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Audyssey;Games Accessible to the Blind

Issue 47: First quarter, 2006

Edited by Ron Schamerhorn

Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

 

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Welcome

Welcome to the forty-seventh issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to the discussion of games which, through accident or design, are accessible to the blind either with or without sighted assistance.

Audyssey is now gearing up to celebrate it's 10th  year in publication!  This issue is well packed with information and reviews for just about any taste in gaming.  Some super news in the letters section both thoughtful and informative, news from many of the developers, and reviews of the latest releases/discoveries On the gaming fronts.  Along with a pole we hope everyone will participate in details below!

Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs are placed above any articles or sections. Within these sections, two plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use their search capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers to letters have a single plus-sign before them.

 

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Contents:

Welcome

From The Editor

Letters

The Ultimate let-down

A few puzzles

Our upcoming pole

News From Game Developers

Game Announcements and Reviews

Contacting Us

Distribution Information and Submission Policies

 

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From The Editor:

 

  Firstly let me say I'm sorry for the delay in the current issue of the Audyssey magazine.  Presently Yahoo and my ISP don't seem to be working together all that well.  Thusly I've resubscribed about once a week to the various Yahoo lists I'm a part of.  Between that and of course other obligations in life it's been difficult to get everything together for this issue.

  I feel this again has become a nice mag for my #47!

  I really hope that people take part in the survey, as the talley will be completely based on what the readership thinks of various games.  So send it along.

  There's a couple of neat ideas around for Audyssey's 10th anniversary!  Possibly new directions or additions to what is already there.  I hope you all enjoy it. 

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Letters

 

  Allow me to mention that the last few days have provided some intriguing posts to the discussion list.  I'm not attempting to post all that has been said, rather selecting a few that raise a point or two worth pondering.  There are a couple of topics which I'll mark in the usual manner of Audyssey with the 2 + signs.  I hope the discussion of these points continue in the community.

 

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Hi Chris (and everyone else),

 

Maybe you missed my post about this year's GDC and the Game Accessibility

project (look for "Get heard at the 2006 Game Developers Conference!"). In

this post, I ask everyone to write down their experiences, ideas, thoughts,

wishes so I can collect those and put it on the CD which will be handed out

at the GDC, as well as be put on a page on the Game Accessibility project

website. For you to get heard, there hasn't been a better time. Take that

chance to communicate your ideas and thoughts on accessible gaming to the

professional game industry.

 

For more, please look at:

http://forum.audiogames.net/viewtopic.php?id=527

 

Deadline is somewhere in the first week of March.

 

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Hello,

Speaking of ants and elephants, has anyone  tried  this. Instead of talking

to  game companies, try to talk to gaming magazines for the sighted.

The fact of the matter is, these magazines are  constantly in the  bid for

reviewing and  interviewing games and games related news.

What's more, they usually have a bonus CD come with each issue filled with

old games from the past, and new demos of up and coming sighted games.

Perhaps  the Editor of Audissey or some other word smith  with a CD of maybe

the top five  of accessible demos and games could write up a story, submit

the story and CD  and see if any of those magazines would bite, and print it

and  distribute some of the games and demos on  their magazine Bonus CD.

I know, that if I was  a sighted gamer I  would be at least  curious in

seeing what blind games are like. It would at the very least  get some

coverage. These game companies might ignore  some email, but they read these

magazines I would almost garantee  it

So the anser to that question,  If you want to get the attention of an

elaphant? Talk to the birds that land on the elephants back.lol

  It might be worth a try, if nothing else.

 

I understand this is probably as likely as flying pigs to drop pots of gold

on my front lawn, but a teacher once told me this little saying.

 If you ask, there is a  chance they might say yes, if you don't ask, there

is a 100% chance they will say no.

 

Does this sound like a good idea, or  has this been tried before?

Well that is my two cents for the day.

Thanks for reading,

 

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10 functional games.  This came from another list I'm on but thought perhaps someone might enjoy the link.

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6464_7-6300449.html

 

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I normally wouldn't post something like this here but this most interesting

article caught my attention. This is worth reading and you can read the

article at:

 

http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw070207

 

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Hi gang. OK, I've launched the new

www.asmodean.net.

While the whole

site is not devoted to games there is a games section on it. In fact the

games page is probably the biggest shtml file there. From the games

section you can get to the Top Speed server page as well but that

address has not changed either. For Top Speed the address is still

http://topspeed.asmodean.net

but I have re-written this page as well.

 

If you are totally blind the next part of this email will not interest

you much. I've used cascading style sheets and tried to give the site a

nice contrasting color so if you do have vision or partial vision you

should be able to read it with no problems. For the main background I

use an antique white with dark blue lettering. The headers are maroon

with a white background. The links are still regular blue on white but

as you tab to them they will turn red. Hopefully the site will be cool

to you all.

 

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Here Here. And it's not just blind people interested in older style

games. At Wal-Mart one can for $30 or so buy a little hand-held device

which connects to the A/V of a receiver or your television and one can

play the classic 80's arcade Pacman, MS Pacman, Space Invaders, etc.

There are about 4 or 5 games in each cartrage and one can buy more for

around $10 or $15. The unit runs off of 4 AA batteries. Not accessable

to a totally blind person yet these are selling a lot. Who buys them? I

bet you mainly people over 30 do but I have seen kids get them too. My

daughter has learned to appreciate the things which were popular when I

was a kid. Things from 80's music to 80's games are just a few of them.

Do we have one of these devices? You bet we do. Much better for the kids

I think than the violence-filled games out today.

 

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The Ultimate Let-down

By Michael Feir

 

During this past quarter, I've gone through an all-consuming experience

which has just ended in an utterly disappointing fashion. Nothing has ever

so completely hooked me in as the prospect of having the decades old dream

of playing a classic video game like Montezuma's Revenge be inches away only

to have some circumstance push the release back yet again. I can fully

understand what people awaiting the next Harry Potter book or Star Wars film

must have felt like. That sense of something delicious being just barely

beyond reach can be pretty overpowering. Other than that sense you get as a

kid on Christmas Eve trying earnestly to go to sleep in the hope that Santa

will then be able to deliver your presents, I can't think of anything that

comes close. It certainly prevented me from focusing on any of my projects

very much. Now, I know how it would feel like to all the Harry Potter fans

if the final book was nearing completion and somebody killed or

incapacitated J. K. Rouling so that she couldn't or wouldn't ever take up

her pen to finish her masterpiece. God willing, Mrs. Rouling will be able to

end the nail-biting suspense of her fans on a positive note and be rewarded

for her long patient efforts. I'm not, incidentally, a Harry Potter fan.

However, I can appreciate what she must have gone through to create such a

compelling saga. However, as luck would have it, the one game which has

consumed me so completely as Monty has is the one game I'll never get to

play. To say that I'm angry and disappointed at this turn of events is

beyond an understatement.

 

James North has finally run completely out of patience with the blind

community and has pulled the plug on all of the titles he's been working on..

I won't even attempt to describe the absolute dismay and disappointment this

is to me. As most of you know, I had a lot of personal reasons to be

especially keen for Montezuma's Revenge to be released. To have a classic

video game like that in a form I could play without sighted assistance has

been a dream of mine since around age ten. If anybody had the skill to pull

something like that off well, it's James North. He has consistently given us

games which bring true arcade challenge to blind players.

 

Pretty much all the way through this tortuous process, I've been able to

sympathize with both sides of the story. On the one hand, people certainly

had some legitimate reason for being annoyed with James. After so many

instances of being told that the game was nearly out and then being let

down, I can appreciate their frustration. I certainly experienced that quite

keenly myself. I spent a good chunk of New Year's Eve keeping watch hoping

to find that James would finally live up to a deadline he set himself.

Through it all, what sustained me was my faith that James would eventually

come through with a completed game as long as the community didn't give him

too much crap. To my utter anguish and fury, that's precisely what the

community has done.

