Owlchemy Labs has shared details about an accessibility update for Cosmonious High. The VR game is set to include function to improve the accessibility for low vision players. While certain features would be helpful to sightless players, the developer indicated they have not yet been tested with them. Accessibility in VR is still behind when compared to other platforms, any improvement is always exciting to see (or hear).
Vision accessibility features
The details of the Cosmonious High accessibility update have been shared in a blog post on the developer’s website. A video is also released showing off the new features as they appear in-game.
The set of features are bundled in a Vision Assistance Mode. This mode can be toggled from several locations. Additionally it can be toggled by double-tapping the assist button while the controller is close to the player’s ear.
Vision Assistance mode includes object highlighting that gives important objects a high contrast outline making them easier to see. Haptic feedback is available to indicate highlighting objects and selecting teleport locations. Audio will play on grabbing or releasing objects while the assist button is held down.
Audio descriptions are available for objects upon a press of the assist button while aiming at, or holding, an object. These descriptions can be cancelled by pressing the button again. While choosing to teleport the location name will be provided, and after teleporting a confirmation will be audible. Additionally environments will be described when a player arrives there. Lastly, tutorials include instructions through audio as well.
Not for sightless players yet, or maybe?
Important to note is Owlchemy Labs have indicated the accessibility features work best for those with low vision. Some of the features in the update seem to be helpful to sightless players but haven’t been tested with them. Perhaps even Owlchemy Labs themselves will be surprised at their impact when they are tested.
While they welcome feedback, reasons given for not testing with sightless players is the inaccessibility of headsets themselves, and their inability to find sightless players to help test the accessibility features. We hope they’ll try to connect with sightless players regardless. Many playtesters and consultants do have sighted assistance available to help with initial setup of their gaming setups.