Valve and Deaf Gamers

There are three recent videos on the YouTube from a focus group session Valve conducted with a group of deaf people (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three). The session included Gabe Newell outlining (through a translator) the game development process, and learning from the audience what Valve is doing well to support hard of hearing gamers as well as areas were changes or improvements are required. There are some interesting insights to be had all along the way, including how for many deaf persons English is a second language after sign language, so there is a discussion of incorporating signing into team communications. They also discuss other usability issues, and the importance of facial expressions in deaf communication (Part Three includes comments about this from Bay Raitt, who built the facial system for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy). In Part Two Gabe outlines Valve's interest in incorporating a deaf character into a future game, and describes Half-Life's Alyx teaching dog sign language because someone from her past used it (apparently not Gordon, in spite of his muteness), calling this an "excuse to build the technology for signing." This is all pretty interesting stuff, and the comments indicate that this is part of an established history of Valve's efforts at supporting hearing impaired/deaf gamers. Thanks Kotaku. Coincidentally, GamePolitics points the way to AbleGamers, a site focused on overcoming gamers' physical challenges.
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28.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 15, 2009, 02:29
28.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 15, 2009, 02:29
Aug 15, 2009, 02:29
 
Very cool indeed. And Cutter, you're an arse. From an accessibility viewpoint, you can't fault them doing this. The text above states outright that the inclusion of a deaf character is "an excuse to build the technology for signing", so you can cut the we-are-the-world bullshit as well. Clearly one or more people at Valve have a specific interest, and they're taking the opportunity to build nice technology to address it, and show other game developers what can be done. Sounds neat to me.
27.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 10, 2009, 05:15
27.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 10, 2009, 05:15
Aug 10, 2009, 05:15
 
I've had a tinnitus for years and whilst my hearing is functional, I'm really grateful to any game or film that includes sub titles.
I just wish the missus did also, although my problem there might be selective hearing.

Tim.
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26.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 10, 2009, 01:19
26.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 10, 2009, 01:19
Aug 10, 2009, 01:19
 
All joking aside, it's quite impressive that Valve cares. id Software (Zenimax) doesn't seem to care.
Don't like my post? Submit a complaint
25.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 10, 2009, 00:06
25.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 10, 2009, 00:06
Aug 10, 2009, 00:06
 
I once heard of this kid who was deaf,dumb and blind but he could sure play a mean pinball.
24.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 22:56
24.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 22:56
Aug 9, 2009, 22:56
 
Given a choice, I would MUCH rather be blind than deaf.

I'm not sure how long that opinion would last if you were actually blind. It's much easier to function when you're deaf than it is when you're blind. Also much easier to play videogames.
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23.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 10:53
23.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 10:53
Aug 9, 2009, 10:53
 
i really play games late at night without audio so as not to disturb anyone. plus i hate wearing headphones for long periods. so no audio for me. i still remember playing hl2 with captions turned on. it actually works well.

I played through Wolfenstein 3D without sound because I had the computer sounds turned down and didn't know it had sound to begin with.

Have I lied to you? I mean, in this room? Trust me, leave that thing alone. - GLaDOS

Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away? - Ripley
22.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 08:02
Prez
 
22.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 08:02
Aug 9, 2009, 08:02
 Prez
 
Valve is doing a good thing here, both for themselves (the more people capable of playing your games means more revenue) and for deaf gamers, who shouldn't be locked out of gaming when they are already missing out on so much else.

Given a choice, I would MUCH rather be blind than deaf.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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21.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 05:26
21.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 05:26
Aug 9, 2009, 05:26
 
Pumas's politeness is handicapped.
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20.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 04:02
Cutter
 
20.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 04:02
Aug 9, 2009, 04:02
 Cutter
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Aug 9, 2009, 09:34.
"I like dogs playing poker... because dogs would never bet on things; so it's incongruous. I like incongruity." - Christian Wolff
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19.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 02:56
19.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 02:56
Aug 9, 2009, 02:56
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Aug 9, 2009, 09:34.
How will I know limits from lies if I never try?
18.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 01:59
18.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 01:59
Aug 9, 2009, 01:59
 
hey caveman you should change your signature to: "my pussy hurts"
Hey now little dude do you kiss your mommy goodnight with that mouth?
17.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 9, 2009, 00:50
17.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 9, 2009, 00:50
Aug 9, 2009, 00:50
 
hey caveman you should change your signature to: "my pussy hurts"
16.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 23:16
16.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 23:16
Aug 8, 2009, 23:16
 
