In 2022, I added some extra options to map screens, in the hopes of making it a little easier for visually-impaired players to navigate on the Island using an audible screen reader.
The two options that VI players will want to know about are the Directional Spin/Line Scan option and the Fast/Verbose output option. If Scan/Spin is enabled, then the game will attempt to describe the map textually, highlighting each square in an order determined by whether Scan or Spin is selected. The Fast/Verbose option determines how coordinates and directions are described. To help illustrate how the options work, I'll first describe how the map works for sighted players.
Sighted players will see a graphical map made out of (usually) five by five squares, with their current position centered and highlighted. One extra row and column to the left and below show letters and numbers respectively, with the letters starting at A in the West horizontally and the numbers starting at 1 in the South vertically. As the player moves around the game world, the map remains centered on their character, with the centre cell highlighted. For example, if the player is at position C3, the map will be shown from A1 in the bottom-left corner to E5 in the top-right. Moving East puts the player at position D3, so the map shows position B1 in the bottom left corner to F5 in the top right.
The only time the map is not centered on the player is when they're close to an edge or a corner; for an example, take our player at position C3 and move them one square southwest, to B2. The map still shows A1 in the lower left to E5 in the top right as before, but the highlighted square changes to B2. In other words, we always show the map at the same size, we never show blank cells or empty space, and we move the highlighted square away from the centre of the map where it's appropriate.
In 2022 we also started to highlight the cells immediately around the player, because it was not immediately obvious that you could move on the map by clicking on its squares.
Now, for blind or visually-impaired players using a screen reader. There are two ways that we can describe the map to you textually, and they're called Directional Spin and Line Scan, hereafter called Spin and Scan. The Spin option works more like how you would look around in real life, while the Scan option may be easier to use quickly. If either option is enabled, first the game will announce your current coordinates.
If Spin is enabled, the game will announce "close" and then describe the square immediately to the North of your current location, then the square to the NorthEast, then East, and continue turning in a clockwise circle announcing each square until it reaches NorthWest. Then, it announces "Far," and describes the square two clicks North of the player, then North-NorthEast, NorthEast, East-NorthEast, and so on, doing another clockwise circle and ending at North-Northwest. Think of it like the player character doing a quick turn to see what they can reach in the next move, and then a second, slower turn to see what they can get to in two moves.
If Scan is enabled, then the game will describe the square in the top left corner of the visible map, then the square immediately to its right, carrying on through to the top right corner, then drop down one row (announcing the new row number) and start from the left again. This is a less intuitive way to read the map, but it can be output very quickly, which brings us to the two speed options.
When "Verbose" is selected, the Spin option will announce the direction the player character is looking, and its coordinate, before announcing the relevant map square's contents or terrain. When "Fast" is selected, the Spin option will announce "Close North" and the nearest Northern square's coordinate, and then output the entire eight-direction clockwise spin without further directional or coordinate indicators; it will then announce "Far North" and then the entire second sixteen-direction spin.
When you're using Spin mode and standing close to an edge or corner of the map, there will be fewer directions to announce. In these cases, to avoid confusion, we will always use Verbose output mode regardless of what you have selected.
As for the Scan mode, the "Verbose" option will output the top left square's row number and column letter followed by its description, and then the subsequent square's column letter, only announcing the row number again when it changes as the focus drops to the next lower row. The "fast" option works the same way, but omits the column letter read out between squares.
Of all the different ways of viewing the map, Verbose Spin is the slowest and probably the most intuitive, while Fast Scan will let you move through the game world much quicker if you can wrap your head around it. These options are set in cookies, so you can have different prefs per device; because changes only take effect on the next page load, you can use the chatroom's Refresh link to experiment with different settings without moving around the map and getting pounced by monsters.
If you have any issues using the map, please use the Tell Us About A Problem link and I'll do some fiddling.