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Dark April 19, 2009 12:26

Angbamd, without eyeballs!
 
Hi.

I've just run across Angband recently, and so far I really like!

I'm actually registered blind (though i do have some vision), and have been wanting to play a decent exploration rpg for quite a long while, sinse the only video games I'm able to see to play tend to be more of the action variety, --- the 2D metroid games are about the closest I've come.

To read text on the internet etc, I use a screen reading speech synthesiser, sinse normal text (such as that in games), is way too small for me to read.

I've wanted to try roguelikes for quite a long time, as the exploration elements are really my sort of thing. The problem I've found though, when experimenting with Nethack or Adom, is Asqi graphics tend to be an absolute pain!

They are too small for me to actually see, and are a major pest with a screen reader, ----- you wouldn't believe how irritating hereing "hash hash hash hash hash" can get!

Angband however not only seems like a really great balance, but also has some incredibly handy features, ---- particularly in looking and targiting which make it the most playable roguelike I've tried.

Firstly, all the character info and text is obviously readable with my screen reader. Then however, using the old tyles set and big tyle mode, I've found graphics that have a good enough contrast to let me see basically where objects are (though not what they are), ---- though if anyone has created any larger or more contrasting graphics, I'd be interested to here.

The looking and targiting commands are also really handy for knowing what's around, especially as they can be scrolled through, and the go command can be used to move my character in the appropriate direction.

So, all in all really handy, ---- Thanks!

One thing that did occur to me, is that it wouldn't take much to make the game fully accessible to people with no site whatsoever, ---- just some extra informational commands, ---- in particular the ability to look directionally from the player and know the distance to the nearest object, the ability to gain distance and direction information using the targit or look commands, ---- Eg stairs down 5 north 20 east, and and perhaps alerts for the player on the location of unexplored possible exits when discovered by torchlight.

Sinse the game is open source, would making such changes be at all possible, ---- or would it take a total rewriting of the code.

Thanks in advance, and appologies for the long newby ramble.

PaulBlay April 19, 2009 13:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark (Post 17972)
Sinse the game is open source, would making such changes be at all possible, ---- or would it take a total rewriting of the code.

I don't see why they shouldn't be possible. I would also suggest reducing the range of ranged attacks (player and monster). If you are playing with large tiles then you are more likely to be hit by attacks from off screen.

There are several possible approaches.

1. Start a new variant (from 3.1.0 beta base). I don't know how many partially sighted people want to play roguelikes but they are your primary customer base for this.

2. Produce a patch (on 3.1.0. beta base). I think that if you are making lots of changes then a patch approach is going to be awkward.

3. Introduce a "blind-friendly" option to Vanilla Angband. Drawback is that those maintaining Angband may not be keen on additional options and, again, that large changes may be awkward to implement / maintain.

Perhaps one of the newer and smaller roguelike games would be easier to use as a code base?

In any case your biggest problem is going to be either learning to code or finding an interested volunteer to code for you. Good luck!

Dark April 19, 2009 13:47

Hi.

Actually, the range thing seems okay thus far, ---- or at least it has with as much of the game I've played (which admittedly is only down to level 7 thus far), sinse the look command seems capable of finding monsters and other objects currently off screen, and thus targiting them for missile weaponry.

Seeing whether they are in a reasonable los for my character is possible for me, ---- but wouldn't be for someone with fewer eyeballs, and this is why I thought either a distance/coordinates system would work.

Unfortunately, sinse I have no coding skills whatsoever, this is more a sort of feature request, ---- and a way of increasing the amount of people interested in Angband.

Btw, I've just seen the double and triple tyle modes in Fangband, ---- and I'm mightily impressed! i'd be interested to know what other angband varients might come with them, ---- or if there would be a way of playing other angband varients with them.

Nick April 19, 2009 14:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark (Post 17975)
Btw, I've just seen the double and triple tyle modes in Fangband, ---- and I'm mightily impressed! i'd be interested to know what other angband varients might come with them, ---- or if there would be a way of playing other angband varients with them.

