[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 
base.

Michelle

---- 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 -
thoughts  
>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!
>
>Greets,
>
>Richard
>
>
>
>----- 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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