Archive - Dec 2009

Shadow of Death blogged
Dec 18, 09 7:22am

Some of you may know this already, but I'm hearing impaired.

I'm not the only gamer in the world with a hearing impairment, and it seems that these days, the gaming industry is starting to recognize there is a need for subtitles/captions in their games.

Some of you may not have given it much thought, to subtitles that is. You may see it as an option and be all "Well, maybe that'll be good when I can't have the volume too high or something", though I'm sure many of you are at least aware that deaf and hard of hearing people DO play games, you may not realize just how important this feature in games is to us.

Myself, I don't need it as much as persons with much more serious hearing loss (such as deafness), but I still find the feature important enough that I check it before just about any other setting in the game.

I can hear well enough so that I can get by with just spoken text being subtitled, but deaf gamers would actually need proper captions, including sound effects, and various visual clues as to on-screen happenings (such as where people are shooting from in FPS). Can you imagine playing a FPS game and see your health dropping like a stone, without a clue as to where the person is shooting from? Modern games tend to give a general direction at least, which is good, this wasn't always the case.

Getting back to subtitles, you'd be surprised how many high profile games don't have subtitles/captions, or only have limited subtitles.

A good example is the first Assassin's Creed. That game had no subtitles options at all for the English language, despite being a next-gen game. With many games, I can at least get the gist of the conversation, but in AC all I had to go on most of the time, was on-screen cues (like, if fighting started happening, I guess an argument occurred eh?). Without my game guide, I wouldn't have been able to get a clue as to what was going on during these cut scenes.

I never finished that game, and I do suspect a good part of it was because of the lack of subs. Ubisoft from what I remember, announced some time ago that they're going to be subtitling their games from then on. I'm thinking that this was due to (in no small part) of the lack of support for the feature in such a high profile game as their first Assassin's Creed.

I was reminded again recently, with the upscaled re-release of the first two God of War games. They too are high profile games, but neither of them has subtitles, not even the re-release does. The re-release is really just upscaled graphics, and that's it, everything else seems to be the same.

I wrote a review for it on the site Deaf, the first GOW that is. At current it isn't up on the main site, but is posted in the forum. It should be up on the main site in a day or so, as the Admin says. This site would be a good thing for Deaf and hard of hearing gamers to refer to. It doesn't cover all games, but a number of higher profile ones, across various platforms. They have a Classification System which ranks games from A down to E.

A would mean that the game 100% supports captions (all text is covered, including SFX, with various ease of use options intended specifically for deaf persons), and something in the E category would have no subs at all, relies on audible cues of some sort (at least at some point) and would be basically unplayable if one was deaf, and seriously frustrating at times for people who are hearing impaired (like yours truly).

As an aside, I should also mention that DVD releases are seeing more and more support for subs. Early DVDs, especially low profile ones, tended to lack subtitles, and some even lacked Closed Captioning. These days though, subtitles are pretty much a guarantee unless it is some unknown movie few people have heard about, or is an older release. Some releases even get two tracks for English, a dialogue option, and a dialogue+SFX track (the latter being for deaf persons, the former being for hearing impaired people that just need some help). Blu-ray releases in particular, seem to be supporting subtitles fairly strongly. Hellboy for example, had somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 different subtitle tracks across various languages. I don't need anything other than English, but it's cool to see such strong support. I rarely buy anything that doesn't say at least 'CC' (Closed Captioned) on it, if not English SDH (Subtitled for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing). I am not a fan of CC for various reasons (one of the big ones being that my TV doesn't handle CC over a disk drive such as my PS3's BD-rom, for some reason. It does handle CableTV CC though), which means that I have to watch it on my computer or not at all.

I shudder to think of the state things would be at for Deaf and hard of hearing gamers if the trend of Closed Captioning didn't come to be so many years ago, on VHS and TV. To give you perspective, try watching a TV show or movie in a language you aren't too familiar with (though perhaps have some experience with, such as French or Spanish), or just completely muted. The former is to represent hearing loss (mine isn't so bad that EVERYTHING sounds like gibberish, not all the time anyhow), and the latter of course, is for deafness. Deaf people learn to lip read, so give it a shot. I myself can only lip read in a minimal fashion though, but that is probably partly because of my ability to actually hear (if not that well), and partly because I don't interact, socially, in the real world much.

See how that goes for you XD

other musingsthoughts gaming related deaf hearing impaired subtitles subs closed caption

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Shadow of Death blogged
Dec 9, 09 6:42pm

^Never mind the odd title XD

Well, I've been playing this game for the past 4 or 5 days and am enjoying it quite well. Aside from UT III, it's the only game I really played on my work nights, and UT III is an easy game to enter and exit (I can do a 32 round bot match to 100 points in under 5 minutes or so, I think, so yeah).

