Colour blindness is extremely frustrating for video gamers. No, it’s not a debilitating condition, nor does designing games for a perfectly colour-sighted majority constitute a moral injustice or the worst insensitivity video gaming shows to its diverse constituency. But man, in minimaps, friendly/hostile apparel, puzzles, the lack of contrast can be hard and needlessly frustrating.
So, rather than scold those who don’t acknowledge colour blindness in the gaming population, I’d like to praise Maxis and SimCity for accommodating it, in a way that doesn’t inconvenience those with normal colour vision either.
SimCity developer Ocean Quigley told Destructoid that he created some filters to simulate red-green colour blindness, to examine the game’s dependency on colour in its environment. Industrial zones and residential zones, which are green and yellow, respectively, appeared indistinct. Thank you! Now you know my problem. It’s not just muddling red/green shades. I have trouble with yellows, with seeing purple and brown even, in addition to red and green. (Plugging in colour-coded AV cables for five different consoles was the worst part about moving. Why the hell did they have to choose red and green?)
After noticing a colourblind QA lead was playing the game by placing zones at random to “see what comes up”, Quigley resolved to make an inclusion for colourblind gamers. The result is that of 18 visual filters in the game (that’s one in the video above), three are there to aid the three most common types of colourblind persons.
As I said, this is not a social cause nor a discriminatory crisis. But it is an instance where feeling included, or having my experience as a colourblind person acknowledged, in a work for very large audience, provides an affirmation that I don’t often get as a white, straight male about to turn 40. And that makes me respect other, even larger efforts to include gamers of all types.
SimCity will have filters for colorblind people [Destructoid]