Valve has always been keen to track user data and use it to improve its games, but many may not know that the company has always been acutely aware that some of its players may have special needs in order to play many of their most popular games. Speaking to Gamasutra Mike Ambinder of Valve Software explains some of the things the company does to help players with different kinds of disabilities:
"Most of the accommodations we make for disabled gamers (closed captioning/subtitles, colorblind mode, in-game pausing in single player, easier difficulty levels, re-mappable keys/buttons, open-microphones, mouse sensitivity settings, use of both mouse and keyboard and gamepads, etc.) stem from functionality added to improve the experience of both able and disabled gamers," Ambinder tells Gamasutra.
Valve wants to use new technologies to further improve the expereince for disabled gamers such as eyetrackers and active controller inputs so that players can use their whole bodies:
"In particular, we're intrigued by the potential of eyetrackers and the eventual ability to let gamers use their eyes as active controller inputs. For example, it may be possible in the future to let the eyes act as a proxy for the mouse cursor, letting gamers transmit navigation and targeting inputs via eye movements. If you couple this approach with the use of blinks or other proxies for button presses, you may remove the need for a mouse and keyboard (or gamepad) all together."
Read the whole thing here. While the article gives high marks to Valve for its efforts, other game developers are trying to implement functions in their games that make gaming easier for gamers who have disabilities.