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Author Topic: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought  (Read 25254 times)

zkline

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #240 on: February 05, 2018, 02:57:56 pm »

Thanks for mentioning him. :) I'm also going to reach out to folks in the broader audio gaming community. If nothing else, more ideas are always welcome.

For the moment, I'm going to try an get a demo of my  current system up. Audio is a lot easier for me to record, so you'll get to listen to the dulcet tones of my screen reader pronouncing random characters at lightning speed. :)
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SmileyMan

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #241 on: February 06, 2018, 08:24:49 am »

I wonder if DF might work as an 'interpreted' game?

The stories that you love about DF require a great leap of imagination to get from the screen to the narrative. The user interface is an absolute horror show from an accessibility point of view, and the user has to ignore big chunks of stuff and heavily imagineer their way around others.

But perhaps what might work would be for an experienced, sighted DF player to act as an interface to the interface. This would involve describing the environment, reporting on events, answering queries and interpreting actions. A bit like a D&D GM would, for instance, but using DF as the story engine rather than maps, dice and character sheets.

If we were smart, we could make an effort to record the requests and responsse, with a view to at some point using machine learning techniques to replicate the interpreter. And who doesn't want voice-controlled fortresses!

Obviously the big difficulty is having intepreters generous with their time (probably not that hard actually) and synchronising player and interpreter session times (tougher). An alternative would be to conduct them asynchronously, e.g. via the forum, but you might get a glacial pace then.
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In a fat-fingered moment while setting up another military squad I accidentally created a captain of the guard rather than a militia captain.  His squad of near-legendary hammerdwarves equipped with high quality silver hammers then took it upon themselves to dispense justice to all the mandate breakers in the fortress.  It was quite messy.

Sanctume

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #242 on: February 06, 2018, 01:53:40 pm »

I wonder if DF might work as an 'interpreted' game?

Sure it can work.  It's a matter of make "building blocks" made of functions.  Game data is available, so one level of interpreting is to display them in a 2D ascii graphics despite that game data is in 3 dimensions. 

There are some tools existing such as in DF Remote that sends a cube of x, y, and z coordinates of the map already with every object in it. 

So those "building blocks" are low functions.  Simple info such as "what is the location of the object", "is it hostile", "is it food", "is it a weapon".

Then there needs to be some mid function that encapsulates an object that is more summarized for the user. 

An example, "House of Urist". It is 3x3 room. Wood floors. Stone walls. Stone roof. It has a willow wood bed, a granite coffer, a copper cabinet.  It has clothes inside the cabinet.  There is a backpack on the floor with 2 rations, and waterskin with 3 units of drinks.  Where it is located in the map.

How much detail will the user need to know is putting those low functions of the objects into a summarized chunks of digestible "audio".

Another a "Goblin Lasher."  It is hostile, it has a whip, and in xyz location. 

A higher level function is to provide data for the user how "House of Urist" is related to "Goblin Lasher." 

If the goblin just entered the map, then not much relation with the house. 

When the goblin moves closer, then House of Urist can help provide a point of view on where the goblin is in the map.

Machine learning is nice and all, but I think a framework to allow users to define these object relationships, save them for future use and re-use will be more practical.

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The stories that you love about DF require a great leap of imagination to get from the screen to the narrative. The user interface is an absolute horror show from an accessibility point of view, and the user has to ignore big chunks of stuff and heavily imagineer their way around others.

True.  But Toady does not create the stories either.  He provides all these data to intermingle.  The stories come from users reading the info and making their on connections.

So there is no need to try to make sense of the data by code.  Just need to make those text and data object make sense using audio output that describes game things that are presented in  3 dimensions.

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But perhaps what might work would be for an experienced, sighted DF player to act as an interface to the interface. This would involve describing the environment, reporting on events, answering queries and interpreting actions. A bit like a D&D GM would, for instance, but using DF as the story engine rather than maps, dice and character sheets.
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Fortress mode is already like this.   The game story in on-going.  The 7 starting dwarfs will go hungry and thirsty by themselves and hunt vermin and drink murky water without user action from game start. 

Let's start with a scenario with a default embark that has food, drinks, building materials.  Enable auto-labor even. 

Well we start with 7 dwarfs, and a wagon in xyz.  How will the player want to interact with the game? 

The answer will the provide coders how to approach it.

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If we were smart, we could make an effort to record the requests and responsse, with a view to at some point using machine learning techniques to replicate the interpreter. And who doesn't want voice-controlled fortresses!

