Vanilla for the Blind?

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Zack Kline

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Jul 20, 2007, 1:22:24 PM7/20/07
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Hello,
I am a blind player who has recently become interested in dabbling in
Angband. I wasn't aware until a few minutes ago that there is a new
version out--at least, new to me.
All that being said, I've noticed a few problems getting access to the
game. I'm sure there's an option in there for highlighting the player
with the cursor, and I just haven't seen it, but I was wondering if it
might be possible to create a Windows console interface for the game
despite that? There seem to be a few symbols which aren't reported--
walls in particular simply don't seem to exist. I was under the
impression from reading that they were represented by # signs?
Also, to be slightly knitpickey, I was just curious as to the
rationale behind making options only effective at the beginning of the
game? Is it a code problem, or something more asthetic?
I'd really appreciate a response.
All the best,
Zack.

Antony Sidwell

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Jul 20, 2007, 2:20:05 PM7/20/07
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Zack Kline wrote:
> Hello,
> I am a blind player who has recently become interested in dabbling in
> Angband. I wasn't aware until a few minutes ago that there is a new
> version out--at least, new to me.
> All that being said, I've noticed a few problems getting access to the
> game. I'm sure there's an option in there for highlighting the player
> with the cursor, and I just haven't seen it, but I was wondering if it
> might be possible to create a Windows console interface for the game
> despite that?

There is a windows console version available, though it's not actually
linked to from the front page at rephial.org at the moment. To use it,
you need the normal Windows download and the extra "console" executable
from http://rephial.org/downloads/angband-3.0.8-con.zip.

The option to highlight the player with the cursor is still there,
option (c) under "Display options".

> There seem to be a few symbols which aren't reported--
> walls in particular simply don't seem to exist. I was under the
> impression from reading that they were represented by # signs?

Might be something to do with the special "solid block" characters used
instead of # signs by default in the normal Windows build. I'm sure
someone can tell you how to change them back to hashes, but the console
version doesn't use them anyway if you're planning to use that instead.

> Also, to be slightly knitpickey, I was just curious as to the
> rationale behind making options only effective at the beginning of the
> game? Is it a code problem, or something more asthetic?

Not all options, just those that relate to "difficulty". The original
theory is that some of these would allow you an unfair advantage if you
had them turned off at birth and turned them on later. However, with
the latest release, anything that changes how difficult the game is
(i.e. anything that in a competition setting you could gain an advantage
from by changing mid-game) has been moved there.

This isn't really about competition play, but rather so that the game
can be set up to "work" when played with the default options, and people
know that changing these options does make a different game. You've got
no right to complain if it's too easy or too difficult when you've
changed those options, basically.

So aesthetic, to directly answer your question. :)
--
Antony "Not the maintainer" Sidwell

Zack Kline

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Jul 21, 2007, 12:47:56 AM7/21/07
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Antony Sidwell wrote:
> Zack Kline wrote:
> > Hello,
> > I am a blind player who has recently become interested in dabbling in
> > Angband. I wasn't aware until a few minutes ago that there is a new
> > version out--at least, new to me.
> > All that being said, I've noticed a few problems getting access to the
> > game. I'm sure there's an option in there for highlighting the player
> > with the cursor, and I just haven't seen it, but I was wondering if it
> > might be possible to create a Windows console interface for the game
> > despite that?
>
> There is a windows console version available, though it's not actually
> linked to from the front page at rephial.org at the moment. To use it,
> you need the normal Windows download and the extra "console" executable
> from http://rephial.org/downloads/angband-3.0.8-con.zip.
>
> The option to highlight the player with the cursor is still there,
> option (c) under "Display options".
Thank you! This was almost exactly what I was looking for. The one
thing I miss is an ability to have the travel or pathfinding code
triggered by a keypress, instead of only a mouse click. The mouse
clicking doesn't work under the console, apparently. I use the
roguelike keyset out of preference, and so don't quite know what key
could be used to trigger a prompt for selecting a target.
Is there already an extension in the examine code to do this? If so I
haven't found one, but since it already picks interesting objects I
felt it might be natural. Very helpful in town to navigate around all
those silly walls to stores and back to the staircase.
Thank you muchly,
Zack.

mattneu

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Jul 23, 2007, 10:54:25 AM7/23/07
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Zack, would you mind taking a few minutes to describe what it's like
playing angband with an interface for the blind?

