Assists

There are many different types of assists spread out in the gaming sphere. Each has a varied level of interaction with different parts of the game, but each can handle functions that cause problems for certain groups of gamers, while also providing useful tools for non-disabled gamers to enjoy games as they prefer.

Here are just a few examples of different assists that you may be familiar with.

Aim-assist is one of the most highly recommended options for first-person shooters, because it can help the end-user without interfering with gameplay. Aim-assists range between automatically targeting enemies to locking onto specific parts of the target (VAT in Fallout 3). 

Driving assists allow inexperienced drivers to concentrate on steering a complex course while the computer handles issues like gas and brakes. The assists can be disabled depending on the difficulty level the gamer chooses. Drive assists are important for cognitively disabled gamers who may have trouble concentrating on more than one task. It also helps mobility impaired gamers who do not have the ability to press enough buttons at one time to control multiple tasks, or those that cannot keep a button like the one controlling the gas pedal press down continuously (Forza).

Puzzle assists, often referred to as hints, give gamers progressively direct instructions on what to accomplish next in a puzzle or hidden object game. These types of assists are crucial for those with cognitive impairments and attention deficits, as well as non-disabled casual gamers.

An example of excellent an aim assist is the VATS system in Fallout 3 from Bethesda. Users can stop time completely while aiming at a select part of the target’s body. This allows the user to take as much time as they need to complete intense combat situations.

 

A top-rate driving assist model is in the Forza series by Turn10 and Microsoft. In order to make the game accessible to those new to the racing game genre, application of the brakes can be controlled by the AI automatically. This allows the user to hold down the gas during the entire race and concentrate on steering left and right while the computer controls the speed of the vehicle through the turns.

 

 

These types of assists can range from ‘nice to have’ to ‘can’t play without.’ Now some developers have made comments about how these features turn off hard-core gamers from a title, an understandable concern as highlighted earlier. However, if the fear of the publisher is push back from the community over the decreased level of difficulty, allow achievements that cannot be earned while certain assists are enabled or certain game modes are played. it is imperative to remember that at the end of the day those who need these kind of assists to play the game at all do not care about achievements, they care about the ability to play. Allowing those who need the assists the option to turn them on to play the game, but keeping achievements and even certain rewards available only to those who do not use the assists is a great way to compromise in adding accessibility.

 

Examples

A man logs into his favorite FPS, which he loves because he gets to play with the various types of weapons in the game. One of the features included in the game is an aim assist that allows him to lock onto a target when firing; it automatically finds a target nearest in range and slows down the action while he takes his shot. This is important to him because his disability makes targeting with any level of precision an extremely difficult activity. The assists allow him to play comfortably in a solo environment.

Who doesn’t enjoy playing racing games with the family? Dreams of the fast cars and the cheering of the fans is a great addition to family game night. The young lady in this family has a form of muscular dystrophy that prevents her from being able to use the Xbox controller easily, so the game was quickly taken out of rotation on game night. She will be unable to play with her older brother, but if the game allowed the AI to control the brake for her, she could handle steering left and right, and the race would be on again.