NewSith, though. Just because other people don't go out of their way to be color-blind friendly, doesn't mean PS2 shouldn't. As CutterJohn says, the tech's there easily to allow for color substitutions. Work with some colorblind players in beta to come up with effective palette substitutions for a "colorblind mode" that don't become unfair when used by non-colorblind people, either. If there's no such advantage, I don't think people will be upset that other people might not be seeing their awesome customization correctly (since there's no incentive to use the colorblind mode unless you're colorblind), and the colorblind folks get to play on a level playing field with everybody else without being shunted into the TR to get there.

At a bare minimum, we need some colorblind friendly UI options, that must include (for it to really be colorblind friendly) persistent friend or foe tags at most visible ranges. The Advanced Targetting implant wasn't really good enough in PS1 to substitute for color sight, because its range was limited (especially when discussing vehicles) and it required reticle-over, forcing colorblind people to actively namecheck people to function. And that's not even getting into forcing colorblind people to take Advanced Targetting as one of their implants, whether they would have wanted the functionality it offered others or not.
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Old 2011-10-01, 10:24 AM   [Ignore Me] #10
morf
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


I'm red/green colorblind and I could easily tell the difference between red, blue and green, or red, purple and green. But the problem is like the OP said, the blue vs. Purple is really bad. Its not that we can't see green, its not that we can't see red, its that when you mix a small amount of red or green with another color, our vision filters out a lot of the red or green. So purple loses the red and just looks blue. But if it was straight red only or green only, we could see it because if you filter out some of the green from green, you're still left with green. If you filter out some red from red, it's still red.

Give me an option to make VS green and it would be freaking great. I'm not joking here, I have 2 choices: play TR or grief out.

Edit to add: red and green names above players are fine, the name red/green colorblind is a misnomer, we can see red, we can see green, it just gets camoflauged when you mix it with other colors
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Last edited by morf; 2011-10-01 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 2011-10-01, 10:37 AM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Put an icon in front of enemy vehicle/person names, or behind it. Like a diamond. It will become almost unconscious to recognize enemies by the icon at the end of their name for those who have troubles perceiving colors. This option can be toggled, along with a whole set of others, to make the game FAR more friendly for them to use. Another option is an underline, overline, etc.

It ain't rocket science.
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Old 2011-10-01, 11:29 AM   [Ignore Me] #12
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Originally Posted by morf View Post
Edit to add: red and green names above players are fine, the name red/green colorblind is a misnomer, we can see red, we can see green, it just gets camoflauged when you mix it with other colors
It all depends on severity. There are some people for whom even pure red or green appears essentially like a greyscale.
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Old 2011-10-01, 01:33 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Fix your colors to make all friendly's lighter and all enemy's darker or visa versa.
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Old 2011-10-01, 02:48 PM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


Originally Posted by Graywolves View Post
Fix your colors to make all friendly's lighter and all enemy's darker or visa versa.
I don't think this is a good solution, as it changes the contrast between enemies and their environment while using the mode vs. while not using the mode. That's why I said saturation and brightness ought to match the "normal" colors when color-substituting.
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Old 2011-10-01, 03:12 PM   [Ignore Me] #15
Bravix
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Re: Colorblindness: a response to T-Ray's Massively interview


If you're blue colorblind, you can still see the yellow parts of NC armor. The PS2 armors are pretty recognizable. You could put all of the pictures of characters in grayscale and I can tell you which faction they belong to.
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