 

People have to get rid of this stupid "it's a business" mentality where they

hold developers of accessible games as accountable as large companies. It's

simply preposterous. There just isn't the economic base in the blind

community to support such an enterprise. Kind and talented folks make

accessible games out of a sense of compassion for people who are otherwise

left out of a form of entertainment which has stimulated and enriched the

sighted world for nearly three decades. Some do it with the clear intention

to make at least some profit from their work. Others share their creations

for free. Regardless, they all at least start out with an honest empathy and

desire to provide us with new fun. People, that kindness and compassion

which brings them to our cause frankly deserves a whole lot more leeway for

mistakes than has been shown here. These people usually have to do something

 else to support themselves and likely their family. If that isn't the case,

as in my unemployed circumstances, we still have the stresses, enjoyments,

and other elements of the rest of our lives to contend with. As people on

the Blindgamers list now know, James had a number of very difficult life

issues. He is a somewhat private man and didn't want them publicly known

about. Trying to defend and support him over the past year and a bit without

revealing any of the details of precisely what was delaying him was no easy

task. Now, somebody has gone and let quite a bit of that information out of

the bag. James originally wanted to end things on a high note despite all of

the crap life sent his way. He thought he was past caring about what the

community thought of him. This quite understandable attitude lead him to

make a number of bad choices which I did my best to warn him against. He was

going to finish three final games for his loyal customers and then close

down after doing what he said he would. All he required from us was some

much-deserved encouragement and more importantly patience. Sadly, despite

the best efforts of myself and many other supporters, the shrieks of spoiled

brats who didn't get their game pronto won out. A relatively small number of

very vocal people have wrecked things for the rest of us and essentially

made their suspicions reality. James isn't leaving on a high note. He's been

pushed just about as low as it's possible to go. He can't even leave with

his private life kept private. I can only hope that people get enough of a

sense of the torment James went through over the past six years to wake up

and realize how petty their cries of "fowl" sound next to all that.

 

Some people have remarked that it's better that James has decided to offer

refunds and call it quits. In a sense, that might well be true. It may let

the rest of the industry slowly build up trust assuming developers can avoid

the pitfalls James has encountered. I certainly don't hold him completely

blameless. After the first release date failed, I would simply have waited

until the game was fully finished and actually available before announcing

any more dates. That repeated experience of being let down, in my judgment,

set him up for a lot of the doubts and worse undeserved accusations of

wrong-doing he was then subjected to. It would have served him so much

better if he had kept people informed of what aspects of the game he was

working on and not given any specific timeframes. I tried to point this out

to him many times. However, he had already been so jaded and beaten down by

his detractors that he was essentially beyond caring enough to really accept

even gentle constructive criticism from one of his most avid fans. It's not

better at all that things ended this way. I doubt any developer is going to

try offering pre-orders any time in the foreseeable future. The faith just

isn't there. People will be able to point to this whole incident as an

example of why one shouldn't trust people failing to mention that the only

reason things came about like they have was their own collective uncaring

inflexible impatience. This community has lost three fantastic games which

would have been tremendous examples to new developers and heaping endless

fun for us gamers. They have also lost a lot of the loyalty and empathy of

game developers like me. I think this whole incident has made Ron's job as

editor of Audyssey a whole lot harder in the future. Developers are going to

read into this episode the wrong way and choose not to reveal information

ahead of time so they won't get dragged through the mud for it later.

Unfortunately, this will have the effect of causing less overall interest in

accessible games. They take so long to produce that there has to be some

information between games to keep people interested and aware that

developments are occurring. Fortunately, I've seen enough excellence and

enough appreciative people to prevent me from packing it in completely. I'm

going to take some time to re-evaluate my own level of commitment to this

community over the next while.

 

As utterly disappointed as I am with James's ultimate decision to pull up

stakes, I can't find it in my heart to blame him. There are doubtless more

thoughtful and deserving disadvantaged communities he can turn his limited

spare time and energy to. As this new year began, I felt that we had at last

finally collectively begun to learn from our mistakes. However, I was proved

wrong once again. Even after James released a playable demo of Monty, he was

still subjected to the same idiocy. Short of actually producing the finished

product, there wasn't anything else which could have been produced to prove

that there actually was a nearly finished fantastic game on the way. Even

that wasn't enough for people who felt they had been unfairly treated. The

doubts, criminal accusations and complaints continued. They were the last

straw for James. They were also the last straw for my ability to see both

sides of this whole mess. I could still have some sympathy for people's

impatience even after the manual was put out. However, once the demo was

released, that should at least have stopped the accusations of lying and

such that continued. I'm surprised James put as much effort into fixing the

errors in the demo as he did rather than just charge ahead with the final

product and call it a day once it was released.

 

The evening after I learned the bad news, I contacted James. Other than

having an interesting chat, I had three objectives. I had to know why, after

all he went through and all I had gone through in support of him, that he

had ultimately decided to prove his detractors right and not ultimately

release even one game. I was certainly bitterly disappointed and frustrated

with that decision. It's very hard not to feel angry faced with a final

let-down after so many smaller ones before it. Basically, he wasn't getting

a good enough return on the time and energy he was exerting in terms of both

cash and more importantly the good will of the community. All they had to do

was wait and he would have eventually come through. However, they couldn't

even do that and so we've all lost big time. A relatively small number of

bad apples have cost the blind gaming community the dedication of one of its

most innovative and skilled developers. I of course asked him if there was

any possible way he could at least finish Monty. He responded quite

reasonably that each of his other projects had their deserving and devoted

followers. My final objective was to make certain he knew that at least one

of his eager fans could look beyond the thunderous disappointment and still

cared about the man who let me down. I'm very thankful to him for releasing

the demo and will treasure that always. At last, I was able to show my

father a game just like the ones he used to help me have a sense of playing

as a child. He was able to experience for himself how the sound enabled me

to navigate the first temple. He could also share the excitement of knowing

what a treat I was ultimately in for when the full game came out. It was a

thrill beyond words to be able to do that. James has also inspired me to try

to develop my own accessible game. This community owes him more of a debt of

gratitude than is generally known. He did an awful lot to support both

myself and the community I was trying to start up. I thanked him for all of

this and made certain that he knows that he's still got a true friend in me..

 

That's not always easy to do when you've just been put through such a

rollercoaster ride ending in a fatal drop. I have no doubt that at least

some of his other supporters have done the same. I don't pretend for a

moment that it's reasonable to expect people in the community to go to that

length although I wish it was. However, I sincerely hope that the idiots who

have cost us so much good will with their insistence on getting a game out

in timely fashion regardless of other considerations have finally learned

something. James doesn't see a lot of hope for the kind of high-quality

games he would have provided us with in the future. Given the amount of

agony he's gone through, I can certainly see where his cynicism comes from.

He's always tried to make good and been very poorly rewarded for his

efforts. However, I don't completely agree with this      outlook. We have a

small group of game developers out there who are always improving on their

work. There are also some developers whose efforts we have yet to

experience. James's departure, particularly under these excruciating

circumstances, does not signal the death of accessible gaming. It's a very

brutal wake-up call that those of us into instant gratification and

empowerment had better heed. Like it or not, we're a small market who is to

some extent always going to be relying on the good will of talented people

for our entertainment. Wining about not getting our fair money's worth just

won't do us any ultimate good at all. I'm glad that on balance, developers

try their best to honor commitments they make and treat their hobby like a

business. However, we who benefit from their efforts simply have to give

them more of the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong or "real life"

intervenes as it so clearly has in James's case.

 

You'll doubtless notice that there's no Fearless Flin developer diary this

time. I felt pretty bad about that for a while having a perhaps

overdeveloped sense of responsibility to this community. I've made something

like forty or fifty small changes to the design document, but certainly

haven't accomplished anything noteworthy. Largely, that was due to being on

the edge of obsession waiting for Monty to come out plus the holidays plus a

bout of insomnia. Thanks to the demo James released, I've been freed from

the paralysis of not knowing how the game would work. It might seem odd to

people that having experienced the demo, I nevertheless find it at least a

little easier to deal with not ever getting to play the full product. I find

it somewhat counter-intuitive myself. I guess there's some truth to that

saying about "better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at

 all." Over the next while, I'll be more focused on efforts to change

community dynamics and hopefully interest some newcomers to join up. We have

to tip the scales more in the game developer's favor. I think we've all

clearly seen how unrestrained consumerism can shoot us in the foot. At

least, I sincerely hope we have. Against what is perhaps better judgment, I'll

take it as fact that we've collectively learned the right lesson and are

ready to bring in new blood. We need their fresh patience, thankfulness,

input and new ideas. Perhaps, we can attract some new talent who will then

find a more patient more positive audience for their efforts.

