Playing Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Nonvisually
There is no topic for "Games", so I hope this goes to the correct people.
The new Age of Empires: Definitive Edition comes with self-voicing menus and narration which makes the game 85% accessible. There are a set of minor changes that need to be added, such as navigating the unit menu with the keyboard, reading tooltips when arrowing over units, making space select or click by default, and adding a grid view to the map. Other than this, all menus are completely readable, units are all labeled, there is keyboard access on everything but the unit menu and map, and most of the work has already been done to make this game completely accessible.
The needed changes are all very minor, and they will make one of the most iconic games completely accessible to nonvisual users. I'm wondering how I can help further this effort? I am a blind designer and programmer.
Here is what I would do:
1. I would sit down with a sighted Age of Empire Player, and write down exactly all the issues there are with accessing everything nonvisually.
2. File the issues in the bug tracker, with solutions for features that are not already added, such as creating a grid view for the map.
3. Once the issues have been implemented, repeat step one and 2 until it looks as if all major aspects of game play can be accessed through the keyboard and speech.
4. I would post the game on audiogames.net and monitor bug reports and feedback from that forum to improve the nonvisual experience.
I estimate that there will be around 20 minor issues, and maybe 2 or 3 larger issues. It should not take long at all to fix what will be needed to make this game playable.
I am extremely excited that Microsoft added in such a robust narration into AEO by default, and I can't wait to see the last 15% of the UI be made accessible.
Please let me know how I can help.
Muhammad Bassam commented
I wanted to ask a question Brandon, I am sorry I have not played that game that you've been mentioning but in general what is more easy and faster hovering your cursor over stuff as the narrator reads or using it by giving voice commands to the machine.
Katherine Moss commented
I think this would be a great idea; a big step towards more accessible mainstream gaming, which is what we need. I, too, am blind.
Thanks for sharing this feedback with us Brandon. We're going to pass this information on to the engineering team. Please continue to leave your feedback here and upvote posts that you agree with.