1 (edited by oryx 2018-04-03 00:46:31)

Full disclosure! This is not really a new release. Armageddon has been around for about twenty five years. Still, the moderator suggested I post in here as the game has not yet been discussed. I'm looking for ways to make our MUD more accessible for the visually impaired.

If there is anyone here who has tried Armageddon previously and could give me some advice on how to make it more accessible, that would be ideal. Otherwise, if there are any gamers familiar with role play intensive MUDs who would be willing to give it a try, I can't express how much I would appreciate the feedback.

The web address is www.armageddon.org

The telnet address is armageddon.org port 4050

We also have a discord channel for those of you who would like to try a MUD or who are familiar with MUDs but new to our syntax. The link for that is https://discord.gg/7cnwGe5
I am available on the discord several days a week with the same nickname, oryx, so if you'd like you can chat with me directly.

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I am new to MUDS and often get lots in them, so I will wait for someone else to reply. However, discord is not accessible out of the gate. For any blind folks here who want to chat with him on discord, use the discord plugin on Miranda NG. That will work way better. It's a shame discord refuses to make their app accessible natively. Do you have Google talk or similar where others can IM you?

Journalist and gamer

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3 (edited by Valmorian 2018-04-03 01:25:40)

discord works fine you just have to no how to use it I mean you can't do everything, but you can chat with people join servers, ect.

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4 (edited by oryx 2018-04-03 01:29:37)

Oh dear! I'm so disappointed in Discord now! I don't have any other good ways to chat directly, but I will be attentive to this thread and if you'd like to email me, I can be reached at [email protected]

If you can find a good work around for Discord, the other gamers in our community suggest (correctly) that you try the help channel in there, as it's less spammy and ridiculous.

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as for the mud I played a logn time ago but don't remember it much I'd be happy to give it a try and see what I can  help with. I tried to connect though, and it shows the welcome screen but none of the commands go through, and I loos the connection

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Yeah, it was down briefly for some maintenance. Some timing on my part!

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I've not played armageddon mud myself and generally I'm more a questing, exploring and crafting  sort of bod than an rp fan in muds.
As some rough general points though, inaccessibility in muds can usually be down to one or more of four basic things.

1: ascii used to display information like maps, since manifestly screen reading programs don't do well with ascii.
2: information about areas or npcs denoted by coloured text that wouldn't show up to screen readers.
3: Overly long or complex displays of information such as prompts, score or abilities which might need a little shortening.

And 4: Overly fast combat or action sequences which might disadvantage visually impaired players who must listen to screen readers reading the text.

I don't imagine the last is quite as much a concern given Armageddon mud's heavy rp focus.

Generally all of these have relatively easy workarounds, for example commands to shorten display or customise mud prompts, or look up specific information rather than display an uba table of doom, EG commands to display just magic skills rather than all skills, but obviously it depends upon the mud. Some muds need barely any accessibility changes at all, others need several changes (I can think of a couple of muds that are unplayable due to an intensive ascii focus for example).

Hope some of this is generally helpful.
I'll try and stick my noggin around Armageddon if I can just to have a look at the mud, though as I said I'm not as experienced with in mud rp.

Edit: Okay I just had a quick poke at the website and wikipedia, and it seems Armageddon has Diku mud  its ancestry.

This is good in that it means things like customizing  prompts is already possible, but less good in that it probably means unless combat in Armageddon is vastly modified from the Diku standard, then combat probably needs a little bit of customisation, EG a combat prompt and maybe some shortening of information, since Dicu tends to have pretty fast combat on average, and especially in a game with permadeath you don't want players killed because their ears are slower than scrolling text big_smile.

of course if anyone has  played Armageddon specifically (as someone likely has), that would I think be most helpful.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Dark's pretty much hit the major points. Two things that are semirelated, multicolumn lists are hard for us if you need to select a number based on the item, so an accessible mode which could make them single column is always nice. And, MUDS that show text tables. Ones that span 3 or 4 columns aren't so bad, but much more than that and we will have issues. Tables on websites or in spreadsheets, Word documents and the like are not problematic, because there is markup there which makes it a table, and the screen reader will see that markup, parse it and say oh, hey, we have a table here that's meant to be 5 columns and 13 rows. We then have table navigation commands that will move to any cell in the table, moving right or left through columns, or up and down through rows. Sometimes they will even read the header with the table data, so you don't have to remember, however, when a MUD sends a table, its just text visually formatted to look like a table. So, without that markup there, the screen reader has no way of knowing what it is, so it reads it like ordinary text, from left to right, top to bottom. Now, we can switch to a window and review the table without the text scrolling, but its still hard because you have to try to remember what the header is for each column while you're navigating the data. Also, since the screen reader doesn't  know its a table, we have to navigate by word, because all that really does is skips to the next bit of text following a space or multiple spaces. OK, I like space / sci themed RP MUDs, so let's say we have a table that shows information related to an enemy, our headers are name, bearing, range, distance, and flags (containing information like class of ship, which shield is facing you, etc.). Now, one issue, since space is 3D, it takes two components to be able to move in three dimensions, the pitch of your craft, and its yaw, or side to side motion, rotating about the Z axis. Now, these two numbers are in the same category, so maybe you have hardcore fighter alpha         315  20      [1.25]      scout class extra info

