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Screen reader accessibility

One thing that's been our goal with Starmourn is to be as screenreader-friendly as possible, and we're always looking for ways to make the game better for those players. If you've got suggestions on ways we can improve, please comment below and we'll do our best to help out!


  • First off, I have thoroughly enjoyed playing so far and it is obvious a lot of attention has been paid to the screenreader experience. Thank you for that.

    So far the only comment I have is that it'd be nice to see a way to detect and navigate to cosmpiercers.

    I still want to play around with ships in general to see how best to deal with debris, targeting, etc. Any other Mushclient users who want to band together to help build something, I'm Ategenos in game.
  • Yes, I very much have been having a great time. I’ve had a hard time focusing on work these past couple of days; it’s that kind of game.


    Here are some suggestions I have:

    1.       Sounds: I like to take the universal design approach to my suggestions. I do think having sounds in the game could potentially enhance the experience for everyone. However, most people probably want the hardcore, text only experience. For that reason, I think if the administration is open to implementing sounds, having them as something that can be toggled would make the most sense. Also, from the blindness perspective, things like ambient sounds could potentially clutter up the soundscape for other, more crucial feedback. I don’t know how much sounds would add to bandwidth, thus cost for server operation, but these could also be a subscriber only benefit. Feedback I use in my own personal client coding include: different sound for balance vs equilibrium; a separate sound for different types of cool-downs, for example, if the health cooldown also means I can’t regenerate my sanity, then the sound I hear when I can perform a health or sanity recovery action would sound the same; a different sound per affliction so I can hear what I am being afflicted by and, over time, I can learn the differences well enough to develop my own curing priorities; a sound for when I’m hit with health damage attacks, a different one for a mental attack, etc. The benefit for having sounds be server side vs client side is lag, which is crucial for high-level combat.

    2.       I have my client coded so my prompt data is shown at the bottom of my screen in the info line. This prevents the screen reader from reading the prompt any time an action is performed. If there was a server side way to do this, it would be helpful as, in Starmourn, there are different prompts for so many things. Basically, anything the admins can put in that would cut down on spam would help a lot…a whole lot.

    3.       Automatic switching of abilities. For example, I am a nanoseer. I appreciate that channeling a different empyreal takes a balance, as they will clearly be very powerful at higher levels, but it would be nice if, when I tried to use a power that required a different empyreal, it would just switch for me. I am using config UseQueueing to help with this, and it works a treat, but it would cut down on lines of code client side if this happened server side.


    Really, though, for me, the most useful and most crucial to high level engagement is the sounds package.

  • I'm very pleased to see accessibility is a priority! I'm a software engineer and the stuff I work on we also try to make as accessible as possible, so THANK YOU for soliciting this feedback!

    Despite not using a screenreader, I do have an idea! It may already be implemented, but in case:

    I would love to see a config option made available (outside of the text context of the game if possible) that lets players set which channels/messages can be skipped by the screen reader and which can't. Perhaps a way to access these controls from aliases would be helpful. I can see not wanting to see people arriving and departing when at the city center of my city, but definitely would want it on somewhere we're fighting as a group. I imagine this feature would be somewhat like the config channel colors dialogue which lets you apply a blanket design to specific channels. In the same way, it'd be cool to be able to set blanket rules about what to read out and when.
  • Basically for me, I only have one comment. Well, to you guys have been doing a wonderful job. But the only problem having is dealing with incursions, I cannot read the map. So basically when it says, for example, incursion list, I still need the   map to get to wear on going.  So something first- screan readers would be great for that Thank you very much, sign Tyson
  • edited December 2018
    Suggested by @Dorn over the NEWBIE channel:

    The prompt can be a bit spammy. Make built-in aliases that call up vitals information. It's great help, especially for the very new who may or may not have yet fiddled with their clients to gag things client-side.

    HP - calls up health
    R1 - resource 1 (nanites for Nanoseers, for example).
    R2 - resource 2 (sanity for Nanoseers)

    So on and so forth!
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • Matlkael said:
    Suggested by @Dorn over the NEWBIE channel:

    The prompt can be a bit spammy. Make built-in aliases that call up vitals information. It's great help, especially for the very new who may or may not have yet fiddled with their clients to gag things client-side.

