2019-02-08 13:58:36

Whilst testing out The Division 2's private beta, I found a menu option (via OCR) called "enable menu narration (English only)".  Turning this on allowed me to complete the rest of the setup process without sighted assistance, including selecting my preferred audio mix, setting a number for the brightness, choosing whether I wanted subtitles on/off etc.

That was impressive enough, but once I'd managed to get into the game itself, through a couple of screens that didn't have this feature active (which is kind of expected as this is a beta), I pressed the menu button whilst in the tutorial area (which doesn't have readable tutorial prompts).  I was very surprised and pleased to find that the menus started immediately reading insofar as they'd been implemented to do so.  The most interesting aspect for me was the settings menu, which allowed me, should I need to, to set the camera sensitivity, adjust dead zones for each stick, change controller layouts, adjust communication preferences and volumes, etc.  Not everything in these menus read, as previously stated, but the vast majority of them did (with a few small hiccups).  I'm interested to see the progression of this feature from beta to final game, given that it appeared the character creator might also be accessible (had the options not been locked behind a randomisation system specifically for the beta).

To the question of regions and platforms, as the title states I've only tested this on the Xbox One platform, specifically on an Xbox One X.  I'm not sure how PS4 would handle this system, if any kind of equivalent is included at all.  Judging by the way the system worked in testing though, I'd speculate that this is a bespoke solution (rather than one that works with the Microsoft XDK's accessibility features) as the game didn't take into account my non-US Narrator voice and voice speed in terms of user preferences.  Consequently, there is a possibility that this would be available on PS4 copies of the beta as well.

Though The Division 2 isn't likely to be very playable as a gamer without sight given the nature of the game itself, I am very impressed to be seeing a game that shows such progress in the field of accessible menus this early into the CVAA deadline having passed at the beginning of this year.  This makes me even more optimistic for the future of the games industry in general, as well as the possibilities of Microsoft's first-party "Xbox Game Studio" titles which could take theoretically greater advantage of accessibility features available on the Xbox platform.

Here's a deep dive into the settings showing the feature in action

Sightless Kombat.
***If you wish to refer to me in @replies, use Sightless***

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2019-02-08 15:26:46

So I looked up some info on this game, and I'm not exactly sure what you are supposed to do. I know it is an action RPG, but how does this exactly work?
I'm glad to see though that some steps are being made towards implementing with the microsoft speech SDK.

You should've gone for the .net ...

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2019-02-08 17:16:07

The menu system is good. But the game is not very playable. It is a action-rpg with gunfight.

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2019-02-08 17:56:23

Apparently the pc version also has menu narration support as well!

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2019-02-08 18:02:07

I think This is very exciting news. Good on Ubisoft. Can’t wait to hear more. step by step,  accessibility is happening.

PSN ID: Ray_Penber
Twitter: @violentgil

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2019-02-08 18:22:43

O, Is very good ear these kind of news.

Yep, as you say guys, the game isn't playable for blind people, but a lot of people visually impared that have remained vision, suficient to play the game, will be very helped with this kind of feature.

And is a giant step to the future, to see these like solutions in future titles.

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2019-02-08 19:05:39

Wow it’s very exciting that the game has a menu narration option. On to my question, since the menus are quite accessible, how about the gameplay? Are there any auto aiming or any other aiming assist features available? Is it possible for us to explore the big maps?

get ready, folks!
let's explore different worlds, completing minigames, collect bonuses, and many other stuff.
or if you want to have some battles, there's a way to do that as well.
we are the pragmatic party prophessional. this thing is of course are going to be super crazy if more people join the fun in this party!

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2019-02-08 22:11:56

This is incredibly awesome!  I knew that stuff  would start to happen like this, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us in terms of accessibility.  I hope that the gameplay becomes accessible for this game, as I know Ubisoft has had some accessibility brakethroughs in the past, so looking forward to this. If this game is even playable with the spoken menus, I will save up to get it, because I want to support  devs who actually think about accessibility in there games.

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2019-02-09 01:51:23

Hello everyone, karate25 here. I agree with everything that's been said here thus far. I'm extremely excited about the accessibility in the game menues for this game. I thought that things like this would begin to happen and now I'm going to be watching game development like this very closely from now on I asure you. I'm going to be extremely interested to see just where the future leads from here but honestly I see a day where we'll be able to sit down and play games right alongside our sighted counterparts. Yes it might take some time but from what we've just seen, I truly and firmly believe that it's now within our grasp.

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2019-02-09 03:05:42

Hell, we can already do this to an extent with diablo 3.

