Push-Off (Again!)

After finishing T4, I decided to go back and improve Push-Off. I’m quite convinced that it must be an easily solvable game, but I’ve played several dozen games against myself and haven’t figured it out yet, so I figured it’s worth taking the time to apply some polish.
The Accessibility Jam is happening right now, so I thought I’d try developing the game in that direction. I came up with as many accessibility features as I could imagine, and then I had to pare it down to something I thought I could actually accomplish. In the end, I had to give up on trying to make it blind-friendly. I just couldn’t come up with any solutions that seemed within my abilities. I also learned during my accessibility research that photosensitive epilepsy can sometimes be triggered by repetitive high-contrast patterns. I’m now concerned that the black and white pieces in the game might present a slight risk in this area, though I don’t really know enough to be sure. Nothing really moves around on the screen, but the right alignment of pieces could certainly resemble black and white stripes. I guess you can consider this a half-hearted epilepsy warning with a shrug at the end. As for the accessibility features I did manage to implement, here’s a list:

  • The game is colorblind-friendly, being black and white on a gray background. You can also adjust the shade of the background for maximum visibility.
  • You can adjust the size and font of all the game’s text.
  • The game can be played with a mouse or keyboard. You can tab through the controls and press buttons with Enter. You can hit Escape to bring up the menu. I tried to make the controls pretty standard.
  • The game has no audio, so a deaf player has the same experience as anyone else. I’ll admit that’s really more of a technical limitation on my part than it is a feature, though.
  • Being a browser game gives it a few accessibility perks automatically. Classic game issues like mouse sensitivity are avoided because it just uses your own system settings.

All in all, I’m satisfied with the way it turned out. The game itself is not particularly amazing, but I feel that I learned a few important things that I wish I had known before. While developing this game, I figured out at least five substantial improvements I could make to T4. I don’t really want to work on the same two games forever, though. I’d rather just apply any lessons learned to the next game, whatever that may be…

You can play Push-Off in your browser here.

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