Right now, I'm on my first playthrough, and I'm playing as Lilith (default name), the Siren class character. She can phasewalk (go invisible and run faster than normal), which is a useful skill IMO. I've hit level 20 recently. I've found some good weapons too.

Weapons are randomized, so sometimes you can encounter some sweet weapons. I recently beat Slag (a boss), and he nearly killed me.

Speaking of dying, a moment or two before fighting I died in the STUPIDEST way....I activated the Elevator to reach his level, and crushed myself on an overhead beam ~_~ That was $2000+ down the crapper for no good reason >_>

Take this as a warning.....Never forget to look up to see if death is waiting for you there >_>

Back to Slag now....He was strong, and I barely managed to beat him (I was knocked down once, but got my second wind), and killed him when I only had a few HP left (and was killed again by a weakling, which I promptly killed to get my 3rd wind).

His equipment was worthless (battle-wise that is) though. Powerful, but it couldn't hit anything like I say in This Thread, so not worth having. Sold for a pretty penny, which isn't surprising considering it was 2x stronger than my best shotgun, and was purple rarity (which is top of the lower half of the rarity spectrum I think).

So, I'll probably play this game until I at LEAST beat the main story once. I might do a second playthrough with Lilith, and might try the other classes, and go online as well.

playstation 3 xbox 360 pc gaming related borderlands gaming fun fps opinions

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Shadow of Death blogged
Dec 3, 09 8:31pm

Well, my Neohome is properly up and running, for the most part. There is a coding issue, but it is really just an alignment thing more than anything, and I could live without it being fixed. There is some missing content, but it is largely there now. Lol, in like a week I went from no neohome, to one of the more involved ones out there I think XD Not without a lot of help from bobbonew and other neo members, and generous amount of google searching (hey, going from 'not knowing how to make an image map with rusty HTML skills' to 'Image map based CSS styled neohome' is a pretty big leap XD As per usual, I figured out what I could from what I saw, but in the end I needed lots of help anyway. I've spent over 8 hours on it total (more like 10 though, in two 5 hour sessions).

On to the update to autocompletes. Remember in My First Neoblog, I posted about autocomplete PMs via neo's link system? Well, not only did I confirm (in the development of my neohome) that I could use HTML based linking to make use of square brackets (the bane of link name= PM based autocompletes), I also found out a way to add square brackets to make a BBcode enabled auto-complete based neoPM.

It's quite simple really, take what I have in the previous blog, where I mentioned:

quote Myself
SO I spent a little while figuring out what URL code = spaces, that was easy (%20 - BTW, did you know, different number combinations = different symbols, so while %20 = a space {line break}, %21 = !)

Page breaks (enters) was a bit more tricky, I googled "%20 line breaks page breaks" and on the second URL down, I found the code there, and figured out that you can use either: %0d or %0a (probably others will work too). Those are zeros, BTW.
You see the fancy HTML coding used to accomplish spacing? And how I mentioned that modified code = special characters? Yeah, I just googled 'HTML for square brackets' and found everything I needed HERE. On that page was a code for both square brackets, seen below:

[     Left square bracket
]     Right square bracket

So it became a simple matter of tediously filling out the auto complete as usual, and adding the above code where appropriate. In the event you need another special character, the above link should have it. Also, you don't need a special character code for backslash, so I left it out.

I decided to look for this code because I saw someone else using the kinda half-arsed neoBBcode for autocomplete (Subject) NeoPMs, and yeah like I figured, it was for a forum game (signup). He had the code for submissions separate because he didn't (I wouldn't think) know how to do this. He does now I guess XD

And now, here is the code for those of you that care (I just copy-pasted the code I used for that game's autocomplete).

NOTE: Stretches beyond the page, but if you just highlight a part, and then shift+right arrow and CTRL+C you should copy it all no problem.

[link name=Full Autocomplete PM][b]Name[/b]:%20Neoseeker%20Name%0d%0d[b]MSN/AIM[/b]:%20Insert%20address%20for%20any%20IM%20you%20have[/link]

Result: Full Autocomplete PM <-Click, you know you want to ^_~

Heck, if you feel like it, check out the thread. It's in the PC borderlands forum, but you don't even need to have the game to play this forum game. It's unrelated to Borderlands itself.

So, all I have to do is figure out how to auto-send it XD

Now, I'm sure someone has already done THIS too, but eh, hopefully someone finds a use for this anyway.

neoseeker related neohome image map neoseeker custom pm trick

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