On an epic quest to make roleplaying games more accessible to the visually impaired, Jack Berberette uses professional 3D printing services like Shapeways to fabricate his unique DOTS RPG braille dice.
Roleplaying Games are a special pastime enjoyed by a broad audience. The DOTS RPG project is supporting a segment of the RPG fanbase frequently overlooked; people affected by the loss of their sight.
Jack Berberette is the creator of the DOTS RPG project, which oversees the design and production of 3D printed braille dice for the visually impaired. Initially he was translating game books and other resources into braille, inspired by his friendship with De Juan Daniels, AKA “D”, a gifted dungeon master who also happened to be blind.
But recognizing that players without sight needed dice they could read, Berberette collaborated with 3D modeller Sterling Pittman on the design of a set of braille dice suitable for 3D printing.
The DOTS RPG dice 3D model files are available on Thingiverse, so folks can attempt to make them at home. But they’re also available for professional production on Shapeways with no markup beyond the cost of producing them.
“This is a purely altruistic project… I don’t make a single penny of profit, and honestly have no desire to,” Berberette tells the Shapeways blog.
“I don’t have the funds readily available to go through the injection mold process to mass produce the dice. But, I still needed a means to make high-quality dice.”
Needless to say, Berberette has been thoroughly testing the 3D printed dice. When comparing the accuracy of rolls with a traditionally made set of die, he took detailed notes.
“Basically, I rolled the Shapeways printed d20 and a Game Science d20 500 times each through a dice tower,” Berberette explains.
“The results were pretty amazing. There is a 5% chance for a d20 to land on any side, and based on my rolls (which are not scientific) the Shapeways dice (probably due to a larger surface area) deviated from the 5% by only 0.58%. Meanwhile, the Game Science d20 deviated by 0.82%. Again, I’m sure the Game Science die is way more precise, but the Shapeways die performed really well.”
DOTS RPG Project Made Possible with 3D Printing
So what’s next for the DOTS RPG Project?
“Currently, our main goal is simply raising awareness,” says Berberette. “I’m hoping to get the news out to the entire gaming industry that there is a huge need for accessible gaming materials.”
Heroic volunteers are also welcome to support the cause. If you know a visually impaired player that could use some braille dice, Berberette is eager to hear about it. Details can be found on the DOTS RPG Project “Heroes Wanted!” page.
“We have a Dice Sponsor program. Through this, people who would like to sponsor dice can simply order dice from our Shapeways shop. And they can mail them directly to me, and I will get them to those on the waiting list. We also take PayPal donations and any funds we raise will go to the design, purchasing, and distribution of accessible gaming materials.”
Tragically, D passed away in February this year. But Berberette remains dedicated to the DOTS RPG project, and continues to help other visually impaired players.
“I am extremely grateful that before he passed, I was able to place braille gaming books and dice in his hands for the very first time.”