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We present City of Titans, a spiritual successor for the superhero MMORPG City of Heroes, being developed by Missing Worlds Media.
5,003 backers pledged $678,189 to help bring this project to life.

Freedom to Play - at No Extra Cost (Design)

Posted by Missing Worlds Media (Creator)
We’ve all heard the term ‘free-to-play’ as it relates to the cost to acquire and play a title, but lesser known is the alternative meaning – free access, as opposed to no cost. 

For example, a notable portion of the population is colour-blind, including key members of the production team, such as Warcabbit and Doctor Tyche (whom have both given me permission to point them out). If our assets and models were heavily dependent on the parts of the visual spectrum they are unable to distinguish, their ability to effectively enjoy City of Titans would be diminished.

In an earlier update, I stated that Missing Worlds Media is more accurately building a fully interactive virtual social networking platform that just so happens to double as an entertainment medium. We’re been designing accommodation for things like colour-blindness and other barriers into City of Titans from Day Zero because of these details. I should know, since I myself am autistic, and did much to set out the particulars of how we account for these details.

Way back in September of 2012, when I was preparing our operational plan for both the business and production, I put years’ worth of behavioural and anthropological research on the nature of play into it. According to well-known (and also autistic) animal researcher Temple Grandin and her book, Animals Make Us Human, play is a critical element in the establishment and maintenance of good mental health for any sentient creature, and that includes humans.

That is one of the key reasons why we’re focusing on building the community at the same time as we steadily work on City of Titans, as we hope to enable parents to play with their children, using it as a tool to teach them to read, as well as to help everyone form relationships with people they would otherwise never encounter. There are, after all, countless stories about people who have met their spouses through an MMO, and I myself have strong friendships that exist only because of our predecessor. 

That being said, accounting for the ability to toggle for colour-blindness or to selectively mute sounds and visual effects that might cause pain or nausea is very obvious, and comparatively minor in reflection of the larger and more substantial accommodation goals we’ve set for ourselves. A completely customizable control schema enabling a person to play with a single hand or having JAWS integration with our comfortable and easy text-based chat interface is much closer to the scale of accommodation we’re aiming for.

This would have the advantage of allowing a person who is without sight being able to enjoy the title without much difficulty when combined with the control customization. Our goal is to minimize physical barriers to enjoyment of City of Titans as much as possible, to ensure that we have as broad an audience as possible. 

As we are incorporating features such as this right from the design stage, as opposed to incorporating them later, we’ve learned quite a bit about ancillary benefits in their use. The XMPP system we have planned for use as the chat engine in game is our virtual office space, and as such our interactions enable me to not have to worry about my rather pronounced stutter. Likewise, it allows for a degree of anonymity for those who would much prefer it.

Despite all of this, I would strongly suggest that the single largest accommodating factor we’ve accounted for is merely in recognizing the nature of the genre. We’re building a game in which people who are unable to walk (for any reason) will be able to find themselves flying, so it goes largely without saying that there are countless individuals with extraordinary needs that we want to be able to welcome into our city. 

Titan City isn’t going to be a truly safe space, as no place is. But we can, and will try to be better – and in the end, that it is all that it truly takes to be a hero (or a villain, for that matter).


Written by - David 'Terwyn' MacKay 

Discuss the update here:

Jimi Hendricks, Sarah Paskell, and 38 more people like this update.


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    1. David Guillot on

      Thank you from a person with disabilities. I have severe Arthritis in my hands, making playing video and computer games difficult at times. Button pushing is out of my league so I tend to take a slow and steady approach to gaming. with control customization, I can customize the controls to my abilities and needs,
      Once again, Thank you

    2. Cybin Monde on

      Wow, what an excellent principle to have as one of your guiding lights!

      As i'm wont to mention, i have an affinity for Second Life and have suggested referring to their platform for different reasons/inspirations. Once CoT is out, i may want to refer them to you for some further inspirations! Varied accessibility measures have been weaved into the SL platform over the years, but it's great to see another platform imparting them right into the very foundation of the experience.

      I would love to see these features as major talking points in articles that cover CoT, especially when it's closer to (and including) beta testing and the release date. While the flash and glitter and fun are all extremely important, these features for players from all walks of life are just as important... not only for this game, but as encouragement for other games to include similar ideas as standard procedure.

      Thanks for being so awesome... for being heroes... for being titans.

    3. Casey on

      As a multiply disabled gamer, thank you for this. I love it that you all are thinking beyond just making the text bigger (which is actually something I need *glares at bioware for not making it available on DA games*). Thank you thank you thank you!!!

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      Kallandra on

      Does this mean that you will be getting either community members or voice actors (they can be fairly cheap and can do multiple voices) to enable visually impaired people to be able to hear what NPC's are saying, instead of having to use text to speech software or something similar? We've gotten used to mission givers and NPC's talking in more recent MMO's. Will City of Titans be City of Mutes?

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      Perry Goldman on

      This update made me seriously cry. I was so happy to read this.
      What kind of writer keeps reinforcing the idea that things that suck in the real world have to suck in fantasy worlds, too?
      So I'm really incredibly happy to read what you wrote, and I had to tell everyone in the house. They thought it was cool, and even though they're not gamers (nor do they have any of the cognitive, social, or behavioral challenges I do) they thought it was cool, too.
      Well done, world-builders.

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      Sean R Emmert on

      My colorblind friend from coh is going to appreciate anything that makes it easier for him to enjoy the game. Good to hear you have things in mind for players with his issue.

    7. David Phillips on

      Aiming for a strong community is what we're all looking for. Sure, there will be a few bad apples. And then there's always those bad days that we all have where we're the bad apple that day.

      All any of us can do is to keep up the good fight and be the best person we can be. Same goes for the designing of a game. Aim high, and do the best you can. We're all pulling for you.

    8. Keovar on

      Thank you for this. As someone with visual impairment (optic neuritis caused by multiple sclerosis), accessibility is a big concern for me. When working on text interfaces, please remember to provide an option for a high-contrast colour schemes with light text on a dark background.

    9. Bill O. Rights on

      We started CoH to share time with our son. His Asperger's, Epilepsy and Autism proved challenging for other venues, but it all came together while playing CoH. I'm delighted to hear that the effort is being made to accommodate others with a variety of challenges. Thanks and keep up the good work.