The only hardware I'm familiar with will give someone a single line of
text at a time, in braille. I know there's text-reading software out
there. Are you using something that gives you a description of, say,
all the monsters in line-of-sight?

How does Angband compare to other games you've played?

--
Matt

Andrew Sidwell

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Jul 23, 2007, 11:01:44 AM7/23/07
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mattneu wrote:
> Zack, would you mind taking a few minutes to describe what it's like
> playing angband with an interface for the blind?

I'd also be interested in hearing if there's anything else that could
added to make the experience better. Did adding the '[' key (to list
all monsters you can see) help at all?

--
Andrew Sidwell
http://rephial.org/ -- the home of Angband

Zack Kline

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Jul 24, 2007, 12:55:51 PM7/24/07
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Andrew Sidwell wrote:
> mattneu wrote:
> > Zack, would you mind taking a few minutes to describe what it's like
> > playing angband with an interface for the blind?
>
> I'd also be interested in hearing if there's anything else that could
> added to make the experience better. Did adding the '[' key (to list
> all monsters you can see) help at all?
To reply to both of you at once, as it were...
Yes, there are Braille displays out there, Mattneu. I don't use one.
They are, uniformly and without exception, pricy monsters. A quite
small version costs in the neighborhood of $4,000 or so USD.
The way I play Angband, then, is with a speech program. I have an
invisible review cursor which I can move independently of anything
else on the screen. Actually, this cursor uses the numeric keypad to
move. I have shortcut keys in my program to move to to the corners of
the screen, up and down line by line, or across the line character by
character--agh! It isn't the most optimal solution, to be blunt. But
it does work, after a fashion. I just make sure every turn that the
invisible cursor is right where the PC's cursor is--namely the player.

The biggest problem with the way I play is the fact that moving up and
down by lines doesn't keep the current collumn position. If we
describe Angband's map as a grid, with squares from a1 to h8, to
oversimplify somewhat, if I am on D2, where the player is, and press
the key to go up to the next line--3--I'm back to reading a3, and have
to count, which isn't easy. Does this make any sense? It's a flaw in
the screen reader, not in Angband. Linux screen readers, which I
don't always have access to, don't suffer from this problem, as the
Linux console is text-based by nature, as are the programs I use with
it. But that's another story.
Andrew, no, I'm not sure how much the monster list key helped. It
tells me useful information, to be sure, but I can't process it very
well with the current interface. In order to figure out anything
about a monster and how to react, I need to know where it is, relative
to the player character--and as you might imagine that is difficult in
my current circumstances.
I would very much appreciate any advice from anybody on how to remedy
these difficulties. I hope I've been reasonably clear and
understandable.
Thank you very much, and sorry for the rambling.
Zack.

R. Dan Henry

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Jul 24, 2007, 10:15:43 PM7/24/07
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On Mon, 23 Jul 2007 15:01:44 GMT, Andrew Sidwell <ju...@entai.co.uk>
wrote:

>mattneu wrote:
>> Zack, would you mind taking a few minutes to describe what it's like
>> playing angband with an interface for the blind?
>
>I'd also be interested in hearing if there's anything else that could
>added to make the experience better. Did adding the '[' key (to list
>all monsters you can see) help at all?

Also search Google Group in r.g.r.development for "blind". There's been
some discussion on there, if you missed it. I remember that ADOM was
cited as one blind player's choice because it is so verbose in it's
'l'ook command -- if you move the cursor over a floor tile, it tell you
that it is a floor tile instead of giving no message.

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com
Holy Avenger should be a Paladin title,
not an ego item.

andrewdoull

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Jul 25, 2007, 7:01:55 AM7/25/07
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Ben Harrison suggested using 'O' for a flow command which is similar to this
request. It shouldn't be too hard to modify the targetting and mouse movement
code to accomadate keyboard-based selection.

It might be possible to integrate the look command into the screen reader API if
one exists... I did some experimentation in Unangband with using the mouse
pointer for this. e.g. mousing over an 'open floor' would generate a message
'You see an open floor.'


