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SimCity has 3 colour-blindness modes, developer explains filters

Friday, 25th January 2013 13:34 GMT By Dave Cook

SimCity is a game with many colour-coded UI labels and pointers, so it makes sense that developer Maxis has included three colour-blindness filters in the game. The game’s creative and art director Ocean Quigley has created a video demo of the filters at work, and has discussed the features in a new interview.

Speaking with Dtoid, Quigley said, “It’s not just a game where you’re running down a hallway trying to shoot anything that moves. It’s a game where there’s always data embedded in the environment — the environment is a UI. The environment is trying to give you feedback, and if you can’t make out the cues because they’re color-based, then it’s just much harder and less pleasant to play the game.”

Quigley then explained that he worked with the studio’s QA lead – who is colour-blind himself – to make sure the filters worked properly. “I made a little filter that made it so that I can see what he sees. So I made a filter that emulates what it’s like to be red-green color-blind so that you can see the game as somebody who’s red-green color-blind, and you couldn’t make out a thing! The industrial zones and the residential zones, which are green and yellow, were one in the same.

It’s a wise move, as the SimCity’s Glassbox mode paints the environment with a range of colour cues that depict the happiness of Sims and the desirability of areas. Without these filters the game would almost be unplayable.

Here’s Quigley’s demo:

What do you make of the mode? Should more games have this feature?

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8 Comments

  1. ps3fanboy

    game for old folks 60+ at least…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 moron.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. OwnedWhenStoned

    Somebody doesn’t understand what colour blindness is… it’s not just old people that have an X chromosome..

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Samoan Spider

    Dave you should know better than to feed the trolls +1 anyway =)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Beta

    I think that more games should definitely have this feature.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. FabioPal

    @2 +10 at least, and f**k the “feed the troll” thing, disrespectful comment is just disrespectful.

    @5 +1

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ruckus

    Bravo – this is the sort of thing that should be a standard feature of consoles, pc’s. Just like ramps on buses etc. This should be why society pays taxes – to make shit better for people and not go around the world blowing shit up.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. TheWulf

    A damn good call, this. I’m still amazed at how many game developers merrily give the middle finger to disabled people, as though none of us are ever worth their time. There are people out there with various sight disabilities who’d benefit from things like colourblind modes, scalable UIs, and so on.

    Not every person alive is a hawk with perfect, nigh-superhuman vision. And this dickery about the PC Master Race has only hurt the situation, as developers bend over backwards to get a handjob from said Master Race by making user interfaces smaller and smaller, thus further defining disabled people as fringe, unfit for mainstream games.

    Really, what developers should do is ask early on in development cycles what things various disabled people need; not just those with sight disabilities, but in general. And then add as many of them as they possibly, reasonably can.

    But I’m just a dreamer who expects empathy from capitalism.

    Really, what we’re seeing here needs to be common enough that it isn’t a news story at all. This isn’t something we should be patting them on the back for, this is something that should be expected as a default inclusion in every game.

    #8 2 years ago

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