#679 Accessibility for Blind Gamers

*None
open
nobody
Audio (17)
5
2013-12-11
2013-08-16
No

Greetings,
My name is Brandon Cole, and I am a totally blind gamer. I have succeeded in playing several mainstream games, and was featured in an article about people like me, seen here. http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/8/6/4550490/blind-games-rock-vibe
I mention all this to demonstrate how much a request like this means to me. We blind gamers are few, but very passionate. As such, I recently wrote a blog about how I believe every single point and click adventure game could actually be made completely accessible and playable to blind players using a relatively simple interface. I have since been contacted by a couple people on this, and they suggested that while this would be difficult to pull off as a standalone helper application as I first envisioned it, your emulator with some slight modifications might be the perfect platform on which to make this happen. I humbly request that you read the blog, a link to which will be posted below, as it contains my ideas as they originally formulated in my head, and please do contact me if there are any questions, or if you think this might be a possibility. Being able to play all these great games would mean a lot to me and other blind gamers. Here is that link.
http://www.brandoncole.net/?p=128
Thanks again for any feedback this generates, positive or negative. Just going down the paths I'm recommended.

Discussion

  • digitall

    digitall - 2013-08-16

    superblindman: Interesting. Unfortunately, it is unlikely any of the development team would be able to look at doing this as the required changes are likely to be extensive and specific to each game, and most of us are horribly busy already both on the project and IRL! Though if an external developer wants to look at doing this and provides us with suitable patches, we would be happy to help integrate them. It should be noted that like fan translations, adding audio description could cause copyright issues so we would only be able to consider adding this as an option to freeware games where the license allows this. See http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/Copyright_FAQ and http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/HOWTO-Fangames

     
  • digitall

    digitall - 2013-08-16

    However, as I mention tangentially in the HOWTO-Fangames (which I was primary author of), the point and click genre emerged from the older text adventure game genre. Though eclipsed by more graphical game styles, this type of game still has a very active community of writers and programmers and provides a huge number of free text adventure games, now called Interactive Fiction. In fact, some of the interpreters support sound effects and audio tracks, but unlike graphical point and click, this is primarily a textual format. As most of the interpreters are open source, support for screen readers, braille terminals and TTS systems is fairly mature or can be added relatively easily.

    The oldest system is the original Virtual Machine (The VM in ScummVM) called the Z-Machine developed by Infocom for their games (Commercial, but still available on Ebay), but reverse engineered and now many more games have been developed for this. Links to Z Machine notes on Wikipedia, ifwiki.org, links to Inform (which is the system for writing these games) and the IF Archive which has many freeware games for download in this and other formats:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-machine
    http://ifwiki.org/index.php/Z-machine
    http://inform-fiction.org/zmachine/interpreters.html
    http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/interactive-fiction/games/

    As someone who is a fan of both text adventure and graphical point and click adventure games, I hope this is of help to you and that you enjoy these games...

     
  • superblindman

    superblindman - 2013-08-16

    I do indeed appreciate your response, and I will look into the possibility of someone doing this externally, but I feel the need to mention that there would be no actual recorded audio descriptions of anything. Perhaps I was unclear in the blog post, but the names of objects and items would be read by the blind user's screenreading software. Just clarifying. Thanks for the response at any rate.

     
  • superblindman

    superblindman - 2013-08-17

    One last thing. I've already played quite a few text adventures, MUDS as well. I appreciate the suggestion, but this was an effort on behalf of both myself and the blind community to move beyond such things, to games we can currently only listen to others play. Text adventures have been the go-to thing for us for years, and I'm hoping one day to change that.

     
  • Willem Jan Palenstijn

    • Group: Engine: SCUMM --> *None
     

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