Visually Impaired

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Nalates
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Visually Impaired

Post by Nalates » Thu May 13, 2010 1:20 pm

TomVal on the MOUL forum made a good post about making games work better for the visually impaired.

See MOUL Forum post: Visually impaired player in URU

For anyone building Myst Style builds the idea to use LOOK in chat is way handy, IMO.

A help system would be easy to build into objects in SL/OS. A simple LISTEN system could be used. However, LISTEN scripts have a high overhead and lots of them tends to pull a server down. An unrestricted LISTEN is listening on something like 4 million channels. Restricting a LISTEN to a single channel greatly reduces the overhead. I'll have to put some listening scripts in my OS sim to see how they affect performance.

I figure using channel 411 would make sense. I will probably write a script to listen for LOOK and HELP appearing on channel 411.

Next is the challenge of letting the impaired know the system is available. I think adding proximity scans to each item adds too much overhead. I have used collision detection to avoid that problem. Clear prims used as floor mats work well and are one possibility. When stepped on they could announce a help system is available. That could become annoying.

To reduce annoyance, if one has a device such as a KI, it could be used to turn announcements on and off. But, that adds complication and restricts where the Help System could be used. When the system first announces it self, it could region shout the AV UUID and turn off announcing in all instances of the system. That is easy enough to do region wide.

I think the announcing is adding complexity. May be add that in an advanced version.

An alternative would be to have a single announcement at the landing/spawning point. This is common practice for lots of regions in SL. For a first try, I might provide an announcement saying something like:
Welcome to Nalands
This region has a help system for the visually impaired as part of a casual role play system. No meters or attachments are needed to play. Simply type /411 Look or Help. Any game components in chat range will respond.

Info about area and RP would follow...
Placing the help text in a note card would make it easier for those building with the help system. All they need to do is write the help info into a note card and drop it and the script into an object. That would avoid the builder having to modify the script.

The standard chat reaches 30m. The standard shout reaches 99m. That sort of provides for two help levels. I don't remember whether LISTEN can tell the difference. I doubt it. So, if we need multi-level help we might use these words in chat; Look and Help for level 1, More Help for level 2, and Spoiler for level 3. Availability could be based on note cards added. Level 1 help would be in a card named HELP, level 2 in MoreHelp, and 3 in Spoiler.

The object can just 'Say' (llSay being a chat command that is heard for 30m radius) its response. Or if that might be a distraction to other players and one wants to avoid public broadcast of spoilers, an IM may be used rather than a 'Say'. That adds a bit of delay, but keeps it all private.

Note cards would need to be written to explain the obvious. May be something like:
HELP - From old looking leather book, on wood and glass table labeled Nalates Journal, near a yellow-orange candle giving off a soft glow. The journal contains recent entries describing Nalates take on things happening going on and planned in West Devokan and Devokan. Also her travels to the Cavern (Myst Online), Winterhaven (SL), and Remembrance (SL).

Clicking the book causes a dialog to open listing journal entries, oldest to newest.
Clicking a section gives you a note card with the journal entry.

No additional help or spoilers are available for this book.

To get your own journal and a place to rez it, contact: Nalates Urriah
Once I've got my generators textured... the script should be simple enough.

TomVal has a comment on color and contrast. I've run into this problem building web sites. I found out there are like 6 basic types of color blindness. All seeing color in different ways. There are web sites devoted to providing color combinations for web sites. There are no good solutions for mixed use sites. We gave up trying to make a nice looking site for standard vision and non-standard vision. While I think it is possible, I found it too restrictive. Our solution has been to provide sites using CSS to control the theme and allowing the impaired to select a high contrast style.

To duplicate this in game... since most color is controlled by textures that would make color control a problem. However we have glow and bright. One might add a section to the Help Script to save current settings and then change the glow and bright to make the object flash. Or one might add particles. Particles could be set to a contrasting color. I'm thinking white and black alternating to avoid another user setup option. I'll experiement when I get there.

Then there is the matter of how long to flash? I'm thinking 5 seconds. This is going to be a distraction for others, so I don't want to over do it. Also to minimize the distraction I might only do the 'flash' on command. Since the object's name will appear in chat and the script can access the name too, I think may be the command /411 show object name might be the answer. A simple /411 show would fire every thing within hearing range... :|

I might make a free system and an advanced system for sale in SL... its just a matter of time...
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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Nalates
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Re: Visually Impaired

Post by Nalates » Wed May 19, 2010 6:39 pm

I have version 0.1 in place in OSGrid. I'm testing in OSGrid and SL. I plan to place an example in my shop in Minkarta (SL - there is usually a link in the D'ni Voice).

When one tp's into Nalands they land on a greeter pad. It gives them an introductory note card. That advises them there is a help system.

For now I only have two objects with help programmed. One is at the landing pad. Type /411 Help while there and you should find it. Once one finds the object, look behind it to find a tp device. It will take one to the top of the tower. From there one can use the tp device in the floor to link directly to the 2nd floor near the office with the next programmed object. Forgive the mix of tp styles in use. I'm still experimenting (fancy word for playing). On the second floor is one room that has been textured (east side) and is mostly complete.

I am planning to remove the 'flash' from the basic help command. I think flashing the object for the vision impaired is a good idea. But, I think I will make that optional at the first level. Using the command /411 Flash will cause the object to flash.

Using the system I am reminded of text based adventure games.
Nalates
GoW, GoMa and GoA apprentice - Guildmaster GoC - SL = Nalates Urriah

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