UnAngband has double and triple tile mode - I know, because I stole them for FAangband. Coding it in takes a bit of work, and I'm not aware any other variants planning to use them.

Nick April 19, 2009 14:43

You may be interested in a thread from the angband newsgroup here
about Vanilla for the blind.

Irashtar April 25, 2009 15:03

Another option, if you prefer ascii graphics is to change the font settings, It has a 16 by 25 font packaged with it, and Firefox has a built in zoom, control and plus.
You can also set a larger than Normal DPI to further increase the size of text.

Pete Mack April 25, 2009 16:27

Angband on Windows doesn't work with TrueType fonts? It certainly does on OSX...

Dark April 27, 2009 17:04

Hi.

Thanks people.

Playing with graphics is actually weerdly easier for me than text, ---- sinse there's nothing to interfere with a screen reader, and there's the handy big yellow box especially in Faangband, ---- which also sutes me in terms of highlighting monsters etc.

I'll check the thread though, ---- thanks.

The only miner trouble i'm having at the second, ---- which I suspect is simply a n00b problem, is getting swarmed by a big pack of creatures and mobbed to death.

On one occasion a level 7 to 8 stairway (actually in Daajangband deposited me promptly into the laps of about 12 goblins, ---- and sinse I've thus far concentrated on playing Paladins and warriors, I've never had any good attacks for taking out multiple enemies at once.

Is that the point to turn tale and leg it? or is there a way around those sorts of situations.

I wouldn't ask, accept now all my games through three separate Angband varients (two of them playing as a Maia with uba stats), have ended this way.

Jungle_Boy April 27, 2009 22:24

Legging it is an ancient and time-honored strategy, something I have nt quite mastered which is why I've never had a winner...except that time I hacked the edit files and played a half-angel archon with 11 blows :)

buzzkill April 27, 2009 23:51

FA's wilderness is an unforgiving mistress. Experience will be your guide, but here's a tip. Wide open wilderness levels are much safer to cross while traveling North/South than East/West because you're always closer to an exit.

Therefore (depending on your home town), though a longer trip, you'll find it easier to approach Belgost from the South, rather than trying to plow straight westward.

Dark April 28, 2009 01:03

Thanks.

The best mob survival tactic I've found thus far is to dash into a convenient corridor, where I can hack through things one by one. Of course this doesn't help either in the wilderness, or with those annoying respawning monsters, ---- but back to the drawing board.

I think my geography in Fa is a litle off actually, ---- either that or I've read the map wrong (entirely possible sinse as I said, asqi art and screen reader's don't mix), but for some odd reason, heading west across the vale of Anduin and Hithaeglin got me to khazad dum, ---- which I admit I didn't expect, ---- but then I ended up being spidered to death in eriador, --- which really! wasn't fun.

Pete Mack April 28, 2009 06:12

FAAngband wilderness is just plain nasty--it's why Rogue and Assassin (with Unlight) are so highly favored as starting characters.

Nick April 28, 2009 07:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 18334)
FAAngband wilderness is just plain nasty--it's why Rogue and Assassin (with Unlight) are so highly favored as starting characters.

It has got easier over time - and probably will again with the AI changes in the next version.

Dark April 28, 2009 10:57

Well, both because of the contingency of being sneaked up on by a monster which I just happened to miss seeing, and because I'm more naturally an up close and personal sort of chap, I've generally been playing the classes with good melee, ---- my favourite being paladin sinse you've got healing and other effect spells if needed.

I've also been finding money a trifle hard to come by, ---- though maybe that's because I've been playing Daajangband with the no selling option, so am used to getting more gold, ----- and it doesn't stop me getting crunched anyway, lol!

