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Old 10-30-2008, 07:35 PM   #21
The_Fury
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Re: Going Graphical

Quote:
B. 21.2 million people in the united states is an impressive figure, but there are over 300 million people in the united states, which still puts them as a minority (about 7%). Now, interestingly enough, I tried taking the United States unemployment rate against the total population to see what percentage of unemployed persons would actually be blind, and I discovered that the United States unemployment rate (about 4% as of November 2007) placed against the population says that even if every unemployed person in the country was blind, they still couldn't make up 75% of those blind people, so my attempted comparison there fails, either because the 75% is only of a specific subset of that group, or because the unemployment rate has changed too drastically since 2007 and has hit the blind population much harder than everyone else (highly likely).
The disabled are not counted in the unemployment data, neither are students, single mothers, the aged and a whole lot of other groups of people, whose inclusion will skew the data because they are not actively seeking employment.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:03 AM   #22
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Smile Re: Going Graphical

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Originally Posted by The_Fury View Post
The disabled are not counted in the unemployment data, neither are students, single mothers, the aged and a whole lot of other groups of people, whose inclusion will skew the data because they are not actively seeking employment.
Aha. Thanks. That means we have about 50% more blind unemployed people than we have unemployed people actively seeking employment. This is a much more favorable comparison in trying to justify an increased number of games for the seeing-impaired, although it's probably not enough to spawn a commercial interest (still not enough people, plus unemployed people, while having a lot of time, tend not to have as much money). It also helps explain the number of hobby game designers making audio games and sightless-friendly MUDs.

Anyway, enough with my statistical comparisons. Carry on with your discussion.
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:30 PM   #23
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Re: Going Graphical

Just a couple of quick points.

The tms listing for Miriani was last updated les than a month after it's conseption in 2006... it has grown very fast in the years since.
I'd also like to point out that most admins refrane from surveying their players to find out whether or not the population contains disabled individuals. The community of blind gamers is vast and wide-spread. I've been playing muds for years, and I've visited every mud I've come across... but I've never once informed the imms of my disability.


Keep the comments coming.

Brawny
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:39 PM   #24
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Re: Going Graphical

This is actually something I've given some thought to in the past, mainly due to a blind player contacting me to find out if he would be able to play Tears of Polaris due to space being done with ASCII.

I honestly had not thought about it, but we had planned on two ways to view space. The primary way is with the ASCII map, but also a secondary method that just gave coordinates. He informed me that the coordinates system should work, but the pretty table would cause problems. Since it was fairly easy to create an alternate command (and, depending on the work involved we may just make a config option) to display the same information without the table, making it more accessible for those using screen readers. When we go into testing I plan to have him and/or another blind player in the testing phase to help adjust things to be more accessible. Obviously if doing so requires massive amounts of work it may not be possible, but if it's simply switching a comma to a couple spaces I see no reason not too.
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Old 11-04-2008, 05:53 PM   #25
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Re: Going Graphical

I found a paper on MUD Interface issues at Convene — MUD Interfaces for Disabled Users - CiteSeerX that is a bit interesting. It doesn't cover much but is atleast a start.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:41 AM   #26
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Re: Going Graphical

I know this is kind of an old post. I've been playing Muds for a short period of time now only a few years compared to people who have been playing since from what I understand the 80's. I discovered Muds in 06 it was extremely frustrating for me, but once I got the hang of it I loved it. During the time my wife was visually impaired not blind yet. Since she had never played a game before and couldn't see graphic images well, I thought that a MUD would be the best for her. Right away she found it confusing because things moved too fast, and a lot of people talked at once. She was visually bombarded and left. After going totally blind she found it easier to take in what was going on in regards to text. After a while she became a bit saddened that she didn't have the same opportunities to play games as other did.

After returning to the MUD world, I was talking to someone in game where I -smiled-. Suddenly it dawned on me. The kind of Muds I play are all text. They are like living inside books, being apart of a story (the ones I play), where a or -smile- isn't just a 'smile' it's an actual description of someone lifting their lips into a smile. I sat up and said why the heck can't my wife play a game that's all 'text'. That's what her screenreader reads, a world based up of text, it's perfect.

There were a few issues that we came across though. She has a Mac, and not a JAWS and all of the screen reader friendly systems out there were designed for Windows/JAWS which is a really expensive screen reader. Some of the other issues we ran into were that there would be some MUDs which though potentially could be 'blind' friendly might have maps that had #%+@S/ like Brawndel mentioned. This involves listening to a screen reader go something like: left bracket right bracket left bracket s right bracket slash vertical line (for a longg time).