 

At times like this, it's all too tempting to lash out or distance myself

from such an active position in the accessible gaming community. Indeed, my

first draft of this article could have peeled paint from walls. I was so

crushed and justifiably furious that I wrote something which didn't even

attempt to channel my feelings constructively. However, I refuse to let the

death of one deeply held dream be an excuse to willfully destroy another. I'm

working on my game as much for myself as for the community at large. I also

have a vested interest in seeing the community improve and mature. Whether I

ultimately succeed in making my own game or not, I want to be certain that I'll

have more games to play during the rest of my life. I also want to have

fellow people interested in sharing their thoughts with me. Games are so

much more powerful, even single player ones, when there's a community to

share one's experiences with. To that end, I'll continue my efforts to help

this community grow and become stronger. Ron has a lot of plans for making

this year, the tenth year for Audyssey Magazine, a special one. I'll do

everything I can to see that come to pass. It'll take precedence over even

game development. I've said my piece and let go of my monty mania as best I

can. I still have a faint hope that somebody else will one day try to bring

this classic game or an even better sidescroller to fruition. It won't be

the same as what we could have had, but I can live with that. Until next

time, happy reading.

 

Michael Feir

 

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A few puzzles

1. Grab a  calculator. (you won't be able to do this one in

your head)

2. Key in the  first three digits of your phone number (not

the area code)

3. Multiply by  80

4. Add 1

5. Multiply by 250

6. Add the last 4 digits of your phone  number

7. Add the last 4 digits of your phone number again.

8. Subtract  250

9. Divide number by 2

 

Do you recognize the  answer?

 

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More puzzles

 
Puzzles Galore
1.   The Flight Around The World


            A group of aeroplanes is based on a small island.  The tank of each plane holds just enough fuel to take it half-way around the world.  Any desired amount of fuel may be transferred from the tank of one plane to the tank of another whilst the planes are in flight.  The only source of fuel is on the island,  and for the purposes of this problem it is assumed that there is no time lost in refuelling either in the air or on the ground.

            What is the smallest number of planes that will ensure the flight, non-stop, of one plane around the world on a great circle assuming that each of the planes has the same constant ground speed and rate of fuel consumption, and that all planes return safely to their island base?

2.   Who Is The Engineer?
            Smith, Jones and Robinson are engineer, brakeman and fireman on a train but not necessarily in that order.  Also riding the train are three passengers with the same three surnames, to be identified in the following premises with a "Mr." before their names.

 

·      Mr. Robinson lives in Los Angeles.

·      The brakeman lives in Omaha.

·      Mr. Jones long ago forgot all the algebra he ever learnt at High School.

·      The passenger with the same name as the brakeman lives in Chicago.

·      The brakeman and one of the passengers, a distinguished mathematical physicist, attend the same church.

·      Smith beat the fireman at billiards.

 

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The Solutions

 

The Solutions
1.       The Flight Around The World
                Three aeroplanes are sufficient to ensure the flight of one of them around the world.  There are many ways in which this may be done, but the following seems to be the most efficient.

                Planes A and B and C take off together.  After going one-eighth of the way, C transfers ¼ tank to A and ¼ tank to B.  This gives A and B full tanks and leaves C with a ¼ tank sufficient just to get back to base.

                Planes A and B continue a further one-eighth of the way when B transfers ¼ tank to A.  B now has ½ tank left, sufficient just to get back to base.

                Plane A meanwhile, with a full tank continues until he runs out of fuel ¼ way from base (¾ way round the world).  Here A is met by C which has been refuelled at base.  C transfers ¼ tank to A and both planes head for home.

                A and C run out of fuel one-eighth way from base where they are met by refuelled plane B.  B transfers ¼ tank to A and ¼ tank to C and the three planes then have just enough fuel to reach base with empty tanks.

 

2.       Who Is The Engineer?
·       From 2 we see that Mr. Robinson lives in Los Angeles.

·       From 3 and 6 we can deduce that the distinguished mathematical physicist lives in Omaha.

·       From 4 we see that Mr. Jones cannot live in Omaha (6) or Los Angeles (2) so he must live in Chicago.

·       From 5 we now know that the brakeman's name is Jones.

From Smith cannot be the fireman; he cannot be the brakeman (5) so he must be the engineer.

 

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Our upcoming pole

 

  Recently the idea came up on the gamers list about having a pole regarding games.  I felt that informing everyone via the mag would give us the most extensive range of opinions possible. 

  Since the idea is recent, the idea of questions and catagories is pretty wide open at this time.  I'm hoping to collect some ideas and with the aid of a few other people finalize a question form to be sent out in the next issue.

  To this point we have ideas such as.  Taken from an email.

*snip*

Rules for voting:

you can only vote once

developers can vote, but can not vote for their own games.

If you can, you should  try not to pick games all from one developer, since there is also a best developer catagory listed here.

 

Voting for games:

They must be accesible, meaning that they were specificly made for the blind and visually impaired.

you may vote on any accessible free or purchased game.  In addition, you may vote for a demo, beta, or other format that was  intended for consumers to  sample in order to consider purchasing.

The item to be picked must be owned by a viable company or developer still active in the community.

 

The catagories are:

Which is the best online game that blind people play?

Note: if there is alot of these this could be spread out to the top three.

Which is your preferred accessible developer / game company?

Which accessible game has:

The Best sound/ voice?

The best control / controller support?

The best replay value?

The best features?  example such as save option, multiplayer, scoreboards support chat functions etc.

Which game genre do you prefer? examples rpg, puzzle, first person shooter, side scroller, arcade, table top games such as board, card, dominoes etc, simulation games such as driving, flight,, war games.

Which accessible game would you choose to show to another person  as an example of gaming in the blind community?

finally, your top three picks for accessible games? Of course put your top pick as number one.

All votes will go to my email address so as not to  influence the vote, and will be tabulated and the results, after a decent amount of time will be  listed

In the mag.

*end snip*

 

  So that's what we have up to this time.  Send in thoughts on catagories, questions and most definitely your votes!  Remember the final questions will be in the next issue!  Let's see a whole lot of people respond to this one!  Feel free to send your emails my way as well!  The address can be found in the Contact Us section further in the mag.

 

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News from Developers

 

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News from Blind Adrenaline

 

  Booga booga!

  I am pleased to announce that Blind Adrenaline Simulations has gone live

as of this evening.

  Blind Adrenaline will be the home of Rail Racer, a futuristic racing

simulation for the visually impaired, as well as links to other game related

content.

  Right now, you can download an audio demo of Rail Racer.  There aren't

many bells and whistles there yet, but you will get an idea of how the game

play will be.

  Also, the site features some back story detailing the setting of the game..

  If you download the demo, please write me and tell me what you think about

it, good or bad.

  At this stage, I can still incorporate your ideas into the game if they

are good ones.

  The link for Blind Adrenaline is

http://www.blindAdrenaline.com

I look forward to hearing from you,

  Che Martin

[email protected]

 

  Ok kids, those of you looking for a fresh game won't have to wait much

longer.

  Rail Racer will be in beta stage hopefully in a few weeks, and I think

folks will dig what they hear.

  This is a racing game set in a future when most of the Earth's inhabitants

are blind, and Rail Racing is the primary source of entertainment.

  Using your mouse to control your racer, you will compete on a variety of

tracks, leaning into the curves, smoothly shifting gears and accelerating to

produce the best lap times.

  Additionally, you will have to disengage your driving wheels and fire your

jump jets to launch your racer over obstacles on the rail. If your jump

timing is off you will lose precious seconds , or worse, damage your racer.

  You will have to monitor your vehicle systems, and pit for repairs and

fuel as necessary.  Your racer computer as well as your pit crew will keep

you informed about the performance of all systems, as well as your pit stop

needs.  For instance, you might decide to forgo repairs and limp through the

race if only a few laps remain to save the repair time in the pits.

  It is all up to you.

