[games_access] Alternative Accessible Haptic Game Controller-thoughts

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Mon Nov 28 18:25:04 EST 2005

I second Richard's note that it was very, very thorough! Great post, Barrie! I'm 
going to put some of it onto the wiki so that we keep growing our knowledge 


---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 23:17:12 +0100
>From: "AudioGames.net" <richard at audiogames.net>  
>Subject: Re: [games_access] Alternative Accessible Haptic Game Controller -
>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
>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 
>>> 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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