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How devs can approach a 'skip combat button' without compromising player experience

May 31, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

May 31, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Design, Video

"What those of us in the game accessibility field always advocate for is more options, never less."

- AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn outlines a core principle those striving for accessible games should keep in mind.

In a recent Twitch stream, we sat down with a panel of accessibility experts to discuss, among other things, the practicality of a mode or button that lets players skip combat sequences without missing out on key gameplay moments. That early question prompted a worthwhile discussion on how additional options like this can benefit a wide variety of players and how developers can approach accessibility features without alienating their hardcore fanbase.

A true-to-its-name skip combat button comes with downsides that developer Tara Voelker brings up in the clip above, such as how bypassing a combat scene can often rob players of important context or gameplay moments told through conflict. 

As a solution, the panel discussed how developers can instead, in some cases, craft AI-controlled combat options that let players watch a scene play out as their characters enter autopilot. 

“Additional options are always of value,” says designer James Portnow. “When we think about accessibility there are so many vectors, and so many different types of people we can make this more accessible for.”

All in all, the panel agrees that more options are never a bad thing. These additional accessibility options can take many forms, something that is discussed in great length in the full, hour-long expert roundtable

And, for more conversations like this, including developer interviews and gameplay commentary, be sure to follow the Gamasutra Twitch channel

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