The Vi access question

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dark
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The Vi access question

Post by dark » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:59 am

Hi.

A long while ago (several months), the creator of the game turned up on the audeasy access list for visually impared gamers.

While the game looks great as far as everything being text goes, the only real issue at the time was the maps, sinse obviously keeping track of a hole bunch of different worlds at once was something of a strain when the only medium you have is text and you can't draw graphs and columns.

Did anyone have any ideas on this one/

Looking over the manual and player list it seems everything in the game is going really well, and a pbem game could be a very nice addition to accessible games generally.

Other than that I'll try a basic one player core game on my own and see how things work out.

I'm really sorry this question got left, but hopefully it's possible to sort out now, which will then bring new players into the space wars, as well as provide people with a pbem game to play.

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drwr
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Re: The Vi access question

Post by drwr » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:32 pm

Hi,

Yes, I completely dropped the ball here; please accept my apologies. I've got the client application halfway tweaked to better support visually-impaired users, but unfortunately some things suddenly came up in my personal/professional life, and I had to step away from major development on RSW. I *do* plan to get back to it sometime, hopefully within a few months or so, but some of our RSW players (I'm thinking of you, somnos) will tell you I've been saying things like that on and off for years. ;)

Unfortunately, it's only me supporting RSW, and I have to do it entirely in my spare time. So development tends to come in bursts.

David

dark
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Re: The Vi access question

Post by dark » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:34 pm

Hi.

In fairness this is partly my fault as well, sinse I also forgot to chase things up though I did create an account and sign up for the game.

I've just played a single player core game with the web interface, to practice pushing my ships around and going to different planets.

Everything was absolutely fine accept for the problem of keeping track of all the planets and ships and getting the kind of overview necessary for strategical decisions. Being able to click on internal page links to skip to different worlds in the web interface did help, but I stil did find I ended up with a lot of information presented only as a textual list, which got rather complex even though I had only 13 worlds to deal with and just my own fleets.

the interesting thing is that audio stratogy games are a bit of a major theme at the moment, and there have been some extremely complex things done in this area.

see for instance time of conflict from www.gmagames.com which is an audio turn based military stratogy game ala command and conquer played with literally hundreds of units on maps that can be 120 x120 in size.

It therefore might be helpful to actually look at some sapi support for the client with some specialized keys to speak certain pieces of information, rather than trying to present a set of textual information in a way that a screen reader, ---- which are afterall primarily intended to read only text documents, web pages and other pieces of streight forward narative data, could read.

What I'm thinking here is something like an audio self voicing map using the microsoft sapi in built windows speech (most people who use access technology will have better voices than the default).

Something where a vi user could press keys to physically move around the map in various directions just like moving one square to another on a chess board.

Say use the arrows left, up, right, down, page up, page down, home and end for the connections just as if they were compas points.

this sort of system has worked very well in audio adaptations of other spacial logic games like chess, battleships and even mine sweeper, as well as the aforementioned audio stratogy, see www.kitchinsinc.net and or http://www.blind-games.com/ for some very good examples.

You can find out more about self voicing and access at http://www.blindcomputergames.com/

If self voicing with ms sapi would be a bit much, perhaps simply adding some extra textual reports and informational links to the web interface would be helpful.

I'm thinking here of including descriptions to the title of each world to let you know a little more spacial information about what is around it and to the world connections listed, indeed this might be a nice eature for everyone sinse it'd add a little more flavour to the game.

for starters, if the number of connections betwene worlds was listed with the name, eg

"world 1, 4 connections"
then it'd be far easier to see at a glance what connected to what (yes, the connections are listed, but counting the number of them is more confusing when trying to get an overall idea).

Then, maybe the connections listed could say when they link to an unexplored or enemy world,

Eg,

"world 1,
connections
w5, unexplored, w6, w12 jim"

(where jim is the name of another player who owns world 12).

Then, lastly each world could also have a title associated with it to distinguish it's position in space and what was happening there.

Worlds that are yours and entirely surrounded by your own worlds could be listed as homeworld. World that have a connection to an unexplored world could be listed as fronteer, and worlds that have a connection to another players' space could be listed as boarder world.

this might also help other players get a better idea of the galaxy at large and add some flavour to the game as well, so would be of bennifit to others than just vi players.

Hope some of these ideas would be vaguely useable. of course, I'm not expecting changes immediately, I know people have lives outside working on games, but still, as i said stratogy is quite a thing with vi players at the moment and there are no total pbem games available so this would be something entirely different and new, and would, I think, if the mapping of things could be made easier potentially be a very fun game to play.

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drwr
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Re: The Vi access question

Post by drwr » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:55 am

These are very good suggestions. I've been working with integrating self-voicing with the client. It is written in Python and designed to be multi-platform, and I've found a Python module called pyttsx that integrates with Microsoft SAPI on Windows (or NSSpeechSynthesizer on Mac).

I've been playing with tools for navigating the map with the cursor keys, but I hadn't thought of some of these nice details such as reporting the number of connections, or saying the owner name along with each connection.

The self-voicing client is almost, but not quite, usable in its current form. Unfortunately, there's a bit more work I have to do before it is even as usable as following links on the web page.

David

dark
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Re: The Vi access question

Post by dark » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:38 pm

Hi.

Python has great support for self voicing, and this is one of the cases I think where self voicing could really help players get an overview simply through movement around the map. For instance, while obviously in game terms things are just "connected" with no direction, knowing that pressing up arrow on world 1 will go to world 5, and up from world 5 is world 7 which is on the boarder with your opponent will make it possible for players to get the idea that world 1 isn't so far from world 7,l and bringing an uba battle fleet from world 1 to defend world 7 might be a good idea. it's for this reason I'm pleased you think the self voicing option is possible, sinse however much would be added to the web interface, it still couldn't give quite the same sense of space and movement as physically wandering a self voicing client with arrow keys would.

A self voicing client also has the possibility of listing specific types of world so that you can hop streight to points of interest, for example if we were going with the homeworld, fronteer boarder distinction you could list all the boarder worlds first, indeed a player might want to examine those and sort out orders for those worlds before looking at home worlds, sinse being on the edges of teretory and interacting with others, they are probably at most risk of attack.

Another point in favour of a self voicing client, ---- and indeed a problem I had in the web interface, is that once you'd given a particular order to a fleet or d ship, the client would tell you!

I had several problems of forgetting which numbered fleet I'd moved at which location and thus ordering them twice, which could be a little irritating.

So, bottom line, even if it will take more time to develope over all, self voicing client, great idea!
I'd deffinately urge you to check out some of the other spacial map based stratogy games in audio, such as the solitare, word and chess games from spoonbill (at the blind games link above), and especially time of conflict from Gma (it's a commercial game but has a freely playable demo which runs for as long as you like), sinse there are some pretty well established techniques for building map overviews into an audio self voicing game, and once those were in place in a self voicing client, ---- especially taking into account the fact that the game is entirely turn based and doesn't require a very quick overview of the map, rsw would be fantastic access wise.

in fact, i could really see this one taking off if map overview was good enough, there have been many people wanting an audio risk game over the years.

I'll be glad to test any self voicing client you come up with, as indeed would be members of the audiogames.net forum or the audeasy mailing list.

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