Author Topic: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?  (Read 6734 times)

TSMI

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Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« on: June 02, 2011, 01:48:48 AM »
I was thinking today that turn-based, text-graphic roguelikes would be the sort of game that'd be easier to make a nice blind-interface for. I had a quick google around for blind friendly roguelikes and I could only find one, written by a commercial company at http://www.blind-games.com/.

So I was wondering...does anyone here have some degree of blindness and play roguelikes?

Skeletor

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 04:03:40 AM »
I don't know any, sorry TSMI.

How do those games work? I'm very curious.

On a website I read:
"The vast majority of blind accessible games rely on speech synthesis, carefully crafted sound effects, or some combination of both.
Synthesized speech often provides players a spoken, play-by-play narration of the action in a game. Sound effects can be used to offer a simple cue (imagine the sound of coins hitting a table in a poker game) or can be crafted to communicate the three-dimensional position of an object moving through a virtual world."

How can this work for a roguelike where there are rooms (sometimes even unregular like caves, etc) with tiles, walls, items?

Is it difficult do implement blind-friendly interface for a roguelike?
What I enjoy the most in roguelikes: Anti-Farming and Mac Givering my way out. Kind of what I also enjoy in life.

Rabiat

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 01:21:17 PM »
DoomRL has had a 'blind mode' option for ages. It's supposed to make the game playable with a screen reader, although it doesn't make the game look different to me. I'm guessing that Kornel added that option for a particular blind player. Perhaps you should ask on the Chaosforge forums.

Personally I think roguelikes are still too graphical to be very suitable for blind players. Unless there are commands to describe visible monsters and items (like DoomRL's "x"/"X" commands), autotravel (as in DCSS), and fight monsters with having to know their location/direction. Interactive fiction (with a braille reader or text-to-speech) would be easier to play for blind people.

kipar

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 01:27:11 PM »
There is a mention about blind players in Nethack manual, so I think someone blind plays Nethack too.
http://www.nethack.org/v340/Guidebook.html#_TOCentry_43


Darren Grey

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 02:04:56 PM »
I've heard of blind players playing ADOM before too.  Apparently any console text game is easy enough to play with a screen reader.

Z

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 04:43:45 PM »
Yeah, blind roguelike players do exist. Although it is certainly hard to play roguelikes, most other games are completely impossible to play. Text based adventures are easier, but maybe they don't provide the type of challenge required.

Bear

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 02:33:36 AM »
I've given this considerable thought, actually, because I have a couple of blind friends. 

I think the key to making a blind-friendly interface is giving players control of the level of detail in the messages the game generates.  A typical user might want to suppress "message spam", but a blind user wants every bit of information to be expressed in text.

A typical roguelike game says, "The goblin hits."  A blind-friendly roguelike game has a verbose mode that says "the goblin in the adjacent square northeast of you hits.  You have 15 hitpoints left."

If you have a chunk of screen real estate devoted to displaying stats, I think your verbose mode needs messages that tell the player about every change in stats (this is the "you have 15 hitpoints left" part of the text above) and you need a command to dump all of that information as a text message.

We usually set the cursor to invisible in roguelike games, but it still exists as a software construct and screen readers are sensitive to its location, so it's important to position it consistently and usefully.  If you leave it on the @ after drawing the screen, leave it there every time. 

Finally, and probably most important?  Become familiar with the capabilities of screen readers and try to playtest your own game while wearing welding goggles, or with the brightness turned all the way down on your screen, or with the screen facing away from you or whatever.  If you can play successfully, then you have a blind-friendly game.

Z

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Re: Is anyone here blind or semi-blind?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 06:24:13 PM »
I think the key to making a blind-friendly interface is giving players control of the level of detail in the messages the game generates.  A typical user might want to suppress "message spam", but a blind user wants every bit of information to be expressed in text.

A typical roguelike game says, "The goblin hits."  A blind-friendly roguelike game has a verbose mode that says "the goblin in the adjacent square northeast of you hits.  You have 15 hitpoints left."
I don't think that is a good solution. Let's suppose you are surrounded by several weak monsters and cast a Fire Storm spell to destroy them. You would get something like
"You cast your Fire Storm spell for 20 mana. Your fire storm kills the goblin north east! Your fire storm kills the rat north! Your fire storm damages the bandit north west! Your fire storm damages the ogre west! Your fire storm damages the orcish warrior south west! Your fire storm kills the jackal south! Your fire storm kills the centipede south east! The bandit north west hits you. The ogre west hits you. The orcish warrior hits you. A dragon enters your field of vision at North 5 East 2. You have 87 hit points and 60 mana left."

The most important information here is supposed to be the one about dragon who enters, but I don't think the blind player would be patient enough to listen for the whole message to notice this dragon. I don't know how patient they are, but I would not be patient if the battle was against only one monster. A normal player can just skip the non-relevant pair of the information, but the blind player probably cannot.

Sorting by importance solves the problem a bit, but then it is weird that they are no longer sorted by time. Maybe something like a sequence of short sound signals corresponding to messages would be good...

Quote
If you have a chunk of screen real estate devoted to displaying stats, I think your verbose mode needs messages that tell the player about every change in stats (this is the "you have 15 hitpoints left" part of the text above) and you need a command to dump all of that information as a text message.

Rather a command to tell the value of the specific stat (again, spam is bad).

Quote
Finally, and probably most important?  Become familiar with the capabilities of screen readers and try to playtest your own game while wearing welding goggles, or with the brightness turned all the way down on your screen, or with the screen facing away from you or whatever.  If you can play successfully, then you have a blind-friendly game.

I think that the best way to make a game blind friendly is to consult a real blind person. Without that everything is just guessing. (Some of them also use Braille displays, don't they?)

But I think it would be nice to try to add a pure text mode, which gives all the information via messages (and the communication is optimized to be as effective as possible).