Dream Quest Accessibility

App Development & Programming

Hi all,

I'm the developer for Dream Quest (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dream-quest/id870227884?mt=8) and I was referred here in an attempt to make the UI actually accessible. On the downside, the Unity engine seems to have basically no accessibility support. On the upside, I didn't use the Unity interface and wrote my own, so there's a fair amount of freedom in what I can do.

I'm going to write this under the assumption we're all vaguely familiar with the UI which is almost certainly untrue but it'll be easier for me to start getting some ideas down. If you're not familiar and would like to help, please get in touch with me and I'll either add you to Testflight or send you a promo code and we'll go from there. Also, as a caveat, I'm not particularly good at UI in general and I've never done any accessibility work before, so please forgive my ignorance.

Most of the interactable UI objects are just buttons. It seems like the right thing here is one-touch reads the text (or a short description I create for imaged buttons) and double-tap presses it.

There are large swathes of text, a number of which are very long and completely irrelevant to the game play. I'd like them to be available, but if you had the treasure chest description read to you 100 times, you'd go crazy. Is the best thing here tap to read by paragraph? By whole text? Or single-click to say "You found a treasure chest", double-click to read the whole thing?

For interacting with the dungeon, my proposal is to have single-click read the things there with the same level of information the visual UI gives (so clicking on a monster that you're next to says "Level 7 Faerie Rogue", but one far away is just "Faerie Rogue") and double-clicking moves you to that place (as if you'd single-clicked in the current UI). Moving to a place would then again read the information, confirming that you'd successfully gotten there (since you can get ambushed on the way).

For things that happen with a visual cue, just read the text out loud - it happens infrequently and the text is short.

For combat, click on a card to get its name, double click to read the full text, and drag to the center to play, drag to the graveyard to discard (same as the standard UI, kind of). Clicking on things that usually pop up text just reads the text instead. Whenever the enemy plays a card, read the name of the card it played. When the enemy is done with its turn and it's your turn again, say so.

Expanding the discard pile and equipment pile works as normal except that closing it has to be done by clicking the same place rather than anywhere so that you can actually examine the cards that come up. Alternatively, it could read the names of those cards as it pops them up.

Off the top of my head, that's most things. The hardest for me is the text since it doesn't really work in a way that's conducive to clicking right now.

How does this sound? Are there aspects of this that are actually horrible or clever things (or obvious things) I haven't thought about?

Thanks a lot!



Submitted by Allen Sale on Monday, May 26, 2014

For those who don't want to click the iTunes link for the description: The basic gist is if you were to take Magic The Gathering and combine it with a roguelike system. Dungeons for the movement and such; card game for the combat. It is a novel concept that has various review sites liking the approach. What is a little amusing is how much they dislike the graphics since that wouldn't turn blind players away from giving this a shot. Peter has addressed this elsewhere so I won't go into it. Still, since I know we have a player base that either enjoys CCGs and/or roguelikes, I nudged him here.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The full text of the Dream Quest App Store description is below. Text source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dream-quest/id870227884?mt=8

"Play cards! Kill monsters! Level Up!

Dream Quest is a roguelike deckbuilding game inspired by the likes of Ascension, Magic: the Gathering, and Shandalar. Explore randomly generated levels as one of 13 classes in short, 30 minute, sessions. One floor might find your wizard in the crypt, another your warrior underwater, and a third, your assassin stalking a volcanic wasteland. As you progress, your characters earn achievements, each making your future runs a little easier or more interesting.

Combat is a card game. Your abilities are a deck of cards that you develop as you gain power. For example, a thief starts with a handful of Slice cards and a Backstab, but can learn defensive moves like Dodge or powerful finishing moves like Coup de Grace. Carefully choosing which cards to add to your deck is the heart of the game: wise choices will find you slicing through monsters while poor ones will leave you tripping over your own two feet.

•13 different classes, with wildly different play styles
•Over 300 cards, ranging from the defensive Kick and Armor to the devastating Meteor and Curse of Doom
•More than 70 monsters carefully catalogued in the Bestiary as you encounter them
•Infinite replayability – easily 50 hours to see the majority of the content
•No In App Purchases – the price of the game is the price of the game. Everything is unlocked only by playing.

