Hi All,
Well, I figured I'd start this little periodic action report with a bit of background. The current situation is easy enough to summarize, and there are a few access issues I need to mention too. To begin with, Aurora requires a high screen resolution. Aside from the irony of a blind person worrying about such a thing, there is so much information presented that it wouldn't fit in a lower one. I run the game in a virtual machine, so changing the resolution was not difficult. Minimum required is 1280x1024. There is a way to make Windows XP at least use an "unsupported" resolution, with a disclaimer from Microsoft. I don't believe it is any real danger, but the warning applies anyway. Another thing I've done this game is turn on Jaws's ability to speak tool tips automatically. There is an option under verbocity settings to enable this. Aurora's screens are full of controls with detailed tool tips, which are very helpful in figuring out some of the more obscure buttons. Now to the actual game. The current year is 2033, and I am playing as the human race on Earth. The solar system in which I find myself is the same one we all know and love from basic astronomy, complete with asteroids, comets, and moons. I should explain that the premice of the game revolves around the discovery of around a dozen "trans-newtonian elements", which allow things like faster-than-light travel, practical space weaponry, etc. Earth's supplies of TN minerals are rather limited, so my first order of business was to design survey ships to go out into the solar system and search for more of them. The ship design screen is composed of multiple tabs, but I generally only use two of them. The most complicated by far is the Design View, which contains a couple different list boxes along with buttons to add components to the design, control how many are added or removed by using those buttons, etc. The list boxes require use of the Jaws cursor currently, and are divided up into two columns: the components currently on the ship and those that are available to be added to it. Telling them appart can be a little tricky at first. I find the shortcut keys provided, such as alt+a to add a component, absolutely invaluable. Well, this is turning into a long post... So I'll cut it off here and continue in Part 2 with more about the current situation and design, among other things.

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