Btw, both in Faangband and Oanband, I'm wondering where the sound is? I tried the Angband soundpack with the sounds from the bbc radio play version of lotr, ---- which was really nice if a trifle anacronistic for the first age, but found that lacked a few handy options and features, being as it was an earlier version of Angband, so I've put up with the three or four sounds in the original version, ---- but the two Oanband varients don't seem to even have those. Any particular reason why?

Nick April 28, 2009 12:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark (Post 18345)
Btw, both in Faangband and Oanband, I'm wondering where the sound is? I tried the Angband soundpack with the sounds from the bbc radio play version of lotr, ---- which was really nice if a trifle anacronistic for the first age, but found that lacked a few handy options and features, being as it was an earlier version of Angband, so I've put up with the three or four sounds in the original version, ---- but the two Oanband varients don't seem to even have those. Any particular reason why?

I think I've broken it. I am planning to look into it for next release; I play without sound, so I tend to forget about it.

Dragonboneman April 28, 2009 21:04

Dark - 'scuse my butting in but don't I know you from the Project Aon forums? They're up to Book 20 now, in case you didn't know.

Doomy

Dark April 28, 2009 22:49

Wow doomy, --- or should that be Dragonboneman, --- Hi! it's been a while.

I really need to play through the lw stuff again, including the last couple. I've been geting the E-mails and even writing announcements of lw progress for Audiogames.net, ---- but I admit I do need to reacquaint myself with the series.

Right now obviously, I've just discovered Angband, ---- the first Roguelike I've found compatible both with my level of site and screen reading software, --- given the look command's ability to cycle through objects, the big tyle mode, and high contrast of the yellow targit box as well as the player in the old tyles set, especially in the Oanband varients with the double tyle mode, ---- though I've been having quite a bit of fun with Daajangband as well.

this is a great discovery for me, ---- given my thing about exploration, and the fact that I can't usually play games like zelda owing to all the blasted text.

Fair enough as reguards the sound Nick, ---- though not entirely essential, I would appreciate it in the next version, ----- especially if some extra sounds could be added if possible to go with the extra environments and game events.

Dragonboneman April 28, 2009 23:03

Wow, first time I've seen someone pop up on an entirely separate forum I also happen to be a member of. Spooky!
I've been playing roguelikes off and on for about five or six years, mostly Vanilla which I have won a few times now.

Have you tried the Dubtrain sound pack? I think it is excellent. Works in Vanilla and NPP.

Link: http://www.dubtrain.com/angband/

Dark April 29, 2009 00:49

Spooky indeed, ---- though i must confess not the first time it's happened to me.

My general problem with roguelikes is the asqi graphics are slightly too small for me to see, and too damnably confusing with a screen reader, ----- imagine listening to "hash Hash hash hash" about 50 times!

I've tried Nethack and adom, but had litle look with either, --- and only really stumbled on Angband on a whim.

I started out playing Vanilla, but as usual when i try out something else, i thought I'd check out the recently posted varients, ---- hence why i began on Daajangband, ---- which is nice sinse it has the Maia race as an easy option while I get used to in game stratogies.

I'm greatly impressed that you've actually finished the game though. My best thus far is 400 ft, though i got eaten as soon as I got down there which was irritating.

I looked at the soundpack actually on the Angband wiki page at http://rephial.org/ however it seemed to only come bundled with a rather older version of Angband which didn't include some of the nicer features of the original.

Dragonboneman April 29, 2009 01:11

I only won thanks to some excellent coaching from more experienced players.
That sound pack I linked you to is different from the one on the main site - it's 18 megs of sounds for just about everything, including background atmosphere, all made by one guy in his own studio. I think it adds a lot to the game.

Dark April 29, 2009 02:15

Nice indeed. I particularly like the clanging chimes of doom when you enter new levels. As an added bonus, it also works very well with Daajangband, sinse Daaj is I believe fairly close to the original, ---- close enough for all the sounds to work anyway.