Now, try doing that while you're supposed to still be in the game, its not easy. The problem with why separating out the data from the rest when there is only one or two spaces is because word navigation doesn't care about how many spaces ther are between A and B, it just goes to the next non-space character, and reads the word, or in this case, numbers and other such symbols.

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

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Hello! I have tried playing Armagedon mud for a couple f years now.. I have been a rper for more than 10 years.. What made me unable to play the game was lake of an intro system, as in a system that allows you to put a player's name in place of their short description.
For these who don't know, the game uses a description systems. So instead of Bob arrives, you would see A tall man with brown hairs arrives. It would be cool if we could substitute this longer description for the player's name.. I say this because these descriptions can make things spammy and unplayable at times.

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I don't see that as an accessibility feature, its just something you don't like. TO be fair, I don't either, I believe you should be able to remember someone, give them a name, etc. if you are using a system like that, but I don't see how that would make the game unplayable.

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

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Thats easy to answer..
The text gets too spammy, because the screenreader hsa to spend extra time reading all the info
Things like combat become impocible to follow.

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you can allways add them to yoru speech dictionary

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How does that work, @valmorian?

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There are probably triggers and such to gag excess text and mess with the output client side, but bare in mind not everyone knows how to use these and a mud is not accessible if any VI player must script their own interface in order to play, particularly when making combat less spammy usually has some relatively easy workarounds in terms of output modes for the mud, EG allowing players to use a battle prompt, reducing names of combatants in combat and extra long damage descriptions (especially those with heavy formatting), etc.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Yeah I could see that as an issue if you see every round of the enemy something like: A brown-haired blue-eyed man kicks for 2 points of damage. That would get real old real quick tbh. It would mean speeding speech up past the uncomfortable point to the point where you're not getting everything. Well, I've seen a lot of combat systems on MUDs, I do wanna check this one out at some point though.

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

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16 (edited by oryx 2018-04-04 23:24:19)

So, this idea of adding the option to switch a name in for a short description is pretty good. I will bring that up to our producers.

The only ascii is in the opening screen. Someone pointed out to me that the beginning selections are effectively "buried" in the ascii and that the read would be clearer if the options were listed after the ascii art. Do you find that to be true and or an issue worth addressing?

We do have colored text, but it doesn't indicate anything. It just helps to parse different types of information a little more quickly, such as combat verses a room description.

I'd love to hear more feedback on the layout of our prompts, scores and skill lists. Speaking of skill lists, I believe they do read out as a multi column list or table. I'd love to hear some other suggestions for how we might display those. I was told our default prompt didn't read well as there's no return after it. Could someone comment on that?

Outside of the skill lists and a few helpfiles, I don't believe we have any other multi column lists, but it's possible I'm missing something that would seem significantly more obvious to you.

Combat is, in my opinion, fairly even paced. It can go faster if your character's agility is very high or you're fighting someone with high agility.

caio: I would love to hear about your experience with figuring out character skills with the current layout.

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And also - thank you SO MUCH for all the responses and suggestions so far.

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Text in ascii can be problematic, it all depends on what level the end-user has their punctuation level set to in their screen reader. The punctuation level is how aggressively the screen reader strips away symbols from the text, it doesn't just cover commas, periods, and question marks. It covers all symbols, some of which include %*|+-=, and so forth.If the user's punctuation level is low or set to none, which essentially will make the screen reader never announce any punctuation at all, then it wouldn't really matter. Each screen reader is different as to which symbols fall where in this tiered approach, and some screen readers offer the ability to configure this yourself. I don't think the options inside the ascii art would pose a huge deal, and I'm a big proponent of making things accessible without ruining the experience for others. Sighted people like their graphics, and there is really no reason that the sighted and blind/visually impaired can't co-exist. Some games that use a lot of graphics and colors as indicators will implement a so-called 'blind' mode. Something you set up at chargen, or a command you can type that sets some things up. It also will display multicolumn lists in a single column, strip graphics, and so forth. Seeing as how you are saying there isn't an abundance of this going on in your game, you might not need this, though I mention it just as a thought. Oh, one other area of bother can be tables or lists of options separated by dots, so that the right column is aligned on every row. My screen reader will say something like thirty-two dot if it encounters this. This prevents it from going dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot, etc. But, if the right column is numbers, and the speech is fast to keep up, hearing 32 dot 3,025.87 just sort of runs together.

