"Designing Games that are Accessible for Everyone"

Designing Games that are Accessible for Everyone. Image of Sonic the Hedgehog (c) Sega.

Eitan Glinert has a fine article just published at Gamasutra. If you care about Game Accessibility - read some of the comments, which may get you a bit fired up. Maybe the title is a little mis-leading as very few people expect all games to be accessible for everyone - but some can be - and more should be more accessible. I think it would be hard for anyone to dispute that and not look bitter and twisted.

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One Switch Electric Wheel Chairs

Guided Ability - one-switch wheelchair control."The [Guided Mobility System] is an electrically propelled platform that follows a track carrying an electronic signal, when a single switch is operated. This enables a child or young adult who is unable to use a conventional powered wheelchair to experience independence and develop skills for mobility. The platform can also be used off the track with up to four separate switches.The mobility platform has been developed to provide independent mobility for people who have yet to develop the skills necessary to control the standard powered chairs generally available at the present time."

Put more simply - the chair follows a pre-determined track on the floor when the user presses their single switch. A great idea, that's been in use since in some UK schools since 1990 seemingly. Fun.

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Moozi and Flexzi

Moozi 'D9' Joystick from MERU.Flexzi mounting solutions.

MERU are next up, loaning the SpecialEffect Games Roadshow a Moozi joystick and some Flexzi controller mounts.

The Moozi joystick comes in a large range of styles and colours. We've received a low-profile black joystick which looks great next to the primary coloured able-net switches everyone seems to use (us included). First impressions were of how well put together the joystick feels. It's weighty and feels very solid indeed. It uses a 'D9' plug, so needs an adapter to connect to a PC. No problem - TNI's Woodpecker works brilliantly, as does the AtariAge Stelladaptor (which I have in stock presently).

The Flexzi mounting solutions we've received are equally well made. We've been loaned one with a bracket and one with velcro fixings. Both are really easy to use, and are firm when in position but do give a little. Thanks to this, you're a lot less likely to knock yourself out with them if you hit the mounted controller hard with your head.

Really great equipment, which I wish we could keep! They'll be getting some really good usage soon.

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Woodpecker USB Switch Interface

Woodpecker USB Switch Interface for PCs from Technology and Integration.
The first company to donate to the SpecialEffect Games Roadshow is Technology and Integration. Belgian based, but dealing internationally, they kindly donated one of their excellent "Woodpecker USB" switch interfaces.

This compact device allows you to connect up to five accessibility switches and also an Atari style joystick (which just happens to be the 'D9' style adopted by many wheelchairs). I've been testing this device with MERU's Moozi 'D9' joysticks with great success having it control the mouse pointer and to play games too (more of which later).

In short, the Woodpecker is one of the most versatile and compact switch interfaces available for the PC. It's great for a huge range of games and works with JoyToKey too. Thank you TNI!

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Taking a short break...

Lovely cup of tea. Just taking a short break.... loads has happened will get back soon...

Playstation 3 Controller Adapter

Playstation 3 Farmer Rateup Adapter. Farmer (of the "left-handed fighter" controllers) have just released the XFPS Rateup Adapter for the Playstation 3. It allows keyboard controllers, mice and I assume, Playstation 2 controllers to attach to a PS3.

Although expensive (will cost you just over £50 delivered), it looks like a good way to get most accessible controllers working on a PS3. I'm hopeful that I can get my PS2-SID working on this too in the near future. When I get a PS3 that is.

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Xbox 360 Voice Recognition Controller

Xbox 360 Voice Recognition Controller AcidMods.com have posted a great D.I.Y. guide for creating a voice activated controller for the Xbox 360 (although it could easily be adapted to work on most other consoles). There's a very clear YouTube video demonstration here.

I would bet that this will work alongside most accessible Playstation 2 controllers using an XFPS 360 adapter. Voice control would make a lot of sense when used with a switch interface where people can tailor build a set-up to suit themselves. LEPMIS can supply such an interface already, with the possibility of fitting specialist analogue controls.

As a side note, I've just received a component reportedly needed to get my PS2-SID working on Xbox 360 and hopefully other consoles. Fingers crossed time!

Via: Tim Chase at IGDA GASIG Mailing List

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History of the Button

From: History of the Button "Tracing the history of interaction design through the history of the button, from [torches] to websites and beyond. "

One Thumb to Rule Them All

"Mike Phillips is a gamer and freelance technology writer born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Using his thumb and a proximity switch to access his computer he is a prolific journalist and has contributed chapters to several books. Assistive technology has opened the world for him. For a high resolution version go here: AssistiveWare.com"

Via: Tip from Special Effect

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