Hi Tom,

Yeah, I definitely understand where you were coming from. For example,
yesterday afternoon I was writing up descriptions in Windows Notepad
and so I tried to describe a diamond. I know what one looks like in my
head, but trying to describe it in words is harder than it looks. If
someone were to ask me what color are diamonds I'd have to reply they
are usually opaque. Anyone who could see would probably know what I'm
talking about. It is not clear, kind of foggy, but it doesn't have any
color either. It is sort of semi-clear. I began to realise right then
what I'm thinking isn't very practical for a totally blind gamer.

The entire premise of writing up descriptions of things is to give
someone a visual image of what Angela is looking at. Size, color,
shape, etc. All or most of it assumes the person knows what colors
are. However, someone blind from birth thinks of the world differently
like size, shape, weight, texture, smell, etc. Basically, anything
they can touch or smell not what something looks like to the naked
eye. Since being blind is more or less a new thing for me I still
think more in sighted terms and only default to touch and smell if and
when I think the verble description fails to give me a clear idea of
what something looks like visually.

I think that this is a big difference in perception. I'm trying to
climb my way back to being sighted by adding textual descriptions to
this, that, and the other thing that is meaningful to me personally.
Problem is I want a description that draws a visual image of the item
Angela's looking at. I wouldn't be as keen on reading a description
that is from the perspective of it feels like this, smells like that,
sounds like this, because what I'm after is color, weather or not it
is shiny or dull, etc. Those are visual concepts.

That's not to say descriptions aren't useful to a blind gamer though.
For example, when I think of Greek gold coins I can easily remember
seeing a gold coin from around 450 B.C. with the face of Athena on one
side and the image of an owl on the other. It was a beautiful coin,
and there are plenty of those in private collections. However, even
though that description wouldn't help a blind person see it, per say,
it might give them an idea of how ancient coins were made around the
time Athens was experimenting with democracy. It makes the gold coins
in the game a little more historical than just being a faceless,
nameless, gold coin. It uses an actual historical coin to add
historical depth to the game.


On 2/12/11, Tom Randall <kf6...@comcast.net> wrote:
> Hi Tom and all.
> This is indeed a very fascinating topic Thomas.  I too am an historian by
> education, my B.A. and M.A. are in history although I'm currently an access
> technology instructor.  I am also very fond of mythology and classical
> literature.  I see I have a couple of kindred spirits on here.
> But back to your topic.  I remember having some very fascinating discussions
> with my art teacher in high school, she was very interested in finding out
> how a blind person perceives the world and how it differs from that of a
> sighted person.  I frankly don't recall all the details but suffice it to
> say that as you are of course very aware yourself there are some very
> significant differences.  Just for one example, there is the matter of
> perspective.  When a sighted person views an object say from a couple
> hundred meters versus a couple of meters, the object in question appears to
> be smaller.  As someone who has never had sight that would not have occurred
> to me at all.  The closest thing we have is that as we get further away from
> a sound source the sound seems to get quieter.
> I like your idea of being able to examine objects and of adding more things
> and more atmosphere, I too used to enjoy things like text adventures because
> they provide more depth, but they just do not provide the live action of a
> video game which I find my tastes have kind of shifted to over the years.
> You are right to think that you are not going to be able to describe these
> things adequately very easily if at all.  One thing you have to keep in
> mind, it's well and good to say that this creature or god has the body of a
> man and the head of a jaguar, but again as someone who has never seen or
> felt a jaguar and is not likely to, this is still not going to mean a heck
> of a lot to a lot of your players.  Ditto for colors, you can say that this
> creature is covered with blue and green scales and that is fine for someone
> like myself who used to have good light perception and color perception but
> for someone who has never seen colors there is simply no accurate way to
> convey that information. You can use all the adjectives you want, a color is
> warm or cool or what have you, but as someone who has seen before you
> certainly know how inaccurate that is.
> Please do not misconstrue this message, in no way am I discouraging you from
> pursuing your goal as you know I am one of the mainstream gamers on this
> list and that is one of the reasons why, ven with the limited types of games
> we can play on consoles the degree of complexity and depth are amazing so I
> am all for that in audio games as much as possible.  This message is just to
> mainly try to convey and hopefully clarify the difficulties you are facing
> in this quest you are on to provide richer content and I hope it will give
> you some more ideas because the ones you have so far are pretty darn good.
> Best regards,
> Tom

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