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2019-02-09 03:42:45

You do realise that this may probably be it.
I wouldn't push this wow button, oh great the menus work!
Who gives a fat fuck if they do.
I don't.
The new access laws for communications mean that people have to comply and make things as far as communication work.
Well now ubisoft has complied.
I doubt even if someone protested that it could come to anything, I have seen accessible installers to inaccessible crappy games.
So, yeah, its nice news that someone is complying, but this may actually be it.
Don't go all blindy and hit the retarded wow button like the last lot of you are doing.
This aint wow, this is minimal!
I am usually optimistic on this, but who gives a damn if the menus work.
Its a good start, that some menus work in a beta, but who cares about that if the game doesn't.
Its like all those on steam, steam sucks, I can get it working but its really not fully there.
And valve doesn't care.
What I would like to see is actual games being accessible not just minimally complying with some law or other.
This isn't news, its another small step for 1 company, but in the grand scheme of things, it probably doesn't mean a dollar if thats all it ever is.
Now I really hope I'm wrong and maybe I will be but my gut tells me that this is all its probably going to be.
Of course, if ubisoft came on here and made a statement like ea sports sort of did then maybe, but I am not convinced that this is anything but a gimic.

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2019-02-09 08:07:05

Just because this particular game might not be playable, doesn't mean this is where things end. Also, much, much more of the menus are read than is required by the CVAA. Baby steps dude, baby steps.

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2019-02-09 08:46:45

now if mk 11 also implemented a similar option.....

John Petrucci Fan all the time.
twitter: @hadirezae3
skype ID: hadi.gsf7

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2019-02-09 10:58:47 (edited by defender 2019-02-09 11:00:29)

The way he describes it, this game has more than just menus that lead to communications related features, all that the FCC required.
Which means that clearly, Ubisoft is willing to go beyond that regulation and follow the spirit of the law as well as the letter, and that should be at the least rewarded with some recognition if we want to give them a drive to continue beyond the bare minimum, since we are an insignificant market in any financial sense.
Yeah, it's not much and it could easily slide backwards again if the regulations are loosened, and the gameplay is just as inaccessible as ever I'm sure, but you can keep your outrage out of it, say nothing if you have nothing constructive to say, because at least it's finally moving forward a bit now even if it's majorly overdo.

If your not content with anything, and all you can do is yell about the past while change is literally happening right in front of your freaking face, then you have now become part of the problem and are actively helping to sabotage progress, which only hurts your fellow players in the end.
And what good will come of insulting people just because their happy for some change? You act as if we've all forgotten how rocky the road has been up to this point and are now forgiving these huge corporations entirely for their past mistakes, and while some of us are pretty excited, I think that's understandable do to how long they've been waiting for anything. Don't harp on them for being positive just because you lack the ability.

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-02-10 03:42:36

Hello there everyone, karate25 here. Defender? I agree with you whole-heartedly. I think if crash master in post #11 is this offensive with his words and postings, then he should really be quiet and leave the rest of us alone so that we can enjoy this step forward and not ruin things for the rest of us who love this wonderful change. In fact, on a more positive note, if Ubisoft ever gives us the opportunity to give them feedback on this particular game, or if indeed they so choose to allow us to give them suggestions on how to make their titles in general more accessible going forward, I will most assuredly jump at the chance to give them just as much helpful feedback and suggestions as I possibly am able to show them that I for one am extremely proud of them for opening up the doors of their worlds to us the totally blind gaming community. I will do everything I can do within my powers and abilities to support developers who embrace us as capable individuals who are able to play games like our sighted counterparts if only given the right tools and equipment rather than treating us like we're somehow less mentally able just because we're blind. I've always said that just because our eyeballs might not work the way the rest of the world's does, it most certainly does not mean that we're less mentally able to participate in video and computer games. Have a wonderful evening to you all and again I say that I will do all in my power to support any developer who chooses to embrace us as totally blind gamers and includes us in their worlds.

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2019-02-10 18:49:20

This is fantastic news. I was nearly speechless then I saw this amazing demonstration. How do we sign up for this beta version to help testing?
@stirlock: How do you activate this feature in Diablo 3? What menus are read out loud in this game? This is the first time I hear about those menus being read out loud by Narrator.
@crashmaster: Nothing is going to be accessible by this attitude in post 11. Thankfully, most people here on the forum are more positive... 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

2019-02-10 20:09:45

Oh I wasn't referring to menus being read aloud, I was talking about playing a mainstream game with our sighted friends. Brandon aka superblindman did a big 5 hour stream demonstrating this yesterday. We still need help with gear and abilities, but the vast majority of the game can be enjoyed by blind people.

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2019-02-10 22:16:06

How playable is the game actually? How does the shooting parts work?

get ready, folks!
let's explore different worlds, completing minigames, collect bonuses, and many other stuff.
or if you want to have some battles, there's a way to do that as well.
we are the pragmatic party prophessional. this thing is of course are going to be super crazy if more people join the fun in this party!

