◾ MCC HALO GAME: Entire MCC
◾ ISSUE/FEEDBACK: Improving accessibility for Halo players without sight
◾ ADDITIONAL INFO:
I am, for those who are unaware, a gamer without sight (GWS). To clarify, I've never had any sight whatsoever. As a result, sighted assistance is required for the vast majority of games. This usually, in terms of the Halo franchise, means the assistance of a co-op partner over Xbox Live.
Given that the MCC is undergoing what looks to be an ongoing set of updates, I have a few suggestions that would improve the experience for gamers such as myself who might want to experience the majority of the Halo series:
1. Spoken menus and UI elements:
Given that the MCC opens with a "hub menu" allowing you to adjust settings, set up what you're playing and invite co-op partners etc, it would be great if a GWS has the ability to customise everything to their liking. Currently, the menus have no audio prompts to indicate what option you're selecting (unless you count the score for the campaign menus, which I do not in this context).
The technology to resolve this issue does in fact exist, as unveiled at GDC2017 in the form of the Microsoft Speech Synthesis API (mSSA), though engine-level support is needed for this to be implemented from what I understand. The GDC reveal is available at the link below:
This technology (currently not in use in any commercial game as of the time of writing) would allow, if implemented, not only reading of the hub menus but also in-game options menus, for the campaigns and multiplayer amongst others. The end result would allow for greater customisation for the entire experience. Whilst a co-op partner would still be required for the games themselves, being able to set up exactly what you want would make the process of initiating such experiences much easier.
2. UI audio improvements:
To go hand-in-hand with the point above, the current UI, also used in the retail MCC build, is very quiet when moving up/down/left/right/back etc. This means that it's possible to rapidly be very confused as to how many options you've moved in those directions. Given that the UI in general is being overhauled and the aforementioned possibilities afforded by the MSSA, I think it would be a definite improvement to have new UI SFX to both assist those who work with audio alone and provide a fresh feel to the game.
3. Accessibility options in-game:
This final point might be pushing it, though given that code modifications are being made to the various games in this franchise, it would be great to see additional accessibility options for GWS, with the main one being a navigation aid for campaign similar to Gears of War 4's Fabricator Ping option. The option in Halo would have to account for ledges/jumps etc but that could be achieved by adding an additional tone or modulation on it such that if a player is on a path that would result in their death, they know about it in time to turn back and go the correct way. Sounds for interactive objects wouldn't go amiss either, including weapons, ammo, grenades and button prompts (e.g. terminals/doors etc), though not overloading the player is of key concern when tackling this area.
I hope these suggestions are useful and if any players (inside 343 or otherwise) want to see how things could be improved, try playing the game with your eyes closed, monitor off, just with the audio alone and see how far you get/what you need help with.
I'd be interested to hear how far players get in this new set of circumstances and I'm open, privately so as not to derail the thread, to answering any questions on the accessibility of Halo without sight from interested players.
Keep up the great work and information distribution with regards to MCC.