  These are the features that are locked down at this point, others,

including force feedback steering wheel control and keyboard control will be

integrated before full release.

  At this point, the game is in alpha stage, and I need three or four

testers to see how the driving system works on various computer setups.  The

testers will require a mouse to drive.

  If you are interested in being a tester, email me and tell me why you

would make a good team member of the Rail Racer crew.  As well, if any

developers out there have worked with beta testers in the past and have

reccomendations for individuals, please let me know.

  I think you are really gonna dig this one.  I have spent hours playing

with the driving system, trying to get my lap times down, and I can tell

you, it is quite challenging to get into a smooth driving rhythm.

  I will be setting up a new website for the game in the next week, and will

update the list when it is ready for public consumption.

  At this point, I am wide open to suggestions for the game from the

community, so if you have any ideas you might like to see incorporated, let

us know here on the list.  If the concept would add to the fun of the game,

I will try my best to include it.  I want this to be a game from one of us,

for all of us.

  I look forward to hearing from you.

  Che Martin - Developer of Rail Racer

 

++

News from Draconis Entertainment

 

Greetings gamers,

 

We have several notes for you, but first the big announcement.

 

Draconis Entertainment is proud to announce the release of our newest game: The Ultimate SounDoku!

 

As the Sudoku craze sweeps across the world, young and old alike are discovering the addictive fun of this brain-busting puzzle game. Though it exists in

many forms, the basic concept is always the same: fill in every square on the puzzle-grid without repeating any value in any row, column, or region.

 

Draconis Entertainment brings this puzzle game to a rich audio platform, designed to encompass Sudoku in all it's many varied incarnations, while realistically

emulating the pen-and-paper charm of the classic game. It's more than Sudoku...it's more than SounDoku...it's The Ultimate SounDoku!

 

Choose to use letters, numbers, or sound effects in varied audio themes, just as printed Sudoku games use numbers, letters, or symbols. Can you beat the

clock and solve the puzzle before time runs out? Or would you rather take your time and defeat the puzzle on your own schedule?  The Ultimate SounDoku

offers all this, and much more.

 

Other features include:

 

.. Millions of automatically generated puzzles.

.. Both 9X9-grid and 16X16-grid puzzles.

.. Seven levels of difficulty.

.. Eight entirely different audio themes to use as "symbols" as you play!

.. Three modes of play: Puzzle, Clock, and Custom.

.. The ability to create and save custom puzzles, or copy puzzles from Sudoku puzzle books and newspapers for play with the Ultimate SounDoku.

.. Keyboard layouts for both desktop and laptop computers.

.. The ability to save a game in progress and resume it later.

.. Two methods of navigation and feedback: Basic and Advanced.

.. ...and much more!

 

The Ultimate SounDoku can be downloaded from the Draconis Entertainment Download Center.  The game will function in a demonstration mode for fifteen days,

after which time you will need to register the game.

 

Find out more, buy the game, or try out the demo at http://www.draconisentertainment.com

 

Be sure to keep an eye on the Draconis Entertainment web site for the launch of the all new Draconis Score Servers which will be going back online very

soon.  The new score servers will not suffer from the extended periods of down time that the previous servers did, and will include some new features that

were not available on the old ESP Score Servers.

 

For those of you requesting replacement registration keys, we have been working on a solution for you that we hope to make public very soon.  Keep an eye

on the Draconis News from our web site to be aware of when this option is available to our customers.

 

Lastly, we are continuing work on new titles.  As is evident with the Ultimate SounDoku, we have found it preferable to save announcements of future titles

until the title is ready or nearly so.  Just remember, if you haven't heard news from us, that doesn't mean we're not working to provide you with new games.

 Watch for new games from Draconis Entertainment soon.

 

Draconis Entertainment

"Feel the power...wield the magic..."

http://www.draconisEntertainment.com

http://www.dracoent.com

 

++

News from Kitchens Inc.

 

Hi,

 

I have put a new version of my Football game up on my web site.

File name winnfl3.exe  File size 2.8m bytes

 

In version 3 I fixed the volume of the one sound file, added a save game feature and you can now change the names of the players on your team.

The file can be found on my free windows text to speech games page.

Hope you like the new version

 

BFN

     Jim

 

+

Several folks have come forward with differing versions of the monopoly board.  Using various themes, and genresMost of which are easy enough to send via email.  Some very good ones might I say.  .  It's a bummer you aren't able to change the Community Chest or Chance cards to fit in more with the type of game.  Though I've had fun playing it.  Guess I'm not all that good at  Monopoly.

 

++

Lighttech Interactive News

 

dear gamers,

 

we're happy to announce Lighttech Interactive is now on the map of accessible gaming and software!

Lighttech Interactive is commited to deliver high quality, entertaining accessible games! We at LighttechInteractive put all hard efforts and thought, needed

to create the best, fully featured product

we hope to bring severall happy years of entertainment with some great and accessible Interactive Games!

some of our games are available for download, while other titles are still in development -- as well as implementing a fully featured Lighttech Interactive

score server

 

you can visit our website at:

http://www.lighttechinteractive.com

 

"light locator" is out now!

 

in Light locator you play as detective henry johnson as he trys to save a whole city by deactivating the mega radioactive bomb a group of terrorists has

planted in it's main sky scraper!.

features include:

 

totally self - voicing (no screen reader required)

 3 skill levels to play on

 the ability to view your local top ten scores for the 3 difficulty levels

 authentic sound effects

 and more!

list end

you can download light locator by going to

 

http://www.lighttechinteractive.com

 

and going to the light games page

it is only 3.5 mb in sys, and should not be a pain to download even with a dial-up conection

 

the horse racing game pach

we have released a new pach for the horse racing game, that fixes lots of bugs from the previous release

current version is 1.3.2

 

download and enjoy!

happy gaming!

yakir arbib

Lighttech Interactive

http://www.lighttechinteractive.com

 

++

News from PCS Games

 

Sarah and the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is still under development

and a new public beta is very close to being released. Since the first beta

release in late December, I have removed most of the synthesized voice of

Sarah and have replaced them with a human voice.

I have also fixed several bugs and added some features suggested by testers..

 

In this game you can explore a fantasy castle

inspired by JK Rowling.

 

Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry transports Sarah  into a world of

corridors and secret passageways. she travels through the castle searching

for magical items, fighting creepy  creatures knowing at any minute,

disaster may strike.

 

So, take a trip to the Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry and pay

a visit to the ghost's Deathday party in the dungeon, pop into

the kitchen for a chat with the sometimes helpful Dobby; go out

for a spot of spelunking in the chamber of secrets, gasp in awe

at the speed of the golden snitch, pick up plenty of coins and

spells, try to hide from the Goblin,  but

always remember - the malevolent Dementors may not be what they seem!

 

You can find out what is in store at PCS Games by going to the PCS web site

at:

http://www.pcsgames.net

 

E-mail Phil Vlasak,

[email protected]

We make games that tickle your ears.

 

++

News from Spoonbill

 

Hi,

 

Ian Humphreys from Spoonbill Software here.  This is to announce

the release of Blind gamers LAP - BG LAP for short.

 

BG LAP is the accessible version of the game of LAP. It is suitable for both blind and visually impaired players, and like all Spoonbill games in the Blind

gamers series, it is self-voicing.

 

BG LAP is played as follows. You are presented with a board of 64 tiles arranged in 8 rows of 8 tiles each. At the start of the game all the tiles are blank.

But the computer has secretly colored each tile with one of four colors, red, yellow, green or blue. Your task is to determine what color has been assigned

to each of the 64 tiles, accumulating as few penalty points as possible. To help you on your way, you know the following:

 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.                 <!--[endif]-->There are exactly 16 tiles of each of the four colors.

 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.                 <!--[endif]-->The tiles of each color form a single contiguous area of tiles joined along their edges.

 

You can get a hint of the colors assigned to any 2 by 2 square of tiles. A hint will cost you 1 penalty point. You can guess the color of a blank tile..

A correct guess will reveal the color of the tile. An incorrect guess will cost you 5 penalty points. When the colors of all the blank tiles have been

revealed, the game is over. You try to score as few penalty points as possible. Your lowest score is always remembered in the statistics.

