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Important Color Blind gamers: What in Starbound needs fixing?

Discussion in 'Starbound Discussion' started by GeorgeV, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. Cpt_FluffyBottom

    Cpt_FluffyBottom Aquatic Astronaut

    Copper and rubium ore look very similar to me
    bohemian dino likes this.
  2. Mortnius

    Mortnius Space Hobo

    This is a very loaded question!
    I recently only found out about my color-blindness, so I am learning what "triggers" it.

    An important thing to note is there are different types of color-blindness.
    I am considered Red/Green Color-Blind. There are other types that are more prevalent.

    It isn't that I cannot SEE Red or Green, but that they are difficult to distinguish when next to the other color.
    We see color by the cones in our eyes. Imagine Red, Green, and Blue cones, each with their own "fullness".
    I am MORE LACKING in red than I am green. Therefore, it is easier for red colors to become lost to me, as my eyes require more red to see it. The more "fullness" of the cone you have, the more sensitive you are to its' color.

    That being said;

    I can see red. I can see green. I can see a red dot on a green background, and the opposite. However, when you have red tone MIX surrounded by yellow tones and green tones...they all sort of mix together. My eyes don't have enough sensitivity to red and green to detect the subtle differences in the shades and tones of green.

    Iron Ore surrounded by Sand is easy to see. Iron ore surrounded by dirt mixed with sand is nearly impossible to identify. Combine this with a low light situation/underground, and Iron is VERY difficult for me to find and mine.
    I noticed this very badly last night after starting a new character. I actually was poking thru settings in hopes of a "color blind mode" config area.

    How I would approach this;
    Allow user to select their color-blind mode. Blue, Red/Green, Yellow Peak Shift

    Each one would have to alter the colors differently.
    The easiest way I have seen color-blindness mode enabled is by Adding a neutral-color BUFFER around the item that is "lost" in the vision so that it no longer bleeds together with the other similar tones to the person affected by the color blindness.
    For my color-blindness type, a Blue works best.

    So to fix the iron for instance, when it falls within/around certain tones (or always), it is surrounded by a single pixel of a contrasted color. As most color-blindness is caused by a merging of visible tones along their blindness range, by introducing a color they are not blind to / affected by, it can be seen normally. I, personally, would much rather be able to SEE the ore, than care if it's colors are not correct / accurate to real life.

    Thanks for this great game!
    rhomboid, Klokinator and Huxi like this.
  3. bohemian dino

    bohemian dino Void-Bound Voyager

    yes, some ores are problematic.
  4. KDawg

    KDawg Void-Bound Voyager

    Or diamond in ice blocks :p Wanted to add, sometimes I literally walk past old chests (both small or bigger version) when the biome's got the same greenish color (well, green/brown whatever, the hell how my eyes sees them xD )
    Back to the ores, I think maybe making black outlines a bit thicker might help spotting them and giving them a more distinctive geometrical pattern to discern their category better. Say one is round/oval (copper, silver, gold etc), triangular (iron, titanium, aegisalt and so on) and squarish for the last (coal and the other "fuels")
    It's just that aside from the spots where they are incrusted in specific kinds of blocks, their color and lighting influences near them, that when the outlines are more contrasted with each a more discernable shape (which is the case but sometimes I still mistake some fuel shapes with ore shapes for example), it can be helpful.
    Anyways colorblindness always comes in all shapes and colors ;) but that's their main thing. I'll still hold onto the idea of being able to have access in the options a userchosen coloring and shaping configuration would be a great thing, as everybody with their own variations of sight issues will help them the best way possible, as they are the only ones that can find out what would work out for them, as there unfortunately isn't any global answer for all of us eye-kinks out there.