Maybe graphics are the future for visual people. But that doesn't mean we can't give options to people who want to play a game other than 'chess', MUDs can both appease visual people and blind users, I enjoy Muds and only see a few minor adjustments or things that could be turned on or off that would make life so much easier for a blind user. It's not a bad idea to make the games more accessible, or have more options for a greater number of players with different kind of accessibilities/options. If anything it creates a bigger player base (the more accessible the more other people can play).

I for one would really like to see some more options, I really think it doesn't have to become so complicated. All that's needed is a client that's screen reader friendly and alternative 'switches' for players who can't handle spam, or graphics, or other stuff. That's all it is, it doesn't have to be changing the interface and forcing everyone to conform, all it has to be is a switch, or an alternative client, or an alternative option. It's good to see a lot of people out here are thinking about it, and thanks Brawndel for posting it -smile-.

Anyway if anyone has any suggestions for a Client that works on mac that is screen reader friendly (Max), please do tell! Otherwise... sorry for bumping it. I just had something to say I guess and wanted to say it. Also Brawndel thank you for some of the links you provided like the audio one.

P.S. I think the cost of adjusting a few features on/off is worth it. This isn't another 'language'. People who speak a different language have been known to play Muds and have been able to access and even learn the language through it. But people who can't see CAN'T do that. All it has to be is an extra feature, like for example (which can and probably will be disputed) with firefox being able to access it not 'just' on Windows but on Mac too. The 'play now' feature on many Muds being able to access it not 'just' for people who can See but for people who can't too. If we're comparing it to adding 'subtitles' on a movie then is it really that costly to add them? If so do people need a volunteer to write them up, because perhaps there are blind users and others who would be willing to write them up if ask or confronted that someone was considering it. I know I would be willing to help in that area, even if it came down to designing 'screen reader friendly maps' (though someone has probably already done that -unsure-).

As for Graphical games. I think a few people are aware that they can actually be made friendly towards blind users. If they get around in the real world using sound why not in a game? (When I say graphical I'm thinking more like Secondlife/WoW), you don't actually have to 'add' audio in the case of something like a graphical Mud (or even one of those games like Neopets), you can add a simple tag/script thing that allows it to be read by the Screen Reader, visual users wouldn't notice it. But blind users would.

I think for gaming companies that make money it shouldn't be so much 'how much it will cost to make' it should be more about looking at everything like an investment. (Accessibility I believe is a good investment). From what I've read, and from what I've seen in Muds (not talking about graphic games right now), it really wouldn't take that much. And if we're talking about adding 'graphics' to Muds (like the way it looks to get in etc.), there really are ways to code it so that the screen reader can 'read' the graphic and no what they're clicking without adding audio.
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:24 AM   #27
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Re: Going Graphical

If she has Mac OS X she should be able to use Voiceover, which is free and probably better than JAWS. Client wise you can give TinTin++ a try which is a console client and should be much more accessible than graphical clients.

To remove a text border in tintin++ you'd use something like: #gag {----------} and to get rid of empty lines you'd use #gag {^$}

EDIT: According to this source you need to run OS X 10.5 for tintin to work with voiceover, but with issues. According to another source these issues are fixed in OS X 10.6.

Last edited by scandum : 10-02-2009 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 10:59 AM   #28
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Re: Going Graphical

My head coder is visually-impaired so I'll ask him (though I know he used JAWS and Dragon). He's obviously had experience with a variety of accessibility software and may know of some others.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #29
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Re: Going Graphical

ScapeFX client supports playing sound files in our new SFXP spec (ScapeFX Protocol). (wav, mp3, ogg) Making it easy for muds to utilize both FX and music. It features "fading" in and out songs as players move between areas for example and playing fx meanwhile.

Sound - ScapeFX Wiki

If there are other java components that would help for blind players feel free to contact me and I will do whatever I can do add it.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:46 PM   #30
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Re: Going Graphical

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
If she has Mac OS X she should be able to use Voiceover, which is free and probably better than JAWS. Client wise you can give TinTin++ a try which is a console client and should be much more accessible than graphical clients.
One of my blind players was talking about his new Mac recently, so I asked him today what sort of setup he uses. He said he uses VoiceOver and that it's much better than JAWS or window eyes. He also uses tintin - he said it works pretty well, but took him a bit to get used to.
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