Roller Champions' Disco Fever Season is going strong as the game was recently released on Switch and The Epic Games Store. The development team wants to make Roller Champions fun and accessible for as many people as possible, and is committed to listening to the community and improving the game with various updates and accessibility features.
To learn more about the development team's approach to accessibility, read on for an interview with Game Designer Juliana Goriounov.
Are there different considerations you need to make in a multiplayer competitive game like Roller Champions, versus a single-player game like Far Cry or Assassin's Creed?
Juliana Goriounov: Multiplayer is at the core of Roller Champions, and this means that we need to ensure that players can enjoy the game together and engage in exciting, fast-paced matches. To facilitate this, each player will be able to adjust various options to suit their needs, such as key bindings, toggles, sensitivities, input devices, haptic feedback, and interface elements, without compromising on gameplay. Players can also play the game with both a controller and a keyboard at the same time, if they'd like! As a competitive multiplayer game, we also aim to provide opportunities for teammates to communicate and coordinate with one another, so players will have access to voice chat and will be able to adjust various channels of audio. As a live multiplayer game, we would love to hear back from the community and to keep improving accessibility features over time.
Do you have to take Roller Champions' competitive nature into account when making these changes?
JG: We believe accessibility seeks to reduce the friction that would prevent a person from playing the intended experience of the game. Therefore, the UX flow from onboarding through matchmaking, gameplay, and end-of-match intends to cultivate a positive, joyous experience for all players. As the game is competitive and fast-paced, it is important to us that players are able to perceive the most vital information at the right moment. For example, to facilitate knowing which player is a teammate or an opponent, we implemented player outlines. To make sure that players are aware of vital context, we have multiple channels of communication, such as visuals on the HUD, auditory cues from the announcer, adjustable subtitles, and supportive in-world art elements.
The Controls Helper is available on the HUD as a reminder of the essential moves in the game, and it updates in real time with your current input device and bindings. This allows players to have multiple ways in which they can perceive the information that can help them win!
What unique challenges does the game present from an accessibility standpoint, and how has the game been designed to overcome those challenges?
JG: One of our unique challenges is also what makes it stand out: the game does not slow down. Matchplay is incredibly energetic, unpredictable, and intense! This means fractionally slowing the presentation of gameplay is not an option.
We made design choices that make the fast-paced, multiplayer gameplay more accessible, such as keeping most moves as one-button inputs, and having only a few consecutive inputs for others. The Moves & Rules menu was designed to help moves be more accessible by showing videos, tips, and the currently bound inputs for each move. For some actions, such as Ball Focus, Brake, and Charge Throw, there is an option to switch from hold to toggle to lessen physical strain.
In a high-speed sport like this, precision is key, and thus the Magnetic Pass will reduce motor control barriers and help all players pass the ball to their teammates more accurately. Many of these changes followed the helpful feedback that we received from our live phases. With that said, we will continue listening to our players' needs and we're passionate about reducing friction while keeping the game competitive and fair.
Is there something you're particularly proud of when it comes to accessibility in Roller Champions?
JG: The first challenge in embracing design for accessibility is to make it inclusive. Inclusivity is one of our central design pillars for Roller Champions. From the start of development, this has been important to us, and that informed our design early on, as well as the gameplay overall. For example, our choice of team colors (orange vs. blue) was informed by accessibility considerations for color blindness. In addition, we solidified a simple set of rules that feel unique and accessible for a variety of different players. We are grateful for our players' feedback during the live phases, which helped us improve, and we will continue listening to the community in the future. Our culture - both internally as a dev team and externally as a new game - has been to be as inclusive as possible. The feature development we do post-launch will build on our positive, inclusive culture.
Here is a full list of the accessibility options available now.
- Ability to adjust vibration intensity on gamepad. (Motor, Cognitive)
Remap keys and controls
- Gamepad and Mouse and Keyboard gameplay inputs can be remapped (console and PC). Players can: Invert X and Y axes for both movement and look separately. (Motor, Cognitive)
Sensitivity(Motor, Motion Sickness)
- Option to change the sensitivity of look and movement separately, horizontally and vertically. (Motor, Motion Sickness)
- Ability to modify the dead zone of each stick; smaller dead zone makes the stick more sensitive to input. (Motor, Cognitive)
- Controls are displayed by default, with the option to disable this. (Cognitive)
Button Holds (Cognitive, Motor, Vision)
- Option to change holds to toggles individually for brake, throw and ball focus actions. (Motor, Cognitive, Vision)
HUD and UI
- Ability to adjust the size of the game's interface and player nametags. (Vision, Cognitive)
Player outlines(Cognitive, Vision)
- Increases visibility by adding an orange or blue outline to designate teams. (Cognitive, Vision)
- Option to disable camera shake. (Cognitive, Motion Sickness)
Subtitles (Hearing, Cognitive, Vision)
- Player can enable subtitles, as well as change the size with predefined values. (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
Speech to Text
- Voice chat automatically converted to text (only available for US players currently.) (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
- Ability to configure volume levels for crowds, music, announcer, sfx, voice chat and microphone. (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
There's plenty more news about Roller Champions, including more details on Roller Champions' new season: Disco Fever.