Blind accessibility for the skill screen


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

Temple Termagant

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Post Saturday, 27th August 2016, 23:36

Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Hello everyone. I am a blind Dungeon Crawl enthusiast who is hoping to go beyond the beginner play styles, and begin to attempt a 15 rune run. I have managed to ascend with 3 runes with a couple very fortunate basher types and far too much use of the tab key, but have become aware that in order to refine your skills properly, you need to intentionally allocate your points. Unfortunately the skills screen is colour coded, and so I am unable to keep track of which skills I have turned on and off, and which ones I have chosen to focus on. So I'm wondering if it would be possible to create an alternative version of the skills screen, where one could navigate between the skills with the arrow keys, and be given a text based indication of which ones I am training.

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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Saturday, 27th August 2016, 23:50

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Next to the letter to train the skill, there's a dash, a plus, or an asterisk indicating whether or not it's untrained, trained, or focused, respectively. For example,

"f + Conjurations
g - Charms"

et cetera. How could we improve this interface?
take it easy

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NiallH

Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 00:19

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Ok I didn't know that. Now I am able to adjust my skills, but it is an inefficient process. To explain, I generally don't have my screen reader read any punctuation when I am playing dungeon crawl,, unless I arrow over it when I'm looking around. This is because there is so much of it on the screen at any given time. So I need to go into the settings for the screen reader and tell it to read all punctuation while I set my skills, and then go back to set it to no punctuation to be able to play.

I'm completely ignorent when it comes to code, but in the character screen I am able to arrow around and select my race and occupation, and the screen reader will read me the relevant info, but in the skill screen I can only interact with it by pressing the letter that is associated to that skill. If there was a way I could arrow around and press enter on a skill to toggle its setting and perhaps be given a one word text description for that setting, it would be really helpful.

If for any reason it's impractical to design the interface that way, no worries. I still really enjoy playing the game and will continue to do so.

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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 01:27

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

NiallH wrote:Ok I didn't know that. Now I am able to adjust my skills, but it is an inefficient process. To explain, I generally don't have my screen reader read any punctuation when I am playing dungeon crawl,, unless I arrow over it when I'm looking around. This is because there is so much of it on the screen at any given time. So I need to go into the settings for the screen reader and tell it to read all punctuation while I set my skills, and then go back to set it to no punctuation to be able to play.

I'm completely ignorent when it comes to code, but in the character screen I am able to arrow around and select my race and occupation, and the screen reader will read me the relevant info, but in the skill screen I can only interact with it by pressing the letter that is associated to that skill. If there was a way I could arrow around and press enter on a skill to toggle its setting and perhaps be given a one word text description for that setting, it would be really helpful.

If for any reason it's impractical to design the interface that way, no worries. I still really enjoy playing the game and will continue to do so.


It looks like you can actually arrow-key through that screen, but there are some bugs (pressing right too many times seems to move you off of the screen, hitting enter will cycle through the entry and move you to the next one, instead of just cycling through the entries). Furthermore, it only highlights the first half or so of the entry; instead of highlighting

"a - Fighting 0.0 1.0 0"

it will only highlight

"a - Fighting".

Would highlighting the entire thing help?

Furthermore, assuming you're playing with manual skill training and your screen-reader reads numbers, you can press exclamation mark to show the percent your skills are getting trained instead of the cost of the skill, which should give information very similar (and actually more pertinent) than untrained/trained/focused.
take it easy

Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 01:57

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Awesome! Dealing with the percentages is so much easier. It'll take some patience, but it's reasonably manageable now. When I try to move around with the arrows, my screen reader doesn't say anything, so I'm not sure if highlighting the info properly would help, but it's worth a try if it isn't hard to do. Removing that navigation bug might help as well.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 03:21

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

How do you know where enemies or anything is on the map? Does your reader say 'D at coordinates (x,y)' and so on? Or do you have to check your entire LoS in xv/c-x every single turn?
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Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 03:53

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

I have to use the x key a lot to look around. I've had a lot of practice. The fact that it always centres on your character is extremely helpful, most roguelikes don't do that.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 11:08

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

As far as the training is concerned, for many characters melee-focused characters it's reasonable, but of course not optimal, to set the training in the beginning and then forget about it. Something like focus weapon, turn on fighting, dodging, armour, go. I'm quite obsessive about training one skill at a time to a specific target though. I wonder if some of the training could be scripted? I mean, bots manage to train, so some way to automate it must exist.

Are you aware of the ctrl-x command? It gives you a list of everything that you can see, enemies, items, etc. I don't think it highlights, it lets you toggle between examine and target the individual entries with a-z.

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NiallH

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 12:09

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

NiallH: If you have any suggestions how Crawl for blind players can be improved, be sure to tell us. I'm very happy to see that you can play and win the game! (This is a very short-sighted developer speaking.)