Andrew
--
The Roflwtfzomgbbq Quylthulg summons L33t Paladins -more-
ASCII Dreams: http://roguelikedeveloper.blogspot.com
Unangband: http://unangband.blogspot.com

Antony Sidwell

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Jul 25, 2007, 8:16:49 AM7/25/07
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andrewdoull wrote:
> On 2007-07-21 06:47:56, Zack Kline <Z_k...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Antony Sidwell wrote:
>>> The option to highlight the player with the cursor is still there,
>>> option (c) under "Display options".
>> Thank you! This was almost exactly what I was looking for. The one
>> thing I miss is an ability to have the travel or pathfinding code
>> triggered by a keypress, instead of only a mouse click. The mouse
>> clicking doesn't work under the console, apparently. I use the
>> roguelike keyset out of preference, and so don't quite know what key
>> could be used to trigger a prompt for selecting a target.
>> Is there already an extension in the examine code to do this? If so I
>> haven't found one, but since it already picks interesting objects I
>> felt it might be natural. Very helpful in town to navigate around all
>> those silly walls to stores and back to the staircase.
>> Thank you muchly,
>> Zack.
>
> Ben Harrison suggested using 'O' for a flow command which is similar to this
> request. It shouldn't be too hard to modify the targetting and mouse movement
> code to accomadate keyboard-based selection.

Oh, I missed that bit - you already can. Once you've moved the cursor
to where you want to be, 'g' for "Go there" starts "pathfinding" towards
that location.

In the bugfix release, the prompts where you can use 'g' will have it
listed as an option (and <click> for those prompts where you can click
the mouse to select a location).

Fuma

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Jul 25, 2007, 8:01:23 AM7/25/07
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On 2007-07-24 18:55:51, Zack Kline <Z_k...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Andrew, no, I'm not sure how much the monster list key helped. It
> tells me useful information, to be sure, but I can't process it very
> well with the current interface. In order to figure out anything
> about a monster and how to react, I need to know where it is, relative
> to the player character--and as you might imagine that is difficult in
> my current circumstances.
>

I have no idea if this is available in vanilla Angband, but in Sangband, in the
display options you can enable the current target to be displayed under the left
column. (player stats and whatnot)
This could prove to be quite useful as aside from displaying the monster name
and it's health, it displays the position of the monster relative to the player.
So when there's a white icky thing two squares left and one down, after
selecting it (*t assuming it's the only monster) the current target field would
display "White Icky Thing (*****) 1S 2E".
This, combined with setting up the remaining display fields to show nearby
monsters, could prove to be quite useful, I think.

I hope what I said makes sense, but if in doubt, ask. I'll gladly help with
anything Sangband-related. (Assuming I know the answer.)


--
www.snowleopard.org - International Snow Leopard Trust

Zack Kline

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Jul 25, 2007, 1:40:43 PM7/25/07
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> -- Well, this is great news. It works quite well. I am able to navigate fairly easily now, provided I only caare about interesting features. If I may put a question to the sighted folks around here...
Would you mind describing how it is you guys navigate? Do you focus
on the interesting points, or tactical movement around monsters,
or...? Does this make sense?
I'm curious now.
Thanks,
Zack.

x87asm

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Jul 25, 2007, 3:20:03 PM7/25/07
to
> -- Well, this is great news. It works quite well. I am able to navigate
> fairly easily now, provided I only care about interesting features. If I
> may put a question to the sighted folks around here...
> Would you mind describing how it is you guys navigate? Do you focus
> on the interesting points, or tactical movement around monsters,
> or...? Does this make sense?


If there's nothing interesting around (no monsters, objects, unvisited
doors), I'll hold shift and run through corridors. When I reach a room with
enemies, I'll move around, trying to keep only one monster adjacent to me
while I kill that adjacent monster. This tends to be a problem with monsters
that "breeds explosively", but those are the ones I'll end up farming till I
get bored.

Once the room is empty, I'll skirt the edge of the room to check for any
hidden doors, pick a door, and continue running down empty corridors.


--
Bx.C / x87asm


pete m

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Jul 25, 2007, 4:27:14 PM7/25/07
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On Jul 25, 10:40 am, Zack Kline <Z_kl...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> -- Well, this is great news. It works quite well. I am able to
navigate
> fairly easily now, provided I only caare about interesting features. If I
> may put a question to the sighted folks around here...
>
> Would you mind describing how it is you guys navigate? Do you focus
> on the interesting points, or tactical movement around monsters,
> or...? Does this make sense?
> I'm curious now.

I try to focus on the interesting points. It's one reason I like to
play rogue, who gets full detection very early in the game. And for
diving, I mostly try to avoid monsters, not fight them.

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