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2019-02-10 23:22:59

If you're talking about diablo 3, it's not a shooter.

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2019-02-11 00:18:54

pretty sure he's talking about The Division 2. This is what the topic is about, correct?

You should've gone for the .net ...

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2019-02-11 02:50:49

It looks like [Apex Legends] also features menu and chat accessibility features, such as text chat to speech.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2019-02-11 04:41:23

I’m talking about the division 2. As for diablo 3, i know it’s not a shooter

get ready, folks!
let's explore different worlds, completing minigames, collect bonuses, and many other stuff.
or if you want to have some battles, there's a way to do that as well.
we are the pragmatic party prophessional. this thing is of course are going to be super crazy if more people join the fun in this party!

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2019-02-11 05:16:31


Crashmaster, please consider this a caution. While I appreciate that you are a bit more cynical than other people here, there's really no need for the sort of language and combative tone you're using, especially when it runs so counter to the other things here. it's only a caution, a heads-up, if you will, so please take it in that intended spirit and consider your words a little more carefully. I generally dislike tone policing of this nature and try to employ a light touch, but your post was a wee bit excessive, I think. If nothing else, give it time. No one is saying that all our accessibility problems are over, after all.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

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2019-02-11 13:13:36

magurp244 wrote:

It looks like [Apex Legends] also features menu and chat accessibility features, such as text chat to speech.

Looks like Apex only went for the communication features to comply with the law, whereas the Division 2 went above and beyond and has most menus narrated including options. Not sure if the accessibility options goes beyond what the article highlights.

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2019-02-12 01:17:08 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2019-02-12 10:49:42)

Sightlesskombat missed it but there's actually a spoken prompt on the main menu telling you how to turn it on too, so should be all doable without sighted assistance.

To the questions about the mechanic and accessibility - despite technically being the same genre as Diablo 3, it plays very differently. It is a third person cover based shooter, like gears of war.

The rest of this reply is mainly in reply to crashmaster and anyone else who may have similar views. Here's my take on it:

1. The game isn't released yet, someone else may still beat them to it. But as it stands it's the first AAA game to have voiced menus. The world has never seen such a thing before. That's big in itself.

2. Ubisoft, one of the biggest publishers in the business, has just poured money into considering blind accessibility. I don't think I really need to explain how much of a big deal that is, and how much awareness will be raised by a game that's as high profile as D2.

3. There has been some doubt on these forums over whether CVAA would have any actual benefit, that devs would all just rather just dump comms than meet requirements for text to speech etc, or even that sighted gamers would be in uproar over it. This is conclusive proof that this is not the case, voiced menus are here and the response from sighted gamers has been overwhelmingly positive.

4. As has been said many times even on these forums, games are supposed to be fun, not a chore. While there are plenty of super hardcore people here who are willing to memorise menus and use menu guides and trial and error, that isn't representative of the wider population. Tell literally any sighted gamer that the menus would be hidden and they would need to use trial and error and memorising and menu guides and they would A. Laugh in your face B. Not play the game C. Pan it as the worst game they'd ever encountered. People here are often a bit desensitised, but I think it's worth remembering just how awful an experience blind gamers are forced to battle through compared to everyone else. Point being that there are lots of blind gamers who will never play without accessible menus, regardless of how accessible gameplay is. Entirely justifiably IMO.

5. It's a proof of concept. I've spoken to many developers who are scratching their head over this kind of stuff, and Ubisoft have just handed it to them on a plate, a nice demo of how it works for other developers to play with and learn from.

6. As it is the gameplay isn't accessible to people with no sight, but obviously most people who are blind can still see. Text can be way harder to see than gameplay visuals - for context your avatar takes up a full 50% of the height of the screen, and the UI text is a tiny fraction of that. It will make a tremendous different to low vision & legally blind folk.

7. The game is playable with sighted assistance. With a few changes the game may require less sighted assistance. And if there is one thing this work demonstrates, it's that Ubisoft - or Massive anyway - are willing to go beyond what's required for complaince.

8. This is it, this is the first taste of what's to come. I for one have never been more hopeful about mainstream accessibility. I don't just work in accessibility  for blind gamers, I work across all kinds of disabilities and in the 11 years that I've been doing that I cant think of a turning point as significant as this. This game is a glimpse of the future, that future is here and it is looking bright.

So again, to crashmaster and anyone else - please think about the bigger picture, and what this will mean for the wider industry.

It's something everyone should be happy about. I am not blind, my vision is actually better than 20/20, and I'm still ludicrously happy.

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