I think most gamers suffer from a form of hearing impairment, I personally suffer from Gamer's Ear. When the other half is yelling at me when dinner is ready or it's time to leave the house, I just can't hear any of that when I am playing games.
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15.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 22:47
Ant
 
15.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 22:47
Aug 8, 2009, 22:47
 Ant
 
I am mostly deaf and wear a bone conduction hearing aid, but still hear poorly. I use the subtitles/closed captions (CC) in HL2, Portal, movies, TV shows, etc. I applaud Valve and other companies for doing this!
Ant's Quality Foraged Links (http://aqfl.net) & The Ant Farm (http://antfarm.ma.cx / http://antfarm.home.dhs.org).
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14.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 22:06
14.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 22:06
Aug 8, 2009, 22:06
 
to show my solidarity with the hearing impaired, i have decided to play games without audio. no, but seriously... i really play games late at night without audio so as not to disturb anyone. plus i hate wearing headphones for long periods. so no audio for me. i still remember playing hl2 with captions turned on. it actually works well.
13.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 21:28
13.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 21:28
Aug 8, 2009, 21:28
 
maybe you could quit pandering and realize where your bread is buttered, i.e. your main demographic of white males.

Because it's impossible for a white male to be deaf, right?

Isolate them and they're not your demographic anymore and you're not in business anymore.

Because the idea of a deaf character repulses all white males, because they think shit like that is totally gay, right?

Just making sure I understand you correctly.

This comment was edited on Aug 8, 2009, 21:42.
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12.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 20:53
12.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 20:53
Aug 8, 2009, 20:53
 
I've long been impressed with Valve's efforts to allow people who are hard of hearing to not miss out on their games. Especially remembering that some developers can't even be assed to include basic subtitles in their game.

Yes, I'm still bitter about Ubisoft and Assassin's Creed. Lazy developers.
11.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 20:29
11.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 20:29
Aug 8, 2009, 20:29
 
Shirtless Fancis or Heavy Gunner Guy works for me Cutter. And the Engineer? WOOF!

Pretty sure Prey covered the Native American's.

But at the same time, wtf are you smoking Cutter? I honestly don't know what would be worse, loosing my hearing, or loosing an arm (I'm a right handed mouse user). They are just trying to give people the chance to experience a game that they typically wouldn't experience due to hearing loss.

Typically in MMO's most ability's etc have some sort of visual que to a spell/power/ability is being used, but in a FPS what do you really have except to wait for something to attack you? Or what about weapons/ability's that you can charge up? To people who can hear they hear the weapon/ability sound build up, how is a hearing impaired person suppose to know this?
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10.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 19:47
10.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 19:47
Aug 8, 2009, 19:47
 
What about the homosexuals, Gabe? What about the Native Americans? How many of those do you see in a game in a positive role? What about the East Indians, and all the other asians? And Jesus, let's not forget the Inuit! Eskimos are people too, Gabe! Lord knows we don't want anyone to feel left out. Afer all, we're all unique and precious and beautiful just like snowflakes...just like everyone else. Maybe at the beginning of each game Valve puts out you could have a video of the old 'We are the world' song and encourage people to go out embrace each other and skip through meadows and chase rainbows and other groovy stuff!

Or maybe you could quit pandering and realize where your bread is buttered, i.e. your main demographic of white males. Isolate them and they're not your demographic anymore and you're not in business anymore.
This is why you don't drop out of school kids.
9.
 
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers
Aug 8, 2009, 18:58
9.
Re: Valve and Deaf Gamers Aug 8, 2009, 18:58
Aug 8, 2009, 18:58
 
You guys joke (IMHO this isn't really a laughing matter), but there are blind and amputees who would like to game.

For the armless, perhaps they could use a head tracking technology like we've seen from videos of wiimote trackers, and perhaps with a foot pedal to shoot.


Hey Dev: disagree. i think it's a hilarious laughing matter. please come up with more crazy ass ways to make things accessible to crippled people. if i got my arms cut off, i'd be coming up with a workaround on the way home from the hospital. i suspect any armless guy who wants to play BF2 has already figured out how to do so. i bet that armless guy got sick of bf2 and moved onto tf2 already.

didn't mean to respond just to give Dev hell, i'm actually laughing hard envisioning valve games where every cutscene features talking characters who are also signing everything they say.
(Visual: voice screams: "JIM! GET DOWN, HE'S GOT A GUN!" while the character on screen frantically signs for jim to get the fuck down)

Inno
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