If you’ve seen my Contact Us page lately, you’ll know I’ve consciously reduced the amount of Kickstarter content I’ve run on this site. The fact is, there are too many great Kickstarter projects and not enough time for me to cover them all.
Occasionally something comes along that hits the right buttons though and that’s exactly what has happened with Wildside Gaming System – The Free Tabletop Roleplaying App, currently fundraising on Kickstarter. Wildside appears to be a contender to other apps such as Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and other virtual tabletops. It tries to stand out by including a full rule set for Wildside, a traditional fantasy RPG, in addition to an open engine for GMs to use to play any other RPG they choose.
More importantly, as it relates to the Vision of Accessible Games, is that the app promises to meet web accessibility standards and has a few experts on the team of developers and testers. According to the Kickstarter FAQ:
Q: I’ve looked over the KS page and didn’t see any mention of accessibility. Will it support various screen readers for each platform (JAWS or ZoomText for PC, VoiceOver for iOS, TalkBack for Android, etc.)?
A: The coding is all being done to web accessibility standards and it should run on all platforms. (It’s being created as a web app, which then has “shells” wrapped around it for iOS, Android, etc.) The head of our programming team is a senior web developer for a major retailer in her day job so she’s used to working in an environment where everything is expected to meet all accessibility standards. And a specialist in accessibility platforms will be evaluating to make sure everything works as it should. I’m sure there will be bugs to work out that won’t be apparent until beta testing – just because something works to the standards doesn’t mean it works well enough for fun and effective gaming – and we will be leaning on accessible gaming advocates both in early development to try specific modules of the app, and later to help get the beta into the hands of as many players who can test it on variant platforms as we can.
I will note that apps not designed natively for Android, such as web apps wrapped in a container like they mentioned above, are not always accessible using TalkBack. Thankfully the app will be cross-platform and we can use it on other devices, but it remains to be seen whether or not this will be a 100% accessible solution.
Still, I like that the developer is keeping accessibility in mind and I think we should all check them out. I pledged my own support, and if it’s something that piques your interest then I suggest you look over the project and consider doing the same.
The developers are trying to raise $5,000 USD or more by Friday, August 5th. Check out the campaign page for more details.