I just wish it was a trifle louder, sinse Hal, ---- my screen reader, actually seems to drown things out, so I need to turn Hal's volume down and my speakers up in order to balance things. This is okay, ---- accept I have to always remember to reverse the process afterwards or the loudness would cause my head to explode!

Even with assistance, --- I'm stil impressed at your winning.

Pete Mack April 29, 2009 08:29

@dark
It sounds like Windows ASCII mode needs to be brought into the 21st century. The OSX ASCII uses scalable (truetype) fonts. There's no fundamental reason Windows can't do the same.

Dark April 29, 2009 15:19

To be honest, Ascii text and screen readers in general don't go well together.

The principle problem is screen readers are made to read lines of text, not individual symbles.

Reading along horizontally is generally okay, ----- though stil hard to approximate distance, but the second you read up or down a line, the screen reader reads out the hole line entirely, this makes things horribly combplicated, and a nightmare to check.

The completely blind people I know who have tried Roguelikes have done so using a braille display, ---- a device which displays 40 characters of text in braill by pushing up various pins.

As said devices are about $3000, not everyone (including me), has one, ----- and even if you do, you can only practically see a line of 40 characters, so looking around the screen stil takes amazing amounts of time, ---- even assuming the spacial relations are understandable (and diagonals are near impossible to get).

On the pluss side though, practically speaking you only really need to know the distance and position of the various on screen objects, ---- particularly monsters), and can then work out stratogy accordingly.

My thought is therefore if a system of coordinates relative to the player's position were added to information given by the curser in the look and targit commands, a blind player could know where things are and take steps accordingly. If the system worked along the lines of the player being 00, up and right being positive, down and left negative, this would give all necessary information, ----- thus if you heard a monster was at -3 1, you know it was north east of you a litle over to the left.

A couple of years ago someone did try an experimental project along these lines called warprogue, ---- but that actually lacked several of Angband's more accessible features such as list visible monsters and items, and the auto targiting look curser.

The project was also discontinued, which was rather sad sinse it did look promising and people were showing considerable interest.

Other than the coordinate system, the only other things I could think of which would be needed would be a directional look command to stop players running into walls, ---- ie, giving object and distance information on what is immediately in los such as a monster, wall or unknown grid, and possibly some extra alert messages, ---- for example when a player discovers an unexplored exit, ---- eg in a room with multiple exits or at the fork of a passage, so a totally blind player can remember that for future reference.

There are actually some accessible games, ---- even highly grid based ones which play entirely via coordinates, even things like a talking version of mine sweeper or battleships, hence my thought on this one, ---- though of course personally, the old tyle set, big tyle mode and huge curser box combined with my screen reader make the game entirely playable for me.

Pete Mack May 1, 2009 06:39

@dark, I was suggesting the larger font to allow people with limited sight to see the letters.

Probably the 'l'ook/'x'amine cursor jump algorithm needs to work better; start with monsters that are LOS in decreasing risk order and distance, then do monsters out of LOS, then do everything else.

Dark May 1, 2009 08:56

Okay, ---- certainly a good thought, ---- sinse normal sized ascii fonts are certainly too small for me, ---- hence the use of tiles, and also the reason I haven't been able to play games like Adom, or a couple of Angband varients I've had a look at like Zangband or Tiny angband sinse they don't include the old tile set, ----- though if there is a way of installing that tile set I'd certainly appreciate knowing about it (it wouldn't matter if an object showed up with the wrong tile being as I use the look command for identification, ----- just as long as it showed up so I could know it's position).

The thought on the auto targiting curser going in order of danger is also a good one. What I've generally been doing is making frequent use of the list monsters command to tell me when monsters are visible, when one is, finding it visually, then using directional keys and the look curser to point in the approximate direction, ---- though there have also been times I've had to scroll through all available objects as well.

