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So many of you who grew up in the UK (which I did not) may remember the Acorn BBC Micro, an 8-bit computer very similar to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.Recently I discovered that BeebEM, an emulator for the retro computer, has accessibility features for us blindies.
According to their own website:
BeebEm provides two features for use by visually impaired users:

Screen Reader compatible text view

The screen reader compatible text view can be selected from the view menu. When enabled the text on the BeebEm screen is converted to a standard Windows text edit control. Screen readers such as JAWS can move the edit cursor around the screen and read the text in the control. Note that BeebEm can only convert text when in teletext mode 7. In other modes the text edit will contain the string "Not in text mode." A special key press, ALT + ` (back quote) is available to synchronise the cursor position in the text view with the BBC Micro cursor position.

Text to Speech Generation

The BeebEm text to speech generation can be selected from the sound menu. When enabled BeebEm will use the text to speech capabilities of Windows to read the text on the BeebEm screen. Text convertion is driven using the numeric keypad keys 0 to 9. The key assignments are based on the basic JAWS screen reading keys with some additions. The key assignments are:
PC Key Press
Function
num pad 5
read current character
num pad 6
read next character
num pad 4
read prior character
insert + num pad 5
read current word
insert + num pad 6
read next word
insert + num pad 4
read prior word
insert + num pad 8
read current line
num pad 2
read next line
num pad 8
read prior line
insert + num pad 2
read entire screen (say all)
alt + num pad 5
read current sentence
alt + num pad 2
read next sentence
alt + num pad 8
read prior sentence
num pad 9
move speech cursor to top of screen
insert + num pad 9
speak speech cursor position
num pad 3
move speech cursor to bottom of screen
insert + num pad 3
toggle speaking of punctuation
insert + num pad 1
toggle auto-read of text as it is written to the BBC micro screen
num pad 1
read any buffered auto-read text
If you are running JAWS you may find that it intercepts some of the key presses listed above and stops BeebEm from receiving them. In particular it may intercept num pad 5 presses, so try num pad 7 instead as BeebEm interprets num pad 7 in the same way as 5. The BeebEm key assignments will also work when num lock is switched on so you could try that as well. You may be able to configure JAWS so it does not say the num pad key names.
Under normal use you may find switching on the auto-read function useful (insert + num pad 1). This will read text as it gets written to the BBC micro screen. This works when using the BASIC command prompt and in many of the text based adventure games available for the BBC micro.
As with the text view support the ALT + ` (back quote) key press is available to synchronise the speech cursor position with the BBC Micro cursor position.

“Can we be casual in the work of God — casual when the house is on fire, and people are in danger of being burned?” — Duncan Campbell
“There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.” — William Wilberforce

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Wow. Thanks for sharing. is the operating system like MS Dos?

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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3 (edited by JasonBlaze 2018-01-07 09:57:42)

hi there.\
I have the BeebEm installed to my pc, any idea where I could download some of the text games?
anyways those 4 default games sounds fun, sad we can't play them big_smile

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I never thought to mention this on here. I've had beebEm for years. emulation isn't perfect but with some tweeking it's not far off and the tts option is fantastic for old text based games etc.

there used to be an archive of games on www.stairwaytohell.com but I'm not sure if it's still there. I do have a bunch though if people want them.

think I've got the hobbit, lord of the rings, twin kingdom valley, bored of the rings and a heep more. got hundreds of other games too but I can't remember all the text based ones off the top of my head.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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5 (edited by SirBadger 2018-01-07 10:37:52)

actually I just checked and stairwaytohell.com does seem to still be working. if you click the bbc micro link there you can go to disk images, tape images etc for games. but here's some I just put in a zip file if anybody wants them. most aren't text based but even with low site most of them are playable which is one of the reasons I loved my old bbc model B+.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/s7c3j8ptzenst … s.zip?dl=0

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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nice! Now, recommend me some good text based bbc micro games.
if only similar features were available for emulators of other systems (c64, vic20, atari800).

watch my brother's twitch stream here:
https://www.twitch.tv/sylvrexe

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I'd like a c64 emu with speech, a lot. I've never used the original, but its still a classic.

The bipeds think this place belongs to them, how cute.

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i'd have to go through the bunch I posted but twin kingdom valley is a good text based one, the hobbit is a classic and I think philossifer's quest is in there as well. think hitchhiker's guide is in there too but i'll have to go through them all. oh bored of the rings is in there as well. spoof adventure game based on lord of the rings.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

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@SirBadger, thanks for the selection of games, most of which I have not heard of.
@SLJ, by default the BBC runs BBC BASIC in ROM (similar to the C64, which ran CBM BASIC in ROM).
Also, if anyone wants it, I have a copy of version A03 of the Quill, the ancient british text adventure writer program. Works well with the Beeb.

“Can we be casual in the work of God — casual when the house is on fire, and people are in danger of being burned?” — Duncan Campbell
“There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.” — William Wilberforce

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@Blindcool
Thanks for your answer. Wow. Then it must be older than MS Dos. I'll take a look at this, mainly to check out how it works. I'm not sure I will be able to use the operating system though, because I know nothing about how it works. smile

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

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hay Badger, thanks for including superior's tts software!

watch my brother's twitch stream here:
https://www.twitch.tv/sylvrexe

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12 (edited by blindncool 2018-01-14 04:10:33)

Actually SLJ, MsDOS was released a year before the BBC Micro. The reason so many retro machines (especially in the UK) are loaded with BASIC was because for the  longest time (even into the early 90's) most brittish machines were 8-bit rather than 16-bit. I'm not quite sure when the 16-bit machines (such as IBM compatibles and the like) caught on in the UK market, but I suspect it was around 1990 or so.
I'll upload a package of adventures in a bit. Peace out.
Also: I almost forgot about Superior's text to speech system. I wonder if they ever used it for anything.

“Can we be casual in the work of God — casual when the house is on fire, and people are in danger of being burned?” — Duncan Campbell
“There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.” — William Wilberforce

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@blindncool, Superior used their text to speech program in several of their games. you can hear it in the title screens of repton 2 and 3 and also sididel. in fact, repton2 advertises the tts system as being for sail.

watch my brother's twitch stream here:
https://www.twitch.tv/sylvrexe

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Interesting. Is it possible to play the Repton games with a keyboard? If so, how playable are they? Also, it seems my dropbox is acting odd. That archive of text adventures should be on its way in a few minutes.

“Can we be casual in the work of God — casual when the house is on fire, and people are in danger of being burned?” — Duncan Campbell
“There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.” — William Wilberforce

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Here are those adventure games:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4hgd8494shqt0 … es.7z?dl=1

“Can we be casual in the work of God — casual when the house is on fire, and people are in danger of being burned?” — Duncan Campbell
“There are four things that we ought to do with the Word of God – admit it as the Word of God, commit it to our hearts and minds, submit to it, and transmit it to the world.” — William Wilberforce

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