Reviews of Version 1.0 have been fantastic! Examples include:

"Don't be fooled by its simplistic stick-figure art – Dream Quest brings together roguelike dungeon-crawling and deckbuilding to create a truly unique challenge"

"This game is really one of a kind. The mix between rogue-like and cards is really well done...Kudos to the dev for such an innovative and challenging game"
-Mike32, TouchArcade

"If you can get past the simplistic graphics, you're looking at a very interesting, strategic game. I've already lost a few hours to it - the kind of hours where you wonder where the time went. Outstanding game!"

Submitted by matheus rheine on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hey Peter! you know what? I'm going to go to the app store right now and buy dream quest. I love ccg's and roguelikes, unfortunately there are no games accessible in neither of the genres for iOS, this would be really great to play, actualy it would be a dream comming to reality for me, because I never thought that a developer like you would come here and try to make the game accessible, so I'll do my best to help you with feedback. maybe we can continue to discuss the game accessibility via e-mail. my e-mail is matheus_rheine@unifebe.edu.br
so here's what I think regarding your ideas: regarding the UI and the information that voiceover would read, I think it would be best to use the single tap to know just the basic information(of a monster/item/etc) and double tap to interact(either reading a long description or moving to the place you want). during gameplay your explanation seems perfect, I have no problems double tapping and dragging the finger to a certain place to make an action(however when dragging your finger it's important to know where your finger is) for example the graveyard, so you don't drop the card in the wrong spot. there's one game that uses this same concept to drag the card's, it's called king's corner and it's 100% accessible with voiceover if you want to take a look just as an example. Well, without trying the game first I can't say anything else, I just want to thank you again for the interest! all the best.

Submitted by matheus rheine on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hey Peter, just wanted to double post to say that I've bought the game and when launching it voiceover won't say anything. So the game's interface will have to be completely reworked to make it usable with voiceover, but as I said I'm here to help any way I can. Thanks and all the best!

Submitted by Tristan on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hi Peter,

I'd be entirely willing to work with you on making this game 100% accessible to blind users. As a blind user myself, I feel that I could offer valuable input. I've actually been dabbling a bit in XCode, so I could also offer different approaches code-wise as well. Your ideas are for making the app accessible are great, but I have a few tweaks if you don't mind of course.

Feel free to send me a message via my profile, or send me your e-mail and we can chat about this.


Submitted by Tikki on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

from the description, your game sounds really amazing. If it was made accessible, I'd certainly buy it.
Your ideas sound very good to me, I think this should work fine. But without being able to try it right now, I really can't say more. The best thing to get feedback would be to make a first accessible version and distribute it to people on testflight. Then everyone who wants to help can tell you more about which things should be changed, if some information is missing etc. I'll send you a private message on here with my email, so you can add me to testflight.
Thanks for coming here and for your efford to bring this game to us, it's greatly appreciated!

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I would love to also help you test this game and make it more accessible.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Please add me to Test Flight as well, @ kenwdowney'me.com. This game sounds somewhat like NetHack except for the card battles. I used to play that game for hours on my Pac Mate, having made all the map symbols look like they would on a Braille map. that was by far my favorite game on that device, and I really miss it.

Submitted by Faerie on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

i would love to help you with this. your idea sounds amazing! you can contact me via email on my contact form. You can also contact me on twitter: @musicfairy15 Keep up the awesome work

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi all,

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Submitted by LegendaryFerret on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wow, this forum is amazing. Thank you all so much for offering to help. I'm going to spend the next couple of days getting some of the technical aspects of this worked out and then contact the people who have offered to help with Testflight invites (or messages asking for e-mails for Testflight invites) so we can go from there. It seems like the best next step is to build some kind of interface, see what suggestions the testers have, and then iterate from there.

Oh, also, please don't buy the game. Accessibility right now is about zero and I don't want anyone disappointed. I'm working on it, but it might take some time, so please don't pick it up until we're done - I can add you to Testflight regardless of whether you've bought the game or not.