 

This is to announce

the release of Blind gamers 15 Puzzle  BG 15 Puzzle for short.

 

BG 15 puzzle is the accessible version of the famous sliding block puzzle made popular by Sam Loyd, arguably America's greatest puzzlist. It is suitable

for both blind and visually impaired players, and like all Spoonbill games in the Blind gamers series, it is self-voicing.

 

BG 15 puzzle is played as follows. You have 15 blocks or tiles, each labelled with a number from 1 through 15, arranged in a 4 by 4 square. The sixteenth

position is empty but can be used to slide an adjacent tile into. At the start of the game, the tiles are shuffled in random order and it is your job to

rearrange them into ascending or from 1 to 15, finishing with the empty position in the bottom right hand corner. The less moves you take, the higher your

score. Your high score is remembered and replaced should you get a higher score in subsequent games.

 

Regards

Ian Humphreys

Spoonbill Software

Albany, Western Australia.

 

++

USA Games News

 

2/28/2006

 

Alchemy Transfer Updates

 

I am sending out this update to keep everyone abreast of the changes in

the Alchemy transfer. As you all know Friday of last week James North

had verbally agreed to turn over the source for the mouse demo, Raceway,

and Montezuma's Revenge. Now, that the weekend is over James has been in

contact with us, and has communicated how and when the transfers will

take place.

James has sent us legal documentation via email which signs all rights

to the above mentioned titles over to USA Games. We have printed, read,

and have signed the documents. Once it is mailed and received by James

North he will sign it, and then send us the source code, sound effects,

etc to the above titles. As you might guess this could take anywhere

from a week to a couple of weeks to complete this deal.

 

Final Conflict Updates

 

for those of you waiting on the 1.0 beta we have discovered a couple of

low-cost solutions to our security issues with .net and Final Conflict.

This security measure is absolutely necessary, not only for Final

Conflict, but for the safety and protection of all other future USA

Games titles using the .net technologies. We feel assured that this

security measure will aid in our desire to prevent piracy.

We hope to have a release up on site soon, but as we can't give a

specific day and hour we won't. Just know we are working on it as fast

as possible, and none want to get this game done and ready to go more

than I.

 

Sincerely,

Thomas Ward

Developer for USA Games Entertainment

http://www.usagames.us

 

Yesterday I created a totally new trailor for Montezuma's Revenge

featuring the new game, and what the USA Games version will be like. If

you want to take a listen go to

http://www.usagames.us

and click the downloads link. From there it is in the audio trailors

section. Let me know what Y'all think.

 

++

News from VIP games Zone

 

Hi all!

  We will start our new multiplayer game testing this month. We need some volunteers for our testing team.

  If you want to take participation in our testing team, please visit our page

http://vipgameszone.com

Best wishes

  Vipgameszone

 

+++

Game Announcements and Reviews:

 

Above the full reviews which appear in this section, any new games which have not been fully reviewed yet will be announced in the hopes that readers and/or the Audyssey staff will try out and review these games for us. Reviews of games will not appear in any particular order. The only exception to this will be when we have more than one review for a game. In this case, reviews will be placed consecutively so that it is easier to compare them. As with Anchorhead a few issues back, I may wish to interject my own thoughts on a game should it provoke significant reaction or otherwise prove itself especially noteworthy. When I choose to do this, you'll find my remarks above the review or reviews for the game in question. Should a game have more than one review, two plus-signs will be placed above the first review and/or my remarks. This policy will hopefully encourage people to try both the latest as well as some older games which may have been overlooked. Just because something isn't hot off the presses doesn't mean that it is any less worthy of a gamer's attention. Also, remember that it doesn't matter if a game has been reviewed before. If you have a different take on the game than has already been published, send in your review and I'll consider it for publication. If a review fails to interest you, simply skip to the next plus-sign. It's that simple, folks.

 

++

Want to play chess against a computer online?  This one is speech friendly, and it thinks ahead 2 moves for each side.  You tab to, and activate, a link

to the move you want to make, or, (I think?), you can enter your own move.  The next move made by the computer will be shown.  The URL is

 

http://pine.cs.yale.edu/cgi-bin/chessplayer

If you are interested in learning the game from the very beginning to the point at which you can win games by using the 4 principles of the game and some

advanced strategies, check out the 2 correspondence courses from the Hadley school for the blind.  In oredr to take the second, more advanced, course,

you must first pass the first one.  Lessons are available on audio cassettes or in braille.  If you don't have a chess set that is adapted for the blind,

or even if you already have one, one is provided for

your use during the first course, "Chess for Beginners".  After completing the course, you may keep the course equipment and material for your own use..

 The URL for the school is

 

www.hadley-school.org

 

and I think these 2 courses are very good training as well as providing a structured method of learning the game.  There is a lot of insight as to how a

Grandmaster of the game reasons out the best moves, which will provide you with a very good foundation on which you can build your chess skills, even if

you currently know absolutely nothing about the game and want to learn it.

 

++

 

Sorry, I have not yet found a character generator that can easily be used

accessibly. I did find an Npc generator you could download but that is not

really the same I guess. It is online, and also downloadable.

 

http://www.aarg.net/~minam/npc2.cgi

 

For myself, I  made lists of just the names of the feats and skills for easy

picking. I also made a document with a racial breakdown listing only the

relevant information.

I did the same with character classes, weapons, armor, cleric domains,

spell lists (dividing them by class into diffrent docs),  and the bonus

spell level chart for high attributtes.

I suppose you could make a diffrent doc for basic info for the classes at

first level, that is actually a good idea, I think I will try that.I am also

considering seperating out every single monster and spell into it's own

document, listing them in their prospective folders and making it easier to

look forspecific things in a long document. It is easier to find fireball

than   all spells that start with F.

I could never figure out how to use the Find option, lol

 

In the end this doesn't prevent you from looking up the information, but

what this will do is  make looking for information that much easier.

hope that helped you,

 

PS: Here is a link for  searchable SRD in HTML.

 This might help if you dont want to do all that work.

http://www.andargor.com/

 

The below link is for the three point five manuals for download. I believe these might be easier to download as well.

 

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35

 

++

The Ultimate Soundoku

Reviewer:  Charles Rivard

Available from: www.draconisentertainment.com

 

This game is self voicing.  Turn your screen reader off before starting the game.  It is totally accessible to totally blind players.

 

There haven't been very many puzzle oriented games for the blind, but now, Draconis Entertainment has come out with one that puts blind puzzlers on an even keel with sighted puzzlers.  We can work Sudoku puzzles and discuss them with sighted puzzlers.  What are they?  Here's a brief history:

 

Sudoku was originally drempt up by a man named Howard Garns, a retired architect and freelance puzzle constructor, and first published in 1979. Most likely,

Sudoku was inspired by the Latin square, a mathematical invention of Leonhard Euler.

 

Garns added a third dimension (the regional restriction) to the mathematical construct and (unlike Euler) presented the creation as a puzzle, providing

a partially-completed grid and requiring the solver to fill in the rest. The puzzle was first published by Dell Magazines in the magazine "Dell Pencil

Puzzles and Word Games", under the title "Number Place".

 

The puzzle first surfaced in Japan in the paper "Monthly Nikolist", in April 1984. In that publication, it was entitled "Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru", which

translates to "the numbers must be single". Note that "single" in this case literally refers to the marrital status of the numbers. So be kind, and take

your Sudoku puzzles out on a date every now and then. Later, the name was shortened to "Sudoku", which is a common practice in Japanese.

 

In 1989, "DigitHunt" was released for the Commodore 64, which was the first computerized version of Sudoku.

 

"Ka is a wheel", and now Dell Magazines also publishes two Sudoku magazines.. Sudoku appears in countless puzzle books, newspapers, and other periodicals

around the world.

 

Sudoku's surging popularity in recent years can largely be attributed to the United Kingdom, where puzzles began appearing in a wide variety of newspapers

and magazines in 2004. Sudoku has been accredited with the upswing in sales of these periodicals to such a degree that papers actually argue over who was

the first to print the puzzles. From tabloids to the BBC's "Radio Times" publication, Sudoku has become an amense success in Brittain. In the summer of

2005, a television gameshow based on Sudoku aired in the UK.

