Playing EVE While TOtally BLind

Hi All,

I’ve been aware of EVE for some time, but was always hesitant to give it a try for the simple reason that I am totally blind, and traditionally MMOs have not been particularly pleasant to play using screen reading technology.

I recently discovered a few screen reader features which make some games, particularly text-heavy ones, more playable than they might otherwise be, so thought I’d log on and see what this was all about.

I have a way to perform near-real-time OCR of the game screen, a desire to learn, and almost no practical understanding of the in-game UI as of yet. A friendly community member was kind enough to walk me through the process of character generation, and now I’m just trying to figure out how to get my feet under me.

I realize this is a weird topic, but am eager to learn how to begin. The hardest issue at the moment is making my screen reader perform as well as it can. I know there are other blind people who play or have played here, but I’m not sure what approaches they have taken as of yet.

I wanted to introduce myself and get some insights from this community, on anything and everything related to enjoying this game while unable to see. :slight_smile:


Welcome to Eve, and I hope you’re able to make things work for you. It sounds incredibly challenging, and with Eve probably one of the most complex games of all time, as if that isn’t enough… Kudos for having a go! :slight_smile:

Great challenges can bring great rewards. With so many things possible in Eve, I’m sure there will be things you can enjoy. Trading, via both the market and contracts, at first thought, would seem the most obviously easy, as they are mostly reliant on text. You can also use external resources to help you with your trading (websites created by community members) that are, similarly, numeric text heavy, and should prove useful to you for growing your wealth in the game.

All of the chat windows, I expect, will also be easiest for your OCR software to decipher. At the very minimum, there is a local chat window for each star system you’re in, and a corp chat window, specific to the corporation you’re in (you are always in a corp in Eve… whether it’s an NPC corp or a player-owned corp). All other chat windows, whether they be private chats between players, or channels where players congregate for specific purposes, are at the player’s discretion. All chat windows can always be minimised when you choose.

The UI is quite configurable. You can usually place windows where you like on your screen, and resize to your preference. It often takes months for players to find how they like their screen layout… I’m always adjusting and changing to suit whatever is going on at the time!

One other point that comes to mind… when you’re flying in space, the camera zoom level you have, adjusted with the mouse scroll wheel, determines what you can hear, and it’s volume. If someone were not aware of that, you could play for a long time and miss out on the soundscape of Eve. There are definitely clues that you will get as to what’s going on from the sound, so I can imagine it being more important for players that are visually impaired.

Do also avail yourself of the half-decent soundtrack… Eve’s music is very nicely done. So much so, in fact, that CCP somehow conned the Iceland Symphony Orchestra into playing the whole thing at the Eve Online 10th Anniversary Fanfest event in 2013. If you do get to play the game successfuly, after you’ve played for a bit and gotten a little used to the music, go give the symphony performance a listen. Well worth it… here’s a link to the live stream…

Best of luck!

Harry Starkus


Too Soon ?



I have on occasion daydreamed of a contraption that turns a 3D view into something like a skin that is worn and the objects in the view are “felt” on the skin. Something like that could help blind people I suppose, but I lack the skills to make such a thing.

Huh. Interesting. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, honestly.

I admire your grit in examining playing eve whilst blind. Just by considering it you have already demonstrated more determination than so many EvE “players” who whine about things to do with this game they could adapt to and overcome.

One good thing is that CCP has traditionally been pretty good about helping folks with adaptive issues necessary to play their game.

I’ve heard good things about this ablegamers group

good luck and welcome to EvE! o7

1 Like

Hi all,

I appreciate the warm welcome. So far, I’ve just been exploring the interface, although I seem to have accidentally closed most of the windows with text, so I’m a little unsure how to get back to the default layout, I’m at least intrigued, and look forward to exploring a little more when I have slightly more energy. :slight_smile: If I could avoid depending on my screen reader OCR, that would be the ideal solution, but for the moment it’s what I’ve got to work with. At least it seems to handle most of the menus fairly well, from what I saw. I’m just not sure how to progress in the tutorial, because I can’t find the object I’m supposed to click on, although I imagine it’s visually fairly obvious. I feel like once I figure this out, things will open up quite a bit. It’s just getting over the initial hump that’s a little difficult.

1 Like

All of those windows you’ve either closed or (probably) minimised should be recoverable from the Neocom menu (the top left most button on the screen… aka the giant “E” button) or the button bar that extends below it and your player portrait (which is the next button down that accesses your character sheet).

Arguably, out in space, your Overview window is the most important, as it basically tells you where everything is, relative to your ship. It’s extremely customisable, in a table format, and so mostly alphanumeric. Community developed, installable “overview packages” are available (within the game) for those that prefer more info than the default Overview layout provides, but whether they would prove more useful to you rather than more complication than necessary is unclear. As much of a fan of a much more complex than default overview that I am, keeping it simple for you to develop the methods of providing the most pertinent information in any situation is probably wise. Further complication and a desire for more info can come once you know what you’re doing with the interface a little more.

I can imagine a beneficial place to start for figuring out how to get your system to interact with all these different screen elements, is to learn about the appropriate keyboard shortcuts which bring each window to focus. An extensive list is likely most easily accessible for you at , although it may be a little out of date. In the game, keyboard shortcuts can, as expected, be accessed via the game options window, by hitting the ESC key.

Incidentally, Eve University, since I’ve already referenced them, come to think of it, is a superb source of free information about Eve Online. It is, essentially, an online university created by the community, including video and/or audio lectures and presentations that I’m sure you’d find useful for learning about the game, and many also with transcripts or downloadable notes to go along with them. The home page is

Hope this is useful info :slight_smile:



In EVE you can do pretty much any role you can find in the real world.