    HP - calls up health
    R1 - resource 1 (nanites for Nanoseers, for example).
    R2 - resource 2 (sanity for Nanoseers)

    So on and so forth!
    RESOURCES was added yesterday for the latter two!
  • For the most part, I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I think the biggest issue I have for the moment is an overload of information all coming at me at once. The prompt is the big one, which was already mentioned. I would love a way to turn prompts off completely and just have commands to check hp, or ship condition or what have you.
    In that same vein, is it possible to have separate lines for PCs, NPCs and items at the end of a room description? As it stands, everything is just part of this wall of text with no line breaks or punctuation other than brackets. Below is an example of what I'm hoping for. It would make it a lot easier to check who was in a room and what is lying on the ground.

    Reynolds Spaceport: Central Terminal.                            
    Grungy and and battered, yet still maintaining a lived-in grandeur, the Reynolds Spaceport's large central terminal is topped by an opaque dome of riveted metal panels. Crowds of people flow through this circular space at all galactic-standard hours of the day, a plethora of races represented, though humans, Krona, and Elgan seem the most common. From all walks of life, many of these travelers seem to embody the gritty, hardbitten attitude of lifelong spacers. Hallways like spokes lead off to various hubs and transport gates.
    [PCs]: Dreathos, Fulcrum, Koghs, Methelius, Ronin Sa'rogue, Marshal of Scatterhome, Soto Sa'rogue, and Spacer Castle.
    [NPCs]: a crane-armed carrybot, a crane-armed carrybot, a crane-armed carrybot, a deployed turret with a mounted laser barrel, and an aerodynamic drone.
    [Items]: 3 engineers' workstations, a heavy black box of explosives, a massive syncrete post, a small hallway transport, a spiny shrapnel grenade, and the broken corpse of Vadra

    Thank you for inviting this kind of feedback, and for the game!
  • Hi,

    THanks so much for soliciting feedback. I think you are doing a great job in general.

    I wanted to comment on space flight. At the moment I find it very difficult becaUse of the near constant "location…" spam. I'm using a client which doesn't have great support for gagging,and it's impossible to fly even with autopilot when I have to listen to "location…" every few seconds.

    It would help if I could toggle that update off, especially if I'm flying in an area where I don't expect to have too many problems, like in my faction home sector.

    MOre feedback as I run into issues :)
  • Hello, I love the game so far and I have not tried space combat yet and can't wait to try it out. The only thing outside of what was said before is while flying through space, even though the ship prompt is a dash. I need a way that it does not provide location every 3 seconds. It gets really annoying. I have gagged it out in my client but wish there was a way I did not have to do that.

    Again, I want and look forward to space combat to see how accessible that is.

    Thanks for a awesome job.

  • Hi there
    Thanks for your dedication to make this game accessible to everyone. This is not an easy task do to the nature of the mud but so far so great!
    I have some suggestions.
    1. Like someone else mentioned above, I really want to disable location updates on a ship when it moves. It is very very spammy specially if you want to do combat. I actually tried an easy incursion but i couldn't hit my target because alongside of everything the location updates were the most annoying ones. I know that it is possible to gag this client side but i was hoping for a way to disable this and use a command to check my coordinates and zone until we get a community arounde starmourn and begin working on a proper soundpack.

    2. the screenreader mode requires the config, condenseroom to be off by default. this will solve the issue that one of the players also  posted here, It will put npcs/pcs/items/other things in different lines, so you won't miss them when you run around with a screen reader.

    3. space maps. This can be achieved by the community itself, but is there a way for you guys to dump the known space map into some sort of excel database? or maybe a command that would  tell you the nearest zones. I'm trying to come with an idea for blind players to have a better understanding of the space map, e.g. where each zone is and such. I am guessing that it's going to be very annoying for others if i repeatedly ask where things are in space, hopefully someone comes with a good idea here?

    Now this last paragraph is for my fellow blind players. the developers of this game would not be able to put their time on designing a soundpack for us. It is mostly our own responsibility to build that with the help of the tools that we have  and the helpful changes the devs of this game can make for us.
  • I think there is an IRE (Lusternia? I think?) wherein location updates could be configured to every room, or to every X number of rooms (3, or 5, or whatever). Maybe that could be something that Starmourn implements.

    And, since we have dangerous things like suns littering the space, maybe 10 rooms or so around the sun, the location update overrides automatically to update every room going in (with a notice that it's because of a sun).
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • I have another suggestion as well for ship combat.
    When you lock onto a target, could we also get a command that would give us our target's direction and distance in one line?
    Currently with a screen reader i have to type ship beacon and go through all the objects reading through the coordinates to find out where my target is.

