[games_access] Harmonix needs our help!

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Mon Dec 17 11:09:13 EST 2007

That's an interesting idea! My main concern would be the face making
again -- that might be harder to control than not "rocking out" with
head banging in order to use the back of the head to hit a switch.

BTW, the foot pedal is connected via what looks like could be a
connection for a switch button -- it's not connected to the usb hub
that the drum kit itself is connected to. The USB hub has four slots
-- one for the mic, two for guitars (one bass, one regular), and one
of the drum kit.

This is a very interesting issue -- because it's a game that really
is meant to give you as much of a feeling that you are a rock star as
possible...so to watch people play, you can see that they get pretty
immersed in it physically once they get the hang of it. It's one of
those things where we have to think of the alternative controls but
also keep the impact on "rocking out" as low as possible because
that's part of the fun of the game. That adds something to any
solutions we offer -- of course to be able to play the game is way
better than not being able to at all so being able to play is going
to give "fun" a chance to happen. But how can we preserve the the fun
factor as much as possible? That doesn't mean that it might not be
fun or as fun playing in an alternative way -- the solutions might be
more fun for some. This just reminds me about how game accessibility
is about so much more than just accessing information.

I'll throw this quote in for Sander to see if he's reading: it's "the
right to FUN!" :) (other fellow list readers...you have to imagine a
tall long haired guy who is in a band in real life growling this like
he's "Braveheart." ;) )


>how about using a Cyberlink to control the pedal input; simply

>mapping it to raising eyebrows for instance




>16 dec 2007 kl. 09.31 skrev <hinn at uiuc.edu> <hinn at uiuc.edu>:


>>Hey --


>>The main issue is that they cannot use the foot pedal but they can

>>use the drum pad (the other four inputs) using the drum sticks --

>>they are paraplegic and not quadriplegic...although Harmonix would

>>like to know solution ideas for quadriplegic gamers as well!


>>I have asked to see if we could get into the source code if we sign

>>away our lives -- worst case he just says "no way." And that's

>>cool. I can understand keeping the code close to the vest. Doesn't

>>hurt to propose it though.


>>At the party I was at last night, it took 2-3 people without

>>mobility disabilities to play the drum on "easy" mode. So add in

>>any mobility disability and it's even tougher!


>>Another thing to think about is solo practice -- you can go through

>>the game just playing the drum with AI players. So there is a loss

>>of independence for paraplegic gamers who would have to get a

>>friend to "drum" with them. So they get used to each other's cues

>>and styles...what happens at a party when the friend might not be

>>there and a "substitute" second person is needed. It's not

>>absolutely critical but it can get annoying to get used to someone

>>else who is essentially a part of your "skills" package -- after

>>all, a lot of (most?) people practice on their own so that they can

>>keep up with and/or beat the crap out of their fellow game players.

>>Yeah...rockband IS about collaboration...but...when the scores came

>>up, there was always clearly "the winner." :)


>>Did I mention that I think this discussion is really cool? ;)




>>---- Original message ----

>>>Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2007 00:10:01 -0800

>>>From: "Eelke Folmer" <eelke.folmer at gmail.com>

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

>>>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>




>>>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:




>>>>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.





>>>>games_access mailing list

>>>>games_access at igda.org







>>>Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor

>>>Department of CS&E/171

>>>University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557

>>>Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com



>>>games_access mailing list

>>>games_access at igda.org



>>these are mediocre times and people are

>>losing hope. it's hard for many people

>>to believe that there are extraordinary

>>things inside themselves, as well as

>>others. i hope you can keep an open


>>-- "unbreakable"



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