Dedicated to greater accessibility in tabletop RPGs and other publications.
Welcome to VisionLayers.com, a website dedicated to introducing and educating readers and creators about a tool for providing greater accessibility in tabletop RPGs and other publications.
This website is possible thanks to the support of our Kickstarter backers and those amazing publishers who believed in this project from the beginning. Be sure to browse through our Publisher Gallery at the bottom of each page on this site. You can show your support for these publishers by purchasing vision layers products directly from them or their chosen online venue.
This website is designed to be <<highlight accessibility features>>. It is written in Canadian English and was originally written and published using WordPress in 2021.
Phase One: Website and Upgrading Published Titles
Phase Two: More Titles, New Partners and Publishers
Phase Three: The Future
This website is part of Phase One of a long-term goal to create greater accessibility in the tabletop roleplaying game industry and beyond. Known as the Vision Layer Project, our goal is not limited to the use of vision layers in a larger variety of products, but to help readers and publishers find the tools they need to provide greater accessibility. By allowing more people to explore these worlds of fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, romantic entanglements, gothic horror, and much, much more, we make our stories better and our connections fulfilling. We do this because it is the right thing to do.
Phase One involves the initial setup of this website and the upgrade of several established and published titles from across the indie tabletop RPG industry. Funded on Kickstarter in 2020, this first phase is currently in progress with 10 titles being upgraded with greater accessibility option found on this site. Thanks to our backers, we have 10 titles currently being redesigned with vision layers, alt-text descriptions, and other accessibility options with a goal to complete them by the end of 2021. While the money raised was able to hire two contractors to help build this website, all accessibility upgrades are the work of one person.
Phase Two will involve an expansion of more titles, including ones not funded during Phase One, by bringing on additional layout designers and accessibility consultants. We also hope to have the continued support of our current Publisher Gallery and find new partners with some of the industry’s top publishers. Additionally, we would like to see online retailers such as DriveThruRPG, itch.io, and more to provide searchable options to help their customers find products that meet their accessibility needs. More information will be posted about Phase Two when the time is right.
Phase Three is for the future…
A Quick Tour
This is the home page for the Vision Layers Project, an endeavour to provide an additional option for greater accessibility in tabletop RPGs. On this page, you’ll find an explanation of what vision layers are, how they work, and where you can find them.
At the bottom of each page, you’ll find a Publisher Gallery containing logos and links to the amazing publishers who helped this website become possible. There, you can find vision layer PDFs of one or more accessible tabletop RPGs, including TimeWatch, Fate Condensed, Afterlife: Wandering Souls, and many more fantastic indie titles. Click on this sentence to skip right down to the bottom of this page.
What ARE Vision Layers
Do you wear glasses or contacts? Do you need them to read? Take a moment and try reading the latest PDF copy of your favourite tabletop RPG without them on. As you do, consider what your life would be like if it was always this way. Around the world, there are RPG fans who require additional tools to read how these games work and not every PDF on the market is specifically built to be compatible with these accessibility tools, including screen readers provided with nearly all modern devices.
Here are some of the issues some people with vision-based disabilities can experience in your average tabletop roleplaying game’s PDF copy:
- Maybe the font is too hard to read or the user is dyslexic and requires a specialized font;
- Colour blind readers cannot see all the colour in a PDF. If some of the text is red, for example, they might not be able to see the text at all or have great difficulty reading it;
- Dice symbols, rather than using text like d6, d8, etc., cannot be interpreted by screen readers, making it difficult for the user to know which dice to roll;
- Border art may be too distracting for certain people with various forms of concentration issues or it can be difficult to read text over a textured background;
- Plus many more possibilities for people around the world!
Vision layers allows users to choose how to read their PDFs in a setting that works best for their needs. Combined with completely tagged exports, alt-text, and other accessibility-focused options appropriate to the individual book, vision layers have provided new options for everyone to access their tabletop roleplaying games.
Note: Vision layers are not a solution for all accessibility needs. They are an additional tool for those with access to PDF readers capable of recognizing and accessing layers. For a list of additional accessibility tools, check out our Resources page.
Here’s how they work. Modern layout technology allows designers to use layers in their setup of the finished document, thereby allowing them to easily arrange background textures, image layers, and so forth. These layers can be exported into a flattened (all the layers are merged together when exported into the PDF format) or a layered file (the layers are preserved and stack on top of each other).
By using these layers, we can create a variety of options for people with vision-based disabilities, including dyslexia, colour blindness, and any form degeneration of the human eye. The PDF’s fonts, colour, artwork, and other features can be switched from one version to another, allowing the reader to choose the best settings to suit their individual needs.
Vision layers use this existing technology and applies them for the sole purpose of increasing a PDF’s accessibility. The goal is to create a shared experience for a wider audience of fans and consumers where everyone can use the same digital copy of a game at the table, rather than separate copies with alternate page number references and other variations. Vision layers allows an opportunity for people with disabilities and able-bodied people to access the same game together.
For a sample of what vision layers look like in action, this video demonstrates what is possible for an upcoming tabletop RPG from Accessible Games called Survival of the Able. Download a free Preview showcasing these vision layers.