Tekko 2015: Day 2, Saturday

As I mentioned yesterday, Day 2 started awfully early for us.  9:30 am.

There's a 9:30...in the morning, too?

There’s a 9:30…in the morning, too?

Our young ward met up with her friends and went to a panel about an anime that the wife and I are too out of the loop to know anything about (they did a group cosplay from the anime, and we had no idea who either of them were supposed to be).  We decided to throw on our Hitatare outfits and wore them to the convention.

So, while our ward was away, we decided to head over to the Godfathers of Anime panel that my nameless friend I mentioned yesterday (the guy who ran the RTK panel a few years ago).  We walked in around halfway through because 9:30 was strenuous enough, there was no way I was getting there before 9:00.  He had some pretty good information, I wish we’d have been able to see the whole thing.  Definitely interesting.

We were going to hang around and chat with him and his ladyfriend afterward, but a big group approached him to chat and we were…well, still not entirely awake.

Us at 10:00 am.

Us at 10:00 am.

Next up we wandered around the convention center again, checked out the gaming area, trying to wake ourselves up some.  It didn’t work.  So we figured we would go veg out in the Premium Lounge for a few hours until Uncle Yo’s Magical Girl Bootcamp panel started.  It was 10:00 and the panel didn’t start until 12:30.  Good God, what were we going to do?

We zombie-crawled our way into the Premium Lounge (one of the perks of getting Premium Badges, and actually a pretty nice feature we have to admit).  We figured we could grab a bottle of water and get a few snacks, maybe try to get some fluids and food through us to try to wake ourselves up.  While we were there the Maid of Hearts Café group was running one of their events.

We were invited to play a game of Bullshit with the maids and a few other attendees.  I won.  Thus proving that every time I say that I can’t lie I am apparently lying.  We played a second round with a bigger group and I’m still going to claim victory, because at the end of the game I had the fewest cards of the group.

It was actually pretty fun and it helped to wake us up a lot, too.  The Maids were very interesting and fun to hang out with.  And they gave us a few trinkets before we left.  The wife got a plastic folding fan and I took a nifty Pop Art Disney Princess Bag, as they called it.

It pays to be a good Bullshitter in a café full of maids.

It pays to be a good Bullshitter in a café full of maids.

Yes, that’s Jasmine, Ariel, Belle, and Pocahontas in teary-eyed mode.

Jasmine says, “I didn’t even know his name!” Which, taken out of context, is a pretty whorey line.

Ariel says, “But Daddy…I love him!”

Belle says, in all her Stockholm Syndrome glory, “Please don’t leave me…I love you!”

And we finish it off with Pocahontas saying, “I can’t leave you!”

And on the side of the bag it even says, “It’s tough being a princess!”

The wife says I’m creepy, but I find it amusing.

So then we went to Uncle Yo’s Magical Girl Bootcamp panel.  I’m not sure what I was expecting from this panel.  It was Uncle Yo, so I figured it would be hilarious.  I thought he’d just riff on Magical Girl Anime.

I was wrong.

It was better than that!

It was better than that!

It was an intellectual panel on women’s equality, as told through the allegory of magical girl.  It was as hilarious as I expected from Uncle Yo, but it was also very poignant and thought-provoking.  I strongly recommend attending it in the future, if you have the chance.

We took a lunch break with our ward and a few of her friends.  Any guess where we took the poor girls to?

No, seriously.  Why have I not approached them for ad revenue, yet?

No, seriously. Why have I not approached them for ad revenue, yet?

With a lunch break in we did a quick jaunt through the dealer’s room and artist alley (which they have combined and are just calling the Exhibition Hall now) to see what we might be interested in purchasing later.  After that we decided there were no panels we were interested in.  Well, no, that’s not true.  We actually decided there were no panels we could stay awake through.  We made a quick trip back to the parking garage and slept for an hour and a half in my van.  With a good nap we made our way back to the convention and attended the Disability in Video Games panel.

The panel was hosted by a pair of women, I do not remember their names.  In my defense…I had just awoken from a nap and I’m generally bad with names any way.  One of the women suffered from anxiety issues and the other suffered from a deformed right hand.  At a few times in their panel they came off as a little whiny, but I’ll give them a pass because…in their situation I probably would have whine twice as much as them.

Being a game developer I have to say that I’m glad I attended the panel.  They talked about lack of positive portrayals of disabled people and disabilities as a whole in games.  I wholeheartedly agree with that, but I was already thinking of that kind of stuff.  What they brought up in the second section of the panel, however, was something that I had never thought of as an Indie Developer: Accessibility.

I make computer games so I don’t have to deal with how useless a Playstation controller is to a person with only one hand or arm.  However placing keyboard shortcuts far from each other lowers the accessibility for disabled players, same with requiring the mouse and keyboard to be used at the same time.  I’ll definitely take that into consideration in future titles.  This is especially important in RPGs and Visual Novels, the most likely titles for Nic3Ntertainment to produce.

