Countdown to Kickstarter and Some Thoughts on Accessibility in Design
Mark your calendars! The Tears of a Machine SC hits Kickstarter July 6th!
I’m nervous and excited. Frequently distracted by all the little tasks and to-do’s and occasionally overwhelmed by worry that I’m missing some important piece somewhere. Basically what you’d expect before any creative launch.
Creating The Tears of a Machine SC has been a years-long process and it’s undergone countless revisions and changes, from major steps like the new rules, to increasing pilot age ranges to minor tweaks about word choice and paragraph ordering. It’s been a challenge both personally and professionally but it’s also been rewarding already. Every time I get to play or run the game I find something else I enjoy about it.
Accessibility In Game Design
It’s probably quite appropriate that I’m trying to make this game a reality during #DisabilityPrideMonth, because this whole thing began with me experimenting with ways to use more accessible tools and options for gaming, while reflecting the spirit of new designs and my desire for story-focused rules. I hope I’m successful. The feedback from my disabled reviewers has been good, but disability is a unique experience for each person. I design without having that experience myself, so I’m sure there will be room to improve.
My general advice on accessibility is to offer options and more options. Release your text in every format you can manage and leave the door open to others. Share freely. Be honest about where you come from. Give yourself permission to mess up, with the understanding that you can then act to correct and improve. Listen to the voices of people, both supportive and frustrated, and ask for time to process and internalize. Work with disabled people. Hire them to review your work. Hire them to contribute. We run on tight budget margins in the TTRPG world but some things are worth the money, and if you can’t make it work, look into grants for assistance (something I hope to write more about later.)
You have nothing to lose (pirates gonna pirate) and everything to gain by allowing what you’ve made to be available to more people, from every background and experience.
Try Before You Back
The brief Quick Start version of The Tears of a Machine SC is out! You can head on over to my DriveThru RPG page or itch.io store page to download the free introduction to the game. In addition to the PDF though, you’ll also find an ePub audio book of the Quick Start guide. This is more than just a “taste” of the game, it’s also a sample of what you can expect from that audio book release.
How to Read the Audio Book
Audio books with read-along features require specialized playback software. However, accessibility-focused developers like EDRLabs are creating free and open-source applications to meet that need. Here’s how to get reading and listening.
Get the Software
Head on over to edrlab.org and the Software tab. You’ll find an introduction to Thorium Reader, their newly released EPUB reader, as well as some background on the project and its relation to Readium (the software I recommended a few years ago.) The More About Thorium Reader link (or Thorium Reader in the sidebar) will take you to the page with download options for the software.
The Windows software will download through the Windows app store. Other versions of the software are still new and in development, so you will need to download their source files and follow the steps posted there to install on Mac, Linux, and so forth.
Get the Book
Read, Play, and Share
Please let me know about your experience with the book. Were there technical difficulties? Did you have fun with the game? You can comment on this post here, on the store pages, DM me through Twitter or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for checking out The Tears of a Machine SC. May the Saints preserve us.