The next lecture was about designing your product with the intention to include as many different type of people as possible, without reinforcing stereotypes. No surprises there. A large part of this is being aware of the different types of people out there. This means assuring that, those with disabilities, all genders, all cultures, backgrounds and more, are able to view your product without feeling excluded or left out. As a programmer, I won’t be the one making a lot of these decisions, so I’m going to be look at this from a game developer’s standpoint.
Firstly, designing a game to be available to those with disabilities is certainly not the hardest thing in the world, and will make quite a few people very happy. Options for this include allowing the player to re map the controller configuration themselves, or if that’s not an option, including a few different pre-made controller configurations to try to include as many different play styles as possible e.g. ‘Southpaw’ is a very common pre made configuration that’s designed to make left handed people more comfortable.
How too respectfully represent people with different cultures, backgrounds, genders etc. in a game all fit under the same umbrella. The first step would be that if you don’t fully understand it, don’t include it. The exception to this would be if you were to completely researching the topic until you have a good understanding of the topic. Secondly, if you include just one character with that culture/background/gender, whether you like it or not, people are going to see it as you creating that character to represent everyone of that culture/background/gender, so it’s always a good idea to have two characters that are still different from each other, to better represent those people. Finally, WHEN you offend somebody, because god knows somebody somewhere will be offended, apologize. It’s always better to apologize than it is to risk pissing off even more people.
Also, if you’re main character in a game doesn’t need to be a straight white middle aged man, its definitely worth considering changing any of those three variables. Not only will you be helping to change the game industry and its severe lack of diversity, but you may even gain some fans out of it. If you’re concerned you would lose fans for having a non-male, a non-white, non-straight main character, check out Female Thor, Sgt. James Heller – Prototype 2 and Miles Morales – The new Spiderman.
It should also be noted that you shouldn’t just throw a culture into your game because it will make it look cooler, you will just be leaving yourself open to even more people becoming offended.