After the disability panel was over we collected our ward and went home, because we were all sleep deprived and the nap had only let us make it as far as we had gotten.  So we missed the surprise fire drill that happened about a half hour or so after we left.

And that was Saturday.  Tomorrow we’ll talk about Sunday and the overall review of the convention this year.

~RCS

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom
    Apr 27, 2015 @ 08:31:41

    Hey, great post, I was also at the Magical Girl Boot Camp (and your How to Avoid Bad Writing panel, hence how I found this page). With regards to accessibility in games, how hard is it to make the controls fully mappable? I have done some programming, but nothing on the scale of a full game. It seems like having user changeable control schemes would solve a lot of accessibility issues, yet I haven’t seen many games that include that. Just a thought.

    Reply

    • Richard C. Shaffer
      Apr 27, 2015 @ 13:55:23

      Great! Glad to have had you at the panel, I hope you enjoyed it.

      Allowing players to map their own controls, even without any serious disabilities I’ve always liked that feature. What the developers considered the perfect set up may not be what works best for me. An example is always the fact that I need my up-down axis controls to be inverted from so many years of flight training. Games that don’t have axis inversion capabilities become a pain to control and break me out of the experience and in some cases even make the game unplayable to me. Another thing is using the R2 trigger on a Playstation controller to shoot a gun, that makes me have to use my birdy flipping-finger to run the gun because of how I like to hold the trigger. I prefer being able to map each button to what I want and/or need.

      As far as actually programming them…it depends on the engine your using. I believe the something like AGS or Unity has fairly easy coding to permit it. RPGMaker can do it through a code in Ruby, as far as letting you, the developer, change the way the keys work (I believe).
      It would be a matter of searching the community for each engine to find a code to allow player button-mapping. If there’s a base code it shouldn’t be hard, it’s just a matter of someone being the first to create the code.

      The other thing to point out, too, are your tutorials. If your buttons are mappable, remember that when making your tutorials. A reference code would probably be best, but not necessarily easiest, for the tutorial to change its references.

      As an example of accessibility would be if the walk buttons are naturally the arrow keys and you select on things with the Enter key. If, like the woman in the panel, you only have one hand or arm that functions (and it happens to be your left), it may be easier to make the movement keys be WASD and the selection key be the E key. Having that option would help immensely for someone like her, I imagine.
      Then just have a code that calls up the button mapping code and changes the dialogue during your tutorial so that instead of saying, “To move right, press the Right Arrow Key,” it will instead read the button mapped changes and then say, “To move right, press the D key.”

      It does add another layer of difficulty on the developer, particularly the programming aspect (the hardest part, in my opinion). But the more people who add button mapping to their games, the better the public code should get through trial and error.
      One person trying something and fixing an issue is nothing compared to one hundred people trying something and each once finding a different fix to the issue. Those hundred fixes can be correlated and combined to make a more efficient and useable code.

      …I got a lil’ wordy there, did I answer the question in the end? lol

      ~RCS

      Reply

  2. Tom
    Apr 28, 2015 @ 05:44:24

    Me and my GF both enjoyed the panel. In fact, we were part of the group still chatting with you when the next presenter came in and chased you out, lol. That does answer the question, but it still seems odd (to me anyways) that something like user customizable control schemes are not more prevalent. I seem to remember most older games that custom controls were fairly common, especially on PS1/2 era console games, yet even AAA level studios seem to have drifted away from that in recent years. Either that, or I’ve been playing too many games from studios that want you to play their game their way, lol.

    Reply

    • Richard C. Shaffer
      Apr 29, 2015 @ 12:21:04

      Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      I suppose that there is a mix of ego, laziness, and design control.
      -Ego: As developers we get it in our head, “Yeah, this is how it should be!” But as I said, what works for the devs may not work perfectly for the player, even if they aren’t disabled.
      -Laziness: The more weird code we put in, the more difficult the de-bug may be. Easier to just not put in a customization code; especially if I have to write it from scratch. And me writing code from scratch is about as great an idea as trying to float off the roof with an umbrella.
      -Design Control: This goes a bit into the Ego section, again, but we also fear that when we have things as perfect as they’ll get the player changing the buttons will wind up screwing up a delicate balance we’ve created. It’s not as major for us since we make RPGs and it’s basically, [Select/Confirm], [Move], [Cancel/Refuse], and not a whole lot of buttons besides those ones. We generally have to decide whether or not we want mouse support.

      But yes, to your point (which I believe the ladies in the panel brought up, too) old PS1 games had great customizability. Even some PC games nowadays don’t have any customizability. Another reason I’m such a huge fan of Mount&Blade; you can change all the buttons around to be what you want. Which is fantastic because it is a very hard to master system.

      ~RCS

      Reply

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