 

Sudoku has been called "The Rubik's cube of the 21st century".

 

  As the Sudoku craze sweeps across the world, young and old alike are discovering the addictive fun of this brain-busting puzzle game. Though it exists in

many forms, the basic concept is always the same: fill in every square on the puzzle-grid without repeating any value in any row, column, or region.  Draconis Entertainment brings this puzzle game to a rich audio platform, designed to encompass Sudoku in all it's many varied incarnations. It's more than

Sudoku...it's more than Soundoku...it's The Ultimate Soundoku!

 

Choose to use letters, numbers, or sound effects in varied audio themes, just as printed Sudoku games use numbers, letters, or symbols. Can you beat the

clock and solve the puzzle before time runs out? Or would you rather take your time and defeat the puzzle on your own schedule? The Ultimate Soundoku offers

all this, and much more.

 

Here are some of the game's features, along with my comments on them:

 

.. Millions of automatically generated puzzles.  You won't get bored because you don't have any new puzzles to play, that's for sure!

 

.. Both 9X9-grid and, for more of a challenge,  16X16-grid puzzles.

 

.. Seven levels of difficulty (from beginner to expert.  Don't let the designation of "beginner" fool you into thinking that it is easy, though!

 

.. Eight entirely different audio themes to use as "symbols" as you play!  These add to the challenge and enhance the enjoyment by adding variation to the game.  Sighted puzzlers use symbols or numbers, the blind can use numbers or sound patterns.

 

.. Three modes of play: Puzzle (in which you try to solve an automatically generated puzzle), Clock (in which you try to solve a puzzle before the clock time reaches 0), and Custom (in which you solve a puzzle that was created by a human, whether that human was yourself or another gamer.  Share puzzles you create with others and solve those passed on to you by other gamers for great replay value).

 

.. The ability to create and save custom puzzles, or copy puzzles from Sudoku puzzle books and newspapers for play with the Ultimate Soundoku.  You can use the feature to create a puzzle and simply fill in the squares with the numbers or symbols found in other puzzles, then try solving the created puzzle.

 

.. Keyboard layouts for both desktop and laptop computers so that you can play when traveling or at home.

 

.. The a    bility to save a game in progress and resume it later.  This comes in handy when using a laptop PC and you have to turn the machine off for some reason.

 

.. Two methods of navigation and feedback: Basic and Advanced.  The advanced feedback gives you less information, but give it more quickly.  This is good for after you have become familiar with the game, and also saves time when time is running out when trying to beat the clock.

 

System requirements:

 

The Ultimate Soundoku requires a Windows computer with Windows 98 or later and DirectX 8.X or later installed. The game may operate on older versions of

Windows, but it is not recommended.

 

Other requirements include:

.. Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP

.. Microsoft DirectX 8.X or later

.. 500MHZ or better processor

.. At least 32MB of RAM (64 or more is recommended)

.. 40MB or more of free hard disk space.

.. Windows and DirectX compatible sound card

and, as with all of the games from Draconis Entertainment, a good sense of humor.

 

If you want to try out the game before you buy, you may do so for fifteen days. Note that many features, such as saving a game in progress, etc, will not

be available in demo mode. The game will automatically expire after fifteen days and you will need a registration key to unlock it.

 

The demo can be downloaded and unlocked with the purchased key which unlocks it to become the full game from

 

www.draconisentertainment.com

 

The key is $19.95.

 

A typical Sudoku puzzle is a nine-by-nine grid. Imagine a chess board with one extra row and column added to it, and you will have a good idea of what it

looks like.

 

This nine-by-nine grid is further divided into nine "regions". These regions are three-by-three mini-grids, consisting of nine squares of the entire puzzle.

For example, the first region of a Sudoku puzzle is in the upper lefthand corner. It encompasses the first three positions of the top row of the puzzle,

the first three positions of the second row of the puzzle, and the first three positions of the third row of the puzzle. The second region includes the

next three positions on these same rows, and so forth. If this is difficult to imagine now, don't worry. It will become more clear as you play and practice

solving Sudoku puzzles.

 

At the outset, some of the positions in the puzzle are filled in with a number from one to nine. These are called the "givens", and may never be changed

by you during the course of the game.

 

Your job is to fill in the blank spaces with the numbers from one to nine, without creating duplicates on any row, any column, or within any region. Positions

that start out empty at the start of the game can be changed as many times as you need to in order to complete the puzzle successfully.

 

A successfully completed Sudoku puzzle will have all positions on the nine-by-nine grid filled in with a value from one to nine, with no repeated values

in any column, any row, or within any of the three-by-three regions. Believe me, it's harder than it sounds!

 

I've been searching for puzzle games to take up my spare time during evenings or rainy days, and this one is excellent!  It's a real brain buster, even on the easy difficulty.  Give it a try!

 

+

Again though this was an email it fits here it's an example of a solved puzzle

 

Phil sent me a finished puzzle and asked that I send it to the list because he has been having sporadic problems sending and receiving to and from the list.

 Note that what he sent is a puzzle that has been completed.  Each digit is a square.  He has divided it into regions.  Notice that the same number only

appears once in each column, once in each row, and once in each 3 by 3 region.  When you play a game, try to accomplish this.  There is not only one solution.

 As long as you meet these 3 requirements,

you will get credit for correctly solving the puzzle.  Here is his puzzle:

 

Hi Folks,

Here is a finished Ultimate SounDoku Puzzle

413627895

627895134

589341726

____________________

372156489

954782361

168934572

_________

236418957

791563248

845279613

 

++

Greetings everyone:

 

Adrift is a text based adventure game run time environment.  These are modelled after the original text based adventures that were written for computers

back in the days before a graphical user interface.  Since these usually involve solving the puzzle, I thought some on the list might be interested.

 

i don't know how the software works with JAWS, but with Window-Eyes it is workable when using the WE mouse keys.  I suspect the Jaws cursor will work in

much the same fashion if it doesn't automatically read the text as it appears.  It is possible to set up a Window in Window-Eyes to read the text as it

changes automatically.

 

Here is the URL along with the text from the about link.

 

http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/new/adrift.cgi

 

About Adrift:

 

What is a Text Adventure?

Text Adventures, also known as Interactive Fiction, are like stories where you control

the main character. You are put in a situation, and you have to solve a number of

tasks and puzzles before completing the game. Unlike many modern games, a lot of

thought and imagination is required.

How do you create one?

Most Text Adventure creation programs require you to write a type of program. This

makes it very difficult for beginners to get started, and even more experienced authors

may not know how to use the full functionality of the language. This is where ADRIFT

Generator comes in...

About ADRIFT Generator

ADRIFT Generator is a program written for Windows 95/98/NT/2K/ME/XP which allows

you to create your own Text Adventures. Instead of having to learn a new adventure

programming language, ADRIFT Generator takes all the difficulty away leaving you

with a simple, yet powerful game designer. Adventures are built up by adding rooms,

objects, tasks, events and characters. All you have to do is type in the descriptions,

and select how everything interacts with each other from pull down menus and lists.

About ADRIFT Runner

ADRIFT Runner is the application which takes the adventure files created with ADRIFT

Generator, and interprets them as an adventure. ADRIFT Runner attempts to recreate

the traditional adventure environment as introduced to computers when adventures

first came out, but it also improves on this by suppling extra functionality such

as a real-time map, optional control panel (to use the mouse instead of keys), general

point-n-click, colour customisation, automatic text completion, and a highscore table.

 

+

This generator is certainly new to me.  Perhaps it will open the door to many more IF games.  Adrift does work quite well with JFW.  Though let's not forget Tads and Inform.  As well as the developing TTS engine.

 

++

Blind Gamers Lap

Freeware

Available from http://www.omninet.net.au/%7Eirhumph/blindgamers.htm

Reviewed by Ron Schamerhorn

  

BG LAP is the accessible version of the game of LAP. It is suitable for both blind and visually impaired players, and like all Spoonbill games in the Blind

gamers series, it is self-voicing.

 

BG LAP is played as follows. You are presented with a board of 64 tiles arranged in 8 rows of 8 tiles each. At the start of the game all the tiles are blank.

