Accessibility and Controller Support in Dragonflight Group Interview Excerpt
20/11/2022 à 02:00
recent group interview
with Associate Game Director Jeremy Feasel and Lead Software Engineer May Flores Garcia,
Jez from Windows Central
asked about the continued work to improve gamepad/controller support within World of Warcraft.
Jez from Windows Central:
I'm curious about controller support, because with the rise of the steam deck and a bigger emphasis on accessibility and stuff like that, increasingly I'm seeing, requests for add-ons that support controllers and there's controllers with paddles and all that kind of stuff, but traditionally World Warcraft has been a mouse and keyboard kind of game. With renewed emphasis on the UI and improving some of the core aspects of the game, does official controller support ever come up within the engineering team? And, if so, what are your thoughts on that?
We've, we've been actually working on supporting player control, for a little bit now. I think the first time we introduced that was 9.2? I think maybe getting that a little bit wrong, but it is something that we're actually working. For us, a lot of this comes from wanting to make the game much more accessible. So accessibility is our main goal when it comes to control support, and this is an ongoing effort from the engineering team trying to make sure that we are actually supporting controllers. That is working currently correctly with a lot of our different inputs.
I know that engineering has been working very closely with our UI team too, to actually make sure that everything that we're doing, it actually feels very natural for people. They've been working out how the UI is going to be displaying some of these controllers. For Dragonriding, for example, we've actually been trying our best to actually be tested and making sure that it just feels good to play, but it is definitely an ongoing effort and something that we're very excited about to be able to provide to people.
We have some awesome accessibility experts on the team. Huge thanks to them for constantly pushing us in this direction. We've made some great accessibility improvements in Dragonflight. We put out a whole blog post about it. Very happy with all of those improvements. They include improved support for our players that find it easier to use controllers, but also we've gone through the UI with an eye towards things like what font we're using and what colors are we using, and making sure that all those are accessible or at least provide the maximum number of options to players that we can. Also on the Dragonriding side of things, we recognize that Dragonriding isn't for everybody and it's relatively difficult to control your way through in some ways for some players. So we've provided a way for players to turn themselves into a whelp and ride along with other players in that way. They can still get to places and experience the follow experience that they were used to without having to do the swooping diving and Dragonriding. So something that we're always thinking about. And again, huge shout out to the accessibility team that has really been headlining this effort. They've been doing an awesome job and it's great to be able to bring these improvements to the players.
This isn't the first we've heard about continued support for accessibility and other control schemes either. During the beta test phase, Blizzard revealed several
new user interface options
to reduce the reliance on mouse and button mashing during gameplay - specifically, Hold to Cast, the Action Combat Camera, and Interact Keys.
The combat action camera will automatically change targets based on character viewpoint, without having to click or tab target.
While perhaps not designed for controller specifically, all three of the options are extremely useful for someone using a controller instead of the traditional mouse and keyboard. Even simple things, such as interacting with vendors and selecting the option to browse their wares can be a lot more arduous using a thumbstick rather than a traditional mouse, and automating some of those tasks goes a long way toward improving usability for alternate control schemes.
The Hearthstone icon indicates that this Innkeeper can be interacted with using the Interact Key, without first targeting or mousing over them!
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