Accessibility is an area of increasing importance in game development. Last year, The Last Of Us Part II was unanimously praised for its plethora of features aimed at players with various disabilities. However, a lot of work still needs to be done, and not just for those developing new titles.
See, for example, the RuneScape, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. The game's executive producer MMO classic, Ryan Ward, tell the The loadout about his initial difficulties in playing the game when he joined the Jagex in 2019.
“When I started, I just couldn't play. My vision isn't the best in the world and it was enough for me to think, 'I really don't like this.' ”
With the development of its mobile port due out next month, Ward says the studio has put a lot of effort into improving the experience, starting with the text.
“The way we built the text originally was in something called Sprite Sheets, this is an old-fashioned way of making video games,” he says. “Recently, we were able to get rid of that and use vector fonts, which is a huge step forward for what we are able to do to scale to different sizes of user interfaces.”
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Along with the changes to the text itself, there are also improvements to the aliasing and how the text interacts with the backgrounds, something for which Resident Evil Village received criticism recently. THE JagexSays Ward, even looked at the game's core art design for ways to make it more accessible to players.
In terms of visuals, the leading content developer'Mod Daze' recently shared progress on an update for fishing locations in Davendale's mobile tutorial zone, which they hope to eventually roll out across the board.
“We've seen new players try the game out and they've been constantly striving to find places to fish,” they say.
Signaling the importance of these improvements to the wider community was also of great importance to Ward, with the Jagex opening a dialogue with the community about these upcoming changes in the past year.
Ward also states that the studio has hired more talent to facilitate the design, development, and deployment of these changes – many of which may eventually find their way to the desktop version of the game, as the Jagex has no intention of leaving the older brother of Mobile back .
Stay tuned for more content from RuneScape, including the full interview with Ryan Ward and the lead designer Dave Osborne, which arrives at The loadout this week.