Thank you,

Submitted by Pat Pound on Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I am willing to test, if you search for patstapestries and testing ios apps you will find a piece I did on this subject. Right now VoiceOver doesn't read anything. A game you might want to examine how they did the accessibility (actually 2) one is Lost city as they used dynamic hints to read the current state of the board, not required but makes the game so enjoyable. Also you might look at Kings Corner as this illustrates card move and drop. (forget the dev on this) Please let me know if I can be of assistance as this seems like a truly great game.

Pat Pound

Submitted by Allen Sale on Friday, May 30, 2014

Peter has begun work on a couple bits. Nothing earth shattering yet. Still, the ball is rolling!

Submitted by Ian Hamilton on Monday, June 2, 2014

Hi Peter

I'm not entirely sure from your post whether you're using Unity or not. If you are, don't bother trying to make it accessible to voicever, it's not technically possible to do that using Unity.

A good contact for you would be Psychic Bunny, Diana Hughes in particular, as they've done precisely the same thing that you're trying to do in Unity, and solved many of the UI issues that you're facing:


Submitted by Tangela on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hello, I noticed this game on twitter the day it was released and can't wait to see what you are able to do with making it accessible. Thank you so much for your interest. If you still need testers, feel free to contact me here. I have used test flight before and would love to test the game.

Submitted by dark on Friday, December 12, 2014

Sinse I tend to be busy with audiogames.net, I didn't check this page out originally, but it was reported over there sinse an rpg would be great, ccg's don't exist in an accessible form, and roguelikes are only vaguely accessible, ie, playable with effort.

so, this sounds awsome on all counts. Is there any news on how the accessibility to this one is going?

Submitted by AbleTec on Friday, December 12, 2014

Hi, Peter, welcome to the AppleVis forum, & thank you for taking the time to reach out to sight-impaired users in order to make your game accessible to & playable by all, regardless of disability status. That's just totally awesome, & we appreciate it more than words can ever express. So often sight loss excludes us from recreational opportunities that are taken for granted by most. We're all completely aware that making your game accessible is absolutely voluntary, so we're really grateful for the extra time you've chosen to devote to the effort. I personally hope you're blessed a lot for having done so.

Dragging objects can be somewhat problematic, but it's likely possible. Often, long swaths of text are best read w/a 2 finger swipe down the screen, as an example.

I'm more of a word game player than a monster fighter, but I have some programming experience, & if you feel I can be of assistance, I'd be happy to do whatever I could.

Again, thanks for reaching out to us.

Submitted by dark on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

@Able tech, I completely agree. when developers take this sort of effort, especially when they come to sites like this on their own it is fantastic. Also as I said we have very few accessible rpgs, zero fully accessible roguelikes and no accessible ccg's so a lot of vi gamers would love a game like this (myself very much included).

Regarding the drag&drop, I did raise that question on the forum over at audiogames.net, but apparently it has been successfully implemented in other titles in an accessible way, it's something which probably would need to be tried and maybe tweaked a little.

I do hope the project is going well and Peter can provide some news of what is happening with dreamquest currently.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hi, firstly thanks for thinking of the visually impaired in the development of the game, that's really cool.

Generally when dealing with lots of data on the screen it is down to the user to run their finger around to find the information, this tends to be for such things that are not actions, i.e. health, weapons etc, the actual stats of the games. Pop up dialogue when an action has occurred is great... I recommend looking at Theta poker, sorry don't have the link to hand, who has made the game very accessible and intuitive. Obviously in poker there are the actions of the cards being played bu there is also data such as chips etc which isn't necessary to no in the active playing of the game but is important on a more stock taking sort of level.

I'd be happy to have a look at the game and give you more comments about it. You can get me on info@oliverkennett.com

Best regards


Submitted by Laura Tosetto on Thursday, February 8, 2018

Okay, I know this is an old thread, but I came across it randomly and the game sounds really awesome. So does anyone know by any chance if this has become accessible? I would love to play this game if it were accessible’

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