    Why as an option though? Well to make it as short as possible, for example back when I had uncontrollable doses of testosterone playing Quake3 and UnrealTournament, I always custom made crosshair colors/made them myself + the opponent's "brightskins" each with colors that were map dependant because of the color textures, in combination of ingame graphical effects (projectiles of all sorts possibly concealing exactly where your crosshair was due to their colors being too close to each other) and so on. It does sound like a whole mess, or maybe that I probably was the kind of guy you wouldn't want to team up with but trust me, thanks to that simple concept I was able to compete just as good back then. Up to this day, this was the only way for me to bypass almost entirely my colorblindness in every single game I have played.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  5. mase777

    mase777 Void-Bound Voyager

    As a color blind gamer it is really good to see attention being drawn to this. I can't say exactly where in Starbound I've had the most trouble but I can give you my biggest issues as far as colors that either look the same or very similar and hopefully this can help. Ther are different kinds as most people know so I will give my examples but I will try to do it in a general way as to help explain what might help other with different color issues. A lot of this has been covered but here is my two cents:
    - blue and purple look the exact same to me! I'm not joking or saying they are similar I mean they look exactly alike. Until I was about 10-11 y/o I thought everyone was messing with me(no joke)
    - the color spectrum plays a big part as others have said such as a light red next to a dark orange may look so similar that it could take minutes or more to decipher for me and when you playing a game that mean death. The same goes for dark yellow and light orange(you get the pic)
    Anyway that is the quickest way I can sum up the issues I have with colors. It gets much more complex but hopefully this can help you guys out.

    P.S. I'm not wearing a blindfold to what's going on but I'm also not jumping to conclusions based on a beta. I know you can take all that negativity and turn it into something amazing! You already proved that you can come out of the gate swinging like a champ now jump up out that corner swingin again and show em you're not just going to leave it all up to the modders to finish this. I have still have faith in you guys and so do a lot of us. You already have an amazing game, all you need are quests to fill it out and towns to facilitate those quests and viola! You'll have one of the greatest games ever to hit the PC. - Thanks guys
  6. Swiftstone

    Swiftstone Void-Bound Voyager

    I wrote a post with a few suggestions back in Dec. 2013, but I can reiterate some of the points made there, if it will be helpful. First, as a person with fairly severe red/green color deficiency, I would very much like to thank you for your efforts in this regard, and tell you that this alone makes you a standout in the industry. Most people take full color vision for granted as a fact of life and a universal human standard almost more than they do in regards to just about any other disability. For instance, I and many others have been vociferously trying for over a year and a half in the forums to get something like what you propose for the game Defiance, to no avail. That game is a Pastel Hell for the color deficient...

    There are a number of good websites with advice for game developers in particular concerning how best to implement small changes to make drastic improvements, complete with examples, that would probably offer you far more clarity on the subject than I. Ores and bars you guessed correctly about, of course. But honestly, for the UI, the colorblind mod that Sykes posted a link to above pretty much covers any UI problems I've had. The cursor and health bar being red makes them effectively disappear over a number of backgrounds in the environment. Even when not imposed on such a background, it's something I have to look at, sometimes with effort, rather than something I can just glance at and know where my health bar or cursor are at. I almost never use firearms in the game because of this problem. If you can't tell where your cursor is at a glance, you will often lose track, and think your weapon is pointed at an enemy when it is not. This has cost my characters their lives many times.

    If you were to make that mod part of the vanilla game as an option for people like me, you will have largely solved the problem without having to do much at all except give the modder credit. As I said in my earlier post on the matter, we're kind of used to having to compensate without the consideration of developers. The modder was color deficient, had the means to change it, and so he solved the problem himself. Because there is some variation in the degree and types of colorblindness, as well as methods of compensation, (which can vary greatly) it can be difficult for developers to know if the changes they make are beneficial or not, which is why it's not often tackled. Moreover, I find that it is simply very difficult, if not impossible for someone with normal color vision to fully comprehend the differences and difficulties. It is quite literally a vastly different mode of thought, perception and existence. It's a lot like what I imagine it would be to try describing to a an alien intelligence in purely non-subjective terms the tastes 'sweet' and 'sour', or what the difference is between them. So I don't blame developers who may fail in their efforts. Only those who will not make the effort.