Obviously the big difficulty is having intepreters generous with their time (probably not that hard actually) and synchronising player and interpreter session times (tougher). An alternative would be to conduct them asynchronously, e.g. via the forum, but you might get a glacial pace then.

Time goes fast when you're having fun.

zkline

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #243 on: February 06, 2018, 04:59:09 pm »

I've definitely had fun playing DF with a friend acting as my "eyes and hands," so to speak. It's a thing I want to get back into. Granted, this requires people who's schedules match up—not always a given, and a way to exchange info.

DF-Remote intrigues me because it's on iOS, and iOS had a well-developed accessibility system already. All in all, I'm in favor of multiple ways to access the game, and the text-mode system is just one of them, though probably the most complete so far.
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mifki

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #244 on: February 06, 2018, 06:15:07 pm »

I've mentioned this already to you I think but will repeat here for everyone. Are you interested only in "complete" DF experience, or you're ok with some simplification and automation? As you probably know, there's even a DF-AI project which plays the game by itself. But in our case, since the biggest problem is the map, I can imagine, for example, instead of working with each tile separately, building a fortress using pre-defined blocks like a puzzle. You choose a block type, which includes digging, placing buildings and assigning them, and then where to place it relative to already present blocks.

That's just one idea and also I realise other blind players may want different level of detail and control, but still it's a big difference whether something like this is acceptable or not.

zkline

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #245 on: February 06, 2018, 06:29:43 pm »

Speaking for myself, some simplification is okay as long as it doesn't detract too much from the…richness of the experience. I wasn't aware of DFAI. I do know that there will be some blind people who would much prefer the full game, however.
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mifki

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #246 on: February 07, 2018, 06:38:47 am »

You could try getting in touch with Barry Ellis (https://twitter.com/OneSwitch) - he's an expert in computer game accessibility, and a thoroughly nice guy.

Thanks. I contacted him and he also included some other guys in the conversation who may know more about blind accessibility. We'll see where this gets us.

zkline

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #247 on: February 08, 2018, 05:50:09 pm »

Here is a somewhat rambling demo of text-mode Dwarf Fortress with the Jaws for Windows screen reader. The Embark screen is an accessibility nightmare, but I'm otherwise pretty happy with how things turned out. I apologize for the poor audio quality.

Edit: Here's a DFFD link. :)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 06:31:27 pm by zkline »
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Pvt. Pirate

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #248 on: February 08, 2018, 06:56:30 pm »

nice voice. the reader would be way too fast for me to even get a glimpse of what it reads. i guess you're used to it, but i think i'd just get really frustrated listening to it.
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"dwarves are by definition alcohol powered parasitic beards, which will cling to small caveadapt humanoids." (Chaia)

Sanctume

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #249 on: February 08, 2018, 08:13:28 pm »

Re: Character 9619
This page refers to 9619 as a character that looks like a chess board, a grid of alternating color and white. 

Looking at the DF wiki, tile types, that character could be a stone wall that is partially mined.

Sanctume

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #250 on: February 08, 2018, 08:21:11 pm »

I'm interested in the Windows screen reader software itself. 

And I am curious if it can be customized; or even if there are open source that can be used to make modifications or similar projects. 

Links, names should be enough to so I can google stuff while it's slow at work, or I'm free to do other stuff while at home. 

zkline

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #251 on: February 08, 2018, 08:45:45 pm »

Re that odd character, I suspect that my program is misidentifying the number, somehow. I've run into that kind of thing before. A partially-mined wall doesn't make a lot of sense, considering I hadn't done any mining at that point.

The program I was using is called Jaws for Windows. It's not open source at all, but has a proprietary scripting language. Here, have a 40-minute demo. :)

There is an open-source screen reader called NVDA, but its default handling of the cursor makes playing DF and roguelikes in general a lot more difficult. This might be something that you could change with scripting, but I'm not sure how.
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Gashcozokon

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Re: Dwarf Fortress for the BLind: Advice sought
« Reply #252 on: March 22, 2018, 07:19:43 pm »

zkline:
I haven't read this whole thread yet, but I got far enough to know you were trying to use DFTerm at one point years ago. I wanted to point out that as long as you are still using the 32-bit version of the game, that the Server will still work, and I have been updating the list This post here covers up to 0.44.05. 
I put a poll up here asking if people were still using the DfTerm Server, because I wasn't sure if I was just being a nuisance. Feel free to let me know if this is helpful for you.
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