But the computer has secretly colored each tile with one of four colors, red, yellow, green or blue. Your task is to determine what color has been assigned

to each of the 64 tiles, accumulating as few penalty points as possible. To help you on your way, you know the following:

 

1.                 There are exactly 16 tiles of each of the four colors.

 

2. The tiles of each color form a single contiguous area of tiles joined along their edges.

 

You can get a hint of the colors assigned to any 2 by 2 square of tiles. A hint will cost you 1 penalty point. You can guess the color of a blank tile..

A correct guess will reveal the color of the tile. An incorrect guess will cost you 5 penalty points. When the colors of all the blank tiles have been

revealed, the game is over. You try to score as few penalty points as possible. Your lowest score is always remembered in the statistics.

 

After playing this game a fair bit I've discovered that it is awfully addicting!  I've enjoyed it thoroughly!  One of the very nice things is that it uses the TTS speech and therefore relies on no particular screen reader program.  TTS should also work regardless of what Windows OS you are running.  The text to speech voices are easily downloadable, and there are many outside of the offerings of Microsoft which will work equally well with this program. 

  To repeat I do have lots of fun with the game, and the nice part is that it requires only a few minutes per game session.   I'm actually on the top 20 scores last I checked on Ian's site.  It's a lot of fun.

  To get the game even though it's freeware it's suggested to visit his site and request a copy directly.  He's done some fun games and has quite a number considering the length of time he's been working at developing them.  There is a method of putting in your vote for what you think should become a project as well.  8/10 

 

++

 

Here is a Site I came across today.  Some of the puzzles are accessible to screen reading software.

 

http://www.puzzlersparadise.com/index.html

 

++

Montezumas Revenge

By Alchemy Game Studios

Demo currently not available

Fully playable without sighted assistance

 

Introductions

 

Since it's early conception in the mid 1980's sighted people have been playing this classic arcade side scroller type game on Nintendo and other older systems of its kind

The object in the version for the sighted is simple, get through the temple avoiding adversaries and collecting as many gems as possible. Eventually, you would reach the master temple where you collect as much treasure as possible and walk away victorious

 

In Alchemy's version, you play the role of Arazona Smith. You will risk your hide trying to gather treasure during your explorations

The temples are full of goolies and nasty adversaries.  Such as huge spiders to overcome, snakes, the undead, rattling skulls etcetra. Also the dangers include acid pits, electricity, quicksand, streams, and the list goes on

 

Sound and controls

 

There has been a lot of discussion, sometimes a bit heated maybe, concerning the interface of this game

Originally the layout was primarily for the numberpad set of keys, found on most desktops, like the one I am using to type this article on at present

However many laptops do not contain number pads. It was suggested   to people to get a USB numberpad, which I felt was unfair

In the full version all the keys apparently will be configurable

However, no release date for the full version has been given

The demo contains a layout now for laptop.

In the numberpad version, one uses 4 and six to go backwards and forwards, as sounds pan from left to right as you are walking sideways, hence a side scroller.  The control key is used to run, shift plus the directional keys enable you to look left, and right

Eight moves up ladders, 2 go down respectively, and the same for ropes.

 

Sound

 

The sound element of this game is stunning. Once the full version appears with music, that will be worth the wait. No music is in the demo at present.

 

The gameplay once used to the controls is a cool concept

 

Overall if you enjoy action adventure and are looking for something challenging, give Montezumas revenge a try. The trailer is also on the  website

I would rate this game seven out of ten.

The reason being there will be no randomness in the  full version, as in the classical incarnation

However, once you've played it once, I doubt it will have much replay value as you will know where the snakes and other enemies are.

For example, you know after going up that ladder avoid 2 snakes.  It just seems to have no replay value, but not having seen the full version and the complexities I cant say.

Happy exploring!!

 

+

  I'd like to refer everyone to Michael Feir's article, and the USA Games update to see further info regarding Montezumas Revenge.   This review was based on an earlier incarnation of the above title. 

 

++

  Hi folks.

 I just stumbled on this new text based rpg from Graham Nelson. I

was hoping somebody would create something like this. Here's the link to

follow. You can run the game with Winfrotztts.

 

http://www.plover.net/~emily/ROTA/

 

++

Rubik's Cube For the Blind

Gizmodo (Weblog)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Rubik's Cube For the Blind

This is a new twist on an old game. Why make a new version of a game

When few people

can master the

original anyway? Regardless, this cube features six different materials

that all have a very unique

texture: metal, wood, textile, stone, rubber and plastic. It can be done

like a regular style

rubik's cube or if you really have the cajones you can bust out the

blindfold and

really test your skills.

There are six different basic materials involved. They are Metal, wood,

textile, rubber, plastic and

stone. Different materials give people different senses, which thus

enabled the blind

men to play.  And here we present the very example of this inspiration - The new Rubik's Cube.

 

(Description of Image, from the Yanko Design website)

Image shows a Rubik's Cube, which is a 9 x 9 x 9 cubic rotating puzzle.

The six surfaces

of the cube are covered in different materials, and described as

Wood - Warm

Metal - Cold

Rubber - Soft

Plastic - Hard

Stone - Tough

Textile - W&S

The caption above the cube reads "Touch and Play. Games for blind men

With the aid

of material".  A

Second image shows the puzzle in an unsolved state! being played by a

Blindfolded man. (LWG)

The product was released 17th February 2006. Product Link:-

http://www.yankodesign.com/product_info.php?products_id=773

Design: University of Zhejiang

http://us.gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/rubiks-cube-for-the-blind-155779.php

 

++

Pinball Extreme

Commercially available from

www.draconisentertainment.com

 

Ok. I did a review of pinball extreme way back in December of 2005. Hear is a link to it. Unfortunately you can't download the mp3. blah! O well, Hopefully

this won't be my last review. lol. the link is

 

http://www.gcast.com/u/marrie/main

 

Take care all.

Sarah Alawami

 

+

 

I hope Sarah isn't upset by me doing this but I think at least letting folks know about the audio review is another great way to publicize various  games.  In such cases not only is there a description but also a person is able to listen to the game itself.  

 

++

 

  I have a version of the dice game skunk that you can play online with

friends.   I highly reccomend you use a voice chat program to talk with them as you play it.

  The game and instructions can be found at

 

http://www.linksForBlinks.com

 

The game is entirely free and requires no download.

  Have fun,

  Che

 

++

Topspeed 2

Created by Playing In The Dark

Freely available at:www.playinginthedark.net

Fully accessible without sighted assistance

Review by Michael Feir

 

The slump in accessible games has well and truly ended and it couldn't have

ended in a more surprising way. Durring my time as editor of Audyssey, one

of the most frequent things I'd be asked was: "When will somebody make a

racing game for blind people?" We've certainly seen a number of racing games

with various tracks and obstacles to avoid. The most widely enjoyed one of

these would be Jim Kitchen's Mach1. I fully expected the next racing

breakthrough to be a commercially produced game. However, I was proved wrong

once again by this excellent free offering from Playing in the dark. They've

given us something with both substance and its own style showing what

dedication and passion for accessible games can do. While there are

certainly areas where Topspeed2 can be improved upon, the quality delivered

at no cost to the blind community is absolutely stunning. Before I set out

to pick the game apart in all its aspects, I'll first take this opportunity

to commend these good people for their tremendous gift to gamers. You've

completely changed my outlook on racing games for the better.

 

*The Interface:

 

Topspeed2 cators to pretty much everyone in this area. The arrow keys are

used to navigate menus. The enter key selects options. The escape key backs

out of menus. The menus are all completely self-voicing and operate quite

smoothly. People can also take advantage of joysticks, steering wheels, and

even force feedback versions of these devices to race their cars with. There

are menus which let you customise aspects of the interface such as changing

the keys used for controlling the car or the buttons on a joystick. You can

also adjust the ammount of automatic feedback given to you by the co-pilot.

As far as interface and configurable options go, Topspeed2 gets full marks.