    Now, with all of that said, I propose a more inclusive course of action. If all players are given the tools to alter color settings on the UI, you will have covered all the bases on all types and degrees of colorblindness, because we'll quite happily correct the problems ourselves, and find what works best for us individually. Just make sure that everyone knows it is an option. Don't bury it too deep in the menus. More importantly than that, you would be providing a customization feature in your game that people with normal color vision would doubtlessly also greatly enjoy, and is all too often not seen in games. I know, because I always wind up looking for it. This would avoid any baggage, stigma, or judgements concerning another developer's attempt at the infamous 'colorblind mode'. There are indeed people out there who are slightly to moderately colorblind and don't even realize it. They just know that they like it better, or it's easier for them to see, if something is this color, rather than that color.

    It would be an easy, silver bullet panacea for the problem with just about zero potential for PR problems, stigma associated with a disability, or indeed criticism of any kind.

    I mention stigma, not because of the potential for bullying on the forums, (though that can be an issue, most people are simply curious) but for the potential of people to lose their jobs. There are many professions you are simply not allowed to be a part of if you are colorblind, even if you are otherwise brilliant in that field. There are also many people who are colorblind that do not know, and are often not explicitly told that the profession they're almost all the way through school for will not allow them in if their disability becomes known. Or they do not know they are colorblind until most of the way through school, and even sometimes until they are going through a hiring process, and are given a test. Unsurprisingly, they often simply do their best to hide the disability because of this. Memorizing standard tests for colorblindness, etc.. They go underground. Into the closet.

    But people sometimes play games at work, or have a co-worker over to their homes...

    I have personally met a man who was fired from his job, not because he was caught playing a game, but because he was caught playing it with the 'colorblind mode' on, and was 'outted' when his boss, who also happened to have played that game, inquired about why it looked all wrong, and figured it out. He might have kept his job, if he could have played it off with a 'Oh, you can change the color settings to whatever you want, and I thought it would be fun to play like this.' or some such. There are other stories too. Stories about people who only got into their jobs or kept them, because a co-worker or examiner looked the other way, or actively provided cover by falsifying results.

    I realize that this might seem like a totally outlandish scenario to a "normal" person, but that's only because they aren't the ones stuck living in the movie Gattaca.

    A fairly recent study using improved techniques and equipment, found it is possible that as much as 20-25% of the population of the U.S. suffers from some type and degree of color deficiency, with most not even being aware of it, and able to function largely in a completely normal fashion. Even so, there are no legal protections in place for someone being fired because of this disability. If you are missing an arm, or lack the use of your legs, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodation for your disability. But if you happen to be missing some microscopic cone receptors on your retina in an ever-increasingly color-coded world, you're hosed.
    dropdead likes this.
  7. dropdead

    dropdead Big Damn Hero

    These are very valid points you got there.

    I'm not colorblind myself but I can still understand how it feels to have to compensate for something (somehow) because most others don't even realize there might be something hard about this or that.

    One of the first things that I think needs a little change is the pointer. It's not just because it#s red and gets lost in the background, it's tiny, too.

    I don't use guns, because guess what, I can never be sure where I'm pointing at. It's just not worth the effort.

    I said I can relate, because I have ADHD and that's something I have to compensate for, too. When I play games with lots of symbols on the screen (all bright and colorful) I often realize something for the first time because someone points it out to me, like: "Hey, you don't need to guess about that, see that symbol right there? If it blinks, it means..."

    Yeah, right. Under normal circumstances I often need at least twice the effort to do things and keep track of them but some games just take the cake, because thereĀ“s just too much and I just don't SEE it. If somebody has no idea what exactly ADHD means, let's not get into detail and just imagine your life at a highly frequented airport. People all around, planes taking off and an obligatory train here and there. Now put down your desk and sit down to do something that requires a lot of your attention. With all the racket, movement and colors all around you, it gets quite challenging to concentrate on the important bits.

    If I think about it, in my line of work I'm at liberty to make my own color theme for the syntax highlighting of the code if I don't like it (at least with the IDEs I work with). Keyword are blue and I just can't stand it? No problem. The reason for that might not be some sort of color deficiency but it's there and it's a given.

    I didn't even realize to see colors different than most was some kind of 'stigma', but maybe it's different in Germany. I just know for a fact one shouldn't exactly strive for the job of an electrician, because wires are color coded and not everything has something like lines or dots to differentiate it with.

