Gearbox Software is continuing to optimize the Borderlands experience for all gamers, with the future inclusion of colorblind-support.
Gearbox Software has been actively supporting Borderlands 2 ever since its 2012 launch; “Game of the Year” nominee and winner of over 50 awards, the 4-player “FPS-meets-RPG-meets-Diablo loot system” has well over 10 DLC extras and campaign expansions. From in-game improvements to reaching out to fans in the real-world, Gearbox has been trying to make Borderlands 2 an exceptional experience for everyone to enjoy. In this week’s “Inside the Box” developer blog, Programmer Jeff Broome opened up about colorblindness- or better yet, “color vision deficiency (CVD)”:
“Color vision deficiency (or CVD for short) is almost always something that is inherited from your parents. On very rare occasions, it can be caused by trauma to the eye or to the brain, but almost everyone with CVD was born with it. There is no “cure” for CVD. People learn to live with it for their entire lives. Most people who are born with CVD don’t even realize they have it until they are older. In many cases, it is detected when children start primary school and a teacher notices a child using unusual color choices when drawing pictures.”
Normal vision is trichromatic- all colors are created from various combinations of red, green and blue, however those with CVD may not be receptive to one of those colors; Deuteranopia/Deuteranopes have difficulties seeing green, Protanopia/Protanopes have difficulties with red, Tritanopia/Tritanopes aren’t receptive to blue. Broome explains the condition of the eyes which determine each type of CVD, and the statistics of the affected population:
“There are three recognized types of CVD. Deuteranomaly or deuteranopia (a red-green colorblindness) is the most common. 7% of males and 0.5% of females have it. Deuteranopes have either defective or missing M-cones, so they have problems seeing green. Protanomaly or protanopia (a different red-green colorblindness) is more rare. 2% of males and 0.05% of females have it. Protanopes have either defective or missing L-cones, so they have problems seeing red. Tritanomaly or tritanopia (commonly referred to as blue-yellow colorblindness) is the most rare. Less than 1% of people have it. Tritanopes have either missing or defective S-cones, so they have problems seeing blue. The difference between the “nomaly” type and the “nopia” type is that in the “nomaly” case, the cone is present but not functioning properly. In the “nopia” case, the cone is completely missing. People who are of the “nomaly” type may be only partially colorblind. They may be able to detect more intense shades of a color, but have difficulty when the color is less saturated.”
A large portion of the loot system in Borderlands 2 revolves around color; every item’s title is colored in correspondence to a level of rarity- “Pearlescent/Cyan” equates to ultra-rare, while “White” and “Green” items are much more common in the world of Pandora. While typical gamers can easily process a color-coded system, the same system becomes void to those with CVD. In order to adjust the rarity system for those with CVD, Gearbox is working on a new update that will add settings for Deuteranopia, Protanopia and Tritanopia; when enabled, the rarity color-scheme will accommodate for the preset type of CVD, as shown in this example for Deuteranopia (green-deficiency):
Rather than add a description of the rarity level (“Common”, “Rare”, “Legendary”, etc.) to each item card, Broome included examples where the item card states what color it corresponds to, as some of the in-game loading screens already explain what each color represents in the rarity-tier:
Other titles that feature colorblind modes include Rocksmith 2014, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4.