Canberra-based video game studio Uppercut Games was nominated for the Accessibility Excellence Award at the 2021 Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDA) for their work, Submerged: Hidden depths.
Their first AGDA nomination, Uppercut Games co-founder Ed Orman said the recognition was both “exciting” and “an honor.”
Available through Google’s Stadia gaming platform, Orman described the work as a “relaxploration” game.
“It gives the players a really serene and pleasant place in which to relax,” he said. Canberra Weekly.
A sequel to their hit title from 2015 Submerged, Orman and his team decided to focus on creating an accessible game when development kicked off in February 2019.
“Our game is a simple, serene and relaxing game where you control a single character on the screen, there are no states of combat or failure, which makes it a good candidate to open up to. accessibility, ”he said.
Work on the sequel began when Google approached Uppercut asking them to create a game for Stadia that would promote the platform to a larger, more casual audience.
“Submerged fit very well into the push they were trying to do, ”Orman said.
Funding from the tech giant has allowed Orman and his team to “dramatically increase the quality and reach” from the 2015 original.
“Once they gave us the green light for this, we really assessed what had Submerged a very well done and where we could approve, ”he said.
So what exactly makes a video game accessible?
According to Orman, in real terms, producing an accessible game requires making sure the controls are as accessible and configurable as possible, right down to providing color options in the guide for people who are color blind.
“So much work you can do, and I feel like we’ve really only scratched the surface, but it’s great to do as much as we can.”
Based in Canberra since co-founding the studio with Andrew James and Ryan Lancaster in 2011, Orman said the bush capital is an idyllic place to produce video games.
“It works well for us,” he said.
“We’ve been here this whole time and there are a few advantages, especially if you have young families that the three founders have found themselves with over the years.
“It’s perfectly fine to run a studio here, you have access to a really good internet, a pool of talent, we really love it here and have no plans to go anywhere else.”
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