Just a couple of days a go an EVE Online user (Gen. Orion) approached me on twitter and told me the following:

“Not sure if you would be interested, but I would appreciate it if you would support an effort to make EVE Online accessible to the blind? If not an article, a tweet would be appreciated. I believe it’s a viable task for CCP to accomplish relatively easily and was originally spurred for my blind wife @Singing_Kitty and her visually impaired friends as well as others in the community.” – Gen. Orion

And I didn´t even have to think about it, since I love to help people out when ever I can. So as soon as I had finished my Christmas dinner with my family, I took a look at Gen´s request for me (us). And good thing that, since I found out that Gen is far from alone in wanting more disability friendly video games.

smartspecs

The smartspecs will have a retail price around £700 ($1100) on release, which will be sometime next year.

Anyhow, as I was saying. Gen. Orion would love to see CCP adding some kind of screen reader support (such as NVDA and voiceover) for their sci-fi Mmorpg EVE Online. So that his wife (her friends and other blind Gamers) would be able to enjoy EVE just like everybody else. I´m all for that of course, sadly enough though. I´m not quite sure how keen CCP is to add such a feature to EVE. However, not so long ago I read about SmartSpecs (developed by Oxford scientists), Intel´s real-world assistive technology (which is based on Intel RealSense cameras and wearable sensors), and texts such as “Virtual Reality Technology for Blind and Visual Impaired People: Reviews and Recent Advances” and “Applications of Virtual Reality for Visually Impaired People“. And when I heard Orion´s story about his blind wife and her wish to be able to play EVE Online. I just thought for myself perhaps there is a way for CCP to add a VR or screen reader support to EVE after all?.

oculus rift

Will the Oculus Rift take the gaming experience to the next level?

Then I saw a really interesting comment by Gisander (who´s a moderator at game-accessibility.com) on EVE´s forum:

“I am a moderator at www.game-accessibility.com and a long time Eve player. I have frequently said that a lot of parts of EvE:online could certainly be played by blind gamers if screenreaders could reach the information needed. There will be parts of the game that would still be practically undo-able even with proper screenreader support; but one of the beauties of EvE is that is has so many different “professions” to pick from that are intermingled trough the shared universe, and the fact that a player doesn’t take up a “raid or party slot” and drag the entire group average down.

Even if the blind gamer would not be able to play at the top most level (and you would be surprised about what they can accomplish! I have seen blind gamers kicking ass like no other!) they would still be able to help at their own level. And most blind gamers I know would love to be able to simply help their friends out in EvE. I highly recommend giving this some serious thought. Headlines like “EvE:online now accessible to be played by the blind” would make a lot of blind gamers rush to try it and would be cool headlines in any case.” – Gisander, game-accessibility

And I think that Gisander made some really good points by his/her comment, like the fact that many blind Gamer´s would probably love to get a chance to play EVE together with people from all around the world. Even so, CCP still needs to take a look at the technical aspects of VR and screen reader support for EVE. As I´m not quite sure if it´s something that would cost a lot of money (and work hours) to implement into the game. In my opinion, though, I think that CCP would gain a lot in the long run by doing so. As there are quite a lot of blinder Gamers out there (maybe they could become a new consumer group for CCP and EVE?).

Not only that, “if” CCP decides to implement screen reader (and maybe VR) support to EVE, and “if” it becomes a big hit. Then “maybe” other developers will follow their lead as well. In other words, CCP could become a trend-setter in the games industry within that field. And who knows? If everything works out really great, then there might even be a major technology boost for blind people also (technology which could make their Gaming and everyday life better). Time will tell I guess, still, I truly hope that more Gamer´s with disabilities will have a chance to enjoy games just like everyone else in the near future.

With that said, what do you guys think about all of this? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Credit:
Gen. Orion
Gisander

Source:
Virtual Reality Interactive Environments for the Blind
forums.eveonline.com

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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8 Comments ON " Wouldn´t it be cool if the blind could enjoy EVE O... "
  • Yumene/Erika Mizune

    Morning!

    I first want to say; great article here! I am a fellow Eve player that agrees that there should be more options for players that play with disabilities, and it’s something that I have always been very strong on. CCP does have a lot of options out there to make Eve more accessible and I hope they do see this as well to give them an eye opener. Making Eve accessable will open the door to a lot more potential players that WANT to play Eve, but can’t due to limitations.

    What I also think is needed is for us (with disabilities) to have a voice on new features and voice ideas with CCP. This, I think is important because they may not see how what we do. To help give that voice, myself (Erika Mizune) and my good friend (Joffy Aulx-Gao) are both running for CSM on platforms that center in on this issue.

    For those reading and don’t know what the CSM is: CSM (Council of Stellar Managment) is a player elected focus group that works with CCP and acts as voices for the players to give feedback and share ideas. It’s an election that is run once a year, and while it’s in it’s 10th term currently, there hasen’t really been a player focused on accessability as part of their platforms. This we feel needs to change.

    We both currently have some great ideas that we would love to give CCP and provide that voice for the players and we are both working hard to get our voices out there and become elected into the council.

    What we would like to ask, is if you would be willing to join us on Skype to discuss other ideas that you have that we can present on our campaigns and to CCP themselves. We would greatly appreciate it!

    Yours,

    ~ Erika Mizune

    Erika Mizune’s Information:
    Campaign Thread: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=448869
    Contact: @djyumene (Twitter), yumenechan (Skype), [email protected] (E-Mail)

    Joffy Aulx-Gao’s Information:
    Campaign Thread: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=448664
    Contact: @JoffyAulxGao (Twitter), jof258 (Skype), [email protected] (E-Mail)

    • Thank you Erika =) I´m glad to hear that you enjoyed it 😉 absolutely, and think that virtual reality could help Gamers with disabilities for sure (VR is already helping wounded soldiers, for example). And it shouldn´t have to be like that, in my opinion. Wow! That´s some great news at least. I´ll do my best to get the word out =) Best of luck to you and your friends!

  • Lodewijk Gonggrijp

    I’m all for this but CCP is a business, and one with serious financial issues at that.
    The chance that they will spend real money developing this is zero.
    The target market is a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage.

    • Fair enough. However, CCP “might” be able to get some founding via their government? Or, perhaps they could start a Kickstarter campaign for it? I don´t have any stats or numbers. So I can´t answer that one, at least not for now.

      • Lodewijk Gonggrijp

        As you say, CCP has many play styles, some of which might be adapted for players with disabilities with little effort and much PR profit, which might even make the investors interested in doing it.
        I for one will be donating some $$$ to http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/ when I am out of red numbers. They do good work.

        • Absolutely, and I gave this post to CCP last week actually. So “hopefully” CCP will look into this matter asap. I´m glad to hear it =) Yep. I do donate cash whenever I can as well.

  • Tarsas Phage

    CCP has always been staunchly anti-botting when it comes to Eve, and rightly so as it has been proven in times past that bots can have a non-trivial impact on the game’s economy and tactics. I’d wager that the implementation of screen reader support might garner some resistance from CCP and players alike because, while indispensable for blind players, its innate “dual-use” ability could also be used to enable a type of bot that CCP has tried very hard for years to eradicate from the game, with success.

    • I didn´t know about that, but that´s a fair statement for sure. So, what about virtual reality support then?

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