    Lots of words for to say: Yes, make the game friendly for people who tend to see colors different than you. :confirm:
    WHAT? This is outrageous! There is NO emoticon for the thumbs up! :poo: The audacity!
    rhomboid likes this.
  8. BurgerBum

    BurgerBum Void-Bound Voyager

    months of never logging in and the thread is still going how i bet.

    bf owes me 30 bucks.

  9. Cpt_FluffyBottom

    Cpt_FluffyBottom Aquatic Astronaut

    I thought this would have died out too... Im glad it's still going though
  10. bluecollarart

    bluecollarart Big Damn Hero

    I still can't tell the difference between Platinum and Silver ore in the ground, 9 times out of 10. I really feel like it needs a shape change, or a change like Titanium.
    CrimsonGiraffe and vanella like this.
  11. spiritofcat

    spiritofcat Big Damn Hero

    Yeah, I have the same issue.
    In certain lighting conditions I find that gold and copper look similar, but silver and platinum are indistinguishable to me when they're in the ground. I only know what they are once I dig them up and the game tells me.
  12. Cirom

    Cirom Cosmic Narwhal

    As of the new Unstable update..

    > Silver and Platinum seem to be more difficult to tell apart, at a glance they have the same colour, but their shading seems to be different - with platinum having more "pastel" shading, while silver has dark shading. Perhaps give Platinum a shape change?
    > Coal and Violium (the purple one) seem to be a bit too similar at a glance. Given that it's a "blue vs purple" here.. I'm not surprised I'm having double-takes when I notice some coal veins.
    > Titanium is WAY better now, and it doesn't blend into any other ore - although was it intentional that it looks like skulls?
    > Gold and Copper can look a bit similar in the dark or with coloured lighting (like the blue glow of the Matter Manipulator), but are easy to tell apart when lit properly. Differentiate with shape again?
    > One thing I'll say, I especially like what you did with the T5 oreset (Aegisalt, Violium, Rubium) where each one of those has a different "main shape" (like Aegisalt is rather square, while Rubium is diamond-shaped) - it would be interesting to see a system like this in place with some of the more similar existing ores (Copper, Silver, Platinum and Gold come to mind..)

    (with a mild Deuteranopia, here.)
  13. Lunato

    Lunato Void-Bound Voyager

    My own issue is more about where things begin and end with colors so I doubt there's really much art wise that can be done. (Ex: I cannot for the life of me tell when acid ends and green ground begins. It's all just green to me.)

    I do have issues with telling ore apart but everyone else has covered that, really. I do like the idea of being able to select colors for the UI and other elements of the game like it for yourself, that kind of feature would be adored by more than just colorblind people too. Someone doesn't like how red healthbars look for one reason or another? Changed. Ect Ect. Features that allow a person to change colors to their taste (for 'customization' or 'personlization' reasons) tend to really help colorblind individuals AND people with other issues. But yeah, everyone else really has this covered better than me!
  14. Swiftstone

    Swiftstone Void-Bound Voyager

    Upbeat Giraffe Update!!

    So I've been playing the new version of the game, and I just wanted to give you feedback on some of the changes made. The ores in particular, as I know that has been a priority for you, and because (I believe) the UI is still in the process of being redesigned, though I would like to reiterate my request to simply make the UI colors fully customizable, if possible.

    With that said, the changes to the appearance of the raw ores have for the most part been fantastic in allowing me to differentiate ores in the ground from one another, and adds some much-needed polish to the game. There are one or two problems, but I feel that they can be fairly easily rectified. The biggest problem I've had with the new ore changes is Rubium.

    The Rubium is of a shade dark enough that it appears to me as a dark gray/black. As such, the ore's pattern change is almost indiscernible, and effectively looks pretty much exactly like coal in the ground. I wound up digging out a lot of coal while under the mistaken impression that I was going after Rubium. Once I got it in my inventory and looked at the enlarged thumnail, the apearance changes became more evident, but were still difficult to discern without close examination. While I very much like the new look of Rubium, as far as shape and pattern with the little crystals sticking out, the crystals are simply too dark to see on the smaller scale, particularly in low-light underground situations.