I must admit though, sinse my last paladin in Daaj met a sticky end at 300 ft, ---- admittedly after getting higher in level than any of my previous characters and taking out some interesting monsters such as Lotho baggins, monsters and escaping a few sticky situations, ---- particularly some nasty spots with multiple orcs and poltergeists, I've been having a bit of a break from Angband for a day or so so as to come back with a fresh eye.

I have learnt one thing though, ---- superb feeling=superbly evil monsters!"

PaulBlay May 1, 2009 10:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark (Post 18455)
I've had a look at like Zangband or Tiny angband sinse they don't include the old tile set

I'm something of a local representative for TinyAngband so I'd like to get some more detail on that and help if I can.

I don't use tiles myself so I'll probably need to do some researching. However there is a 16x16 tile set that I think should work with TinyAngband. TinyAngband also works with the excellent Dubtrain sound set (which you will need to unzip in the /lib/xtra/sound directory).

I don't know of any 32x32 tile kit that would work right now (but I can see if something can be managed).

buzzkill May 1, 2009 16:09

Z+ has a fairly complete tile set. You won't notice omissions until you get fairly deep into the game. Although it doesn't support double tile mode, you can get full 32x32 tiles by adjusting the tile width and height. There are a few minor graphical glitches, ones that I find annoying, but tolerable, and nothing that will cause a crash.

Check this thread for details and a screen shot.

Dark May 1, 2009 23:50

Hi.

Well, generally bigger is better. I'm not totally certain what tile size I've been using in vanilla or Daaj, using the big tile mode with the old tile set. i tried the increase tile hight option in the menue, but i didn't notice a difference, ---- and size didn't seem to be directly addressed in that menue only something called "term-0" to "term-7" window.

It's entirely possible I got things wrong though. To be perfectly honest sinse i do not use a screen magnifyer to read text, and most of the games I've played have either been on consoles or less technically manipulatable than Angband, i'm not half as up on my pixel sizes as I should be.

i've used patches, or contrast altering utilities in the past, ---- but never got down to the nuts and bolts quite as much as with Angband.

If someone could let me know what the default tile hight and width would be if running a copy of Angband for the first time using the old tiles tile set and big tile mode, that would be a great baseline to know, sinse that is probably the smallest size I would find practically playable.

On the other hand, I'm soon going to be replacing my 19 inch flatscreen with a 24 inch one, ----- whether tat has any bearing on things i'm not sure.

appologies for my total lack of knowhow, but it's only actually been two years sinse I started looking into playing graphical games on a pc, sinse up until that point i just used a laptop where the screen size is way too small for me to even considder usin my site.

I would certainly like to play tiny Angband though. Some of the features such as quests, and the extra shops looked really interesting.

also, as someone who's thus far barely made it to 500 ft, it'd be quite nice to have a game where I could considder the vague and remote possibility that I might be able to run into Morgoth at some point within the next century, ---- lol! I'd certainly quite like to be able to give old Iron bonce a good poking and finish off what Fingolfin started, ;D.

buzzkill May 2, 2009 02:23

If you've played FA with 'big tile' and 'double tile mode', and I believe I read somewhere that you had, then that's the exact size I'm talking about when I refer to 32x32.

Adjusting the tile height through the menus is utterly annoying because it will adjust the tile size only one pixel at a time (and it doesn't tell what the current values are). In order to go from a tile height of 16 to, let's say, 32 you would have to click that menu option 16 times. It's much easier to edit the angband.ini file (with any text editor, such at notepad) located in the main angband directory and change the values there. Check the link in my previous post for details.

As for meeting Morgoth, just know that you're not alone. Heck, I'm just recently ran into Time and Anti-Magic Hounds for the first time and I've been playing for years. They kinda make me miss the Gravity Hounds.

Pete Mack May 2, 2009 07:36

Or, you can bring the other ports up to spec--try the OSX version. Configuration is a breeze, and all fonts & sizes are available with a couple clicks.

There's no good reason for windows not to work as well, except that windows supports Windows 95 and the like. (Upgrade to a stripped-down XP already! There's no reason to accept random system crashes.) And even with Win32, it could do a better job.