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

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I haven't actually tried because I haven't had a reason to but you add a line of text to your speech dictionary and  theoretically every time that line of text comes up it'll sub it for what ever you tell it to so the sky is blue could just be bubble. once again never tried it with a hole line before, so it might not work. the only real problem is when looking at someone there health is in the middle of everything so it can take a bit to long when sparring to check someones hp maybe an option to turn off descriptions while in combat?
I don't see a problem with the prompt if they mean each thing like hp mv and such doesn't have it's own line, I like it better the way it is the other way would be to many lines, and I assume you can custom your prompt anyway

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I personally hate prompts from a screen reader perspective, to me, its nothing but spam and gets in the way. I usually don't play MUDs that use prompts, or if they provide an option to turn it off, I will do that. We'll have to see as I just got a character approved over there, but haven't played yet so...

The problem is there's usually more than one way to get the information, but that second way, like bringing up a score sheet or something, you have to try to get the relevant bits of information from that while combat is going on. Still, since this is a RP MUD, I doubt they will use a prompt that is active all the time. Those are the worst imo. So, I'm thinking if there is a prompt, it will most likely only be on while combat is happening, since seeing a prompt would be distracting and immersion breaking when you're in RP and someone is posing and so forth.

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

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The prompt thing is more a matter of preference as well, one reason why customisable prompts are a good idea.

For example I don't mind a prompt set to a percentage for vital things like hp and mana, and I don't mind it displaying a status like "hungry" so that I am aware of what is happening to my character.
Then in combat I just tend to like bare bones info such as my char's hp so that I know when to run away etc.

In terms of combat speed, I'm afraid there isn't really a corollary in terms of whether the combat is or isn't too fast or too spammy other than having people play the game and try it out, since it depends upon  how fast combat text is processed by the mud itself, B, how much information a person needs during combat to understand that text, and C, at least a degree of personal preference, for example I personally tend to like at least a little combat description if the games speed will let me have it,  customisation of infrmation is a good idea.

As regards ascii,  I agree with Ironcross here. If the game starts with an ascii art decoration at the beginning that isn't a problem if it doesn't occur anywhere else since Vi users can ignore at least a little and we  want the game's visual appeal lessoned for those who can appreciate it, but if there is  art elsewhere, even just in chargen then a blind mode or vi mode might be helpful, especially since in options like chargen people are more likely to go back up through the text and read slowly by hitting the arrow keys to read line by line so as to get spellings and distinctions and consider many race/starting location options carefully rather than just listen to the incoming text and react, and in that sort of situation ascii on screen can be a bit of a pain.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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They do have a prompt, its on all the time, and while it doesn't contain a lot of info by default, I will have to either find a way to turn it off, or parse it with lua in my client to fire off triggers, etc. then gag the output.

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

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there is an option to only have it show up when things change, but the prompt you start is  kind of important hp, mv, and st which is your stun or manna. combat speed also depends on how fast someones screenreader speed is there is a brief combat thing, so you only see hits that connect or that you dodge something like that, so all you'd then see is your changing prompt I personally like it, but to each there own. the only thing abotu combat I could see as spammy is if you were in a group of people you'd see the long haired purple faced man goes east the blue haired purple nosed man follows even with two people watching them go east, then come back in, then going west is plenty of things to happen either inbetween, or after I'm not really sure what could be done about that though unless we get short desc or can sub names in for people

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I just don't like prompts, period, they get in the way, and when there is no %CRLF to terminate it, you get that every time a new bit of text comes in. I did find the brief prompt thing, and it helps to an extent. I'm not trying to negate the usefulness of the info, I just need to get that info in another way, because I hate prompts. SO what I will probably do is create sound triggers that pan positionally and create different sounds for each attribute of the prompt, then each time it ticks off, I get a little sound. To be honest, that would get kind of annoying to, so I would need to make unobtrusive sounds. I just can't help it, I don't like prompts. I get that they're useful for displaying a wide array of information in a single line that is very compact, its just junk to my ears though, I can't separate out the letters from the numbers as well as some people can. Although this one starts you out with a very minor prompt, which I'm grateful of, though I found the help file that contains the codes to customize it should I ever want to.

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

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I'm thrilled you're interested in making Armageddon accessible to us Oryx. I'll give it a shot shortly.
Valmorian, you say discord is usable? If you had the time, a quick guide or tutorial would be really helpful, especially if we can voice chat on it and avoid having to scroll through everyone's messages.

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