    The only other problem I've really noticed has to do with my wife, who sometimes likes to watch me play Starbound and isn't colorblind. It seems she has difficulty discerning the difference between Gold and Solarium in the ground, while the difference is readily apparent to me. I have no explanation for this, but if my wife is having this problem, then others are too, and you might want to look into it.

    Other issues I've had aren't actually new, but I feel a couple should be mentioned nonetheless. First up is item quality color-coding. Without direct comparison, or reading the description, I often cannot tell the difference between rare (blue) and legendary (purple) items by the colored border. To me, they are simply blue, and darker blue. I recognize that this is a common color-coding scheme in gaming, and easily recognizable to most players without much explanation. So rather than change the color, is it possible to change the border's pattern in some way? Even an extra line around the border would be sufficient to discern legendary items at a glance.

    Next up is the paint tool. As a colorblind person, things like painting and decoration are done from memory. I will often use color combinations that I know are generally accepted as pleasing, rather than what I might think looks good or interesting. This is not necessarily an issue for a single-player experience, but can be when playing on a server, or for a Let's Play, like I'm doing for my wife. Sometimes we'd rather just spare ourselves the commentary and necessary explanations when others ask why we chose those colors, or if our color choices are declared offensive to the eye. If you can just make it so that when you change colors on the paint tool, the color's name appears above your head or something, I would be very grateful.

    The only other major issue I can think of off-hand is the green and yellow stim colors. They are indistinguishable without mouse-over, even with direct comparison for me. If you could make the green a darker shade, it would make all the difference in the world.

    That's about it for now. But if I find any other glaring issues, I'll come back and update with another post. Thank you for your efforts. They are appreciated.
    Lord Sinclair and KDawg like this.
  15. darkparadise

    darkparadise Big Damn Hero

  16. Tsukistar

    Tsukistar Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Actually... They could probably add in an outline of some sort between liquids and ground, I bet, question just would be how it'd look.
  17. Madae

    Madae Zero Gravity Genie

    I would suggest for the ore problem that each ore have it's own unique icon when placed in the world. I know there were a few ores in the late game/old version that were easy for me to confuse, but I can't recall what those were.
  18. Lord Sinclair

    Lord Sinclair Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    I cannot for the life of me distinguish between coal and violium ore when I'm mining; they look completely identical. If I'm mining on a volcanic planet of some sort, it's difficult to see either, coal or violium, in the darker cobblestone and magmarock.

    Rubium is also troublesome to spot on most planets; it's very dark and blends in with the surrounding blocks far too much.

    As has been harped upon throughout this thread since its existence, silver and platinum ore look too alike. Upon close examination, platinum ore appears to have a thicker outline, but the time it takes to examine it properly is about the same amount of time it takes to mine it, usually.

    As has also been mentioned, the green and yellow stim packs are virtually undistinguishable from one another except by hovering over the icons for proper names.

    Similarly, the green and yellow paints look almost exactly the same.

    My advice is as follows:
    > Outline both violium ore and rubium ore in some brighter color, such as a shade of light grey.
    > Thicken the outline on platinum ore further, or redraw its shape to be more like aegisalt. A streak down the middle of the ore would also be an easy way to distinguish it from silver.
    > Darken the green for the stim packs and paint while making the yellow stim paler.
  19. Nerva

    Nerva Parsec Taste Tester

    I mentioned this in another thread but it bears repeating here, now that I noticed this thread.

    I have mild red-spectrum colorblindness, so when it comes to wires, the thickness of the wire lines and their similar colors makes them very, very difficult for me to tell which wires are active, which are not, and which go where. Could you thin the wire lines down, and make active and inactive lines completely different colors, instead of two different shades of red? This would vastly improve usability, for myself and others.

    I love Starbound's wiring system. It's easily the most robust yet simple and intuitive things I've used in a game like this. This is one of my few gripes with it.
  20. lusername

    lusername Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Hah, I don't think that's a colorblindness issue, I can't really tell the difference either and I'm not colorblind.

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