For example, if there is a bunch of options that make your life easier, please say so. We could bundle them to give blind players a better start into the game.

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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 19:15

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Now I'm curious about how long your game time is. If you are completely blind and have to xv your entire LoS every turn, assuming that a 3 runer takes around 80k turns, if it takes about 10 seconds to check your LoS each turn, we're looking at around 200 hours for one game. Of course I don't know the details of how your screen reader works or how often you check your whole LoS vs. just hit tab, and so on, but it's pretty impressive either way.
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Temple Termagant

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Post Sunday, 28th August 2016, 20:59

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Thanks dpeg, I'll definitely let you know. The only thing I can think of, and I think you can change this in the display settings, is to have all messages appear at the top of the screen, above your name if possible. The way it works now my screen reader tries to read through the whole screen when the screen is refreshed, so after auto exploring for a while or using an item I have to bring up the last few lines of text output. That said I've found a number of ways to make my play as efficient as possible. When I'm auto exploring or killing weak monsters, I don't have to pay too much attention to what's on the screen. I just stop after each level and take stock of what I've picked up and do a search for any useful items lying around. I only stop and look at the screen when a tough monster or group appears. I get far slower when I make it to the mid or late game, but I can usually make it to the lare in 20-30 minutes so long as nothing too nasty shows up.

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Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 29th August 2016, 23:39

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

NiallH wrote:The only thing I can think of, and I think you can change this in the display settings, is to have all messages appear at the top of the screen, above your name if possible.


You can try the option
  Code:
messages_at_top = true
. Unfortunately, it isn't used very often, so there are likely to be weird bugs.

Temple Termagant

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Post Monday, 29th August 2016, 23:50

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

I've tried it and unfortunately it didn't seem to make any difference. Perhaps the messages are really appearing on the top and my screen reader is still reading the screen strangely though.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 12:56

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Sorry to derail, but when you say "playing blind", do you mean literally blind? How do you play the game at all? I'm really curious.

Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 17:06

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Perhaps I'm implementing the options commands incorrectly. I tried just putting the command:
messages_at_top = true
at the bottom of the init textfile, but perhaps there's a certain place I need to put the command?

PowerOfKaishin, my screen reader speaks to me with a synthesized voice, and I use the x command to look around as I play the game. The most helpful thing is that every time I use the command, it centres on my character so I'm always oriented. The auto find and auto travel features are also extremely useful. Without them, any roguelike would be playable but so inefficient that I wouldn't be able to get anywhere.

Tomb Titivator

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Post Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 17:15

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

This might be the best argument for sound effects in crawl - not something I'd use but I bet some small things could be huge, like "you just killed the last visible monster".

Thank you for making this thread, playing crawl blind sounds unimaginably difficult to me so it's awesome that you've won multiple times.

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NiallH

Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 17:33

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Thanks Johlstei. Sound effects would be really cool, but I understand the practicle difficulties. Hearing the same sounds over and over again can also be kind of headache inducing.

I only got a three rune victory once, and I was about as lucky as it's possible to be. I had a demonspon fighter with the wave of death mutation, and I realized that it would be perfect to combine with Makhleb's abilities. You could use your HP to throw destructive spells at approaching monsters and get the health back through killing them, and finish them off once they got close enough. I also think I had 3 or 4 scrolls of acquirement by the time I finished the lare, so I had lots of great equipment. But now I hope someone doesn't nerf it, because it's a great way to unwind. :D

Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 13:44

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Perhaps something like a blind stock would be useful. The visible tiles around the player have numbers like a chessboard.From 1-17 and a-q. The position of the player is i9. When pressing a key the enemys are listed.- Maybe: g5 orc; f5 kobold; h8 orc (danger!). When pressing an other key the visible items around are listed. And when pressing a third key the visible dungeon structure. Maybe: h3-h10-j10-j3 stone wall, i9 staiway up...(perhaps with an option to choose only the 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8. ring of tiles around the player)
I like the idea of playing a game with blind support. It s more intellectually. And I think inner pictures and video game is an open unexplored field!

Slime Squisher

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Post Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 23:42

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

Control-x already shows a list of visible monsters and items, although I'm not sure if it describes their relative position

Spider Stomper

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Post Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 01:35

Re: Blind accessibility for the skill screen

By good fortune I don't know screen readers, but it seems like the original problem described might be fixed simply by replacing - + * with o x X (or if the reader doesn't distinguish x from X, maybe something less photogenic like 0 1 2). I don't want this change for all viewers though since changing the interface arbitrarily is annoying. Seems better to have an option "blind support" that can be set somehow. That way as additional issues come up they can be integrated with other specialized fixes. Does that make any sense?

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