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Creating accessible game design patterns and prototypes with EA

as the game designer and producer

Project Overview

Work with EA positive play group to develop accessible game design patterns and prototypes to push the boundaries of how people with disabilities can play different types of game in more accessible and challenging ways.


The team has created a design pattern for adaptive and gamified settings to provide players with personalized gameplay experiences and embedding accessibility options in a seamless way.

The team has also developed two prototypes following this design pattern. The first one is a rail shooter game with adaptive accessibility settings, and the second one is a platformer with gamified automatic button mapping process.

Team Size: 5

Duration: 08/2022 - 12/2022

My Role:

As a designer
- I worked as the lead designer overseeing all aspects of game design, from concepts to gameplay and level design.
- I created the design patterns for adaptive and gamified settings.
- I worked closely with programmers and artists iterating through gameplay features and art assets.
- I designed mechanics, encounters, levels, and more for the two prototypes (see details below)

As a producer

- I bridged the communication between our team and representatives from EA positive play group.

- I managed the production timelines and coordinated teamwork.

- I recruited playtesters and connected with experts in accessibility to validate our design.

Prototype 1

Prototype 1: Adaptive Accessibility Settings

This is a rail shooter prototype with adaptive accessibility settings to personalize the appropriate challenge level according to the player's ability.

Shooter Prototype Walkthrough

My contribution to this game

- I designed the target behaviors and target placements.

- I designed and built the graybox level and the path of the rail.

- I contributed to the design of the calibration process and dynamic settings.

The Problem

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Many players with disabilities stay away from certain type of games because the challenges in the game are too difficult for them, and they each are unique in their conditions and gaming set up. Although games nowadays have a wide range of accessibility settings to help the players, they can be troublesome to setup as they need to go in the menu, find the settings, adjust them, test it out, and repeat if it still doesn't work.

To simplify this process, we developed a system that measures the player's ability to perform in-game actions, tasks, and other data, and dynamically adjust the accessibility settings to deliver the appropriate challenge level. 

Accessibility Options

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There are three kinds of target and multiple accessibility options. These options focus on adjusting the challenge level of the game.

According to the player's ability, the game will dynamically turn on different degrees of aim assist, change the size of the target, alter the lasting time of the timed targets, and adjusting the speed of the moving ones. Each of these options has ten levels of adjustments.

We have a calibration system to determine the best levels of accessibility options for individual players.

Calibration Levels


The game starts with a 30 seconds calibration level that will be disguised as a tutorial. This calibration level measures multiple parameters of data to set the initial player profile.


At each "stop" such as this one, the game will collect data and re-evaluate the result again. And after the player finishes a "stop", the player profile will be slighted tuned, which will be reflected immediately later in the level.

Calibration System

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We collected detail data from our playtesters to build a prediction model to predict the barrier the player might face according to their in-game actions.

In the game, the calibration level/tutorial and each "stop" collect the same detailed data from our data phase, and we use that prediction model to assign performance scores to the player in the backend. The game automatically adjust the accessible settings accordingly.

Prototype 2

Prototype 2: Automatic Button Mapping

This is a platformer prototype that is fully remappable with an automatic button mapping process. The players can customized their controls with a gamified process, and can adjust it later at any time with an interactive menu.

My contribution to this game

- I designed the actions and skills of the character.

- I designed and built the graybox level and the placements of the collectibles.

- I contributed to the design of the button mapping tutorial and the interactive menu.

The Problem

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Players with disabilities can have very different gaming setups because of they all have unique situations, so remapping keys will be necessary for them to play.

​Like the problem we recognized in prototype 1, button mapping is a tiresome process that may need to be repeated before the player can actually enjoy the game. This prototype gamified that process so the players can do this while learning and playing the game, and this process provides instant feedback so the players can test the key binds out immediately without stopping the game.


This game requires one analogue stick/d-pad and two buttons:

a user defined analogue stick/d-pad

a user defined "Jump" key

a user defined "Electricity" key

In order to test out our automatic button mapping process, we went experimental by not assigning a default mapping. With these three keys, the robot characters can perform a range of actions and skills that are easy to learn but hard to master.

Actions and skills


Analogue stick


Press "Jump"

 High Jump

Hold "Jump"

 Wall Slide

Jump to walls

 Wall Jump

Press "Jump" while wall sliding

Electric Field

Hold "Electricity" while grounded

Double Jump

Press "Electricity" while in air

Electric Sphere

Press "Jump" while holding electricity

Interactive Menu


If the player wants to change the mapping after the tutorial, they can test the new mapping out directly in the menu before returning to the game so they don't have to risk testing it in the game and potentially die and lose progress.

Design Philosophy

Design Philosophy

Players with disabilities have diversified disability situations that are impossible and inappropriate to categorize. The same could be said about players who do not have disabilities as well. Therefore, in order to deliver an accessible experience, we need to customize, personalize, and tailor the game experience and control. To do that, we need to obtain player profile or information.

Accessibility in games now is getting more and more advanced and thorough, which is good for the players, but with more and more settings to adjust, setting up the game to work as intended could be a barrier that discourage the players from playing.

Our design allows to player to configure the game while playing, instead of spending a long time in the menu. Although we are focusing on specific aspects in specific genres in our prototype, this philosophy could be extended to all kinds of games.

The vision we are imagining is that while playing different games, players are building their own unique profile that is shared across all games. And ideally, with this profile, games can be preconfigured accordingly, or at least make the configuration process more fun.

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