  • I appreciate all the accessibility updates.
    Now, what would be useful is some kind of autotargetting once any kind of fight starts, so we wouldn't need to check the spelling of the spiderax or other NPC'S. so we'd just tipe bot claw...and the game would know what we fight.
    Also, some kind of messages on where the enemy ships are or something would be cool. like...
    defender KXM 5se, Platform 1s, etc. Thanks.
  • Hey annellin
    type st then your target's name.
    then you can type ability names without having to type your target.
  • Shikh has started putting together a system for VI players using MUSHclient - - great work!
  • My two biggest issues from a screenreader perspective have been space combat and gas scooping. It seems scopping it not at all accessible currently, and incursions give such an overload of information it's impossible to know where ships are, which way to turn, and all that. Otherwise I'm having a great time. 
  • Hi, currently after tryingto tether an asteroid, I'm finding that it's very hard to do with a screen reader.
    the reason for this is that if you do not have a tracker beam, by the time your screen reader can read out the information that you need, the asteroid as already moved and has stop the tethering process.
    for now, if there is any way to lower the requirements  to use a tracker beam, that would be great.
    We also are still not able to scoop for gas because in order to do so, we still need to use the map.
    Please let me know if I need to clarify any points in regards to tethering asteroids.
    I'm hoping this can be a quick fix.
  • This is great feedback! We're definitely going to be tweaking the gas/asteroid mechanisms to make them better/easier for screereaders! We wholeheartedly agree that it's a bit too tough to do at the moment.
  • what I'm thinking is some sort of tracking system.
    how that would work is you would type track and then the name of the item/ship you wish to track.
    once you start tracking, it will tell you the direction/distance.
    this way, we don't need to keep typing scan and having to try and wait until the information we need is spoken.
    barring that, maybe filters can be applied based on how you would like to see your scan and would you would like to see.
    Just some food for thought.
  • I like the new changes however, it's still very hard to track the asteroids and be able to keep them 1 unit away long enough to tether.
  • I've been hacking on a MUSHclient pack for Starmourn.

    So far I've set up a data model that's kept in sync with the world through GMCP messages, so, for instance, you can relyably refer to properties like player.hp and count on them being current.

    I've used this to set up a hotkey-driven status system, so you can hit alt+h and get your current health, for instance. The client in general is still pretty prototypish, but this all works quite well.
    I have everything I need to build audio prompts, but haven't implemented that yet.

    I've also started work on building infrastructure for adding game sounds, though that's its own huge bucket of fish. Note: if you wish to help with the incredibly-large soundpack, send me an ingame message.

    What I most need now from Starmourn is access to the starmap as its own command, rather than something sent like a prompt.
    This will allow me to parse it out and be able to implement accessibility on top of it in whatever way best fits, be that a focus-based system, multidimensional sound, whatever.

    Alternatively some sort of gmcp messages for space would be awesome.

    Again, feel free to reach out if you would like to help with any part of this, from collecting triggers for the soundpack, to finding sounds, to writing code, or even better, documentation!

  • shikh said:end me an ingame message.

    What I most need now from Starmourn is access to the starmap as its own command, rather than something sent like a prompt.
    This will allow me to parse it out and be able to implement accessibility on top of it in whatever way best fits, be that a focus-based system, multidimensional sound, whatever.

    SPACELOC is an on-demand command to show what zone you're in and what your coords are within that zone.
  • Is there a reason it has a balance requirement?
  • I'm assuming it's to prevent spamming/datamining, and therefore lagging out the rest of the game.
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • Unless spaceloc is doing different things for me it's not what I need. When config screenreader is set to off, any command on a ship also reproduces an ascii map. I need a command to just get this map when screenreader mode is on. I can then parse it into a 2d array, and, for instance, allow the user to arrow around it like a table, or use it to set coordinates of sounds that correspond to the different symbols.

  • Ok, SPACEMAP will show you the map, regardless of screenreader setting now - enjoy!
  • Please send a string before sending the map like you do for the starchart when it's invoked through this command. I can do multi-line triggers but need to be able to match the first line.

  • Since it shows up on the spacemap as different colours, anyway, could gas type also be included in the SHIP BEACON line? Thanks!
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
  • Right now, Celestine is implementing FHELP SCREENREADER as a screenreader-friendly version of our FHELP index with links to the screenreader-friendly versions of all of our files. It would be nice if the other orgs could do something similar.
  • Yeah avoid using ASCII and pseudo tables :)
    Mereas Eyrlock
    "They're excited, but poor."
    - Ilyos (August 2019)
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