[games_access] Harmonix needs our help!

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Sat Dec 15 19:45:59 EST 2007

Great question!

First thing to jump to mind is to do something with the gamer's mouth/vocal
options because it's free and available. Two ideas would then be either some
very simple bite/sip/puff controller or a very simple head mic-setup (of
course you need to be careful in a room full of sound with placing mics). A
sip/puff/bite controller has the issue of hygiene which can be a pretty big
problem. If so, go for the mic (which is simple hardware as well). The only
thing you need from either the mic or the sip/puff/bite controller is a
trigger of some sort. A player would then use his arms for the standard
hi-hat/snare/toms/riot/crashes/cowbell-stuff, and "sing" the kick:
"boom"+hihat > hihat > hihat+snare > "boomboom"+hihat > etc. A benefit of
this solution is that I think it can actually add to the fun of the game.
The drummers in the bands I used to play in were always the types of guys
who would always mimic what they were playing with their voice:
"boom-tjak-ka-boomboom-tjakcrash"- that sort of thing (especially in the bar
after practice ;). Also, when synced with samples of a kick-drum, gamers
might be awed, thinking it is really cool to "boom" in a mic and hear a
kickdrum from the machine ;) It might even turned out to make the game a bit
easier... ? Alex, is there is a lot of double kickdrum in there?



----- Original Message -----
From: "d. michelle hinn" <hinn at uiuc.edu>
To: <games_access at igda.org>
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2007 12:30 AM
Subject: [games_access] Harmonix needs our help!

> Hey everyone,


> So I've been talking to the CEO of Harmonix about Accessibility and "Rock

> Band." If you haven't yet seen it (ie, you were definitely not at a booth

> right across from them at E for All!) -- Harmonix was also behind Guitar

> Hero 1, 2, and 80s but then they spun that off to focus on Rock Band

> (which works with up to two guitars, a drum kit, and a mic). Right now

> it's available (USB wired) for Xbox 360, (wireless --

> I think...) for PS3, and then (wired again) for PS2 (they have a USB hub

> that plugs into the USB slot to allow for 4 separate USB devices).


> Here's the situation from Alex:


> "One obvious thing that has already become apparent in the forums is that

> there's a demand among

> paraplegic gamers for a mode of the drumming game in Rock Band that

> doesn't require the kick pedal."


> I was thinking about hardware solutions that might work, that perhaps a

> set of drumsticks that has some kind of squeeze mechanism might work but

> that might be tough to pull off while you are drumming. Having the foot

> pedal in as a hat sensor would be difficult for those who want to "ROCK!"

> (hehe...head banging). The thing is that there are times when you have to

> hit the drum pads with both sticks and the foot pedal all at the same

> time...so simply not using the pedal is not an option if you want to

> progress through the game.


> One thing for sure is the drums? It's the toughest thing on Rock Band -- I

> brought it to a party last night and we had three people playing as "the

> drummer" at the same time in order to avoid our "band" from getting kicked

> off stage again and again -- even then the point difference between the

> guitar and vocal versus the drums...guitar and vocal were in the 80s and

> 90s/100 on "easy" and drums got to about as high as 60/100 also on "easy."

> And this was from people who had never played Sing Star or Guitar Hero on

> the other instruments. So there's some balance issues that are coupled

> along with it.


> So I'm thinking that a mode that didn't involve the kick pedal might be

> more attractive in general...perhaps as some sort of patch (harder with

> consoles if you don't have it hooked up to the net but they might be

> willing to send out a patch on a game disk for free or the cost of

> shipping and handling). Or it might just be a "for the next version" kind

> of thing.


> But can anything be done NOW with regard to a hardware alternative for

> this version of Rock Band that has just come out? If there is a software

> solution, what would we need access to in order to implement something?


> Thoughts? We have their attention! We might be able to really influence

> this game. Certainly I'll make Alex aware of Eelke's design solution for

> Guitar Hero for the visually impaired. But this is a rare direct

> opportunity for us to work with a major game company on current and future

> versions of this so we can get an inside look at what it takes to

> implement any one solution in a company. If it works out, this gives us

> some "street cred" as a group and be able to talk about the process at,

> say, next year's GDC with them.


> Hey, it could happen -- this is the CEO we're talking to!


> Michelle

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