[games_access] Harmonix needs our help!

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Sat Dec 15 22:32:35 EST 2007

You've raised a lot of great points, Robert, and I will write up an
email that extends the issue for quadriplegics. Alex is a really cool
guy and he's definitely a friend of the SIG. I'm sure that they won't
be able to budget for everything but if they could help advertise a
few solutions now that we can come up with (like the foot pedal
against a head rest or get a switch button to work with the drum kit)
and then implement (as Reid brought up) what the gamers are asking
for in the next version (which I think was what he was already
planning on since they know about the issue now) then we can put a
dent in this issue at least for mobility disabilities. Alex was also
interested in feedback about other types of disabilities too so any
other ideas for other disabilities would be welcomed. He doesn't seem
to fear the honesty!

One game at a time... :) Then we have examples that help show our
direct contributions to AAA titles -- that gives us street cred.


>That seems pretty simple. The best thing to probably do is make the foot

>paddle just be automatic definitely. I don't think it would take away from

>the fun I think I would actually make it easier and it wouldn't be kind of

>cumbersome and awkward and clumsy for a paraplegic to try to keep a beat

>when they have limited dexterity.


>One thing to keep in mind about paralysis, the way the spinal cord is

>affected is different for each patient.


>If these are crosses from or paraplegics from some other kind of injury like

>a stroke, I imagine stroke victims are different also.


>What I mean is the level of function and dexterity is always different. One

>person might have really good wrist movement with their left hand and very

>contrite that movement with their left arm but their right arm to try set

>can be half the strength and their pictorial muscle on the right might be

>weaker. Which means, not try set on the right, little or weaker pictorial



>Which means, the left arm has much more range accuracy, dexterity, stamina,

>the right arm will get exhausted just like a muscle when it exercises too

>much. Excellent therapy but disappointing when you're trying to keep up

>with others.




>-----Original Message-----

>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]

>On Behalf Of Reid Kimball

>Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2007 9:26 PM

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Harmonix needs our help!


>This is a difficult problem to solve. I think in the future a sip/puff

>mechanism should be considered. Rock Band 2: On Tour or whatever it

>will be called could ship with headset microphones for everyone, or

>why couldn't players use their current gaming headsets? You wear it,

>assuming it's snug enough to stay on with the head thrashing and blow

>into it to use the kick pedal.


>Other than that, I say give the players what they want, if they are

>requesting that the kick stand action be automatic, best to do that in

>a future patch.


>I think people who are new to games and not technically disabled will

>benefit from game modes that automate difficult actions, such as EA's

>Family Play controls for their Wii sports games.




>On Dec 15, 2007 4:45 PM, AudioGames.net <richard at audiogames.net> wrote:


>> Great question!


>> First thing to jump to mind is to do something with the gamer's


>> options because it's free and available. Two ideas would then be either


>> 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).


>> sip/puff/bite controller has the issue of hygiene which can be a pretty


>> problem. If so, go for the mic (which is simple hardware as well). The


>> 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


>> 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


>> easier... ? Alex, is there is a lot of double kickdrum in there?


>> Greets,


>> Richard




>> ----- 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


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


>> > 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


>> > 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


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


>> > 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 --


>> > 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


>> > 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


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


>> > 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"


>> > 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


>> > 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

>> > _______________________________________________

>> > games_access mailing list

>> > games_access at igda.org

>> > http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access


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