 

*Sounds:

 

Topspeed2 has the sound and feel of an arcade-style racing game rather than

a gritty realistic one. The engine accelleration, breaking and crash sounds

give one a sense of classic arcade racing games. In multi-player races,

people can use their horns as a small way of interacting. While awaiting the

start of a race, they can toot at each other. The sound positioning is

excellent. I have a surround sound system and can hear where all the cars

are as the race starts. It's neat hearing them pass from behind to in front

of you or even better vise versa. You certainly get the sense of being in a

high-speed race. One small problem I found was that when you switch to a

different terrain type, there can be an instant's pause as the sound for

the new terrain kicks in and the co-pilot announces the different terrain

type. All the rest seems perfectly natural and well done in the sound

department.

 

*Game Play:

 

The mechanics of Topspeed2 are quite well implemented. You get a good feel

for how different cars handle and how terrain such as gravel or water

effect your car's performance. The computer controlled opponents are quite

good and you can adjust the overall game difficulty to determine how many

cars there are to race against as well as how well they drive. One area of

the game I haven't tried too much of yet is with the extra cars and tracks

which users are already starting to make for the game. For the purposes of

this review, I downloaded and installed a few to see how easy that was. It's

as easy as extracting the files into the appropriate "tracks" or "vehicles"

folder. Making tracks and vehicles is something I'll leave to the more

pioneering people out there to take a crack at.

 

Playing through a single race is an excellent way to spend a few spare

minutes and you certainly have a nice sense of acomplishment when you

actually win one. However, that's nothing compared to the thrill of a

multi-player race. There are a few areas here where improvements would

certainly be welcome. One irritant is the need to go to a separate tool and

input the ip address of a server you want to connect to. I envy sighted

gamers whose games usually have the capacity to search the Internet for

servers to play on. Alternatively, they'll have a central server where

people can join and play together. I hope that the people at

Playing in the dark are able to make some changes there. Once you've gotten the

IP of a server, you then have no way of knowing whether a race is already

underway. You can join, pick your car, and then just sit there until the end

of the race whereupon you have to pick your car again to join the next race..

Besides these two complaints, I've had a tremendously positive experience

racing online against other blind drivers. At long last, I've experienced

the thrill of playing an action-based game against other human oponents. I

very much look forward to more such races and to whatever other titles

Playing in the dark eventually releases. Their initial offering is absolutely

fantastic. I give it an eight out of ten.

 

Michael Feir

Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine

1996-2004

E-mail:

[email protected]

 

+

  Though this isn't exactly a comment on the review, I feel it's a proper place to put the info for obtaining extra cars and tracks for the above mentioned game.   I thank DJC for providing the space to download these.  It seems to be an ever growing list, in fact I'd like to do one if I could find the proper sound recordings.  Here it is

 

server: djc.my-net-space.net

username: PlayingInTheDark

Password: racing

Port 21

No Passive Mode

 

That should do it.

Currently 41 cars and 37 tracks available on the ftp.

 

Hello everyone. I just read DJC's excellent message regarding the

custom tracks and cars ftp site he is hosting. With his permission I

have posted the ftp information on my Top Speed web page located at

http://topspeed.asmodean.net

so if you lose the email then you will have

the information there. I realize I am encouraging laziness but hey,

let's face it. I'm lazy too. I'd rather have information freely

available on a web page so I don't have to bother with saving a message

<smile>.

 

In any case that is the latest update to the site

http://topspeed.asmodean.net.

 

Best regards all.

 

Just when you thought you were winning the rat race, along comes a faster rat!!

Raul A. Gallegos

 

+

 

  I'll also point back to Raul's site for server info, and if others are that interested I wouldn't object to including a list of hosts that one could connect to.  I know on the list recently there have been many.  I would have joined more but I am not an Andreti by any means. 

 

++++

Contacting Us

 

All material to be included in future issues of Audyssey should be sent to me at the following addresses:

Ron Schamerhorn

1180 Dorval Dr. #303

Oakville On L6M 3G1

[905]-842-1933

[email protected]

[email protected]

for MSN no email.

 

Thomas Ward is a list moderator and new at the position.  He's only had the job a little while but is doing a fine job!   His contact info is

[email protected]

 

Raul Gallegos is the other  new co moderator.  His willingness to take the post  on behalf of the Audyssey community are very much appreciated. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

 

+++

 

Distribution Information and Submission Policies

 

This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing

 

no earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter.

 

All submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a

 

minimum of two days before the issue is published. I use MS-Word to

 

produce Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much

 

any format. They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via

 

e-mail to:

 

[email protected]

 

  Please write articles and letters about games or game-related

 

topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your

 

fellow readers. This magazine should and can be a

 

highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure

 

that high quality is maintained, I'll need your

 

written contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes

 

to submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or

 

enhance their understand ability. I will never make changes which will

 

alter the spirit of a submission.

 

All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great

 

writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.

 

Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite

 

young. Where possible, I try to preserve their

 

different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the

 

Audyssey experience far outweighs any benefits

 

gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of

 

life. Audyssey is a community and magazine built

 

on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal

 

structural requirements for submissions. Within reason,

 

they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state

 

who created the game being examined, where it

 

can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance,

 

and any system requirements or other critical

 

information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be

 

used gratuitously. Submissions not published

 

in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues

 

if appropriate.

 

* Those who are on the Audyssey  discussion list should be aware that I

 

often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel

 

that they warrant it.   Anything posted to this discussion list that in

 

some way stands out from the common and often lively ongoing  discourse

 

will be considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the

 

author's wish that it not be published. From now on, it is now

 

officially a policy of the Audyssey

 

community.

 

This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain

 

so. I'm writing this magazine as much

 

for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles, reviews, and

 

letters, as well as any games you might care to  send me, are what I'm

 

after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or on

 

a cd or 3.5-inch disk in a self- addressed mailer if you want your

 

media returned to you. Please only send shareware or freeware games. It

 

is illegal to send commercial games unless you are their creator or

 

have obtained permission to do so. By sending me games, you will do

 

several things: first, and most obviously, you will earn my gratitude.

 

You will also insure that the games you send me are made available to

 

my readership as a whole. If you can, I recommend that you send e-mail.

 

I can send and receive attachments with ease. This way, no money will

 

be  wasted sending me a game I already have, and you'll get my reply

 

more quickly. You are responsible for shipping costs. That means,

 

either use a disk mailer which has your address on it, and is either

 

free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and will

 

gladly spare time to share  games and my knowledge of them, but cannot

 

currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I

 

encourage all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will

 

appreciate it. Up-load it onto web pages and  bulletin board systems.

 

Copy it on disk for people, or print it out for sighted people who may

 

find it of value. The larger our community gets, the more

 

self-sustaining it will become.

 

Those who want to receive issues of Audyssey as they are published

 

should send a blank E-mail to:

 

[email protected]

 

The Audyssey discussion list facilitates discussion about games

 

accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey.

 

All are welcome as long as they respect their fellow community members

 

and keep in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games.

 

Other topics are allowed within reason as long as they don't begin to

 

monopolize the list traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised

 

that  traffic is frequently fairly heavy.  Anyone participating in the

 

discussion list will have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them

 

via E-mail. Representatives from all major developers of games for the

 

blind are actively participating on the list.  There are two moderators

 

keeping things civil and orderly. Be certain to read the Audyssey

 

Community Charter as all list members are expected to follow its rules.

 

If you want an active role in shaping the future of accessible games,

 

this is where you can dive right in. To subscribe to this discussion

 

list, send a blank message to:

 

[email protected]

 

Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for

 

easy on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to

 

visit our home-page. People can easily and quickly navigate through the

 

various articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites

 

of the games that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for

 

sighted people who wish to make use of Audyssey and/or join the growing

 

community surrounding it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for

 

his continued efforts on its behalf in this matter.

 

  Darren Duff also provides a home for Audyssey.

 

http://www.angelfire.com/music4/duffstuff/audyssey.html

 

Where the issues can be read, downloaded individually or one zip file

 

of all the issues.  Thanks Darren!

 

Another site has recently added Audyssey issues to its resources. We

 

welcome:

 

Note the dash in the below address.

 

http://www.blind-help.com

 

to the Audyssey community and hope that visitors to this site find our

 

resource to be of value to them.

 

Also another place to find both the issues of the magazine and the links to the games is

 

http://www.audiogames.net/page/audyssey

 

   Again our thanks.


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