[games_access] Alternative Accessible Haptic Game Controller -thoughts

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Mon Nov 28 17:17:12 EST 2005

Hi Barrie,

Thanks for your VERY thorough reply! I think you named several critical 
problems and suggested many ideas that would definately fit this project. 
I'll have to see what the university's opinion is about it, though, but I 
can imagine they will recognise the potentional of your ideas. I don't know 
how soon I can let you know what the final project plan is because I'm going 
on a holiday this week for the next couple of weeks. I'll definately let you 
know when I know more!



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Barrie Ellis" <barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 2:18 PM
Subject: [games_access] Alternative Accessible Haptic Game 
Controller -thoughts

> Hi Richard,
> Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
> Some problems with current accessible game controllers:
> ! A lack of standardised controller connection between different computers 
> and consoles.
> One controller may work really well for your PC, but there may be no 
> simple way of getting the same controller to work on your games console.
> ! A lack of options enabling you to re-map controls, double up controls, 
> simplify and even switch off controls.
> Using a driving game as an example, I've found it helpful when assisting a 
> person play a game using an adapted arcade stick to make all the buttons 
> do the same thing (GO), and the joystick set to steer left and right, with 
> up and down disconnected. If you don't have the finest control of your 
> hand, or are learning disabled, simplifying the numerous buttons can help 
> massively. With a left handed gamer it can help to simply invert the 
> joystick. You can't do this with all accessible game controllers.
> ! Analogue controls.
> These can require impossible levels of fine control, making a game 
> impossible. If these can be set to act in a digital manner, be remappable, 
> and have control over how hard they steer, this would be very helpful. 
> There is some facility for this in my adapted X-Arcade controllers, but it 
> could be better still.
> ! Sheer number of controls.
> Some accessible controllers can be dauntingly complicated at first, which 
> must put techno-phobes off. You need a really accessible design with 
> really good easy to understand instructions.
> ! Functions not clear.
> What the controller does at any given time can be confusing. E.g. In 
> trying to make a universal switch interface controller, the X-Arcade has 
> all buttons left blank, with a reference guide explaining what each button 
> does. Overlays could help. I could see OLED 
> (http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/) technology really helping 
> here in the distant future.
> ! Lack of knowledge.
> If the controllers can't be repeat produced easily, and aren't widely 
> known about they won't get to the right people.
> Thoughts.
> Carrying on from recent posts, I have had a number of gamers approach me 
> with the wish for a single handed controller that enables them to do 
> everything a Dual-Shock type controller can. I have a Neg-Con one handed 
> controller and can vouch that this is not very comfortable at all to use. 
> Creating a comfortable one handed controller would be a great project. It 
> would be best if it had the facility to connect standard switches / 
> sensors to enable different parts of the body to take on extra functions. 
> This could also serve gamers using their feet.
> It would be really nice if this project could be used with standard 
> Playstation game pad connectors. These can be used with adapters to 
> connect to most games consoles, making this a more universal controller.
> Another project idea would be for a versatile joystick. Being able to gate 
> the joystick (to make it 16- way, 8-way, 4-way, 2-way or 1-way), to be 
> able to set a variable dead-zone in the middle (so varying how far you 
> have to push in a certain direction to make the controller activate). Also 
> being able to attach different stick handles would be great, including 
> sticks with buttons on. If this device could have switch sockets too for 
> the other controls, this would be great. It would also be good to have 
> this device acting as four switches itself, so it can be connected to any 
> standard switch interfaced equipment.
> A further project idea would be to make an able-net 'Big-Red' type of 
> switch with an OLED display, so it's function could be displayed at all 
> times (an easy way would be to feature a cycling menu of images to choose 
> from, such as all the Playstation symbols and controls, JUMP, RUN, FIRE 
> etc. - with the facility to USB in more images). Perhaps this would be a 
> way of giving a single switch more functions?
> Hope this is useful,
> Barrie Ellis
> www.OneSwitch.org.uk
>> I would like to know what problems/limitations/possibilities there are 
>> with current accessible game controllers. Can you tell me if there's a 
>> NEED for a specific design/technology through which games could be played 
>> more easily? I personally like the idea of a "one button"-controller that 
>> actually has more functionality than just "on" or "off". But I wouldn't 
>> really know if there's a need for that. I know that there's a very wide 
>> range of haptic assistive technology and alternative controllers. I also 
>> know that the scope of motoric disabilities if quite big and varied. 
>> Therefore I am thinking to just pick one or two of the most common 
>> motoric disabilities and ask the students to design for that specific 
>> disability. What do you think about that (and...er... what IS the most 
>> common motoric disability *among gamers* ?)
>> If anyone has some nice ideas/questions that could be researched within 
>> this project, please step up :)
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