[games_access] Harmonix needs our help!

Eelke Folmer eelke.folmer at gmail.com
Sun Dec 16 03:10:01 EST 2007


Interesting problem, maybe a viable strategy would be to find the
gross or lowest denominator of the amount of interaction that a
paraplegic could provide; e.g. if this is a one switch you obviously
have a hard time providing five different inputs. Some amount of
interaction has to go or be automated.

I assume we will not be able to modify the existing source code and
hence a solution must be found in the hardware. If you want to
automate particular drum beats there is no way to get this information
through a controller unless you would be using a videocamera that
would monitor the screen to see which buttons need to be pressed.

I propose a simple solution:

just splitting up the drums (physically) into a part (1-5) drums that
can be played by a paraplegic and the other part (1-5) shall be played
by another human. You need 4 people anyway so finding a 5th should not
be a problem. If the paraplegic is unable to drum but can only use sip
and puff i would suggest splitting up the controller for the drums in
a sipp and puff part and the remaining drum parts.

Cheers Eelke

On 15/12/2007, d. michelle hinn <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:



> Hey Mike --



> The automation of inputs sounds like an excellent idea. I think you'd

> want it generic and per-input though and be clear that it's not *just*

> the foot pedal that could be problematic. e.g. Def Leopard's Rick

> Allen could easily handle the bass pedal (and a few more), but one of

> the pads might be a pain to hit simultaneously with another one.



> Yep, I was thinking about Rick Allen -- I'll have to do some surfing to give

> them some links on how drummers with mobility disabilities and amputees

> trick out their drum kits for their own personal situation. That might give

> Rock Band another source for information (actually...I'm wondering if we

> could get Rick Allen in on the accessible drum kit? I know that the Harmonix

> guys know some of the band contacts. I'm serious! How cool would that be to

> be able to buy a special edition Rick Allen controller that could be

> reconfigured to work with switches and so forth? For info on his custom kit:

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Allen_%28drummer%29



> I've only played the original GH briefly - do these games identify the

> different players at the start of the game? Tying such settings to

> individual users/names would be nice, so that if you're taking turns

> it'd automatically reconfigure itself for each person once those

> configurations are set and keep the accounts/configurations around as

> options for future gaming sessions.



> Yes, you pick your own player and name them (and then you can outfit them

> with cooler clothes and instruments when you earn cash from gigs) and it

> saves your progress and such. So I would think saving accessibility

> configurations would be pretty easy.



> As far as hardware - if they provided a way to use a generic

> controller instead of the custom ones (e.g. use a standard gamepad

> instead of the guitar for instance, where the whammy bar became the

> joystick), and in software allowed for remapping of the generic

> controller's inputs and to the expected inputs of the custom

> controller, then that should allow people to use things like the

> QuadControl.com's controller to play, wouldn't it? Anything

> excessively hard to do with such a controller could be switched to

> "automatic mode" in the software? Making these configurations also

> per-user as above would be nice as well.



> Hmm...yeah there is no way to play without a USB controller...but...I'm

> wondering if one of Barrie's USB controllers might be "tricked" to work with

> Rock Band -- I mean they already need a hub to fit four instruments so one

> of those could be an accessible controller...and then someone with different

> mobility issues might be able to play with a hacked controller connected to

> five switches (four for the drum pad and one for the pedal. I'll also

> introduce them to the Quad Controller for the 360 -- they may have a "cheat"

> or something that would allow someone to override an instrument (stranger

> things have been put in games).



> Now this discussion is kind of cool and super fun -- maybe we should start

> brainstorming on a game every other week where we know we have a friendly

> person in a high powered position who could make things happen. We could

> advert it on forums and our blogs for more suggestions. Mark and Barrie

> could help us on the blog end of things and I can contact some other groups.



> We could then present them with mini-usability reports and if they are

> interested in more info/help then they can help support the GA-SIG

> foundation (our soon-to-be-made-real non-profit) where we could earmark for

> travel scholarships for SIG members to conferences like the GDC where they

> are speakers, etc. It's a bird...It's a plane...no...It's "SIG PROJECT




> I'm trying to set up a meeting with Alex and the Harmonix gang at GDC so we

> can show them the controllers, Eelke's haptic solution for the blind, how

> they are used, and discuss things further. Who doesn't want to ROCK after

> all? Beethoven was deaf -- and yet it was a rockstar back in his day. ;)



> Let me see if I can get a couple kits if we sign our lives away and promise

> not to resell them on ebay.



> Trust me on this one -- we have already benefited from the private

> generosity of Harmonix employees who dig our work. I can't say much more but

> trust me -- I know.



> Michelle

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Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor
Department of CS&E/171
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557
Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com

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