This is part 2 of the multi-part survey analysis. In part 1, which you can find here, I wrote about, amongst others, rating, platforms, and feature importance.
In this part I will focus on one last ‘hard’ metric – localisation, and three survey questions that were answered in text form – accessibility options, configuration options, and pricing.
As in part 1, the following two charts compare the group ‘General’ vs the group ‘Tapestry’:
In both cases, the responses ‘English is my mother tongue’ and ‘Not important’ equal roughly the same amount – 88.9% (G) / 88.7% (T). Which, one can interpret, means that ~11% are affected by localisation.
The difference between the ‘mother tongue’ response – 75.1% (G) / 69.8% (T) – could indicate that the general fan base of Stonemaier Games is slightly less international than that of Tapestry.
We still need to keep in mind, however, that this chart has one inherent bias! Many participants who would have answered ‘Crucial’ or ‘Important’ may not even have taken part in the survey, as – given their potential reply – they would not have understood it. So, the ~11% mentioned before is likely to be not a very accurate number.
But, in good news, localisation is something that can happen in parallel; with only minor impact on the other parts of development. The only prerequisite is that the texts are final before localisation starts.
Everyone should be able to game! Especially now, as the current pandemic has highlighted the importance of games in connecting us with others. Gaming is a huge part of our society and culture, and so at George and the Goat we strive to be as inclusive as is possible, within our means. Thus, the question ‘Do you need a digital board game to address specific accessibility issues?’ was of crucial importance. The answers gave a good impression into which issues exist, and provided us with contacts to see how our proposed solutions would work.
The two most reported issues were with colours (3%), and with text size / contrast (1.5%). However, both numbers are ‘underreported’ – as we will see in the section in regards to ‘Configuration Options’, further down. For comparison, the prevalence of colour blindness in the UK is 4.5% – so a tad higher.
The following issues were also reported:
- Hearing difficulties: therefore a game should always provide subtitles whenever needed. Remember that there are sometimes events in a game that are only auditory cues, but have no text. Even for these, subtitles should be available! A good example for this is Minecraft. That game does a wonderful job in mentioning all audio cues when enabling subtitles.
- Difficulties with precise input: for people affected with this, two issues can come up:
a) Accidentally giving the wrong input, like mistakenly clicking the wrong button.
b) Not being able to give the correct input at all, e.g. the click has to be too precise as the button is too small.
For a) either an undo button, or a setting which always asks you to confirm your actions is crucial, for b) the ability to scale or adapt the UI is important.
I myself suffer from a slight tremor, which makes it very difficult for me to enjoy certain VR games that need you to point very precisely.
One person also mentioned not being able to use a mouse at all, which shows the importance of supporting several different control schemes.
- Difficulties with reading text -> this can be due to visual impairments or conditions such as dyslexia. Text2Speech can help in these cases, and we are investigating how easy it would be to include this into the game.
- Difficulties with overwhelming information -> this can be either too much sound or too much visual clutter. Both can be tackled by providing sufficient configuration options.
- Difficulties due to anxiety related issues -> this is a slightly more vague description, which combines a few different things that were mentioned. Digital games are a medium in which the game can, and should, offer different degrees of help. A tutorial which explains the game is surely helpful, but information that takes the pressure out of a situation can help players to enjoy the game more. This ranges from basic stuff, like ‘highlighting the available valid options’, to context-sensitive help.
Take, for example, the scoring of exploration tiles within Tapestry. Some people have difficulty doing this in their heads, and feel a lot of anxiety and pressure when taking time to think about it. But the rules do not forbid you to just place it, count it, note the score on a piece of paper; rotate the tile; repeat until you have the scores for all rotations; and then select the best. If I were to play against someone who had difficulties calculating the best score in their head, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest this.
So, an overlay that shows the score they would get, to be used while trying out placements, is a small aid to make the game more enjoyable for people. And I would also argue, it makes the game more fair too!
The question ‘Anything that you think needs to be configurable besides music volume / sfx volume / animation speed / disabling animations / player colors?’ elicited so many interesting answers, and surprisingly some things I hadn’t even thought of.
After tagging the answers, here are the top 20 things people mentioned that they wanted to be able to configure:
- AI difficulty
- Text size
- Multiplayer turn timer
- AI turn speed
- Animation speed
- Game resolution
- Color blind scheme
- Player avatar
- Keyboard/mouse/controller bindings
- Zoom levels
- Graphic fidelity settings
- Fullscreen vs Windowed mode
- House rules
- Civilization Selection
- Player names
- Interface scale
- Player colors
- Animations on/off
The number of people who mentioned ‘2. Text size’ was actually much higher (and to some degree, different people) than in the accessibility question. The same is true for ‘7. Color blind scheme’. Before this survey, I was not aware of how many people would like to be able to have house rules / game variants, nor was I aware that many people would like to select their player colours.
In the last section in this part, I would like to examine the pricing question. The survey asked, ‘What do you think is an appropriate price range for a well done digital adaptation of a (complex) board game?’ and the answers were greatly varied. Most people had fixed price ranges in mind, while a small minority provided prices that were directly related to how much the physical board game costs.
Some provided two different prices for mobile versions vs PC versions. Here we currently only focus on the PC prices, as we had more answers for that.
All answers were converted to USD (if given in a different currency), with exchange rates used from the 7th of February 2021.
The following histogram shows the distribution of answers:
The average price given was 17.10 USD (for mobile, this was 10.36 USD).
It is very interesting to see that the expected price is very dependent on the platform it is played on, but not necessarily on the amount of work the developers have to spend on the platform. From a developer perspective, the amount of work that goes into a mobile version is, in most cases, higher than that for a PC version. If people are interested in why this is, post a comment and I will elaborate on it in the next part.
A final interesting remark:
We all know about the x.99 pricing strategy which is used to trick our minds into thinking something is cheaper than it actually is. However, almost 10% of answers gave their price in exactly this way!
The next – and potentially final – part will focus on multiplayer modes, feature ideas, what other games did wrong, and other general comments.