I expect Ship PVP will push your tech and will to the max to become even close to competitive. There is a paraplegic who streams PVP.

There are other PVP contebt which does not require quick reactions. I engage in market pvp which I think your screen reader would do almost as well as someone fully sighted. It is a niche and you would need to be attracted to financial science.

Anyway good luck.

1 Like

I’d tell a joke about blind people …
… but I can’t see myself writing one.




I’m not quite sure what this Reddit link is supposed to be. :slight_smile: I intend to spend some time this weekend poking at things, and trying to get my overview and such in order.

It’s a joke picture of a keyboard with only 6 keys: f1 (fire weapons group), log off, lock target, microwarpdrive, orbit, and don’t bump titan. Then it also has a key-activated and safety-covered jump switch.


I googled some articles of blind players playing wow:

Still, one challenge is that a lot of activities in EVE invloves interacting with objects in 3d space, though some of them (e.g. AFK mining) are not as complex as other ones.

Unfortunately, EVE had very limited capabilities for addons, and the fights are never as predictable as a WoW raid.

If you haven’t been able to read an overview, this is a text version of what it looks like

Icon Distance Velocity Name Type
Cruiser 20km 647 Foo Moa
Frigate 30km 3000 Bar Stiletto

And that is not counting some visual effects of ewar applied, and targeting. Additional columns like Angular, Radial and Transversal velocities can be enabled in overview settings which is useful in certain occasions involving gun tracking.

As the scale of pvp goes up you will need to read more rows of those columns–and they are changing every second! You may have to find a way to filter and receive the most relevant information.
Even if you read the distance there is still complexity of their spatial relationship in 3 dimensions, which I feel almost impossible to understand without visualization. Maybe if you have a very good sound card you may be able to map overview objects to sounds.

However, you can skip that daunting complexity by just following the anchor player of your role and press f1 on the target being broadcasted-- in fact that’s how most line members in a fleet do and hence the meme of “f1 monkey”. See’s_Guide_to_Fleet_Ops for more details.


THanks. :slight_smile:

YEah, the overview is definitely going to be my number one tool for getting things done. I just need to figure out how other VI people manage to play—I’m still waiting to hear back from at least one who has.

I’m stubborn and willing to keep poking at things past the limits of what other people consider practical, so we’ll see how well this goes.

Hi ALl,

APOlogies if double posts aren’t welcome here. I just wanted to update everyone on my progress so far.

I spent ~5 hours over the past couple days getting familiar with the way the game UI works, or at least a small portion of it. I can reliably travel to structures and make manual jumps now, as well as review my combat log in a text editor, though I’d prefer a better way to do the latter.

I am currently on the hunt for useful third-party tools to help make the experience a little smoother. Anything which can provide audible alerts would be appreciated, as the process of finding out what happens is a little tedious at the moment.

This is infinitely better than I was expecting when I first started, and despite the small magnitude of these steps, I’m hopeful for the future.


Good! Glad to hear it!

Hi All,

I have finally heard back from one other visually impaired player, though I’m a little confused as to how exactly his setup is supposed to work. HE claims to have a way to review the chat log directly, or possibly tie his text-to-speech to it in some fashion. Also, he apparently has some kind of mouse-over text-to-speech setup, whereby a simplified overview is read to him as he moves the mouse around it.

I admit I’m not sure what either of these might be about. I’m an assistive tech expert and as far as I know the Eve client isn’t compatible with anything at that level. He said he had help with the initial setup, but I’m not sure from whom.

At the moment I’m still struggling to get my OCR to read the windows reliably. I feel like once I can find a layout I’m comfortable with, I can start making more progress. Te biggest problem is that the software is unaware of the way EVE windows work, so it intermingles stuff from multiple data streams without regard for logic.

If anyone knows what this gentleman might be talking about, I’d appreciate any info. I’ll keep poking at it from my side even if it is occasionally very frustrating, particularly when I know the item I need is visible on screen but OCR fails to see it.

hmm interesting. No idea what he’s talking about, maybe CCP knows all about it…if it is real…

1 Like

@The_Larold According to google/the forums you’re legally blind. You might be able to help this guy.

1 Like

Two shortcuts that are important to be aware of are:
Set Chat Channel Focus (Default space)
Set Overview Focus (Default alt-space)

Pressing the first one is a very common cause of confusion, because chat windows capture keypresses that you might expect to do other things.

Pressing the second one selects your overview. With the overview selected, you can use up and down arrow keys to select each displayed item.

Given that you have your overview selected and have pressed up or down at least once, these shortcuts do something on the selected item:
Q approach
W orbit at default range
E keep at default range (fly alongside)
A align (like approach but for far away things)
S warp to 0km
D jump through a stargate or dock at a station or structure
Control target lock a nearby item

The overview is heavily configurable and it takes extensive time and knowledge even for an experienced player to set it up as desired. Luckily, nowadays you can share your overview settings so another player could help set this up and send you a link.

I would suggest to start out that you use one overview tab to display only stargates. This will let you move between star systems.

Another tab could be places you can dock: “npc stations” and “player structures”.

A third could be player ships, NPC ships, or both.

Note shortcuts:
Next Tab Ctrl-Page Down
Previous Tab Ctrl-Page Up

Each overview tab may be sorted differently by clicking the column headers and this sorting is remembered when you log off and log back in. I do not know of keyboard shortcuts to change this sorting. You may have to observe the list and figure out which column is sorted and whether it is increasing/decreasing.

You can view and modify shortcuts by pressing Escape and clicking the Shortcuts tab. A search box is available if you know what shortcut you want to observe or change.

Welcome to EVE!

1 Like