Replacing Win32 UI with .NET UI would make life a lot easier.

Dark May 2, 2009 17:02

thanks Buzzkill, indeed, double tile mode in Fa would be the ideal size for me, i'll certainlly have to look at the Ini file, ----- though at the moment I'm at home away from my desktop and thus couldn't even think about playing Angband on a laptop screen. the menue thing does seem a litle strange.

I am actually running Xp pete. while I understand the mac advantages, there are certain specifically tailored compatibility issues with my screen reader and some windows programs which unfortunately mean I'm stuck with windows.

Pete Mack May 2, 2009 20:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark (Post 18498)
thanks Buzzkill, indeed, double tile mode in Fa would be the ideal size for me, i'll certainlly have to look at the Ini file, ----- though at the moment I'm at home away from my desktop and thus couldn't even think about playing Angband on a laptop screen. the menue thing does seem a litle strange.

I am actually running Xp pete. while I understand the mac advantages, there are certain specifically tailored compatibility issues with my screen reader and some windows programs which unfortunately mean I'm stuck with windows.

XP is a fine operating system. It's just that the Windows angband port doesn't take advantage of it's possibilities, presumably to remain backwards compatible with Windows 95, which is not any kind of an operating system.

buzzkill May 3, 2009 00:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 18504)
XP is a fine operating system. It's just that the Windows angband port doesn't take advantage of it's possibilities, presumably to remain backwards compatible with Windows 95, which is not any kind of an operating system.

Someone should do something about that. I mean, my God, I'm all for nostalgia, but there's no reason for anyone to be using Win95 (and therefore virtually no need to support it). Are we still supporting the C64. I mean, an XP desktop can be had for $100 or less. I just bought 2 of them.

I'm assuming that trashing Win95 support would throw Win98, Me, and such under the bus too?

Now, lets hear from the one person still using Win95.

Donald Jonker May 3, 2009 00:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 18510)
Now, lets hear from the one person still using Win95.

Zaimoni still uses it (see the Gumband thread).:)

Pete Mack May 3, 2009 01:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 18510)
I'm assuming that trashing Win95 support would throw Win98, Me, and such under the bus too?

Yes, although nobody ever used ME. (98 was the last metastable release of that "operating system." The ME joke was it was the same as Win98, but with a sleep(1) call thrown into every system call.)

The trouble is that the windows port still uses Windows API (aka Win32), which nobody remembers how to use. (Or wants to, for that matter.) It also is very early 90's in configuration; you need to edit the INI file to change just about anything.

Dark May 3, 2009 02:19

The other reason I use xp, ---- and particularly haven't upgraded to vista despite having bought a new desktop last august, is that there are a hole bunch of programs that just wouldn't work with vista, ----- particularly things that run in a doss style console window, ----- which i have a few of.

for some odd reason, Vista and console window applications just don't mix at all.

As far as the compatibility issue goes with Angband, it was actually the fact that I kept running into things which required things like the ms net framework or updated versions of direct X which persuaded me to stop using windows 98 and get a new xp machine in about 2003, and I probably won't switch to vista until I find something I can't do with xp which requires it, ----- and given that vista has lots of increased 3D capabilities, and 3D graphics = unplayable games for me, ----- I'm stil a frequent user of my Snes and Mega drive, I'm not sure when that will happen.

Pete Mack May 3, 2009 03:25

There's no reason on earth to install Vista. If you want a new OS, install Windows 7 beta. Inside Microsoft, the only things anybody use are Windows 7 Beta, Windows Server 2008, and XP for old laptops.

Dark May 3, 2009 16:34

Well, as I said, I probably won't bother with a new os until I find someting I wish to do which would require one, ---- thus far Xp serves all my program compatibility and gaming and random fun entertainment needs, ----- and all I need for uni work is a word prrocesser, E-mail client and net brouser occasionally.


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